Style Blogger Gabi Gregg Dishes On Debut Plus Size Swimsuit Collection, ‘Fatkinis’ And More! [INTERVIEW]

Nadia Aboulhosn, Gabi Gregg and Maxey Greene.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Edwards

Welp, if that picture above wasn’t enough to stop you dead in your tracks, I don’t know what will. You’re staring at three lovely style bloggers, one of which may look a wee bit familiar to y’all. In the center is Gabi Gregg, the former MTV TJ and MTV Style contributor, who happens to run an incredibly successful fashion blog, GabiFresh. When she’s not showing off her ’dorbs daily ensembles, she’s working as a columnist for InStyle or discussing body image and bikinis on the Today show (NBD). Somehow between all that, she still found time to create her first-ever plus size swimsuit collection (that she announced in late April), which is officially available to purchase starting today. Eeee! Her five-piece swimsuitsforall line features everything from neon bikinis to galaxy print coverups, and I’m OB-SESSED. Obviously I needed to get the low-down on Gabi’s entire collection, so I hit her up to give me ALL the deets behind her pieces including, yes, that amazing Spring Breakers-inspired lookbook shoot. Check out the full interview below!

MTV STYLE: OMG, your first-ever swim capsule collection! Yayyy. Why did you decide to partner with swimsuitsforall?

GABI GREGG: Thanks! I’ve been sharing my outfits and style tips on my personal blog for five years now. Some of my most successful and buzzed about posts were the ones when I wore bathing suits, particularly in the last two years when I posted myself in two-pieces. Last summer, I also decided to show a gallery of women sizes 12 and up wearing bikinis on, and that ended up going viral. I even got a segment on the Today show about it! I was a well-known fashion blogger before that, but then I sort of also became known for being the confident plus size girl in the bikini. I was super excited when swimsuitsforall approached me about designing a capsule collection, and of course I said yes! I’ve been wanting to design for awhile now. As a plus size woman who feels like there’s a lot still missing from the market, I’ve had lots of ideas about what I’d like to create, so this was a great opportunity.

So… tell us about your collection!

It’s a small, five piece collection. I designed three bikinis, a one piece, and a coverup. I wanted a collection that was really fresh and young, because I think a lot of the plus size swimwear out there right now is made for an older demographic. I wanted bright colors, which look great at the beach or pool, and graphic prints, because I’m loving that trend right now. I decided on two neon bikinis that are convertible (they can be worn strapless or halter style, and the bottoms can be worn high or low waisted). I also made a galaxy print bikini, with the matching coverup, and a jewel-print, backless one piece. It’s definitely statement swimwear for the fashion-conscious set.

Gabi Gregg in a piece from her swimsuitsforall collection.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Edwards

I’ll say! How was it transforming from a fashion blogger into a fashion designer?

It’s my first time designing anything, and it was really fun! I mean, I’ve sketched lots of things and have had tons of ideas, but this is the first time anything has actually been produced. I was pleasantly surprised with the experience—swimsuitsforall was very willing to work with my designs, and let me take the reins. Because I’m working with a well-established company, they took care of all of the production and stuff, so I just had to focus on the actual design element and aesthetic part. But I have definitely learned to trust my gut on things, and based on the great reaction so far I know that there are tons of other people who have been waiting for a collection like this.

A year ago, you posted pics of yourself in a bikini, or “fatkini,” and it went viral! Why do you think people had such a strong reaction to your post?

It’s definitely shocking for some people to see a woman that doesn’t fit into narrow standards of beauty confidently wearing a bathing suit, let alone a bikini! We are so conditioned to feel like we have to have a certain body type to go to the beach, women go on crazy crash diets and stuff just for the summer time, it’s insane! I encourage people to be healthy, but also to know that they are okay right now, as they are. They shouldn’t let anyone shame them into avoiding having fun and feeling great in swimwear. There was a huge reaction, both positive and negative, and I think that’s a good thing. I want people to be challenged and think about their preconceived ideas about beauty and happiness.

Nadia Aboulhosn, Gabi Gregg and Maxey Greene.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Edwards

Such great words to live by. Tell us about this AMAZING swimsuitsforall shoot! You look so comfortable and confident.

Thanks! The shoot was a blast! I was with two of my friends [ed note: who are bloggers/models Nadia Aboulhosn and Maxey Greene] and we wanted to have a young, fun, pool-party like story. I think the suits really lend themselves to that look.

I’ve been working on my confidence for almost a decade now, so it’s not something that happens overnight, but I always encourage women to limit their mainstream media intake if it’s making them feel badly about themselves. Seek out blogs and media that are body positive and have imagery of women with bodies that look like yours—they exist! Normalizing all body types is a huge step in making everyone feel better about themselves. Also, find amazing clothes—and swimwear!—that fit you well and make you feel beautiful. Don’t wait until you wear a specific size to feel stylish.

What are some spring trends that you are loving (or hating!) right now?

I know I already mentioned this, but I’m still loving cool graphic prints, especially printed pants! They look so great with a tee or blazer. I’ve also always had a weak spot for black and white, and I love that this season it’s EVERYWHERE. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the tie-dye stuff coming back, but to each her own!

Gabi Gregg, Nadia Aboulhosn and Maxey Greene.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Edwards

Haha! What’s next for you? Would you ever design a full clothing line?

I hope to! I’d love to work with a brand to do a larger capsule clothing collection, or maybe even use a crowd-funding website to build my own line from the bottom up. This experience with swimsuitsforall definitely ignited my desire to do more designing!

This is totally embarrassing, but you and I go WAY back to the LiveJournal days where we’d post outfits on fashion communities. How has fashion blogging changed since you started documenting your style, and where do you see it going from here?

Oh man, fashion blogging has changed so much from those days, just the fact that blogging is like, this HUGE thing now. I could have never imagined that I’d be going to Fashion Week or collaborating with brands or even making a full-time job just from sharing my photos and style secrets on the Internet. I think the best part is that I’ve seen bloggers influence the industry, specifically in the plus size niche. I know for a fact that we are pushing huge, multimillion dollar brands to think outside the box and design more fashion-forward options, because they see that we exist and we want cuter options. I think, if we’re smart, the bloggers with lots of influence will keep expanding their brands so that we’re no longer just about outfit posts, I’m not sure how much longer the craze surrounding street style will last. I’m hoping to launch a non-fashion related site this summer.

Whaaat? That sounds amazing! What do you think sets you apart from other bloggers?

I think what sets me apart is that my blog has a message of love and body acceptance along with my style, so that it’s more than JUST about clothes. I love fashion and all, but I think spreading a positive message is what keeps me motivated. I guess you could call my personal style city-chic; I love leather, skinny jeans, blazers, oversized tops and shift dresses. I try not to think too much about what I should wear and just grab whatever jumps out at me!

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