May 30, 2013 | Culture and Media

The Big Idea

A college student fights fat-shaming with fashion.

Diana Di Poce

In mid-May, comments made back in 2006 by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jefferies resurfaced—and ignited a firestorm: "We go after the cool kids," Fitch had said about A&F, which doesn't stock pants above size 12. "Are we exclusionary? Absolutely." In other words: Overweight shoppers, take a hike.

Fitch's remarks came amidst the latest complaints about fashion's disregard of curvier women. Those who attempt to correct this imbalance often face a backlash: When designer Mark Fast announced he would feature size 12 and 14 models in his next show, two of his stylists were so angry they quit.

The good news: In the same month that Fitch’s comments were recirculating, a college student in Canada launched a site for the full-figured.

DARE is Canada's first online magazine dedicated to curvy women sizes 12-plus. "I think there's a resistance amongst the industry, this idea that a plus-sized woman may not be considered aspirational — even though that's very far from the truth," says Diana Di Poce, 21. A student at Ryerson University, Di Poce created the magazine as part of her fourth year thesis project. The debut issue of Dare features everything from "sexy wedges" to peplum sheaths to white, skinny jeans. Nary a muu-muu in sight. Photographs have the clean, chic look of a newsstand glossy.

Although Di Poce launched the magazine with plus-size women in mind, it is meant for all audiences. "I didn't find it necessary to label it as a plus-size magazine in the logo or in the aesthetic. The average woman in North America is a size 14, so I didn't see a purpose in stamping a 12+ label on the website or on the cover of the first issue," she says. "I want all women to be able to go to DARE as a fashion and beauty bible."

For Di Poce, DARE is more than a magazine. It's a cause. "I think that it will take time to change the way women are portrayed in the media, but it will happen. I hope that DARE can be the voice of us curvy ladies. Style truly has no size."