To celebrate the launch of new brand Commonry, influential supermodel Ashley Graham talks to JONES about success, style mantra’s and how she’s staying in the moment.
Exuberant and disarming, supermodel Ashley Graham’s natural transparency is leading us to a better world. Applauded for her ability to take up space while finding room for everyone else, her voice is her superpower, and a guiding force in shifting archaic beauty conventions. As someone who’s kept the conversation going, she means it when she says there’s power to be found in a wardrobe that feels like you.
You’ve partnered with Commonry for their launch. What excites you about this new brand?
When it comes to style there is nothing more important than fit and comfort, and Commonry has it figured out! Everything they’ve created looks chic and fits impeccably. I also love that Commonry has this emotional impact. You can feel — this clothing is incredibly well- made and feels tailored to my body. As women, we just want to feel heard and that’s what you can feel when you’re wearing Commonry – that it fits you perfectly, that it’s a part of your style and who you want to portray to the world.
David Jones’ theme for this season is “In the Moment” – what do you do to stay in the moment with such a busy schedule?
My husband, Justin, and I do a lot of meditation and prayer together after our son Isaac goes to sleep. It keeps us connected, and it also helps us to wind down and disconnect from the chaos around us – even if it’s great chaos! I think it’s incredibly important to remember to stay centred and to stay grateful for things, especially during this time.
“As women, we just want to feel heard and that’s what you can feel when you’re wearing Commonry – that it fits you perfectly, that it’s a part of your style and who you want to portray to the world.”
You don’t strike me as a person who has off-days, but when you’re feeling flat, what small or big things bring you joy?
Working out is something that I prioritize in my routine that brings me a lot of joy. Staying active has been the best way for me to take care of my mind and body, and I really believe in promoting a healthy lifestyle at every size. There’s just something about that boost from a hard workout that clears my mind. It’s my time to really focus on me, and getting a good sweat in can completely transform my mood and centre me.
When it comes to style, could you share any secrets or fashion mantras you have?
My personal mantra is, “You are bold, you are brilliant, and you are beautiful.” I’ve been saying it before big shoots, shows and meetings for more than 20 years – it’s become a part of me and has been instrumental in building my confidence throughout my career. When it comes to fashion secrets, I definitely have those must-have staples in my closet that I can always rely on. A great pair of jeans is one of the most important staples in any woman’s wardrobe, and The Commonry Girlfriend jeans have become a fast favourite. They needed no altering, which I typically have to do when purchasing clothes, and they have the perfect amount of stretch. I’ve been living in them through long days at home on back to back Zoom calls!
Your work has been significant in shifting the conversation around voice and ownership when it comes to your body, and you’ve inspired a movement to do the same. What do you think fashion brands need to do next to respond to this?
I’ve used my voice and my brand to impact the things I wanted to change in the industry. I’m proud that my work has shifted the narrative and helped normalize the appearance of different body types featured in a magazine photoshoot, on a runway, or as the face of a major campaign. I’ve broken barriers throughout my career, but there’s so much work that needs to be done since women everywhere still aren’t seeing themselves represented in the fashion industry. Change doesn’t just start on the runway or at major fashion brands, but through education. Fashion schools and programs need to require inclusive design courses, so all up and coming designers understand the necessity of size diversity. I truly believe fashion should be accessible to everyone, and inclusivity should be more pervasive in the industry, which is why I’m so proud to be partnering with Commonry to bring chic, well-made wardrobe staples to more women in Australia.
“We’ve laid the groundwork, but now we have to focus on all the doors that still need to be opened.”
What do you think is the next step in a size-inclusive conversation?
I’ve been in this industry for 20 years and I’ve seen how slow the progress has been. I hope that in the years to come, no one has to be the “first” to walk any runway or appear in a major campaign–we’ve laid the groundwork, but now we have to focus on all the doors that still need to be opened. It’s up to all of us to fight for change and make an impact in our respective areas of the industry. While I was once on my own during this journey, I’m now surrounded by a larger sisterhood in the modelling and fashion community and feel supported in continuing to break barriers together.
Words by Hilary Bourke