Flex Mami on plus-sized fashion and the f-word: 'I hate to say it'

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

DJ, digital icon and star of the upcoming season of Big Brother, Flex Mami, is not overly fond of the f-word. Not that f-word. For Flex — real name Lillian Ahenkan — it's 'flattering'.

It might sound strange, particularly from someone who is about to launch their second plus-sized clothing collection with online fashion retailer Nasty Gal.

Flex styling the Plus Size Metallic Satin Shirt in lemon (on sale for $42, RRP$84) with black bike shorts and a cow-print bag. Photo: supplied.
Flex styling the Plus Size Metallic Satin Shirt in lemon (on sale for $42, RRP$84) with black bike shorts and a cow-print bag. Photo: supplied.

Sell-out success

But, as Flex explains in an exclusive chat with Yahoo Lifestyle, plus-sized shoppers don't only want clothes that are 'flattering'. They want (and deserve) clothes that are stylish, on-trend, sexy and fun.

We know this because Flex's debut Nasty Gal range in 2020 was a sell-out. According to the brand, it single-handedly saw an "uplift of the Curve category in the Australian region from approximately four to five per cent to around 18 per cent".

Flex puts the collection's success down to two things. "I think it was super popular because it was really good," she says.

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"But also, it's so rare to have any kind of availability of cute clothes for plus-sized people."

Outside of a handful of brands, cute clothes for plus-sized people just don't really exist despite the 'feverish' demand.

"I think people are under the impression that when size-inclusive fashion ranges get released, that it's the full range, and there are just as many styles as the smaller, 'straight' sizes, and that often is not the case," Flex says.

Have the best of both worlds in the Plus Size Two Tone Faux Leather Jacket (on sale for $87, RRP $174) and matching Mini Skirt (on sale for $42, RRP$84). Photo: supplied.
Have the best of both worlds in the Plus Size Two Tone Faux Leather Jacket (on sale for $87, RRP $174) and matching Mini Skirt (on sale for $42, RRP$84). Photo: supplied.

On top of that, there's a misconception around what 'plus-size' actually means and a lack of consideration for what suits plus-sized shoppers.

"Often a lot of the marketing for 'inclusive collections' are going up to size 16, they're not going up to size 22.

"And they're not being made with bigger bodies in mind. They're being made on smaller bodies and just being graded up."

The end result is, well... not much. Enter the Flex Mami x Nasty Gal edit, which features over 20 pieces that encapsulate Flex's bold, colourful fashion-forward style.

And just quietly, Flex thinks it's going to be an even bigger hit than the first.

"I can absolutely improve on perfection," she laughs.

"It's like, when you are a stylish plus-size person, you really do have to conduct science experiments to get cute clothes.

"And so having a whole edit with a whole array of styles and colours and occasions, it just makes it all so easy. It's what it must feel like to be a 'straight' size."

Flex sporting her favourite Nasty Gal pieces: the Plus Size Oversized Slouchy Zebra Print Shirt (on sale for $52.50, RRP$105) and matching Wide Leg Pants (on sale for $47.50, RRP$95). Photo: supplied.
Flex sporting her favourite Nasty Gal pieces: the Plus Size Oversized Slouchy Zebra Print Shirt (on sale for $52.50, RRP$105) and matching Wide Leg Pants (on sale for $47.50, RRP$95). Photo: supplied.

The f-word

In terms of Flex's personal favourites, the satin zebra co-ord set is definitely a contender.

"The top is a long sleeve button up which could potentially be pyjamas or a work shirt, it's super versatile," she says.

"It's very, I mean, I hate to say the word but... flattering. I'm going to say very flattering," she adds.

An 'amazing' black smock dress with puff sleeves and a monochromatic faux-leather jacket and mini skirt set also get a shoutout.

Hopefully, this isn't Flex's final fashion foray.

"It feels like finally, this is what I'm talking about: fashionable, accessible clothes that fit big people and small people. It can be so simple. Like, this is proof of concept.

"We don't need 1,000 different explanations as to why this [smaller style] can't be made in a bigger size. We're doing it!"

The Plus Size Colorblock Corduroy Shirt Dress (on sale for $49.50, RRP$99) can be worn two ways: buttoned as a dress or open as a jacket. Photo: supplied.
The Plus Size Colorblock Corduroy Shirt Dress (on sale for $49.50, RRP$99) can be worn two ways: buttoned as a dress or open as a jacket. Photo: supplied.

The Nasty Gal x Flex Mami Edit is available to shop now and comes in sizes 6 – 28 with prices starting from $25.

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