Learning from the Master, Ashley Nell Tipton

This Original Content is from our June, 2019 Mini-Mag. We will be posting relevant content from that zine over the next few weeks. Look for our new Mini-Mag this December!

It’s not often we see plus size women on any screen. Although, we’re so glad to see that changing. It’s important to note the pioneers in the field! When Ashley Nell Tipton began her journey on Season 14 of Project Runway, she had no idea that she’d be a beacon for the “thousands of other ‘Ashleys’” around the world… those who’d been bullied, spoken down to, and told they shouldn’t exist in the world of fashion. Years later, Nell Tipton is exactly that. With her new “Sewing Master Classes” and her “Self-Acceptance Workshops,” Nell Tipton is turning her love of fashion into education others… on much more than the clothes they can wear. We sat down with Tipton and got the scoop on what she’s been up to after Project Runway, especially her new classes. Let’s see what she had to say! 

Bold Magazine: We recently connected, but the whole plus universe knows who you are from your Project Runway time and your win. You do so much! But, if you had to describe yourself, today, what would you call yourself? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: I would call myself an advocate for the Plus Size Community, a problem-solver for those categories that we have been underserved and someone who is on their own journey to self-acceptance and would like to influence others on theirs.

Bold Magazine: Heck yeah! We’re excited to see more of your sewing classes up on your site. Super unique. How did they come about?

Ashley Nell Tipton: I felt like I needed to get back to my roots- to what made me feel so fulfilled. I always wanted to share my skills and love of sewing and thought this would be the perfect way to do that.

Bold Magazine: Sweet! What has the response been? Who’s been attending? Are they hobbyists? Aspiring Ashley Nell Tiptons? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: The response has been phenomenal. They are people who have always wanted to sew but were intimated with the “machine” and those who already know how to sew but wanted the opportunity to work on projects with someone their size and understanding of what works for their bodies. 

Bold Magazine: Love it! So, we were one of the first to cover Full Figured Fashion Week and we’re sorry to say that back then, we didn’t know who you were when you debuted some of your clothing! What does it say about plus size fashion and media that the world tends to stay so small and off of the main stage? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: It says we’ve got work to do in getting “the world’ to see who we are, what we want and how there is many opportunities in this market.

Bold Magazine: Amen! We’re moving and shaking, though. NYFW got some more representation this year. What is it going to take to keep the bus moving? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: Self-Acceptance and changing the paradigm around the meaning of “fat.”

Bold Magazine: You said it! So, you’ve been designing for plus for a while and certainly are an advocate. When did you decide “I am plus and I’ll represent plus!” because not everyone in your industry has (although we’re glad to see it’s changing)? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: I have always known that would be my niche, because I struggled finding clothing I knew that I would have to create it. 

Bold Magazine: That’s what we did too! So, project Runway is underway and back on Bravo. Is anyone exciting you the most? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: I’ve] been too busy to watch…but much love to the winner (the new set looks amazing!). 

Bold Magazine: For sure! No matter the show, the representation of diversity, while growing, is not always indicative of the population. If you could design a show that truly captured diverse bodies, where would you start? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: By teaching people to accept who they are.

Bold Magazine: It’s been great to watch you since Project Runway. We recently hung out with some folks from reality shows who turned their stories into books, spinoffs, etc. What do you think your next big thing is? We’d love to see a sewing class by ANT in every city!

Ashley Nell Tipton: The next big thing for me is Live Streaming and “Saturday Sessions with Ashley”, I will be teaching and talking about my journey to self-love.

Bold Magazine: YAS! Ashley… what makes you Bold? 

Ashley Nell Tipton: My love of design, who I am and my love for others!