HARLEM — As Amirah Taylor grew up, fashion was a constant.
The 19-year-old Harlem native helped out with local fashion shows as her grandmother, a seamstress, designed clothes and her aunt, a hairstylist, styled the models. Taylor, who said she comes from a full-figured family, even took to the runway a few times herself.
Now, Taylor is turning her longtime hobby into a cause for advocacy, as she aims to build confidence in women of all shapes and dress sizes through a new group called Please Feed The Models.
"I've started to realize that not enough women were satisfied with their god-given bodies," Taylor said. "I thought, 'Hey why not start something with women who adore their body?'"
On Saturday, Please Feed The Models will host its first-ever fashion show, at La Maison D’Art gallery space at 259 W. 132nd St., featuring plus-sized clothing and models.
"I want to help inspire other women to embrace their bodies for what [they are],” Taylor said.
There’s already a Full Figured Fashion Week, which hits New York, Los Angeles and Canada each June, but, for Taylor, it’s not enough.
“There aren’t enough supporters,” said Taylor, who studies criminology at SUNY College of Old Westbury on Long Island and launched Please Feed The Models last February. “I want to expand on that.”
For Saturday's fashion show, Taylor recruited 11 models from New York City and beyond, including students, medical assistants and aspiring fashion designers. Some had previous modeling experience, but others did not.
Catherine Davis, 28, a Philadelphia resident, found out about the fashion show online and sent in her audition photo via Instagram. Previously, she’s worked on both sides of the runway, as a model and as a hair and makeup stylist.
Davis said events like the Please Feed The Models fashion show are about helping women overcome their insecurities and feel more confident.
“As long as we’re healthy and are able to exercise, we should let ourselves be who we are, because that’s how we were made,” she said.
For Taylor, this weekend is just the beginning.
Proceeds will fund future fashion shows and help her reach out to teenage girls who may be struggling with their body image, she said. Taylor is also thinking of starting a business for plus-size women once she graduates.
Tickets for the July 13 Please Feed The Models Fashion Show are $10 apiece and can be purchased via Eventbrite. Doors open at 6 p.m.