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Perfect Fit: Two Body-Positive Activists and Models Take on the Bridal Industry

Anna Dunn | January 13, 2021 | Style & Beauty Style

Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady have quite a bit in common. Both are models; both have graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue multiple times; and both have collaborated with notable bridal designers as advocates for brides of all body types. Ashley Graham x Pronovias launched in early 2020 with chic bridal offerings in sizes 0 to 34, and Watters partnered with McGrady on two gowns for her own wedding before deciding to replicate her reception dress for other brides, releasing it early this year.

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Model and activist Ashley Graham debuted her inclusive collection with Pronovias in early 2020.

Graham’s collaboration with Barcelona-based Pronovias (pronovias.com) was inspired by her personal experience of having a difficult time finding a flattering dress for her big day 10 years ago. “Ashley was a good partner for many obvious reasons: She is a clear fashion icon, body activist and someone who strongly believes in inclusivity and diversity in the fashion industry,” says Alessandra Rinaudo, artistic director at Pronovias Group. “To me, she embodies perfectly the modern woman: one who exudes confidence, who is proud of her beauty.”

The collection ($1,000 to $3,500) was created with guidance from Graham on improvements to the fit and construction of each gown, resulting in 16 inclusive styles that are “classic, timeless and fashionable, with a fit for every body type,” adds Rinaudo. Among the offerings is the confectionlike Neal gown with a blush-colored ruffled skirt, the sleek mikado silk Hutton and the romantic lace-bodice Parrish ballgown. “We firmly believe that everyone should be able to find their dream dress. … The main purpose of this collection is to make you believe in yourself,” says Rinaudo. “Just be you and the rest will run smoothly.”

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Hunter McGrady’s custom Watters reception gown was later named the Hunter and made available to all brides in sizes 00 to 24W.

McGrady, a longtime lover of Watters (watters.com) dresses, went straight to the brand for two custom gowns for her June 2019 wedding. Mother-daughter design duo Vatana and Sydney Watters spent nearly a year working with McGrady on the designs, interpreting her ideas into sketches. “Hunter had a very, very classic vision for her reception dress,” shares Sydney. “It was really different from everything else in our collection, so we wanted to offer that Hunter dress to everyone, especially since clean styles are trending right now.”

The Hunter gown ($2,595 to $2,984) is available in sizes 00 to 24W and has a classic high neckline and a cowl back with a “fun hint of beading on a little strap around the waist that you can only see through the back,” shares Sydney. The designer’s advice for brides searching for their dream gown? “Keep an open mind,” says Sydney. “Don’t be afraid to try things that might be outside your comfort zone.” In addition to releasing the Hunter this year, Watters is looking ahead to continue offering inclusive styles and colors, collaborate with more brides and evolve their processes to “always question everything and keep refining not just the garment but also the technique,” shares Vatana. “It’s about our brides, and the minute I see them pick one of our gowns, I always feel honored that we have been included in over three decades now of that process.”



Photography by: Pronovias photos courtesy of Pronovias; Hunter McGrady photo by Jenny Quicksall