Amber Gwynn Nyata Interview
Fashion entrepreneur Amber Gwynn has launched her Australian-based fashion line Nyata in order to make every woman feel sexy and confident. With experience as a plus-size model, Ms Gwynn had spent her whole life looking for the perfect fit and instead of finding it – she created it in 2014. Nyata is a stunning brand which offers a range of garments for curvy women including evening and day wear.
'I have always been curvy and I found it hard to find beautiful boutique wear that is unique, bold and on-trend," Ms Gwynn said.
'I started plus-sized modelling five years ago and I have modelled for many high profile companies in Australia like Myer and Target but entering this industry, whilst it was great to see curves being promoted in mainstream media, I quickly became frustrated with the lack of high fashion items.
'Why is it, that women need to search for terms like 'plus-size', 'straight-size' and 'sizes 8-30', in any search engine, instead of having the luxury of simply searching for 'women's fashion'? Why are women confronted with humiliation and vilification when going into a boutique that greets them with the typical 'Sorry, we do not stock plus sized garments."
'It was disheartening and I knew that if it was disheartening for me, that there would be countless other women like me feeling the same way and I had to do something.
'I travelled to Indonesia where I have worked extensively with fashion previously and Nyata means -real' in Indonesian. It was here that I came up with a brand to promote all women as real women.
'Our collections feature evening wear, timeless, essentials and seasonal changes and we are constantly evolving based on what our customers need and want.
'We pride ourselves on catering to women of every shape and size. Instead of numbered sizes – our sizes are words like Beautiful (8-10), Natural (12-14), Jaw Dropper (16-18) all the way up to Stunning (28-30).
'The body positive movement is one we have been part of from the beginning and though the Australian fashion industry has come far, we still have strides to go.
'Women have to be able to feel good in what they wear and this is the essence of Nyata."
Interview with Amber Gwynn
Question: What inspired you to begin Nyata?
Amber Gwynn: I have always been a curvy woman and have always love being bold with my style of fashion, however I have found it challenging to find unique and bold styles to accommodate my curvaceous figure. I have also never been one to follow trends, and have always been confident in marching to the beat of my own drum and just wearing what I love.
My mum has also always been curvy, and I remember growing up and going shopping together, how she felt embarrassed to being going in and shopping at Plus Size Shops and so I would not go in with her. I remember thinking how ridiculous this is, that not only my mum feels anxious and embarrassed, but why should we both not be able to go into the same shop and access fashion for both of our shapes.
Question: Why do we need straight size and plus size shops?
Amber Gwynn: I also started modelling as a curve mode for BELLA Management, and became vastly dissatisfied with the lack of 'modern' fashion I was asked to model, and I thought if I am not feeling confident modelling this clothing, how can women feel confident in wearing it on a daily basis.
Nyata stems from a lifetime of dissatisfaction in access to gorgeous fashion for curvy women, but the lack of understanding of the compartmentalisation between plus and straight sizing and the effect this has on the way women feel about themselves.
Nyata was formed to bridge the gap between plus and straight-sizing and provide women with equality in high quality, unique and on-trend fashion options.
Question: How would you describe the Nyata line?
Amber Gwynn: Nyata means 'real' in Indonesian where our designs are manufactured, our motto is 'we all fit real'.
We are a body positive brand focusing on promoting diversity and equality in fashion, giving women of every size the opportunity to look and feel their beautiful best.
Nyata is an ethical fashion label which promotes equality in fashion. Our designs are trans-seasonal and versatile, featuring a relaxed aesthetic and flattering silhouettes which include shift dresses, maxi skirts, harem pants, skirts, timeless tops, jumpsuits and maxi dresses.
There is a distinctive story that underpins all of Nyata's designs, with its signature prints, sequin embellishments and distinctive colour palettes.
Nyata is modern and inspired by the everyday woman.
Question: How do you hope to use Nyata to engage women of all shapes and sizes in fashion?
Amber Gwynn: I hope to see a much needed cultural shift in society in changing the way that we describe fashion as size categories, and I hope to see more fashion labels following this vision, and becoming more inclusive in their size offerings.
I want women to understand that beauty is not defined by size, they are much more than a size label. I hope for women to understand that we are all deserve to feel great in what we wear, and that we should all be entitled to the same level of comfortable chic clothing as anyone else.
We specifically use bold prints and sequin embellishments as striking and identifiable aspects of the label, to support women to step out of their comfort zones and be bold in their fashion choices. To stand out in the crowd.
Question: Can you tell us about the sizing/names Nyata provides?
Amber Gwynn: Nyata accommodates women Australian sizes 8-30.
We understand that women are much more than a size label, and the level of discomfort this can cause.
We therefore do not use standard size labels, rather words which are size equivalent ie. Beautiful- 8-10, Gorgeous- 20-22, Stunning- 28-30.
Question: Can you tell us about 'Non Airbrushed Me?
Amber Gwynn: Nonairbrushedme stems from my childhood, when my mum was asked if she wanted my baby fat rolls air brushed out in the professional photos I had taken as a new born. When my mum told me this in my adult years, I was pretty horrified and thought how awful it is that we are enabling poor body image from such a young age.
Noanirbrushedme was created alongside Nyata, understanding that to be fabulous in what we are wearing, we must first feel confident within ourselves.
Noairbrushedme is a body positive movement which supports women to embrace themselves holistically in their authentic and natural form. It is a strong community of women supporting women, and not being afraid to just be who we truly are.
As a nurse supporting those who have been severely injured in transport accidents each day, as well as living with Multiple Sclerosis and having had functions of my body taken from me at times such as becoming blinded and paralysed, I understand how not to take our bodies for granted in any capacity.
So Nonairbrushedme is more than just embracing our flaws, it is about appreciating and honouring our bodies for the life they give us. It is about encouraging women to, when they next go to complain about the cellulite on the legs, to stop, and just be grateful they have legs that function and enable them to walk. Helping women to not be discouraged by the post baby stretch marks on their stomach, but be grateful that they have been blessed with a child.
Each day, I am flooded with emails, direct messages and images of women from all throughout the world thanking me for how much the movement is helping them feel better about their bodies and sending me images that they want me to share with the world.
Question: What do you hope to achieve from the 'Non Airbrushed Me' movement?
Amber Gwynn: I hope to be a world leader in changing the way we see our bodies.
To be the first body positive movement with true substance, led by someone who lives with a disability and understands that complaining about the size of our thighs is in fact selfish talk when you have function of those thighs.
I want to change the way women see themselves in the mirrors each day. With a fresh perspective of accepting and honouring their bodies in the authentic form, and be confident in living a life free from unnecessary anxiety.
I want to see more unedited images in the media, rather than images which fill the minds of our younger generation with false ideals of what beauty looks like and means to them.
I hope to promote living well with a disability, giving hope to those diagnosed with a disability to not give up hope and to fiercely live their dreams.
Question: Can you talk about how your Multiple Sclerosis (MS), affects you on a daily basis?
Amber Gwynn: I was diagnosed with MS nine years ago, and it has been a roller coaster ride. I have been on different medications which made me really sick, as well as lifestyle factors that were poor contributors to my health.
I have now found medication which works extremely well for me complimented by a healthy/balanced diet, juicing, sleeping well, regular exercise and organic skin care. I also only support myself with positive and like-minded people who are genuine and loving, and each day that are good for my soul.
People often ask me how I do it all? My response is 'each second on earth is a gift that must be lived to it's greatest potential'.
I am lucky enough to still be able to work fulltime, as well as manage Nyata and Nonairbrushedme.
MS does affect my fatigue levels, and by the end of the week I am exhausted. When I am fatigued, I suffer cognitive impairment such as poor orientation and memory loss.
But I try to live my life as normally as possible, and not allow my condition to define me.
I live with positivity, and this is the key to living well with MS for me.
Question: How have you overcome challenges associated with MS to create Nyata?
Amber Gwynn: I started Nyata because of my MS. I chose to view my diagnosis as something that was meant to happen to me, and was the catalyst to really make some big changes in my life and to chase my dreams.
In general, living with MS and the issues I face daily with fatigue and cognitive impairment has at times made things challenging.
My life is very full and busy, and sometimes I need to remind myself to listen to my body and put myself first.
I have learned to identify my strength in the business, and outsource support for my weaknesses. To ask for support if needed, and I am lucky enough to have a strong supportive network around me who always have my back.
Having memory difficulties at times has meant that I have needed to become much more organized and utilise resources to support me with this, which keeps me on track and able to always have a full understanding of my schedule.
And I am always mindful of balancing work and my personal life. I try to keep my weekends free from work were possible.
Question: Why does high fashion have to be encouraged to include curvy women?
Amber Gwynn: I am a passionate advocate for diversity and equality in fashion. It is really as simple as that.
The standard size Australian woman is a size 16. We have to understand this, and we have to accommodate this.
And we need to do so in a way that is not just providing fashion for curvy women, but high end, boutique, internationally recognised fashion.
The only way we will truly do this, is by creating a norm, breaking down the stigma of 'plus and straight sizing' and providing women with equality in their fashion.
Interview by Brooke Hunter