CAMPBELL, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area is ground zero in a crusade to open up what used to be a very private area. We're talking about equal opportunity for large women in the lingerie department.
Plus size clothing is already a $20-billion industry - and growing, but lingerie has lagged behind. So now body image activists say it's time everybody gets to flaunt it!
That's what happened at the Unapologetically Beautiful Fashion Show in Campbell, where women, size 12 and up, strutted their stuff in sexy lingerie.
The show was organized by Chrystal Bougon, owner of Curvy Girls in San Jose. Curvy Girl is believed to be the only store in the country that specializes in nothing but lingerie for larger ladies. Her mission is to help everyone "feel sexy and beautiful - even people who are size 30, 32. We are trying to find something for everybody."
Bougon was thrilled when 225 women applied to be models at her show. She says that's a lot of people "willing to be half naked, on a runway at 2 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon!"
Bougon believes the reason there is not a lot of extended size lingerie available is "designers assume if you are that fat you don't want to wear lingerie - and that couldn't be further from the truth."
Bay area model Saucye West , size 28, was one of the gorgeous gals on the runway, but a lot of models in this show are not so used to the spotlight.
Stephenie Torres of San Jose walked the runway. Torres said "It felt so good walking into that room, even before the show started and instantly feeling love and positivity. No judgement. "
She added "Hell ,yes I'm fat, and I'm fabulous!"
Women came from all over the bay area, wearing all kinds of fun fashion and ready to buy more.
Catherine James from Mountain House said it was great to have a big range of options in a big range of sizes. But James did not what to show us the lingerie she was taking home. "I'm going to keep that for my husband !" she said.
Tigress Osborne of Oakland says the fashion show is part of the "size acceptance" movement. Osborne says that for large women even the simple act of eating in public can be a political statement.
"We are having a fun time and nobody is feeling ashamed to go back and get that extra meat ball because, who cares, the skinny girls get an extra meatball if they want to. You get to do that too" declared Osborne.
The event also featured author Jes Baker, known as a "fat activist." She's a hero in this community for her blog, The Militant Baker, and book called "Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls."
Baker is spreading the message that happiness does not have to be related to size.
She remembers a turning point 4 years ago. "I had this moment where I was like, oh my God, maybe I don't have to hate myself for the rest of my life. That had never crossed my mind before. I was 26. And after that I thought that, you can't unthink that and so I was kind of on this journey."
Baker got an emotional thank you from fans at the fashion show, and big applause when she hit the runway herself in lingerie.
Click here to check out The Curvy Girl store.
Click here for Jes Baker's blog.
Written and produced by Jennifer Olney.
Plus size lingerie promotes positive body image