Knitwear designer Grace Insogna creates inclusive, gloriously colorful garments for luminaries from Lizzo to Munroe Bergdorf. Find Grace's line, Disgrace NY on Instagram at @disgraceny
When did you get interested in fashion?
My grandmother was a seamstress and sewing was always something that I felt was in my blood. I first started designing and making my own clothes when I was in high school. I would cut things out in the shapes that I thought they should be and fit them to my body. I’ve always been a plus-sized person, and I couldn’t find things that fit me in the way I wanted them to. I just figured that I’d make things myself.
How do your identity and self-expression intersect with your work?
I’ve always been a very loud, extravagant, maximalist person. Fashion has always been so important to me for my own self-expression and declaring unapologetically who I am as a person. There are so many things I felt I could communicate without words just by the way that I dressed.
The tagline for my line is “Design with Inclusivity in Mind” In 2018, I was the first student at FIT to feature a plus-sized model on the runway. I’ve always cared about including people who are normally left out of the conversation and I’ve always focused on designing for plus-sized people. I’ve also designed for differently-abled people.
I know things have gotten better in recent years and there is more visibility in the representation of fat bodies. I use the word “fat” in a loving way to describe myself and other people because it’s a reclamation of the term. There are a lot more options, but in a broader sense, the industry has been really slow to not just tokenize fat bodies but to really include us in the conversation — there are many things in the fashion industry that need to be addressed but that’s just one of them.
Photography: Landyn Pan
Hair & Makeup: Chris Tabassi