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Fashion for a cause
Top Model Alum Whitney Thompson and the Look-A-Like team join forces to support Allistyle
By Alannah O’Neill ELLE catches up with the owner of Allistyle, Pamela Shainhouse, to talk fashion for full-figured women.
Why did you start Allistyle? "My daughter Alli passed away in July of 2006 from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was 26 when she passed. While she was going through her treatment she gained 80 pounds and there was nothing out there in the Canadian market that she would wear. Most of the clothing was – she called it "Polly and Esther." It was like wearing your grandmother’s clothes. We talked about starting a line while she was going through chemotherapy. When she passed away I continued on."
Tell me a bit about the Allistyle aesthetic. "It’s a fashion-forward line for full-figured women. The clothes are so sleek and make you feel feminine— you don’t feel like you’re wearing a tent. You feel great in it. We are really trying to honour the personality of a woman’s body."
Whitney Thompson, the Cycle 10 winner of America’s Next Top Model is the face of Allistyle. What was it like working with her? How did she get involved? "I was at a gala during Full-Figured fashion week in Manhattan when Whitney walked in with her entourage. Someone was sitting in her seat. The only place available was beside me—that’s how we met. I recognized her right away—I watched her season of
Top Model! She introduced herself, and we started talking. It was very low-key, I handed her a card and a picture, and that was it. She emailed me the next day—I was in such shock that it took me two days to email her back. She’s remarkable. She has a very strong presence—she is brilliant and beautiful and committed to being who she is."
You were also connected with the Look-A-Like team, who produced the Allistyle shoot. "I worked with Moe Kelso, Alissia Marciano and Richard Sibbald was the photographer. It was a great experience."
A portion of the proceeds from sales of the line will go to supporting Alli’s Journey. Can you tell me about the organization? "Alli’s Journey is the charity my daughter founded for young adults with cancer. She saw a void in the “cancer marketplace” — there didn’t seem to be any support for the young adult with cancer. There wasn’t recognition that these people existed. God forbid you get that diagnosis at 20 years old when you’re in University. Then you’re fighting that fight. Once you fight that fight you never stop."
Allistyle will be available online in January and at Toni Plus in March. For more information about Allistyle or Allisjourney, email [email protected] or visit allisjourney.ca