Brittany Talarico
January 06, 2015 12:02 AM

New York-based fashion designer Courtney Smith is looking to expand the definition of beauty by only showing her clothes on full-figured women of color.

Courtesy Rum + Coke

Smith launched her clothing line Rum + Coke over a year ago after having difficulty finding clothes she felt good in.

“I started the company, because I saw a need for women who look like me,” she tells PEOPLE. “And I’ve seen how there’s a lack of plus-size women of color in advertising, and we’re such a big population that I would think someone would notice us.”

Though she’s open to diversifying her models.

“I feature plus-size women of color in my campaigns, because I feel it’s a necessity. We’re largely under represented,” says Smith, 25. “But that’s not to say I would never use a white woman.”

Courtesy Rum + Coke

The line includes a variety of dresses raging from size 2 to 3X. But with such a clear target audience, why didn’t Smith make Rum + Coke a brand for only curvy girls? Because she didn’t want to exclude anyone.

“I started designing because I’m designing for women who are confident, who are sure of themselves, who are empowered and I think that doesn’t have a size tag,” she says. “There’s not one size or color or weight limit on confidence.”

What do you think of Smith’s advertising methods? Share your thoughts below.

—Ana Calderone

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