22 Questions with Yona Shine

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Yona Shine

Read our 22 questions on Yona Shine, who designs upscale fashion apparel for plus size women. Find out who her fashion icon is, what inspired her to launch her brand and more!

1) How do you like your coffee?

My usual brew is with one Splenda and a dash of skim milk, whether hot or iced.

2) If you were an animal, which one would you be?

That’s easy – my name is Yona – it means Dove – watch me fly!

3) Who is your fashion icon?

Coco Chanel. She used her life challenges to change the world through fashion. She will be remembered fondly and emulated forever.

4) What is the best fashion trend of all time?

The little black dress is a classic piece which will never go out of style. It can make anyone look fabulous.

5) Who is your biggest role model?

My mother had to raise five of us on her own, yet she made time for each of us, even while starting her own business. When she entered a room to speak, she was no longer the overweight woman. She was the voice of authority, to whom everyone paid great respect.

6) What inspired you to launch your brand Yona New York?

It became increasingly difficult to find well-made clothing in my size that fit well and made me look great. Since I had gone to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, I had the ability to create my own designs. I realized that other women like me faced the same challenges, and I wanted to help them look and feel confident.

7) What does your brand Yona New York stand for?

Yona New York is all about effortless, classy, and professional fashion apparel. Anyone can dress up and feel terrific about themselves. Try it and see!

8) What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?

Larger women have been brainwashed into believing that they do not deserve to invest in themselves. Overcoming this is my single biggest challenge. We must come together and tell every one of them that they are beautiful, majestic, and worthy.

9) What are your must-have items for Autumn?

Autumn is a magical time of year, when the colours in nature burst with their deepest hues. Our wardrobes should reflect that. Add a dramatic outer wrap or shawl to transform an outfit. Choose bold accessories to make a statement. Come out of the shadows of blacks and greys and live large and in full colour.

10) What is your favourite colour to wear?

I recently met with a colour consultant to match my natural tones (eyes, hair, skin, even veins)! My own palette includes my favourite, a deep green. Every woman has her own signature colour. Don’t just try on something blue. Try on five different shades of blue. Hold each one up to your face and notice what makes your colours stand out.

11) Drop the ‘plus’ or keep it?

I personally feel there is no pejorative implicit in the term “Plus”. It is simply a classification for a model, a department, or an easy way to find my size. That said, I also believe that the industry should integrate all sizes so all women shop side by side, instead of on different floors or in special departments.

12) What is the coolest thing about your home?

My need to create does not stop in the studio. I have mixed and matched all sorts of eclectic pieces to put my own sense of design in my living space. It is functional, yet interesting and beautiful. It is a very welcoming vibe, and I enjoy it.

13) What is your favourite app?

I love Facebook. It lets me connect with so many diverse people, and share all sorts of uplifting and wonderful stories. I spend at least an hour a day just exploring and exchanging ideas.

14) What is your favourite song and why?

I have recently discovered Heather Mae, who sings so beautifully about loving and accepting ourselves just the way we are. I used her song, “I Am Enough” to close my recent runway show at World Fashion Parade. It was perfect!

15) What is in your handbag right now?

A large battery charger for my I-Phone, a wallet with too much loose change, breath mints, a brush, some cash, a couple of pens and my sketch book.

16) If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I would slow down time and fit even more hours in the day – perhaps I’d even grab a power nap as the world stood still.

17) If you could live in any historical era when would it be and why?

People romanticize history, but I love where I am right now. How many eras had refrigerators, cars, the internet, or even plentiful clean water? The possibilities for personal growth are endless now. Do you think I could run two successful business ventures without my smartphone?

18) If there was something you could tell your 20-year-old self, what would it be?

You are beautiful and awesome just the way you are. Challenges are only temporary setbacks, and they can be springboards for tremendous achievements. (That, and buy Google stock)

19) What is the best thing about your life?

My family is the most important, totally best thing in my life. I could never have imagined how wonderful it would be to have these amazing people who support me through thick and thin, and I love them to bits (which is a good thing, since we live and work together).

20) What is your least favourite thing in life?

Filling out questionnaires. (Just kidding.) People who choose to highlight the negative aspects of every situation are real downers, and I avoid them as much as possible. I want to fill my life with upbeat people who give of themselves to make this world a better place for everyone, or even for one other person.

21) What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave to you?

Don’t ever give up. There were many times I felt that my message was not resonating with people. I felt the battle for the way society defines beauty was too big of a challenge for one person. But I found that I am not alone. This community is incredibly supportive and welcoming, and I have met so many outstanding people along this journey. It will take time, but we will win. We are the majority, and we are no longer silent.

22) What is one thing you can’t live without?

My faith in God is what centers me and keeps me focused. I have so many blessings in my life, and I see very real demonstrations of His help and guidance every single day.

Do you love Yona Shine as much as we do? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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