Change Is Good: Custom Plus Transforms Into Rebdolls

Photo: Courtesy of Rebdolls.
Those who don't believe in evolution clearly have not been paying attention to the fashion industry. What was once an exclusionary, Mean Girls-esque club that prized thinness over all else has grown into a much more accepting environment. We've seen greater body diversity on the runways and in editorials, expansions of size ranges in established brands, and a more inclusive vibe overall. There will always be folks trolling the interwebs and insisting on size segregation, but for every Negative Nancy out there, there's a Grisel.
Grisel (also know as Griselangel) is the brains and talent behind the clothing site Rebdolls (formally known as Custom Plus). Originally introduced to the fashion world as a plus model, Grisel leveraged her industry knowledge and design skills to create her own line of dresses, which then evolved into a shoppable website with a variety of affordable clothes, all available in an inclusive size range — small through 4X.
Impressed by her successful transformation from model to designer — and her unapologetic desire to offer fashion-forward options to a spectrum of sizes — we sat down with Grisel to find out more about what inspires her, what a “Rebdoll” is, and exactly how she's filling an obvious void in the market.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rebdolls.
What was the inspiration behind creating your site?
"The inspiration behind creating Rebdolls was a need for a fashion brand where women can find clothing options they can fall in love with, without the limitations of small through large, or 1X through 3X. I wanted to create more options for women at affordable prices. Rebdolls is meant to inspire women, and make them feel good about the skin they are in."

Your site was originally called "Custom Plus." What made you change the name and why did you call it "Rebdolls?"
"I changed the name from Custom Plus because I felt the name was exclusionary. Custom Plus was originally a custom T-shirt shop which included sizes small through 4X. I felt the name would keep the company from its overall goal which is to make trendy, fashionable clothing for women in a wide variety of sizes.

"I decided to go with the name Rebdolls because it describes our evolution. Rebdolls are women who are unapologetic about fashion, and rebel against the standards set on them by society and the fashion industries."
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I see that the designs go from small to 4X but all the styles are only shot on larger models. Why is that?
"We shoot on 'larger' models because the average woman is what the modeling industry considers to be a plus-size model. Rebdolls caters to a wide spread of sizes, considering that the average U.S. buyer wears a size 12/14, we would like our models to represent a large portion of that demographic. Since our company started, we have shot models that wear sizes 10 to 16 without negative feedback from our customers. I like to believe that we are building a brand and a customer base that looks beyond size and looks at fashion for what it is."
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What are your feelings on what's available in plus-size fashion?
"I feel there is an unmet need in the plus-size fashion industry. Women of all sizes want affordable, quality, trendy garments. Sometimes, it's difficult to find all of those factors in just one place or one brand. I built my career as a plus-size model and as a woman often considered by brands as an 'in-betweenie.' I have been able to experience firsthand the change in options that often occurs between brands that end at a large and brands that start at a 1X."
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What makes your site different from other plus sites out there?
"Our brand is not built on fashion limitations. We believe in crop tops and really short skater skirts. We believe in cutout dresses and oversized hoodies. We don't look at other brands to compare and contrast. We focus on trends, customer behavior, and how we can continue to present options to our consumers. Our objective is to stay focused on the Rebdolls mission: 'Unapologetic Fashion.'”
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Photo: Courtesy of Rebdolls.
Do you have a specific designer who designs for your site or do you buy wholesale from other companies?
"I am the designer for the Rebdolls brand of apparel and I work closely with our buyer to bring in key pieces from wholesale companies. A lot of what is available on the site is manufactured at our New Jersey headquarters. If an item is not something we manufacture, it is imperative that the item maintains its Rebdolls feel."
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What is your favorite design on the site?
"My favorite design overall is the Sleek Black Turtleneck dress. I love this dress because it's so simple, but makes such a statement. It works well on all silhouettes and gives the consumer the option to style it simply or dramatically; either way she will still look stunning."

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