Last year, 28-year-old Shay Neary entered the history books as the first transgender plus-size model to land a major fashion campaign in the United States, as the face of New York retailer Coverstory.
Now, the New York model is going international, being featured as the new face of UK label Yours Clothing.
Yours Clothing is a major plus-size brand in the UK, with sizes going up to 36 and company branding that boasts that "fashion doesn't end at size 14, and we're the proof".
The model features in an urban collection of images, which is accompanied by a style guide for transgender shoppers. The guide gives tips on current fashion trends, as well as advice on style at different stages of transitioning - for example, "If you're still in a phase of your transition where you need to tuck, try skirts and flowing items".
While the guide may focus on Neary's own personal style and preferences, it also holds gems of self-empowerment and self-love, like: "Sometimes finding yourself takes a long time. Transitioning teaches us to become ourselves. But we sometimes forget who we were. There are days where I don't wear makeup and wear relaxed clothing. I don't look like my normal fem-bot self. THAT'S OK! We are constantly changing, so you aren't meant to always look the same. Get comfortable with the not so pretty, and the confidence will start to blossom. You've got to love yourself beyond the facade of beauty."
Neary told Bustle, "[Yours Clothing] have a very large trans clientele and they get a lot of questions in their customer service box about how to get the shape and figure of a woman," explaining that many trans folks feel more comfortable shopping online for clothing.
The model also said that the company's large trans customer base is likely due to the large range of sizes and fits for their clothing. Pieces range from size 16 to 36, and "their clothing is very long, and taller—it's taller, which is great, because I'm very tall—so everything fits like a glove."
While Neary has previously spoken out about designers using transgender models purely for public praise and press coverage, she commended Yours Clothing on their approach to inclusivity and LGBTQIA representation, saying, "They’re not just doing it for the ticket. They’re doing it because they genuinely understand their consumer.”
Yours Clothing is now reportedly planning an autumn collection that focuses specifically on the whole LGBTQIA rainbow, which will include Neary.