JAKARTA (JP): Big is beautiful, said popular TV presenter Dewi Hughes when opening her unique fashion boutique, Big Hughes, in Jakarta last week.
Born Desak Made Hughesia Dewi in Tabanan, Bali, to Dewa Made Sumertha andPutu Hermawati, she is comfortable with her ""over-sized"" figure.
""Big women like me can still look chic and trendy with colorful outfits. Yellow, red and light green make your days lighter and happier,"" asserted Hughes, a graduate of the Department of English at Atma Jaya University.
Beginning her career in the entertainment industry as a TV presenter and MC in the mid-90s, Hughes faced difficulty finding attractive clothes in her size.
""That was pathetic. My experience inspired me to open a boutique which especially caters to big-sized clients,"" said Hughes, who hosts the talk show Angin Malam.
Most designers focus on clothes for slim and tall women, she said. ""If you go to shopping centers and boutiques and look for just a single dress for a fat woman, you'll find almost nothing.""
She added there are a lot of big women in Jakarta and they need appropriate outfits for work and also for going to parties. ""The market is big ... really big. ""
Big Hughes offers collections by local designers such as Robby Tumewu, Sunny Madjid, Chundarus Manduapessy, Rangga and Ignasia Andriani.
""Many local designers are eager to create extra-large dresses, but they are still uncertain about the possible market,"" Hughes noted.
The prices at the boutique range from Rp 125,000 to Rp 200,000 per piece. ""I don't want to sell expensive items in my shop,"" said Hughes, who showed off her acting chops in the children's film Petualangan Sherina (TheAdventures of Sherina).
Big Hughes plans to sell imported clothes. It also offers accessories, bags and shoes. Hughes said she is lucky to have a sister who works as a flight attendant.
""I can ask her to shop abroad to add to my boutique's collection,"" said Hughes, who wore black pants and a metallic purple blouse to the opening ofher boutique.
""Look at me, although I am wearing this purple blouse I look slimmer,"" she exclaimed.
She advised oversized women to be more creative in putting together theiroutfits. ""Fat women tend to wear black and somber colors to hide their excessive fat, which is not necessary.""
Hughes said she wanted to make a real difference in the local fashion industry, which spoils slim and beautiful girls.
Her boutique not only offers inexpensive and trendy items, but also fashion guidance to its clientele to improve their appearance.
She said a woman came to the boutique complaining about her body. ""Look at my face, it's so full and fatty. I don't know what to do with my appearance,"" the woman said.
The 29-year-old Hughes shared her own experience with the woman and triedto encourage her to increase her self-confidence. ""Usually, fat women have a lack of confidence. They should accept their fates while working hard to improve their physical and emotional condition.""
The cheerful Hughes always think positive, and this attitude has helped her achieve her dreams. She is now one of the country's most popular TV hosts, has acted in movies and has become a feature on the lecture circuit. Hughes is not the only entertainer to carve out their own niche in the fashion industry. Such celebrities as Nia Zulkarnaen, Vena Melinda, Elma Theana, Yuni Shara and Reza have opened their own boutiques.
The question is whether they are really interested in fashion, or are just following a trend?