Renika Smiley is striking a pose in the small hallway leading into the Pretty in Pink apartment in Over-the-Rhine. She rented the space to conduct a photo shoot for her new online fashion boutique, The Lusheous Collection.
“I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life,” says Smiley, founder of Generation NOW, a community-based nonprofit for young professionals. “My weight has fluctuated dramatically throughout my life. My self-esteem and insecurities are at their highest when I know I won’t be able to wear the fashion designs I want because most stuff in stores won’t suit my frame.”
Smiley explains that she would go through unhealthy phases in order to maintain or lose weight in order to fit into a desired size. Pieces in The Lusheous Collection suit your size, whatever it may be, she says.
“For myself and other plus sized women, I wanted to make a difference,” Smiley notes. “As a result, I made the decision to open a fashion boutique so women can still feel comfortable, voluptuous, and luscious at any size.”