Friends Show off ‘Style not Size’ with Viral Videos Wearing Same Outfits

Maria Castellanos and Denise Mercedes want to be the body-positive role models that they didn’t have as teens.

Looking for more of the best deals, latest celebrity news and hottest trends? Sign up for Yahoo Lifestyle Canada’s newsletter. A pair of fashion bloggers are using social media to reclaim the “rules” of fashion at every size.

In January, Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos teamed up to create a video on TikTok in which the friends wore similar outfits, despite Mercedes being a size 14 and Castellanos a size 2. The video received more than 1.5 million views — prompting the pair to make another. For their next videos made sure they were wearing the exact same outfits head-to-toe in their respective sizes. When a February video garnered more than 34.5 million views, the bloggers and best friends knew they were on to something that could potentially break fashion barriers.

The success of their initial videos inspired 28-year-old Mercedes and 26-year-old Castellanos to create #StyleNotSize, an online movement that works to break exclusionary fashion rules suggesting that a person’s size dictates not only what they should wear but have access to wear.

The bloggers have worked with brands like Aerie, ASOS, Boohoo and Zara to show followers on both TikTok and Instagram that they don’t have to feel beholden to rules about fashion being “flattering” and limit themselves to certain trends. hTe pair have been overwhelmed by the mostly positive response for the series, specifically from young female users.

“I see girls commenting (on social media), ‘I wish I looked like you,’” Mercedes, 28, said in an interview with TODAY. “Everyone is on social media 24/7 right now, and it can brainwash you into feeling bad about your body.” “For us, it was trying to get rid of negativity …Everything on social media is, ‘This is how you’re supposed to look.’ … We’re giving you a hand and telling you to be yourself,” Castellanos added.

The pair feel a responsibility to their younger audience and serve as visible role models both Mercedes and Castellanos say they were lacking during their teens. “I have girls telling me I’m helping them feel more confident,” Mercedes said. “I wish when I was younger that I had someone to look up to. Back when I was 16 in 2008, it was always just a struggle to be skinny. I’m glad things are changing now.”

As the pair create more videos and help propel the movement, they admit it has been difficult finding size inclusive brands. They hope in the future to create their own clothing collection that makes no distinction between straight and plus sizes. For now, Mercedes and Castellanos are using their platforms and content to help spread a body positive that they hope inspires girls and women of all ages to feel confident.

“I would love to see women just be themselves,” Castellano said. “I want them to be like ‘Oh my God, I wore this crop top, and I look good.’ I want to feel like nobody cares anymore.”

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