Jessy Parr’s Modachrome blog and Instagram are unequivocally cool — saturated with vibrant, editorialized photos of her style. It’s hard not to be enamored by her fashion sense, which is equal parts minimal and bold with mega-bright hair that makes her images pop even more on screen.
For 15-plus years, Parr of Seattle has used photography as a creative platform, which eventually turned into a full-time career shooting musical acts, beauty products, and fashion. Now, most of her work centers around being a content creator and plus-size model. In 2017, she launched Modachrome — moda translates to fashion or style and chrome symbolizes a minimalist palette — and has captured the attention of more than 32,000 people and garnered work with brands including Universal Standard, Target, and TomboyX. All of which began because of a void she saw in the plus-size community.
You do all kinds of work in the creative industry, but let’s talk for a minute about how you approach creative direction and pushing the envelope with your artistic vision.
My motivation mostly stems from looking at it from the point of view of myself as a teenager. I want to be the person I needed when I was younger and create images that I wish I could’ve seen as a kid. From a purely creative perspective, I’m just a bit of a weirdo, and I trust myself to figure out how to bring the right elements of my ideas to the forefront.
How has your style evolved over your lifetime, and where do you draw inspiration?
I’ve always been inspired by strong women, and music was a big part of my life, so in my younger years, I took a lot of style cues from Beth Ditto, Debbie Harry, and Brody Dalle. I DIY-ed a lot of clothes when I was a teenager, because stylish plus-size clothing didn’t really exist, and the available options were just so bad and limited. Our clothing is our outward representation of ourselves, and the inability to express yourself takes its toll. Shopping in the women’s section at Mervyn’s is devastating when you’re 14 and just want to look cool.
Very, very slowly, plus-size fashion evolved, and eventually, I didn’t have to make my own skinny jeans. The need to DIY became less and less. Now, options have skyrocketed, and it’s cool to be able to buy my style. I’m heavily inspired by the supermodels of the ’90s and the teddy girls of the ’50s, with a generous side of Katharine Hepburn.
In your opinion, what are some fashion companies that are doing it “right,” and what does that look like to you?
I’m happy to see plus-size luxury options popping up. Plus-size folks have been trained to believe we don’t deserve luxury items. That mentality is tired, and people are finally catching on. Tamara Malas, Henning, and Baacal are all changing the texture of what we expect from plus-size fashion.
Fashion for some can still feel really off-limits, especially if you have a curvy body. How would you like to embolden others to explore fashion and become more adventurous with their style?
There’s no reason not to explore. They’re just clothes! If you don’t like it, try something else. I think every fat person has had it pummeled into their minds to wear black because it’s slimming. First of all, who cares? Second, wearing black isn’t hiding anything. People can see your body, and if they want to look at it, they will. You’re never going to see them again. Wear the sequin jumpsuit.
Favorite shade: Hunter green
Best pair of jeans: Universal Standard Seine denim
Minimalist must-have: A motorcycle jacket
Splurge on: A really good tailor
Can’t live without: A small camera to throw in my purse. I like the Fujifilm x100f.
The Love It List
We’re obsessed with independent designers near and far …
Alec Marchant of Portland
Alec Marchant’s aesthetic on Instagram (@alec.marchant) is haunting and statuesque, and his one-off garments certainly draw attention, with tops and bottoms that are disassembled and reassembled into wearable art. Find his work at his co-owned shop, Everywhere (@everywhere_space), in Portland, as well as online at I Am That Shop (@iamthat_shop).
Hamid Holloman of Philadelphia
Cultures and styles old and new come together in patchwork designs by Hamid Holloman (hamid_holloman). It’s clear the materials used have a long history, but they’re given new life in menswear garments and accessories. Find ready-to-wear pieces at hamidholloman.com, or reach out to him online for custom orders.