Though she’s spent 18 years as a fashion model, it was only been over the last few that Candice Huffine added ‘body-positivity activist’ as an addendum to her title. It was around the same time she dropped the ‘plus-size’ as an introduction. These shifts signify a sea-change in an industry toying with the idea of inclusivity, practicing acceptance, and finally turning away from the out-of-date beauty standards falsely hailed as its appeal.
Fashion can be a confounding place—one that feels sometimes exclusive, seductive, and hard to reach, an unknown world behind the velvet rope. And sometimes it’s just the opposite—a little microcosm of activism and progression manifested in creative energy. Like everything’s happening here; we make it stylish and digestible and package up pop culture and social systems ready for anyone’s consumption. Fashion is—or it is supposed to be—for everyone. And Huffine has experienced it all, having been on both sides of the conversation, and having been successful in both versions of an industry pre- and post-body diversity awakening.
Today, Huffine is a face of a movement—one that’s actually contributing to her community. In 2017, she founded Day/Won, an athleisure line created to fulfill her own desires for a quality product made to fit her body. Of course, size-inclusion was always a brand tenet, from the get-go—that, and empowering women to stay active and find solace in movement in whatever form feels best for them.
Below, Huffine shares how a little movement changed her life in a huge way, and what it’s truly like to discover your own power.
What does movement mean to you?
In a literal sense, movement is the action of moving your body. To me, that’s incredibly important because the act of doing so is commonly doubted among women who aren’t hard-bodied skinny ladies. There’s an assumption that curvy women don’t move their bodies. In 2016, I took on the craziest dare of my life, to start running, which is something I honestly never thought I could do. Not because of anybody’s perception of me, but because I didn’t physically think it was in my wheelhouse. I really took on the challenge and made it a part of my regular life, and I went on to run hundreds and hundreds of miles. I ran two marathons in 2017, and a bunch of half marathons.
This word means so many important things to me: In a very straightforward way, it signifies the new relationship I have with my body, because once I made movement-through-running a regular part of my life, everything changed for the better. In a broader sense, movement signifies change. I have been at the forefront of the size-inclusivity movement in the fashion industry for almost two decades and am so proud of how far we have come. Movement is about taking a stand—for yourself or for a cause.
How has movement affected your relationship with your body?
I’ve always considered myself to be a confident person. It’s something I talk about a lot and try to encourage other women to feel more proud of their bodies and who they are. But once I started running and moving, I started appreciating it on an entirely new level. Not from the outside in, but from the way movement was making me feel in my soul. Conquering my wildest, most seemingly impossible goals made me feel unstoppable, and I took that feeling into every aspect of my life. I crossed the finish line of my first marathon in April 2017 and immediately said I will never say “I CAN’T” again, no matter what the challenge may be. Movement did that to my heart, which to me is more important than anything it could have done to my dress size.
Has it changed from before and after? How so?
Everything changed at a time when I didn’t realize that I needed it the most. To be honest, I wasn’t living for me. I wasn’t making myself number one and, as a result, I was tired all the time and had a very short fuse. I had goals for my future but didn’t know how I would get there; I felt stuck. Then I got dared to sign up for a race—which I accepted—and started training vigorously. It was as if the fog had lifted instantly. I felt amazing for the first time in a long time—clear-headed, prepared, strong, creative, and fearless. Running brought me that. And if I didn’t accept that dare, I don’t know how I would’ve found the change I needed. I’m learning it all happens in ways you least expect, but for exactly the reasons you needed. Movement made me a stronger person. That is a fact.
Tell me about Day/Won. How did it start? What’s your mission? Where is it going?
Day/Won exists because of movement. Because of that dare to run. And because I didn’t give up the crazy goal to cross the finish line of a marathon. However, during training for all these races, I stopped and turned back so many times because of clothing related issues—poor fit, pants sliding down, no support, etc. I couldn’t believe that what might stand between me and a race medal was a pair of leggings, so I linked up with a local manufacturer and quietly made one prototype. I ran the Boston Marathon in said leggings in April of 2017 and, with my new “won’t ever say I can’t again” attitude, launched Day/Won that October. The mission has always been inclusivity, availability, and inspiration. It’s no secret that running changed my life, not because I can physically cover a distance of miles I couldn’t before, but because accomplishing the goals I set for myself has made me feel like the most confident, unstoppable, empowered me yet. That is a feeling I want all women to experience, so being able to provide that through apparel was a vision of mine. I have been a model for 17 years with a dream of designing, so the line combines my two passions; it allows me to create a collection that inspires women to make feeling good a priority. When each day is done, I want women to think “Do I feel like my best self? Did I crush today? Am I proud?“ And if the answer is yes, honey, THAT is a day WON!
What’s been the reception?
I could not be more thankful and grateful for the positive reception of the brand. With every tagged pic or virtual high five, I pinch myself and look forward to a WONderful, long future ahead!
Tell me a little about your personal style:
My personal style is always evolving. When you are a curvier woman who doesn’t have the ease of access to every store and just picking up things and having a blast putting them on, you learn to get really creative. Not that this is creative, but I’ve always been a very T-shirt and jeans kind of gal. As of late, I’ve transitioned into a jeans and button-up kind of gal. Which is good, I borrow from the boys’ side a lot, which is getting extra crazy, because now my husband and I are sharing closets. I like to try a lot of different things. I remember one time, I was just strictly in dresses like didn’t know what a pair of pants felt like. Then I was having a really girly moment, and now I’m having this really Hawaiian ‘70s man moment, which I’m really into as well. But the point is, it’s about having fun with it. Sometimes the shopping experience itself can be a real let down because there are things you want that you can’t have. But when you do find things you love, I think it’s fun to have fun with them.
I’m also experimenting a lot with activewear and athleisure in an everyday outfit. It’s so comfortable! I hope biker shorts aren’t a trend that goes away, because I am really feeling biker shorts.
Are there any favorite pieces from Day Won that you like to mix into your wardrobe?
I’m a real sucker for the seven-inch plain black biker shorts. [Those] you can do everything with. I am always mindful about what everybody else wants, and often we do a community Q+A to see what [they] love, what they’re into, what prints or whatever, because I have a tendency to get real leopard or print heavy—things that I love. [Leopard] is making a comeback this season, but I also think it never went anywhere.
No! Leopard is a neutral.
Agreed! Biker shorts and leopard. My mom would be proud [laughs].
Do you have a single favorite piece in your wardrobe?
I can never pick just one. A perfectly worn-in leather jacket. A pair of vintage Levi’s. Those are my go-to’s. Everyone’s always like a little black dress, a cocktail dress…no. A perfectly beat-up pair of Levi’s and a yummy, soft leather jacket. Mmm!