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Plus size ladies wear opens at Rubenesque in South Lismore

The Lismore App

Lara Leahy

07 April 2024, 8:01 PM

Plus size ladies wear opens at Rubenesque in South LismoreKelly Freeman in her new shop Rubenesque.

Rubenesque is the first dedicated plus-size women's shop to open in Lismore. 

Kelly Freeman, the owner, described shopping opportunities for larger women as “soul-destroying” because “the variety and sizes are so often not available. And sometimes they even justify elevated prices by the use of extra fabric.”

Kelly was determined to have a shop where she can guarantee “any larger ladies will find something that will fit them, that they like.”

Rubenesque sells a wide range of ladies fashion, modern as well as with an edgy, vintage vibe, in sizes 16 and up. With a sustainable vision, the clothes are all second hand with a fantastic price tag.

“This is not an op shop,” Kelly reassures that her stock is not hand me downs - she has selected each piece for style, value and quality.

“I do all I can to make sure the pieces are fully intact, no hanging threads or damage.”

The variety and the prices are definitely attractive, “Most clothes are $5, but we go as low as $2. We have day wear, nightwear, casual, formal and evening wear. Sportswear, swimwear, handbags, jewellery, scarves, shoes and hats,” says Kelly, “and even some wedding gowns.”

As you walk through the bright red doors, the shop opens out with fresh white walls and sorted racks and shelves with items inviting inspection. The dark, concrete floor feels modern.

Kelly is very happy to have a shop in South Lismore, “I love South Lismore, there is a really friendly, supportive, family oriented feel to the community. I wanted to be part of it and support this side of town.” There are many shopfronts nearby, done up and looking fresh.

The work Kelly has done to make this dream a reality, reflects a lot of her personal experience, frustration at expensive clothes and a lack of variety for larger women is only a part of it. 

Kelly lost 50kg a few years back, and not wanting to waste her own valued wardrobe she could no longer use, she started on this path. As a care worker and event manager, she has never owned a shop, but regardless, Kelly began collecting clothes for the right opportunity.

Kelly reflects on why the shop has its name, “When I was younger, and I was having a “fat” moment, my father would say to me, “You are not fat, you are Rubenesque.” The name of my shop is a nod to him.”

Located in an area prone to flooding after rain, Kelly is possibly putting her weather event contingency plan into effect for the current quantity of rainfall as you read this. “Everything is designed to be put up easily, and the concrete floor makes it easy to hose out,” says Kelly.

The idea of flooding is, “just something you have to be prepared for.  And if there is a big flood, well, it is all second hand, the clothes, the furniture, clothing racks, desk, even the computer!” 

“There is more planned for this space,” says Kelly, “Out the back, I would like to open an art space for exhibitions and workshops with studios for hire.” Kelly is applying for grants to make The Beehive happen.

“The grand opening is April 13th, but feel free to pop in beforehand!”

You will find Rubenesque at 4/105 Union St, South Lismore, next to Bowens Pies and Silver Scissors.

Kelly is open Monday & Tuesday from 1pm to 6pm, Wednesday & Thursday 10 am to 6pm and Saturday, 10am to 2pm.

Friday and Sunday Rubenesque is closed.

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