Alesha Bowman, queen of all things plus-sized, is re-opening her boutique

Following a move and renovations, she's excited for a brick-and-mortar again
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Bowman in her new store. // Bek Shackelford

You know the phrase, ‘Jack-of-all-trades’? Yeah, well for the purpose of this story, we’re changing it to ‘Alesha-of-all-trades’, because Alesha Bowman, she can do it all. And Bowman doesn’t just dip her toes in here and there—she dives all the way in; nearly drowning herself in the task at hand. But in, like, a good way? She does many things well, is what we’re getting at.

The task she’s been working on recently: re-opening her plus-size fashion resale boutique, among some other things (we’ll get to those in a bit).

UnLESHed+ (pronounced “unleashed”), the boutique, began as an online space to sell clothes and accessories to plus-sized women, but moved to a tiny brick-and-mortar store on Troost early last year.

Bowman’s efforts to make thrifting more inclusive to plus-sized people was quickly noticed by producers of The Ellen Show, and in October of last year, Bowman appeared on the show where she was gifted $10,000 to help with the costs of her storefront.

The money enabled Bowman to move to a different location, still on Troost, and she closed her first location at the end of November 2020 to do renovations on the new space. After several months of renovations—most of which Bowman has done on her own—she is ready to open her store again.

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A sneak peak inside, before the grand re-opening. // Bek Shackelford

This Saturday at 12 p.m., Bowman will fling open the doors to unLESHed+ customers once again.

Her new location at 4243 Troost used to be a church, but with a lot of love and fresh paint (and several racks of clothing), Bowman has it looking like a boutique.

“The experience is gonna be the exact same, the only difference that you’re going to see is the size,” says Bowman. “There’s more for you to move around but, the core of unLESHed+ is the feeling that you belong here. You’ll still be getting that one on one experience and customer service, that’s never going to change regardless of where we go or how big of a space we’re in.”

“I think that’s the most important thing for me is to make sure that we stay true to the core of what it is that we started to do,” says Bowman.

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Want to see what else is behind the paper? Stop by Saturday. // Bek Shackelford

One of the best parts about the new location though, is how it has given her so much more space to do more than just buy and sell plus-sized clothing.

In addition to store ownership, Bowman has several other things up her sleeve. Bowman also has a plus-sized burlesque team, known as Curve Cultivation, does hair and makeup under the name unLESHed+ Beauty, and is the founder and president of the first annual Kansas City Plus Size Weekend.

“Kansas City Plus Size Weekend is basically just a four day festival celebrating the body that you’re in,” says Bowman.”It’s catering to plus-sized folks, but of course, anyone is welcome. We’ll have a fashion show, we’ll have full figure field day—like field day, like you know if you were a fat kid, that’s not an even playing field.”

The new space has allowed for Bowman to consolidate her salon and store, and when COVID -19 restrictions lift she will also be able to roll the clothing racks away and teach burlesque classes once more.

For more information on The Kansas City Plus Size weekend, which takes place June 24-27, visit the website here. Be sure to check unLESHed+ out. We’re sure by the time you get there, Bowman will probably have another exciting project underway.

Categories: Culture