STYLE Size in­clu­siv­ity is not just a trend.

Thanks to a new crop of dis­rup­tive brands, pi­o­neer­ing de­sign­ers and in­creas­ingly vo­cal cus­tomers, fash­ion is (fi­nally) be­com­ing more size in­clu­sive. Just don’t call it a trend.

ELLE (Canada) - - Contents - By Liz Gu­ber

WHEN FRIENDS Patrick Hern­ing (a fash­ion pub­lic-re­la­tions pro) and Kathryn Ret­zer (a former mag­a­zine editor) set out to launch 11 Honoré, an on­line lux­ury des­ti­na­tion for sizes 10 to 24, they tapped into their fash­ion­able net­work. “Patrick and I lit­er­ally went door to door down 7th Av­enue in New York, with no name for the com­pany and no working web­site, and signed 14 de­sign­ers,” says Ret­zer, who was in­spired to start the site af­ter strug­gling to find a wed­ding-guest dress that would fit her size-16 mother. Michael Kors, Monique Lhuil­lier and Zac Posen were some of the first names to join the e-comm start-up. Then Mary Katrantzou, Juan Car­los Obando and many more fol­lowed. In less than a year, 11 Honoré grew its de­signer ros­ter from 14 to 70. Some, like Chris­tian Siri­ano, were al­ready known for ca­ter­ing to a broad range of sizes when they came on board, while others, like boho-cool brand Baja East and laid-back glam la­bel Adam Lippes, found a plat­form to sell cloth­ing above a size 12 for the first time. “The straight-size cus­tomer has plenty of op­tions. We don’t need to com­pete with Bar­neys or Net-a-Porter,” ex­plains Hern­ing. Al­though 11 Honoré car­ries many of the same de­sign­ers as the big lux­ury e-comm play­ers, it has a re­fresh­ing point of dif­fer­ence: in­clu­sion. “For us to truly be dis­rupters, we need to pro­vide our cus­tomer with op­tions that don’t ex­ist any­where else, to serve the cus­tomer that is not cur­rently †

be­ing served,” says Hern­ing. To that end, 11 Honoré stocks ev­ery­thing from no-non­sense work­wear (think Michael Kors blaz­ers and Jason Wu shirt­dresses) to swimwear (sporty colour-blocked pieces by Cyn­thia Row­ley and Chro­mat) to stun­ning evening­wear (in­clud­ing a stand­out laven­der chif­fon gown by Reem Acra). With ev­ery sale and ev­ery new de­signer that joins, the duo be­hind 11 Honoré is prov­ing that there is, in fact, a cus­tomer base for a pleated tulle dress by Jonathan Simkhai above a size 8. And that cus­tomer base is here to stay. “This isn’t about a trend; this is a global fash­ion move­ment,” adds Hern­ing. DENIM, DEMOCRATIZED Sarah Ahmed, the founder of di­rect- to- con­sumer denim brand Warp+Weft, is a lit­tle ob­sessed with num­bers. She can name the per­cent­age of U.S. women above a size 14 off the top of her head (67), and she reg­u­larly wakes up at 5 a.m. to check the com­pany’s an­a­lyt­ics to see what’s sell­ing best. (Cur­rently, it’s a high-waist, wide­leg style that Ahmed says is per­fect for the of­fice.) This at­ten­tion to de­tail and re­liance on real-time cus­tomer data landed Ahmed on Forbes’ 30-un­der-30 list. The styles, from a high-rise skinny to a re­laxed vin­tage fit, are avail­able in sizes 00 to 24. And those sizes are tested on the av­er­age wearer. “Mod­els, whether pe­tite or plus, have oth­er­worldly pro­por­tions. We test on real peo­ple. The big­ger the feedback loop, the bet­ter the prod­uct,” she says. But it’s not just the ap­proach to siz­ing that’s get­ting at­ten­tion—Ahmed’s pieces, which are man­u­fac­tured in the brand’s own fac­tory, are also easy on the en­vi­ron­ment thanks to a low-wa­ter, lowen­ergy man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Talk about good jeans. THE BRA GAME CHANGER Few among us love shop­ping for bras—in­clud­ing Heidi Zak, a Google alum who turned her dis­dain for the out­dated model into an in­no­va­tive on­line un­der­wear brand called ThirdLove. Since launch­ing in 2013, the brand has de­vel­oped half-sizes for bras—an in­dus­try first—and now boasts 70 sizes. The com­pany is also try­ing to de­moc­ra­tize the shop­ping process. ThirdLove’s bras cost the same no mat­ter the size (which of­ten isn’t the case with bras above a D cup), and there’s no sep­a­ra­tion from the “stan­dard” sizes. “We thought long and hard about what, if any­thing, to call them, and we asked our cus­tomers what they wanted. The re­sound­ing an­swer was that they did not want a ‘plus’ la­bel,” ex­plains Zak. “We want to en­able women to choose how to de­fine them­selves, and your size is just that—your size.”

A model wears Zero + Maria Cornejo for 11 Honoré.

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