Ever since 11 Honoré launched in 2017, it has revolutionized the fashion scene by bridging the gap between plus-size and luxury — which, prior to the arrival of the plus-size retailer, were seen as two separate industries. Today, the company continues its mission of offering high-quality, stylish clothing in sizes 12 to 26 by launching its own private label, a collection of modern-day essentials with a stylish twist.
The collection, which ranges from around $100 to $600, comes in three drops: The first, out today, is a play on dressy casuals (think: a shirt dress with pockets, a stretchy slip dress), the second will feature stylish sweatshirts, sweatpants, and T-shirts, while the third will nod to workwear with blazers and trousers. “Through these three drops, they literally will hit every piece of your lifestyle, whether it’s to work with your blazer and your trouser, or you want to switch it up and add jeans to go out on the weekend, if you want a date night look, if you’re lounging in the house...” Danielle Williams Eke, the brand’s design director, told Refinery29 on the phone last week. “It’s a lifestyle brand in that it can hit every piece of your life.”
When designing the line, according to Williams Eke, the fit was of the utmost importance. “I’ve been in the plus-size industry for a long time, and I tried on just about probably every plus-size brand out there,” she said. “One of the things that’s the hardest is the fit.” With this in mind, 11 Honoré tackled the issue head-on by using a plus-size fit model. “A lot of brands still fit on dress forms or they’re only fitting on a smaller-size fit model and just grading up, so we wanted to make sure that we fit on a true size 18 fit model because you really get to see how the clothes feel and how the fabric moves or doesn’t stretch enough,” Williams Eke said.
The second part of the process was grading for other sizes, to make sure the style looks the same on size 12 as it would on size 26 — something that many still get wrong by simply sizing up. “How we addressed this was grabbing a group of women in our office ranging from size 12 to 26, and we tried clothes on them in their sizes. This allowed us to tweak our grade rule. It’s a tedious step but, for us, it was absolutely necessary to make sure that we gave consistency through fit regardless of what size you were,” she says. “Within the industry, it’s kind of glamorized that all plus-size women are just an hourglass, very voluptuous shape, and that’s just really not the case. There are so many different plus-size body shapes out there, and so we wanted to make sure our clothes fit different shapes.”
The brand also took fabric into account, making sure that each one had a stretch to it, including linen which rarely comes with a stretch in straight sizes but especially not in plus sizes. “One of my pet peeves are plus-size brands who use only fabric with no stretch or rigid fabrics in plus-size clothing. All of our fabrics have at least some stretch,” says Williams Eke. “This really lends itself to getting the perfect fit.”
The collection features a neutral palette of white, cream, black, and a mushroom brown; for the “pop,” the brand selected a stunning mirage blue. As for the silhouettes, Williams Eke says the team wanted them to be timeless, with pieces that could easily be mixed and matched with, yes, each other but also with items that are already in their customers’ closets. For inspiration, they looked at Donna Karan’s Seven Easy Pieces.
“She created this capsule wardrobe of items that you can mix and match… whether for work or play, and that’s where we really found inspiration and wanted to apply to our collection,” she says. “We kind of built our assortment off of that.” In addition to the linen shirt dress, that can be worn as a dress and a duster, the first drop includes a belted jacket, that can be worn as a top or a throw jacket; high-waisted satin trousers that can be styled with sneakers or heels; and satin separates that can also be worn as a matching set.
With the price falling just under the contemporary point of other brands the retailer carries, according to Williams Eke, the line “is refreshing for our returning customer but also opens the door to new customers coming in.” In addition to expanding its customer base, she hopes the line will fill a void in the plus-size fashion by offering clothing that’s not super basic but that’s also timeless and well-made.
“I do often feel like the fashion industry looks at plus-size as an aesthetic, as opposed to a market within the industry that could have multiple aesthetics and multiple customers. And I think in the same way that there’s a range of brands for straight-sizes, there should be a range of brands and offerings for plus size, and I think that includes high-end and contemporary fashion,” she says. “The more the industry can look at us as not just one thing and one woman and as many women — because let’s be honest the population of plus-size women in America is large — the more we can tap into that, and the better the industry will be.”
Check out11 Honoré private label’s first campaign in the slideshow, ahead, and shop the line here.
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