When Kathryn Retzer, Patrick plus size shapewear Herning and I were finishing our interview about how their startup 11 Honoré is both laying the foundation and paving the way for size-inclusive fashion, their moms were walking out of their holiday photo shoot. For the founders, this mission is personal.
“I’ve been helping my mom shop and edit her closet for the last 20 years. It’s been very challenging and frankly depressing because there is so little out there for women over a certain size,” said Retzer, a former editor at Allure, Vogue and Town & Country. “Like all of these women, she loves fashion and she wants to look beautiful. That’s why we’re working with designers to give women a fashion experience they’ve never had.”
11 Honoré is more than an e-commerce marketplace, which is what makes the platform so powerful. The team is leading the size-inclusive fashion movement with an editorial platform featuring interviews with activists and designers like Candice Huffine and Prabal Gurung. Most significantly, they’re working hands-on with designers to help them extend their collections and even providing younger brands with the resources to do so. Retzer personally spends time with every brand to curate their 11 Honoré selection and has witnessed the evolution of pieces from an initial sketch to models walking down the runway at New York Fashion Week. “67% of women in the U.S. have significantly fewer options for all clothing from everyday wear to workwear. By working with these brands, we are changing the fashion industry standard in every way imaginable,” she said.
Brands range from Christian Siriano and Zac Posen to La Ligne and Rachel Roy; For every designer brand added, four or five contemporary brands are added too. “Variety of the best brands is what we stand for. We’ve focused all of our venture capital dollars on providing women with the best selection that we can give her to feel beautiful in all aspects of her life,” Herning says.
11 Honoré is also committed to price consistency, ensuring their customers never see a higher price tag for the same garment because it is a larger size. “We made a decision to keep set prices, even if we have a higher production cost. We want to help designers get their production teams where they need to be to serve women. That’s when we’ll start seeing a real change,” Retzer says. “We’re committed to equality and making sure we’re providing every woman the opportunity to express herself. There is already a lot of sensitivity to the retail experience for women. We established from the start that we absolutely will not have any negativity on 11 Honoré,” Herning adds.
In addition to their e-commerce and editorial platforms, 11 Honoré is building a repository for magazines and publications to style cover shoots. Their efforts will play a significant role increasing size inclusive representation in the media. Magazines are dependent on samples sent from designers, which are usually between size 0 and 2, making it less common for them to feature a diverse set of models, the founders shared. “We invested in a complete sample set of every style in our Fall collection so magazines can come directly to 11 Honoré for access to extended samples,” Herning explains. “That’s why we’re working tirelessly to develop our brand matrix and doubling down to expand to Europe. It is critically important that we start demonstrating diversity in the media.”