Some fashion brands drag their feet into offering their clothes in diverse sizes. Others are leading the pack.
11 Honoré CEO and founder Patrick Herning and Tanya Taylor — the CEO and creative director of her namesake brand — joined Glossy Podcast host Jill Manoff at a live podcast taping at last week’s Glossy 50 event at What Goes Around Comes Around in Soho.
Herning and Taylor discussed current beauty standards, the financial (not just ethical) benefits of size inclusivity and how the issue should be addressed in fashion design schools.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Making sure retailers do right
Tanya Taylor: “We’ve really had to show [department stores and retailers] the data of what sells through our channels to convince them that there’s a customer that would love our brand at different sizing — and then call them and make sure it’s on the right mannequins and make sure there’s the right representation and marketing on their website so that it really feels like an inclusive experience. We really wanted the experience of two girls the same age going shopping together to not have to separate. That felt so archaic. We had jokes within our team of creating videos of girls, that are trying to have fun together, on escalators going to different floors. Why would you do that?”
It’s an additional expense, sure, but a smart one
Patrick Herning: “It’s about commitment. You really have to lean in, and if you’re not ready to, work with us. Let us help you get prepared, let’s identify fit models. You can leverage our team. But when you’re ready, you really have to commit to it, because it is additional expense. We would never say otherwise. But once you lean into it and you give it several seasons, you start seeing the success of it. But you have to commit to it; you can’t just say, ‘Oh, we did these styles, they didn’t work,’ throw your hands up and walk away.”
It all starts at school
Herning: “When we think about long-term philanthropic endeavors once we’re profitable and those important things happen, education is really important. Because if they’re not teaching it at SCAD, at Parsons and where these future designers are studying, then we’ve got a fundamental problem. If everyone’s ‘ad-hoc’ing it’ post-graduation like what [Tanya] did … This isn’t a trend; it’s a movement, not a moment. If you don’t have a plus strategy, it’s like you don’t have a sustainability strategy. You have to have a strategy around this. I tell brands all the time, ‘You want to wait? This isn’t the right time? I will be here with open arms when you’re ready, because you will be back.’ There is not a brand that has said no that hasn’t come back.”
The Glossy 50 Live Podcast Event was sponsored by Activate.