Nearly three years ago, after the birth of my daughter, I tried to go clothes shopping for some back-to-work ensembles. I’d officially left the straight-sized world and could no longer fit into my J. Crew staples. I searched high and low for really well made plus-size clothes. Specifically I was looking for a lined, wool, pencil skirt. Apparently, according to fashion designers, plus-size women don’t want to spend money on high-quality clothes because they are always trying to lose weight and hate their bodies (insert eye roll here). But here I was, a plus-size woman, not trying to lose weight, with money to spend, looking to drop some cash on quality, stylish, well-fitting clothes. Because I couldn’t find a store to meet my needs I started sewing. Then I started this blog because I figured there have to be other women out there who could use some help putting together quality, stylish outfits. But I kept coming back to this thing. That the plus-size market was being utterly ignored by the fashion community.
Sixty-seven percent of American women are plus size, yet when going to a Nordstrom only a fraction of the offerings are available in plus-sizes. You’d think that if the overwhelming majority of women were a size 14 or larger, then stores would carry more plus-sizes! It doesn’t take a mathematician to put two and two together to understand why traditional retail is flagging—if you fail to appeal to 67% of the female population you’re going to have an issue meeting your sales goals.
Meanwhile, the body-positive movement and independent, size-inclusive designers continue to flourish. Women are proudly showing off of their curves, embracing their bodies and giving the bird to the very notion of “dressing to flatter”.
All of these data points, combined with my very real personal struggle to find clothes to meet my needs has brought me to this point—launching my very own ready-to-wear collection in Fall 2017 for sizes 12-28 and it’s called Alice Alexander.
This collection will be drenched in lush colors, vivid textures and bold prints, juxtaposed with classic styling such as wide-leg trousers, wrap dresses and midi skirts. There will be pieces for every part of your life, from running a board meeting to running after the kids. And best of all, everything will be made right here in Philadelphia, PA on a cut-to-order basis allowing us to manage our inventory, minimize waste and keep our quality standards high.
Of course, I will continue to blog and offer sewing education and resources through Well Sewn Style because I know the power of sewing and its affect on our bodies, minds and spirits. But I will also be putting my heart and soul into getting this line off the ground.
At the end of the day, all I’ve ever wanted to do was to inspire women to lead bold, confident, empowered lives—and launching this clothing line is just another way to do this. I hope you’ll check out the site and sign up for our mailing list so that you’ll be the first to know when our collection is LIVE! And of course, check out our Instagram account and our Facebook page for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to launch a fashion brand.
Wish us luck!
Mary Alice and the Alice Alexander team