A WIN for Australian plus-size Designers

Finally I can spill the beans, I’ve been working hard and holding onto a secret for so long. But today I can share with you that three deserving Australian plus-size designer brands are available online at Autograph!

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H&H on Autograph ADD on Autograph

You may be asking yourself why is this such major news? Let me tell you.

In March 2015 I began a Wholesale Agency, United Curves specialising in Labels that cater to the size 12-26+ market.  My passion has always been in supporting the Australian plus-size designer Labels, and what better way to do that than to work with them on expanding the opportunities in our local market here in Australia, and beyond. Word spread quickly about United Curves, and before I could blink the telephone was ringing and enquiries were coming in thick and fast. It was such a surprise to receive an enquiry via the Hope & Harvest Website from Autograph who were enquiring about the H&H range for an upcoming project they were working on.  I picked up the phone and called Justine, who is managing the project.  She explained that she had been tasked with launching a “Brand Store” on the Autograph website to offer more choice for the Autograph customer.  Justine invited me to visit with her in Sydney and bring some samples of the Hope & Harvest collection with me.  Justine asked if I could recommend any other brands, and when I explained that I also represented other plus-size Australian designers, she encouraged me to bring samples from all the Labels.

There was a great effort from the brands to provide me with the sales tools I needed for this important meeting. I boarded a flight to Sydney with two suitcases of samples and landed on the doorstep of Specialty Fashion Group.

Our meeting began at 10am on a sunny Sydney day, and I was greeted by Justine – a gorgeous woman with an amazing smile. I was ushered into the meeting room where it was immediately clear that a lot of work and research had gone into this moment. Justine was so passionate about plus-size clothing and so very excited to be leading the Brand Store Project.

During my years of working in the plus-size Industry I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in a lot of offices and boardrooms talking with major retailers about what’s missing for the curvy consumer. I’ve often felt that my well researched and qualified opinions and suggestions have fallen on deaf ears, and that there is always an excuse for why something can’t change or can’t be done. I’ve felt that there is a disconnect with major retailers and the customers, not understanding their wants and needs.  With you, my loyal readers help, I’ve collected data, comments and images to back up my opinions and suggestions – this has helped immensely – thank you! I am so familiar with the same old responses that I was taken aback when I discovered the meeting room I was sitting in was covered in survey data and comments from a very well thought out survey that was sent to all Autograph customers a few months before.

Out of the data that they collected,  one of the key points was that the Autograph customer was looking for more choice and styles than sits within the usual offering from Autograph. The data also gave the team a broader understanding of their customer and her needs and wants.  The survey is a credit to the Marketing team who compiled the questions, I read through the survey when it landed in my inbox and remember being impressed that finally here was a survey that was serious about understanding the customer.

The meeting that day went until 5pm! I had the pleasure of meeting the team of people behind the scenes that make things tick, from the buyers to the marketing team, brand manager and so much more.  The work we all did that day was historical as it opened up an opportunity that has previously been out of reach for the smaller independent labels.

(L-R) Justine, Vanessa (Sonsee), Alexa, Lisa Lunch with the Autograph Team during one of our visits to Sydney

The initial opportunity to stock Sonsee Woman in Autograph happened quickly. First with the Hosiery range, and shortly thereafter with the incredible Seamless Intimates Range.  The Autograph customer was thrilled with the Sonsee range and we will shortly be launching a premium active wear range by Sonsee Active available with the accurate Sonsee fit for sizes 14-28.

Sonsee on Autograph

The opportunity for the other brands has taken a little longer to negotiate. In fact it’s taken just on 12 months of negotiating & planning the deal. It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs and a huge learning curve for myself and brands to position ourselves to meet the needs of a large retailer.

I’m so proud and thrilled to share that today the amazing Australian plus-size designer brands Hope & Harvest and Alison Dominy Designs also went live on the Autograph Brand Store. We are all so proud and happy to be part of this opportunity and want to thank the team at Autograph who made it possible sincerely for their efforts.  I want to thank Justine who has worked tirelessly and passionately to smooth the path to this point, bravo!

It’s time to crack open the champagne. It’s now over to you – YOU the curvy customer who is deserving of great designer fashion.  We’ve worked hard to make it more accessible and it’s important that you support these initiatives to ensure their longevity and success.  This is just the beginning.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Love your shape!

Janine x 

 

Why a curvy girl NEEDS jeans in her wardrobe…

If I had a dollar for every time I get told by a curvy girl that she can’t wear jeans because she is too big, I could buy that island in the Pacific I’ve had my eye on and go live on it! Seriously, why can’t a curvy girl wear jeans?

The secret to jeans is finding a pair that fit just right for you. Sourcing a good pair of jeans is not an easy task, I understand that, but if you go with the attitude that you “mustn’t be seen in jeans” then you have no hope of being open to the wonders of a staple that SHOULD be in your wardrobe.

I LIVE in jeans! They are my go-to item. I’m lucky enough to have the flexibility of being able to wear jeans in my work. Years ago when I was working in the Corporate World jeans just weren’t an option, BUT they were always in my wardrobe and always my first choice when I wasn’t working.

Jeans. How do you find the perfect pair of jeans for you? Well I could bang on for ages about the science behind finding the right fitting pair of jeans for your body shape, but as you know I’m not about the science. I take this into consideration when recommending garments for my customers, but for me, when I’m working with a curvy customer or my own body shape, I look for how the garment fits, how it feels, how it makes me feel, and what I want to wear it with. Sounds pretty simple right? Well my colleague Marie, The Curvy Fashionista wrote a great blog post about the “science” behind the fit, style, denim etc.  here’s a link over to her post, she did it so well I didn’t want to re-create the wheel (oh and show her some love, if you’re not already you should be following her, she’s ace!).

So with this “science” in mind, you should always be looking for quality and fit. It’s fine to drop $10 on a pair of jeans at your local Department Store, but I warn you,  be careful about what dyes/fabrics they are using – ouch 🙁

You should invest in jeans:

  • Invest in your time to find the RIGHT pair for YOU!
  • Invest in quality – don’t buy because they fit your budget, buy because they ARE the right jeans
  • Invest in a few pairs – if you find THE right pair – buy 2!

For me, being a size 20 in plus-sizings, and standing at 169cm –  I’m not tall, and I’m not short, but I need to work on elongating my body. I LOVE to wear boots, but sometimes ankle or wide-calf over a straight-leg pair of jeans, and sometimes bootleg jeans, depending on my mood and shoe choice.

When I attended the Curvy Couture Roadshow recently, the usual  “what should I wear?” flashed through my mind as I started to plan my schedule for the weekend’s events. Here’s what I wore…

Bloggers Breakfast – dressed up jeans

Jeans & Kimono by Autograph

Boots by Ziera

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Saturday night eventcalls for something slightly dressier than jeans 

Sunday morning market – Casual jeans!

Jeans & Shirt (Vintage – from years ago!) by Autograph

Vest by Lily & Lou

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Working from home today – casual jeans! Yep, same jeans, but I’ve turned the cuffs up and teamed them with my canvas runners and a comfy t-shirt, hair up and make-up free 🙂

I go through stages of which pair of jeans are my favourite, for now, my current favourites are the Black Secret Boot Leg Jean from Autograph – they are so comfy, they have stretch without the saggy baggy that can come from bad quality denims, the length in the “regular” size are perfect for me and the waist fits just right without the sometimes gap that I get when I need more space for my tummy – you know what I mean! I love how there’s two buttons at the waistband, it sits flat and feels comfortable. They have a good rise – super comfy.

Autograph Black Secret Boot Leg Jean – $79.99 – LOVE!

I’m not sure what I’d do without my go-to jeans. I have a wardrobe full of jeans, they range in style and in retailer, but include NYDJ, Autograph, Embody Denim, Crazy4Jeans, 17Sundays and at least another 2 pairs of NYDJ!

So, step out of your comfort zone, and make sure you include a well fitted pair of jeans. If you need some styling help, just let me know!

Love your shape!

Janine x

This is not a sponsored post, I spoke to Autograph about this post and wanted to help them promote this style. This is my personal review of my favourite pair.