Hey curvy girls all over the world,
Last year was a banner year for plus size fashion. From models to budding new designers and plus size brands, the community has a lot to look forward to in 2011. One of the designers that SC is looking forward to see more from is Megan Moir Pardy the young woman behind the new Australian brand “Damn You Alexis.” Megan’s uber sexy body con dresses in chic black had plus size women at hello.
SC decided to reach out to Megan via email to get the low down on the collection, which celebrity she wants to dress, and her thoughts on plus size fashion today.
Checkout SC’s exclusive interview with Megan Moir the designer behind the fabulous line “Damn You Alexis”
SC: I know that you’re an Australian based designer. Are you originally from Australia?
DYA: Technically I was born in New Zealand but I moved to Australia when I was 6 weeks old. Apart from a 5 year stint in Thailand I’ve lived in Sydney, Australia my whole life.
SC: The name of your clothing line is very unique. I read that the name came from one of Dynasty’s favorite characters Alexis Carrington Colby. Can you elaborate a little more on why you chose to name your clothing line after her?
DYA: It actually relates back to when I was working at Harpers Bazaar (Australia) magazine. Whenever something went wrong or we had a drama at work someone would yell “Damn you, Alexis!” It was really just an hysterical in-joke but the name always made me laugh. I love that Alexis Carrington Colby from Dynasty was this awesome, crazy woman who ran a fashion business as well as working in publishing. It kind of appealed to the fact that I worked in magazines as well as on the label.
SC: You worked in the magazine industry for years. What was that like? Do magazine editors really hate fat girls or is that just a myth?
DYA: Oh no! Mag Editors loooove plus size girls!!! I can’t tell you how much a mag sells when it have plus size stories in it. I think the key is to integrate the shoots and stories with the rest of the magazine and not have them stand out like some kind of “special” story. I have to say it’s more likely to have an Editor complain when a model or celeb is too skinny. I think it turns readers off.
SC: What are your thoughts on plus size fashion today? Do you think it’s mediocre or some valiant efforts are being made?
DYA: I’m still surprised at some of the really crappy stuff being produced today but I do love it when stores like Asos Curve make their clothes available in “regular” sizes as well as “plus” sizes. I’m all about equality in sizing. I just want to wear the same stuff my size 6 friends wear.
SC: Most designers knew that they wanted to be designers since they were kids. Did you always want to be a designer and how long have you been designing clothes for the plus size woman?
DYA: I’m actually a trained graphic designer and I studied medical science at Uni – I’ve taken the long route to get where I am now! I’ve always been interested in fashion. I’ve worked in fashion magazines for the last ten years. I used to see an endless amount of beautiful clothes for “regular” sized women and I thought “any day now someone is going to start making these clothes in plus sizes” No one ever did so I decided to try it myself. I’ve probably spent three years researching the best people to help me before I launched since I’m not trained in fashion myself. I also have a lot of contacts in media from my years in magazines.
SC: What do you use as inspiration when designing clothes for plus sizes.
DYA: I get inspiration from a lot of places. People inspire me a lot. I try and capture an attitude in each piece I do. I get inspired by TV characters like Serena Van Der Woodsen and celebs like Kim Kardashian. I get inspiration from architecture and everyday objects. Some of the pieces in the current collection were inspired by the movie Star Trek. I love to use interesting materials in unexpected ways. I have plans to make a wetsuit mini next Summer. Above all it’s really important to make sure each piece will suit a plus-size frame. I think that’s something that just comes from experience actually being plus-sized.
SC: One of the things I hear from plus size women is that they don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes, but, they still want clothes that look and feel great and will stand the test of time. Your dresses are on average $300. Can you share with the readers what goes into to making a dress at this price point? For ex. What kinds of fabrics do you use? I ask this question because I think it’s important for people to understand what goes into making quality clothes?
DYA: I understand that not everyone wants to spend $300 on a dress. There are a lot of steps to designing each style and each step adds to the price. I use an amazing pattern maker with over 30 years experience. Each design has to be sampled in different sizes and fit on several different people to make sure the fit is the best it can be. Body shapes change as size increases and I don’t want people to buy something from me and put it in the back of their wardrobe never to be seen again. I produce clothes in small numbers so I can keep rotating the styles and always provide new designs, which also adds to the price. My clothes are also designed and manufactured in Australia where we have very strict labour laws.
It’s totally possible to buy a black dress in a size 22 that’s $30 but it won’t have the fit or fabrication that a Damn You Alexis dress has. It’s most often a ripped off design from somewhere else sized up to larger sizes. I see myself as the plus-size equivalent to Alice + Olivia rather than the Gap and I think there is a market for both price points.
SC: Whenever we see plus size lines they always have a plus size model who is a size 10 or 12 modeling the clothes. Which is very frustrating. What is your take on plus size brands using models under a size 14?
DYA: The model I used in my campaign was a size 14 and I have received a lot of complaints about that. One of the reasons I used her was because there isn’t a large choice of plus size models available in Australia – there are actually only 2 agencies in the whole country that rep plus size models and most of those girls are a size 12. The other reason was that I didn’t want to shoot my clothes on a girl that was overly apple shaped or pear shaped, I needed someone who was essentially a blank canvas so customers can imagine themselves in the clothes. Ideally I want to shoot a campaign with Tara Lynn. I just think she’s so beautiful and curvy.
SC: Many plus size women have trouble finding pants that fit their curves. Right now your line has a lot of dresses. Any chance that you will be designing trousers and jeans? Are you thinking of eventually growing into a lifestyle brand?
DYA: I’m actually concentrating on doing a lot of soft tailoring next season. Pants, tanks and jackets. I have a lot of trouble with pants as well so hopefully I have an understanding of what a plus size girl needs. I do think there will be body types that won’t suit what I make but it can be very hard fitting everyone.
SC: Social media has played a major role in creating popular successful brands. Do you plan on utilizing social media as a tool to introduce your line to the masses?
DYA: Social media is a huuuuge part of my marketing plan right now. Basically any marketing I’ve done that’s outside Australia has been online alone. I love that I can get feedback from a blog that I can’t get from a magazine or newspaper article. It’s also a lot faster and more direct. I can access a huge community of fatshionista’s that will happily give me feedback – good and bad.
SC: Plus size bloggers have been buzzing over your line and I must say that it is truly a breath of fresh air. Do you read blogs? If so, what blogs do you read?
DYA: Oh absolutely. I read a lot of blogs and I try to blog, twitter and facebook update as much as I can. I love The Curvy Fashionista, Young, Fat and Fabulous and Stylish Curves (of course). I have a google alert for “Damn You Alexis” and I always read anything anyone says about the label. It’s so important for me to get feedback or I won’t know what is working and what isn’t. I read Big Girl in a Skinny World, the Marie Claire writer because she writes a similar column to mine (I write for Australian mag Shop til you Drop). I also read a lot of non plus-size blogs but there are so many I tend to just read posts as they interest me.
SC: Which celebrity would you like to see wearing Damn you Alexis?
DYA: OMG I’m dying for Amber Riley from Glee to wear my stuff. Do you know her email?? 😉
SC: Every designer has their own personal style, what would you say yours is? Do you have any favorite plus designers? Where do you shop?
DYA: I love a little black dress. I wear it day, night, weekends, whenever. I love that you can throw it on with a pair of shoes, some jewellery and you’re done. I’m a huge fan of Australian designers. The industry is small but produces some very cutting edge, current designers. I love Australian labels Camilla and Marc, Kirrily Johnston, Zimmermann, Sass and Bide and Dion Lee. I also love Alice + Olivia, Alexander Wang and anything from Alexander McQueen.
SC: What are your 2011 plans for Damn You Alexis?
DYA: Oooh I have so many plans!!!! I’m in talks with a large retailer about a special project so stay tuned for more info on that! I’m hoping to start wholesaling in the US as well as Australia (currently I only sell online at damnyoualexis.com) as well as launching a denim and swim line for the Southern summer 2011-12.
SC: Thanks so much for your time Megan
DYA: Thanks so much for the opportunity!
**Thanks so much for reading this interview guys. I am seriously excited about this line and love that Megan is filling a major void in the plus size world. Oh, and let’s all please tweet Amber Riley and let her know she needs to be rocking a “Damn You Alexis” dress.
Be sure to checkout the Damn You Alexis website and blog.