The last time Team 11 Honoré took the stage at New York Fashion Week in Fall 2019, they did it with a bang. The size-inclusive e-commerce site’s first runway show spotlighted the many designers who had launched extended size ranges through their groundbreaking e-commerce site and ended on a high note thanks to Laverne Cox who walked the catwalk . The event was a success, but the world is different than it was in 2019. Tonight, the brand returns to NYFW with its Spring 2022 offerings, created in-house by Design Director Danielle Williams-Eke and a new outlook.
“It’s really a celebration of where we’ve been for the past two years,” founder Patrick Herning shared before the show. “Design-wise, you have to consider the kind of stories you’re telling in the midst of a global pandemic, at the height of the nation’s racial crisis, and in an unprecedented time. It was an honor to see Danielle through this tumultuous time; our company has had several iterations, but everything has evolved towards this clear point of view.
Williams-Eke’s vision for the season is all about joy. Her pieces, which will be available for pre-sale immediately after hitting the runway, are filled with whimsical details and eye-catching hues. “Spring is more playful than we’ve been in the past, and that’s probably what excites me the most,” she says. “I’ve been so inspired by print lately, and we’ve been working with an amazing textile designer who brought our ideas to life. You see color and – hot pink skirts, dresses in tangerine tones – throughout the collection.
All of this vibrancy speaks to Williams’ mood and the feedback she’s received directly from the site’s clientele, who are looking for a mix of the practical and the fantastic. “The biggest takeaway [from customers] was the importance of balance,” says Williams-Eke. “At first, we were focusing on wardrobe staples, so these statement pieces feel fresh and grow in this edgy space.”
While they’ve never run out of fashionable pieces, 11 Honoré has deliberately pivoted to feature their contemporary-priced house brand rather than the ultra-luxury products already featured on the site. “Now, for the first time, the stars are lining up with the right product, at the right price, and with the right fit,” says Herning, who wanted to shine a light on accessible looks for 11 Honoré fans. “To be able to demonstrate our unwavering loyalty to this client and the community that made this possible will be incredible.”
Audience engagement has been a priority this year, with the team looking to connect with customers online and offline. “This hybrid mode where you consider not only how you communicate, but also what you want to communicate both physically and digitally has been key,” says Williams-Eke. “We’re finding new and creative ways to do it because what we all lack is that sense of community. Like many leading plus-size brands, we’re tired of asking the establishment to become more inclusive. The days of waiting are over; we had to build it ourselves. We have a community that rallies around independent brands, gives us support and feedback, which is so important because we want to take that into account and continue to focus on our customers’ needs.
Not only will their customers be able to see the pieces online in 2022, but even more of them will also have the chance to experience them in a physical store. In 2021, they began offering their private label at Nordstrom, a move that proved so lucrative that they are expanding to even more windows. “Our challenge has always been to scale customer acquisition profitably,” says Herning. “But we have discovered through the success of our partnership how much the brand resonates once it is in front of alternative audiences. We were sold in five doors at launch, now it’s ten and online is over-indexed, so it’s been fantastic.
The numbers were great, but so are the new visuals; model Candice Huffine stars in the collection’s accompanying fashion film, which nods to atmospheric Yves Saint Laurent advertisements released in the 2000s. “We’ve done a lot of great things in the past including I’m proud, but this campaign and this event just coalesce into this beautiful, celebratory moment,” Herning said. “The past few years have been blood, sweat, and tears; now we’re bringing some joy to the conversation.