11 Honoré’s Design Director Wants More Plus-Size Women In The Room

Danielle Williams Eke got brutally honest on her thoughts about plus-size fashion.

11 Honoré does not believe in compromising style for size. The luxury e-commerce retailer was founded in 2016 with the intention of bringing luxury brands to sizes 14 and up. Data from research firm Edited released in 2017 stated that only 0.1% of the luxury retail space is available in plus-sizes, which created nothing but opportunity for a brand like 11 Honoré to change up the game.

The brand’s Design Director, Danielle Williams Eke, joined in 2019 and has already left a lasting impact. She created the in-house line 11 Honoré Collection, as well as the 11 Honoré x BIPOC Designer initiative, which brought labels like LaQuan Smith and Greta Constantine to the platform.

Bustle spoke with Williams Eke on the importance of collaboration in the plus-size space and her hope for the future of inclusive fashion.

Why do you think it’s important to hire Black, plus-size, female designers?

There are some really great plus-size, Black designers with their own independent brands out there. These bigger companies bringing in influencers, models, or personalities to give insight on designs — like we did with Danielle Brooks, like Amazon did with Essie Golden — we have a voice and we understand this audience. We understand what we want and what our homegirls want. We can speak to a different audience than they're typically speaking to.

What was it like to collaborate with two fellow Black plus-size women for the 11 Honoré X Danielle Brooks collection?

Danielle had a very clear idea of what she wanted her styles to be, the silhouettes to be. The question that was posed to her was, "What are the things you've always wanted, but haven't really been able to find?" She’s in this fashion world, she's at New York fashion week with Christian Siriano. She gets to see all of the beauty that exists, that many times doesn’t come in plus sizes. This was her opportunity to serve this customer the things she's seeing out there.

11 Honoré

As far as working with Kelly Augustine, she was really instrumental in the creative vision that came together from a marketing standpoint — so taking what me and Danielle Brooks had created and marrying that with her amazing styling abilities to create a marketing campaign that is really strong, really forward. There's power in the Black woman.

What is the importance of making luxury fashion accessible to plus-sizes?

There was a time where it was like, "Okay, I'm done shopping at Forever 21. I'm done shopping at all of these fast fashion places. I want to start investing in my wardrobe. And how can I do that in a way that won't break my bank every paycheck, but that feels like I'm starting to build the closet and the wardrobe that I want." With 11 Honoré collection, that's where we're starting. We have a range that you can pick what you want to pick and spend as much as you want to spend. So that range is really important to make sure it's accessible, specifically for this customer.

What's your hope for the future of plus-size fashion?

My hope used to be wanting all of these big brands to do plus-size, but I think I've come to the point where I just want to see the brands that really care about this customer. A lot of these bigger brands, it's clear that they don't care. They don't go through a full fit process. They don't even try to understand what this customer wants. They'll take their main straight-size styles and dumb it down into plus-size. If that's how you're going to give it to us, you can keep it.

My hope is that these smaller independent brands can get the funding they need to grow bigger and to expand their collections, get into bigger retailers. Plus-size fashion was born out of a community. The more that we focus on the community aspect and building each other up in a way that feels authentic and doesn't feel performative, that really shows this customer that we care. Our goal is to be an inclusive brand — and inclusive means more than a size 20 or 22. The Danielle Brooks collection goes up to a size 26. We are looking at how we can continue to expand in a way that serves our customer, that works well for our bottom line, and continues to build this community.

We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.