When it comes to curvy fashion, there are a few brands that get it right. Far too often, curvier women are forced to choose pieces that do not have the same appeal as what’s on the market, which doesn’t represent the average size-16 woman. However, brands like the luxury label 11 Honoré have entered the plus-size fashion arena by providing chic size-inclusive pieces.

“Since inception, we have been engaging with our customer, collecting data and listening closely to what has been missing for her these last three years,” says 11 Honoré founder and CEO Patrick Herning. Last month the brand launched its first-ever in-house collection, which featured modern size-inclusive pieces. Designer Danielle Williams Eke, who brings 15 years of experience in the plus-size arena, worked closely with Herning to create the collection.

“This collection embodies a modern mix of timeless and chic silhouettes, with thoughtful details and a fit that reaches a range of shapes and sizes, exclaims Eke. “We have sourced the most luxurious fabrics and implemented stretch exactly where you would appreciate it most.”

The first drop featured 11 pieces ranging from $168 to $568. Now the brand is back with the second drop. ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Eke about how the entire collection came together and what we can expect from future releases.

ESSENCE: How was your experience working with CEO Patrick Herning and the 11 Honoré team? 

Danielle Williams Eke: Working with Patrick has been really refreshing. My first interview with him, which was more like a conversation, was really just an opportunity to hear from a top-level perspective about what his vision for the brand was. I had to create a visual of what I thought the brand aesthetic would be based on from that conversation and my personal thoughts. When I presented this visual mood board to him, it was clear that we were both on the same page, and we continue to be on the same page when it comes to the direction of the brand.

Working with the 11 Honoré team has also been such an awesome experience. What I know is that we are all collectively passionate about serving this customer and doing it well. Specific to the design and product development team, we all have a long experience in developing plus-size clothing and have a relationship from working together in the past. Because of that we all have the same standard of excellence that we are aiming to meet.

“We really wanted to create a true lifestyle brand.” —Danielle Williams Eke

What is in this collection? 

Now more than ever, clothing should be made to transcend trends or seasons. That is how I’ve designed this collection. We were very much inspired by the concept of Donna Karan’s 7 Easy Pieces. Like Donna Karan, we wanted to make items that can easily be mixed and matched together to create endless outfits options for the different occasions in a woman’s life.

We wanted this collection to easily work into our customers current wardrobe, so we focused our color palette on neutrals, including a beautiful mushroom color that feels like a more modern neutral. For a pop we are introducing a dusty blue tone that is beautifully executed in both a luxe satin as well as a casual washed-down sweatshirt and sweat pant.

What’s the difference between each drop?

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Drop one focuses on everyday womenswear that can easily transition from day to night. Drop two focuses on athleisure and loungewear with the intention of mixing it back to drop one to create a variety of casual yet chic looks. Drop three is a nod to workwear with the introduction to blazers and a trouser. These pieces are versatile and thus can be worn with the two previous drops for more casual looks.

One of the most important steps in this design process was the fit process. Many brands, both exclusively plus-size brands and straight-size brands that have introduced plus, struggle to get a perfect fit for many reasons, and we wanted to address those reasons head on.

What are some of your favorite pieces? 

The Reese shirt and Chrissy shirtdress. Both of these styles are in a stretch linen fabric, which is really amazing. They are classic silhouettes but have thoughtful details making them feel different than what is already in your closet. I also love the versatility of these pieces. They can easily go from work to play to date night.

Where do you see women wearing this?

I see women wearing pieces of this collection everywhere. We started designing this collection last year, pre-coronavirus, but we were able to design a collection that is relevant today. This entire collection has pieces that are relevant to working from home, participating in local activities with the family and going on casual date nights or weekend road trips. We really wanted to create a true lifestyle brand. 

How important is it for you as a woman of color to be able to create during this time? 

I look at this time in history as an opportunity to shine for my community. I know how important it is to see someone who looks like you doing the things you love and dream of doing. While I was growing up, there weren’t many Black designers in the industry to look up to. When I learned about Tracy Reese, it was at that moment that I could see myself in the industry. I hope to be that example for this next wave young Black fashion creatives.

Check out the full collection here.