Patrick Herning is the CEO of 11 Honoré, a new plus-size online retailer for designer brands. Think: Christian Siriano, Christopher Kane, Marc Jacobs, Brandon Maxwell and Zac Posen - all in sizes 10 through 20. Before speaking with Herning I was frankly skeptical about the high-end side of plus-size fashion. Luxury plus-size fashion is almost non-existent because it was long believed that plus-size women didn’t want to invest in high-end garments. Further, plus-size women face workplace discrimination that hits our wallets and bars most from purchasing investment pieces.
Patrick changed my mind.
He got me thinking about how access to fashion is important across all price points. Speaking with him is like being pulled into his world. He’s excited, witty, familiar, passionate and talks frankly about the unfairness plus-size women have historically faced in the fashion world - and how he plans to change that. His goal is simple: offer plus-size women the same access to designer clothes that her straight-size counterparts have always had. Herning doesn’t believe that plus-size fashion is simply having a moment in the spotlight. He’s invested in something much bigger. He wants to bring plus-size women to the front - literally. 11 Honoré opens New York Fashion Week next month. I’d like to introduce you to Patrick. Get ready to be charmed.
Virgie Tovar: For many plus-size women fashion isn’t just a form of self-expression; it’s political.
What is your philosophy on fashion?
Patrick Herning: Plus is super polarizing. It creates dialogue. It creates conversation. Because you’re talking about a customer who’s historically been under-served, she’s been marginalized, she’s been left out of the conversation, and she’s not been invited to the proverbial table.
We can get political all day long. We’re living in a political time, in a political climate. But for me my number one objective and priority on a daily basis is just to provide the same options that straight size women have. And that’s really why I get out of bed everyday - pushing brands to go up in their sizing, bringing brands onto this platform, and evangelizing that this customer does exist. We have proven it. We have sales data. We have size data. We have style data. And you are either going to pay attention to her now or you are going to pay attention to her later. It’s entirely up to you but you will ultimately pay attention to her. And we’ve created this super inclusive platform that launched with fifteen brands and is now up to eighty. We’ve raised nearly $12 million in venture capital with some of the smartest female-founded venture firms in the country.
This is a thing. This is a movement, not a moment. So get on board.