Trendy designer hook-ups with popular mega-retailers are no longer a rare occurrence in the fashion …
Neiman Marcus, a leading retailer and purveyor of high quality goods, has recently launched a new addition to its Last Call family — women’s plus size clothing. Recognizing the need for more plus-sized focus, Last Call will now feature over 70 brands curated specifically for today’s woman in contemporary, active, career, and dress styles.
Frank Crisci, Vice President of Merchandising for Neiman Marcus Last Call, has spearheaded the new unveiling, citing the necessity of such offerings for the full-figured woman and her lifestyle.
“With over 60% of the population over a size 14, we felt that there was a large void for upscale fashion for the plus size customer.”
And thus, Neiman Marcus Last Call now joins the ranks of many retailers redefining the wardrobe for women sizes 14 and up. Now available for purchase on LastCall.com, the newest lines feature similar styles and brands that Neiman’s is widely recognized for such as: Michael Kors, Tahari, Lafayette 148 New York, and Max Studio amongst others.
Moreover, Neiman Marcus’ Last Call has gone local to also include Dallas-based athleisure brand Active Ego within its mix. Headed up by Founder Jennifer James, we caught up with the plus-size designer to chat all things Last Call, fit-fashion, her unconventional dip into the industry, and of course what’s trending for the full-figured woman. Read on for the scoop.
Inspire N Style: First things first. Congrats to you on the newest expansion of your brand into the Last Call family! How does it feel to be able to showcase your designs on LastCall.com?
Jennifer James: “It sounds crazy but I really haven’t had much time to celebrate it much. We’re such a growing and fast-moving brand [and] we have so much work to do. But I do feel blessed overall to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing retailer.”
You had an unconventional start into the fashion industry. How did Active Ego come about?
“It was right after I had my daughter when I realized that there was no desirable activewear for plus-size women. At the time I had doubled in size, and I didn’t have a good selection of activewear. Everything that I was seeing was boring – not really a lot of patterns or bright colors, and even the sports bras were white, beige and black. I realized at that moment that it was truly an underserved market.
After my pregnancy, I shortly began designing activewear just as a hobby. I never really thought about it as a business until people would see me out wearing some of the designs and would ask where they could purchase it. It was then that I immediately knew that there was a market I wanted to tap into.
Neiman Marcus’ Last Call is the first retailer to house your brand. What made this such a great fit?
“When I look at my customer base and the demographic of women who are purchasing for the brand, these are women that care about being active…and they also care about purchasing the right fit and style. They want to purchase things that fit their personality and I think that overall, the Neiman Marcus group does a great job in working with vendors that fit a variety of these personalities.”
Let’s chat about your current collection. What was the inspiration behind the designs?
“We have pieces that are more comfy, fit, and secure. Just in general, the current collection is inspired by the people. I get a lot of feedback from women and I take the time to reach out to my customers to give a survey to understand what they like, what they don’t like, and what they would like to see more of.”
Comfy and secure seem like winners to us. Sign us up! Now, give us the dish. What’s trending in the world of athleisure and how can we stay in style?
“Right now the trends are moreso bright colors and patternized pieces…along with athleisure pants with mesh and patterned material added to them. You’ll also see a lot of cardigans and ponchos that are being worn by this community; so what we’ve done is incorporated a bit of everything into our collection.”
For the plus-size woman, where do you see things headed for her in the future within the fashion industry?
“I think this is only the beginning. With the average size of a woman growing and plus-size apparel being a billion dollar market, I feel like there is a lot of room left for plus-size. I think that it will continue to grow over the next few years, and I also believe there will be a lot more brands catered to this particular type of woman.”
Speaking of the future, what’s in the works for Active Ego that we can look forward to?
“Expect to see a lot more of Active Ego. Ultimately we want to see ourselves as the Under Armour for plus size women; we want to be the brand of choice. We’re looking forward to a bright future.”
To view the latest styles from Active Ego and other must-have brands for Plus Size, visit LastCall.com/plussize for more info. Photos used courtesy of: LastCall.com.