Meet The First Plus-Size Designer To Show At NYFW

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cabiria-2Photo: Courtesy of Cabiria.
The fashion industry can feel a bit like a scene out of Mean Girls. There are some insiders who might be quick to judge and ignore, and the average woman can feel neglected by an exclusive crowd that she desires but doesn’t identify with.

In the past, British designer Mark Fast famously made headlines when he included plus-size models in his runway show, and Jean Paul Gaultier’s utilization of Beth Ditto and plus-size model Velvet D'Amour was called out as a press ploy. But, this season of New York Fashion Week will be the first time a plus-size line will show at the tents, thanks to the inclusion of Cabiria.

Eden Miller, the designer of Cabiria, will be joining five other non-plus designers in a showcase presented by the Fashion Law Institute at Lincoln Center. While she might have to share the platform, Miller is breaking down fashion barriers and showing the world that plus-size fashion has a place in the tents. This is truly one small step for style, one giant leap for plus acceptance. Click over to page two where we got to grill Miller on her take on the plus-size design, finding a place in the fashion industry, and what it's like to be the first.

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cabririaPhoto: Courtesy of Cabiria.
How long have you been designing?
"I've been designing costumes for over 20 years and straight sizes in various capacities for just as long. I decided to start designing plus a long time ago, too, but launched this line finally over President's Day weekend in 2013. It took a lot of work to get it out there, including the most successful plus-size project ever on Kickstarter."

What do you feel is different about your line from other plus lines?
"I differentiate with my fabrics and finishes. I produce here in NYC at factories that make pieces for Ralph Lauren and The Row, and I expect comparability in my pieces. I think the trap a lot of plus lines fall into is that they compare themselves with other plus lines' quality. I compare my pieces within the broader world of fashion."

How were you chosen to show during NYFW?
"It was a random bit of luck and timing. I had gone to the Fashion Law Institute for legal advice before launching the line, and they liked my work and passion for my customer base. They contacted me out of the blue to invite me to take part with four other straight-size designers and an accessory designer to show my capsule collection as part of their third anniversary show. It just turned out that Cabiria is the first plus-size line to show at NYFW — totally accidental."

How do you feel about being the first plus designer to show in the tents?
"I'm incredibly excited and trying not to let the pressure of being “The First” rattle me. There are designers out there who I would have figured would be before me — I am very new to the business, frankly — and it's the luck of the draw, as well as the look of the line. I definitely want to open the door to other designers who have beautiful lines so they can come in with the same standards they place on the straight sizes. Exclusive, but not prohibitive."

What are your feelings about the plus fashion industry versus "the fashion industry"?
"I think that if we as plus designers keep comparing ourselves only to other plus designers, it's circular and closed. There are so many sources to draw upon in the fashion world; I don't see why it should be separate. We are part of the fashion industry if we choose to use their parameters."