Years of experience within the fashion industry can make anyone jaded and feeling as if they’ve seen it all. But style veterans Aly Jill Scott and Roberta (Ro) Cysne knew there was one thing they had never seen before: an all-inclusive luxury collection that spanned from straight-size to plus-size. So, instead of waiting for another fashion designer to wake up and smell the money, they jumped on the chance to create their dream. And thus JilRo was born.
With a collection unlike anything we’ve seen before, we obviously had to learn more about these two inspiring designers. They were more than happy to share their thoughts about designing for their customers, who run the gamut on sizes.
What made you design a line that stretches from 0-24, instead of just focusing on a smaller range of sizes?
"We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to wear stylish and beautiful clothing, regardless of size. Why shouldn't all body types be able to shop together? There is no need for the division. All sizes should have the same clothing choices. That's the barrier we were inspired to break."
Why do you think a collection like JilRo hadn't been previously created?
"A few reasons; historically in fashion, people want to do what's trendy and glamorous more than what's needed. JilRo's mission is to empower women of all sizes and make every women feel beautiful. Sometimes, people are scared to break the barriers within fashion and create something entirely new and foreign. We embraced the challenge and looked at it as we do all things — we don’t follow trends; we make them!"
Being one of the first designers to offer such an inclusive size range, do you feel that you need to cater your designs to two different clienteles?
"No, because we all appreciate clothing and want to feel good in what we wear. We do create in a very unique way: We start the design process by brainstorming on what would look good on a size 14 — our fit model size — and scale backward to a 0. We do need to take into consideration different body types for fitting purposes. A size 2 dress is not going to fit the same way on a size 22, but they can both look amazingly beautiful if the fit is correct."
Who would be your ideal client to design for?
"Oprah and all women that embrace who they are, what size they are, and their inner beauty."
What type of woman embodies JilRo?
"She is fashionable, chic, confident, and loves having beautiful fabrics against her skin, all while having fun!"
Photo: Courtesy of JilRo
Where do you find your design inspiration?
"We look to all women and body types for inspiration, and also traveling to different countries where all sizes are embraced and accepted as beautiful."
What celebrities would you love to see wearing JilRo?
"Adele, Oprah, Octavia Spencer, Melissa McCarthy next to Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, etc."
Why are only your larger sizes sold at Neiman Marcus?
"Our first full collection, spring '13 will be all sizes, 0-24! It launched our capsule collection for fall in sizes 14-24, as a preview."
Do you feel it is more difficult to design a garment to fit a plus-size or a straight-size frame?
"We don't find either difficult because we look at the body type and design for curvy and real bodies. Every body type is different, and we fit to flatter!"
Do you plan to use models of varying sizes in any future advertisements or editorials?
"Yes, we already do. We use a size-6 model and size 14. At the photo shoots, it's the size 14 we are all oohing and ahhing over."
When will smaller-size women be able to shop the collection?
"They already can. Neiman Marcus will start carrying all sizes starting in March '13 along with Harvey Nichols Saudi Arabia and on JilRo."
What future trends can we expect from JilRo?
"We love color, vintage, and rare prints in dresses, edgy details, knits, etc."
Photo: Courtesy of JilRo