After experiencing the full-figure fashion industry from in front of the lens as a plus-size model, Sim felt overly frustrated with the unflattering options she often modeled, which inspired her to begin designing her line Youtheary Khmer (pronounced yut-terri-come-air). Her whimsical designs are unlike anything else available in the plus-size market right now. Inspired by her Cambodian heritage, her collections are filled with bright colors, elegant draping, and unusual shapes, up to a size 24, and all under $100.
Inspired by her designs, we had to find out more from the woman behind the label. And, without hesitation, she let us know that, unlike everyone else in the plus-size market, Sim set out to do what others thought couldn't be done.
What made you decide to devote your line to the plus-size customer?
"I learned about the fashion industry through modeling. I didn't always like the clothing I had to wear. I would make mental notes on what I would change about the garment to make it the perfect closet essential. Looking at the options, I almost felt like I was being punished for being plus. If I wasn't satisfied with what was being offered to curvy woman, I had to step in and do something about it. That's when I put my passion to paper and developed my collection, Youtheary Khmer. "
What are your feelings on the current plus-size market?
"The challenges for designing for the curvy community are fit, quality, design, and price. I wanted to create a stylish, chic, and vibrant collection that doesn't have to be on layaway. I didn't feel that I needed to compromise quality with affordability. I wanted to offer more than a wrap dress or polyester prints. Once you understand the challenges you can overcome them. That's the key. You must know why there is a problem before you can fix it. You can't go in thinking, 'I can do what they do.' I came in saying, 'I can do what they can't do.' I decided to face the challenge and move curvy fashion forward. "
Photo: Courtesy of Youtheary Khmer
What do you feel makes your line unique compared to other plus-size collections?
"When people hear YK, I want them to instantly think effortlessly efficient. You don't have to try so hard to make a BIG impression. We want to make every woman feel beautiful by providing architectural designs and handcrafted textiles that are fashionably functional and affordable. I want her to just get up and go without a body shaper, two bras, and nylons just to be uncomfortable to feel comfortable in their clothes."
How are you perfecting your plus-size fit?
"When constructing every collection, I custom tailor every design. I drape and measure each garment on a real model to see how the fabric falls on the body naturally. After I tailor the design, I grade the sizing based on how the body develops in size. Every woman develops differently. After a size 8, the body tends to shift into different areas. I try to stay on key areas that need a better fit and really focus on the construction that other retailers may lack. Attention to detail is what I try to work on the most. "
What new trends can we expect from Youtheary Khmer?
"Our spring '13 collection is full of textured lace, implied nude textiles, and Antoinette-inspired designs. I wanted to take historical silhouettes and implement modern ideals with a pastry-colored palette."
Who would be your dream woman to dress?
"I designed our collection for the everyday full and fabulous woman, so our dream is to see real woman feel beautiful in our designs. But, if I could receive the support of some amazing curvy women then we would love to see America Ferrera, Amber Riley, Queen Latifah, Adele, Oprah Winfrey, and Christina Hendricks in YK."
Photo: Courtesy of Youtheary Khmer