Candice Huffine in Brandon Maxwell, courtesy of 11 Honoré

The movement towards size inclusivity: Our investment in 11 Honoré

Most people are surprised when I share that 67% of women in the U.S. are size 14 and above. But all of them are shocked when I tell them that they only account for 17% of the $130B in apparel spend despite being a strong majority of the population.

Why is the proportion of spend so out of whack? Two reasons stand out. First, there is a huge lack of plus size clothing available today because most brands only offer sizes 0–12. This means that the plus size woman does not even have access to most designers and styles that her straight sized friends do. Even if she wants to buy, she can’t.

Second, the shopping experience for this woman is fundamentally broken. Almost all visuals in e-commerce feature a size 0 model that a plus size woman cannot relate to. When there is an offering for her, she is relegated to a few racks on the dimly lit top floor of a department store or forced to pick from a selection of generic, low quality apparel across a handful of e-commerce sites. When she wants to shop, she is treated poorly and without respect.

A recent experience I had looking while into the plus size market illustrates this point well. I went to Net-A-Porter and filtered for XXXL (size 16). Expecting to see hundreds of options, the site went from featuring over 8,000 apparel items to only 37. I couldn’t believe it. How could such a prominent retailer exclude so much of the population?

At the same time, I saw plus size women taking to social media and owning their voice. They are demanding content and commerce that speaks to them. It seemed so clear that these women want to be treated fairly and with respect, and are willing to spend in a big way with companies that do so. This is evidenced in the data — plus size is growing twice as fast as the overall apparel market according to NPD Group.

Patrick Herning, a tech exec and consultant for top fashion brands, and Kathryn Retzer, a Vogue fashion editor, were similarly outraged by this imbalance. Convinced that the time had arrived and starting with the belief that fashion has no size, they set out to ensure that all women have access to the highest quality fashion.

Enter 11 Honoré, an e-commerce and content platform that partners with the most coveted fashion brands to bring their styles to the plus size market. Because nothing like 11 Honoré had ever been attempted, Patrick & Kathryn faced a lot of skepticism about whether fashion brands would join the platform and whether the concept would resonate with consumers.

They proved all the skeptics wrong when just 6 months after joining forces they launched 11 Honoré with 15 of the most sought after fashion brands including Prabal Gurung, Zac Posen, and Michael Kors. Just months after launch, they have over 50 designers offering designs exclusively through the platform. The media world has also taken notice as the likes of Candice Huffine and Ashley Graham walk red carpets wearing 11 Honoré’s styles. From its social following to the glowing consumer testimonials— it is so clear that the world has been waiting for 11 Honoré to exist.

Today, we are excited to announce our Series A investment in 11 Honoré. As part of the investment, I will be joining the board.

11 Honoré is providing a voice to all women as it helps lead the size inclusive fashion movement to democratize access for all women. We could not be more excited to partner with them on this journey.

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