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Pile-Ing It On - Plus Size Chic Redefined

by Kenyatta D. Pious
PILE NY is a Harlem-based women’s plus size ready-to-wear line catering to sizes 10-16. The brand made its runway debut at Curves Rock Weekend in Baltimore this summer. Fall ’13 collection is bold but still feminine, feminine without being frilly, and sexy without being tasteless. We adore its approach to sexy – allowing plus size women to exude confidence in a stylish way.

We sat down with founder Kimberly Merejo and asked her about this nascent brand that has many of the earmarks for sustainability.

What does PILE NY bring to the plus size fashion industry that has not been offered before?
Actually I think there are a couple things that we offer that haven’t been seen before in the plus size industry. First off is originality, especially in the types of fabric we use and the prints. The woman that wears our clothing has to be very confident because we don’t shy away from prints and color at all. Yet everything in the collection is still very tasteful. Also our pieces are very “shape” conscious. We really encourage our girls to measure themselves before purchasing because we actually take into account the shape of the woman that we are designing for, not just the size that will be on the label. Our first collection was fit on a pear shaped figure. Every silhouette was made with that shape in mind. As the line expands we also want to create designs specifically for hourglass figures and apple shaped women as well. It’s a huge detail that I think has been ignored up until now in the plus market. Proportions are everything.

What was your inspiration for the Fall 2013 Collection?
I didn’t have an “inspiration” per se. I did have a muse though which is the pear shaped woman. I am pear shaped myself so for the first collection I created a line of basic items that I wanted to rock myself this fall. I have always had a problem buying dresses off the rack; they would fit too loose at the top and too tight in the hips. I couldn’t find pants that didn’t gape at the back waist because of my waist to hip ratio. I couldn’t find high-waisted pants that hugged my waist the same way they hugged my thighs. And then on top of a great fit I wanted to have them in fun prints that I could mix and match, dress up or dress down. So I think I was successful with my list of “basics” for the fall line and now I’m going to really let my creativity show for the spring line so stay tuned!

When and where will the collection be available for purchase?
For the first season the line will be available for purchase exclusively at pileny.com. I really want to make sure that I am able to get direct feedback from our customers so that we can improve. Our first priority is that our customer is satisfied with our product. So for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 all purchases will be through the website. [Our website launch features] a grand opening sale.

Are there any events you have to attend each year?
Since the line is an independent project there are definitely no events that I am mandated to attend. I was grateful to show at Curves Rock Weekend this year and next year I hope to show at Full Figured Fashion Week. However, after the line gets a good following, I really don’t want to continue drawing a boundary between the clothing that I offer and “straight sizes.” I personally believe that it is an unfair division. Over 60% of women in America are overweight and the average American woman wears a size 14. The fact that she can’t go into any store, or a majority of stores and find something that fits her I think is completely ridiculous. Women are women. We come in all shapes and sizes. No one wants to be ostracized to the “plus corner” of the store or to be excluded from Fashion week. I hate the boundaries that are there now and I’m definitely hoping to cross those boundaries during the life of PILE NY. I’m not looking to show at Full Figured Fashion week every year although I am eager for the opportunity. My goal is to show at New York Fashion Week.

Is there something you would have done differently when starting?
So many things! [laughs] No not really. I think the biggest thing is I would have started earlier. I put it off for so long because I didn’t believe in myself. But God knows what He’s doing so it’s all in perfect timing.

What are three things in your closet you can’t live without?
Great question! It’s hard to say because I feel like I go through different phases of what my aesthetic is. In general though, a pair of boyfriend jeans, a pair of slacks that I can play up or down (like the Jackie pant we did for Fall ’13), and a bad jacket that I can throw on top of any look and make it look effortless.

Are you doing any promotions with Social Media?
We are doing the PILE NY #adornyourcurves promo via Instagram. It’s a way for us to see our customers rocking the collection, or even just showing confidence in their curves. Customers who tag their photos with #adornyourcurves have a chance to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram pages. At the end of the day our goal is to turn the fashion industry on its head - and rightfully so. The majority of women in America are curvies: fashion should be made for us and it’s time for us to take it back. Our bodies should be celebrated and adorned and I think it’s time for the industry to evolve and reflect its neglected consumers.