Up Close and Personal with Plus Size Designer Jacqueline Floro of INES Collection
Every now and again, you come across a designer who sears such a memorable impression that you will never forget them, and are constantly on the hunt to find them.
This is the case with Ines Collection! Earlier this year, I came across this designer through Shop Translated website and I fell in love with the designer’s aesthetic right away! Bold colors infused with figure flattering cuts, the Ines Collection is definitely one not to be overlooked!
Recently, I had the pleasure to ask the designer, Jacqueline, more about the line, concepts, and gain a more intimate insight on the designer’s work. Please read on as I introduce to you, Ines Collection.
How are you?
I’m feeling great, thank you! I’m excited to be talking with you, my friends and I are big fans of your blog and the empowering message it sends to women.
Oh my! Thank you so much!!!
What are you wearing today?
I’m wearing a ¾ sleeve length romper…shhh! It’s an upcoming styles for INES for Spring ’10. I take every style for a test-run. It’s so important to me that all of my clothes look amazing, and more importantly that they are comfortable. If it makes through the day, I keep it. If it can’t survive my busy lifestyle, I get rid of it. I won’t put my name on anything that I wouldn’t wear myself!
You have been on the radar for a while through Shop Translated, what inspired the Ines Collection?
After introducing my contemporary line Bilingual Clothing that was picked up by hundreds of boutiques and worn by stars like Rachel Bilson, Blake Lively, Halle Berry, Paris Hilton and more, I would receive emails Â from both friends and absolute strangers asking me to offer styles in larger sizes. It only came natural to start INES, and to be honest I have been absolutely blown away by the response.Â It’s touching and surprising when a new customer, who’s a size 22, breaks down in tears because they are able to wear a stylish, colorful, and flattering dress.
Did you have a muse for the collection?
Yes, I have 2 muses that really inspire my line. The first is my great friend, Denise Kubasak. She is absolutely stunning and a teacher in Ohio. She has amazing taste and always gives me wonderful advice on what fits well on her body type. The second is my friend/business partner/former plus size model/ex-Navy, Cortney Burk. She has a very good pulse on the plus size market as well as impeccable taste. I’m inspired every day. The hardest thing for me is narrowing down all the ideas I bring together from my everyday life, and of course my travels! Luckily I’ve had the opportunity to visit amazing places and experience many cultures around the world. I’m a very visual person so I am constantly taking notes and jotting down ideas wherever I go. Inspiration is everywhere!
Who is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is the “adaptable woman”, let me explain. I want to dress every woman for every possible situation. There are no limits of fun and exciting things to do in this world. Whether you’re relaxing at home, going on an interview, or enjoying a spontaneous vacation to Tahiti, every woman, regardless of weight or height, should be able to look great and feel good about herself. I think of how I have dressed in the different phases in my life, and then design for that woman. Coming from Ohio, I design for the woman who prefers to wear very casual, easy styles. Having worked in investment banking in New York City, I think of my corporate and conservative women out there. Transitioning into the fashion world, I design for women who are very trendy & style driven and enjoy mixing and matching. I design INES around the customers’ many needs and lifestyles. My customer is someone who is plus-size but doesn’t want to hide behind that term. She enjoys being seen and wants to be the center of attention, and if it’s for her fashion sense? Even better! I want INES to empower plus-size women and break down stereotypes of plus-size fashion. And if you feel good about yourself already, my clothes are just the icing on the cake.
Right now, you are only available on line through Shop Translated, where else can we find your collection?
Right now we are also in several boutiques, such as Flaunt in Nashville, TN, Frock in Long Beach, NY, GLY Boutique in Puerto Rico, Go Figure in San Francisco, CA, Hannahs Bay in Bridge City, TX, Lemon Meringue in Seattle, WA, Lucy Clothing in Canada, Trinkets & Tomes in Twenty Nine Palms, CA, Vive La Femme in Chicago, IL and the list keeps growing and growing. Check out our website www.inescollection.com for a complete updated list of brick-and-mortar shops. And hopefully we will be selling on your site soon! As more women hear about us, the demand is growing quickly. The more customers go into boutiques and ask for our clothes the more calls we get. Literally, stores have called us saying I had a woman in here today who seemed really fashion-forward and she asked me if we carry INES. I was embarrassed I didn’t have your line in here. When will it be available? How exciting is that?! We’ve also looked into getting into more internet stores because there’s such a strong community of online shoppers looking for quality plus-size fashion. There are beautiful and inspiring plus size women around world, our goal is to expand and reach out to women everywhere.
What is next for Ines? / Where do you see Ines in five years?
I look forward to presenting the INES Collection down the runway for market week soon. I have dreams of curvy, confident women strutting down a runway wearing INES. I can also see us opening our own stores, but even before that I really look forward to distributing the collection internationally. My imagination is endless, and there are an infinite number of possibilities for fashion and style in the plus size community. I want to see women over size 8 wearing bold, exciting colors! While I love a LBD (and no one will contest that it’s flattering), I think a woman looks more multi-dimensional when she has the confidence to wear something interesting, a dress or top that speaks, and the message in my clothing is one of confidence and empowerment. I can’t wait until INES Collection has a runway for market week where every single model is curvy, confident, and chic. The future looks amazing, this is our time to step outside of the box and be seen!
What are your thoughts of the progress of the plus size fashion industry?
I love hearing about designers that have plus-size women in their runway shows, and celebrities like Beth Ditto, Crystal Renn, Sara Ramirez, Queen Latifah and Oprah being loud and proud about their bodies. Women’s bodies will always be in the spotlight, we are a vanity-obsessed culture, however the images and the messages need to change, and I feel progress is happening slowly but surely. Every bit helps to relieve the pressure on women to look like Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie and to understand that beauty has so many faces. This year we’ve seen some big name designers and top fashion magazines feature plus size models on the catwalk and in their fashion spreads. While there have unfortunately been some critics in the industry, I don’t think anyone can really argue that this isn’t a wonderful thing for women, and really the industry as a whole. With brands like H+M and Target doing designer collaborations and offering forward styles at accessible prices, the buzz today is really about the democratization of fashion. But what can that really be when 40 million+ women in America can’t even fit into those clothes? The true democratization of fashion will come when every woman feels like she can rock the trends regardless of budget or size. This market has the potential to be amazing, the demand is huge, the plus-size customers are begging for something new. And yet, for some reason, designers like Eileen Fisher and others are pulling their plus size offerings from their lines. It’s disheartening to think that the options are continually shrinking when we are just now starting to embrace ideas like fashion for alla. That’s exactly why we are choosing now to step up and offer this line. The demand is there, now INES Collection has something great to offer plus-size women.
What is your definition of Curvy.Confident.Chic.?
Ahh..the 3 C’s! Always walk out the door with a smile. Being curvy is what being a woman is all about! As I sashay down the sidewalk (which I see as my personal runway), it’s the sway of my hips and the curves of my waist that tell people I am a confident, self-assured woman because of the way I carry myself. Be yourself, be proud of who you are, what you were given (inside and out), and know what you’re going to do with it. Being trendy isn’t what true style is about. I stay true to myself and dress for my body in a way that makes me feel good — that alone makes me chic!