Full Figured Fashion Week delighted us with delectable fashions from designers known and breathtakingly from designers unknown. No stranger to the fashion scene, Susan Moses took our breath away with her eponymous collection during the finale of Full Figured Fashion Week.
But do YOU know Susan Moses? While you may not KNOW her, you have most certainly SEEN her work! Stylist to Emme in More to Love, fashioning Hairspray vixen Nikki Blonsky, as well the likes of Kathy Bates, Mo’nique, Wynonna Judd, and Ruby, to name a few, celebrity-stylist-turned-fashion-designer, Susan Moses knows plus size fashion.
After meeting Miss Moses last year during Full Figured Fashion Week, crossing paths with her again in this capacity had me elated with glee! Poise, beauty, and smarts all in one, Miss Moses is a plus size fashion pioneer and maven to know! So you could only imagine my excitement when she and I had the chance to chat fashion, plus size community, and more!
Please read on to learn more about the designer behind the collection: Susan Moses!
A Few Moments and Interview with Susan Moses
What are you wearing today?
I am wearing a Susan Moses black modal T-Shirt with chiffon sleeves, Icon by Lane Bryant Harem Pants and Micheal Kors Platforms. All in my favorite color, black.
I noticed you have a love affair with black! So tell me, what was your first encounter with fashion?
I have had several, but I think that the one that has had the most impact on my career is working as a dresser for the fashion week in New York City, at a time when the shows were held in the best hotels throughout the city. This was before fashion week was held in the tents at Bryant Park. It was really different at that time because the shows were at different venues so each designer really created their own world not only on the runway but also back stage.
At the time I was also a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I was seriously going to pursue a career in either criminal or international law. This encounter with all of the behind the scenes magic of fashion changed my life.
Growing up, were you a plus size girl? If so, how did this affect your outlook on fashion and the options?
Yes I was. Actually, because my mother was quite the fashionista she always made sure that I had really nice clothing. I don’t ever remember not having options. What we couldn’t find in a store was custom made for me.
I think that because my mom was such a forward thinker not just in regards to fashion but in life, it planted a seed in me that if you can’t find what you need you have to create it. And this is something that I have done so many times for my clients, if I can’t find what they need then it has to be custom made for them.
So you are renowned as a fashion stylist to the curvier stars! How did you get your big break in styling?
I was working as the fashion editor for a short-lived African American lifestyle magazine called Shade. I worked those fashion pages as if my life depended on it and started getting calls from A & R executives from different record labels. The music industry really gave me my big break.
From there, who have you styled?
Brandy, Hillary Duff, Britney Spears, Kathy Bates, Mo’nique, Queen Latifah, Angie Stone, Wynonna Judd, Jill Scott, Angela Bassett, Ruby, Emme, Nikki Blonsky, Sherri Shepherd, Gabourey Sidibe, and a host of others. I have to say that the best part of my job is meeting so many women that inspire and share their gift with the world.
WOW. I knew you did some, but not all of them! So, I see that you have a knack for dressing the curvy celebrity, who was one that you wanted to get your hands on?
From time to time, I create my own personal wish list of things that I want to achieve and people that I want to work with and Jill Scott was definitely on that list.
I love me some JILL! Okay, so fashionably speaking. Who are some of your style icons?
I think that women that exude great style are women who wear what they wear and really own it no matter what critics have to say. They walk with an undeniable air of confidence that I absolutely love. I would have to say, Madonna, Cher, Iman, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez to name a few.
I am also seriously influenced by some of the greatest designers on the planet. Karl Lagerfeld, Micheal Kors, Donna Karan, Kaufman Franco, Dolce and Gabbana and Azzadine Alaia.
I completely agree with you! Let’s talk your collection. Last year when we met at FFF Week you told me it was coming, and this year, your line debut and it is still the talk of the town! What was the inspiration?
My design partner and I Sunil Ramchandani are always inspired by the beautiful curvy women that we see everyday on the streets of New York. We feel so fortunate to live in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. And if you have ever experienced the beauty of New York at night after it rains you would could clearly see how this amazing vision was our inspiration.
This eleven piece evening collection was totally inspired by New York City at night after it rains. The shimmer of the lights, the sexiness of the dark slick streets and all of the vibrant energy was our inspiration.
With your years in the plus size fashion industry, what are your thoughts about the changes within the community?
I have had the pleasure of working with Mode magazine, Figure Magazine and a host of curvy celebrities over the years. In the past it felt like the idea of embracing your curves was a trend that had come and gone. This time it doesn’t feel like a trend.
I really feel like there is a shift going on in the way that Hollywood, the fashion industry, publishing and advertisers are thinking.
I have been involved in this long enough to know that this is a not going to be an overnight process, but with all of the positive blogging, curvy actresses on the big and little screen, the fabulous V-magazine special curvy edition, great vocalist like Jill Scott and Adele, Vogue Curvy and FFFWeek being on the front page of the New York Times, I think that the idea of embracing your curves are now mainstream and there’s no turning back.
With your new collection, do you think this will change?
Sunil and I are looking to consistently raise the bar when it comes to clothing for plus sizes.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what size a woman is she deserves to have great options.
What do you see as challenges for new designers catering to plus size? Do you Find it easier now or then?
I think that one of the biggest challenges is dealing with the buyers and the merchandisers of the different retail outlets. A lot of them still seem to think that we want shapeless clothing that all look the same.
If you go into most of the larger department stores throughout the U.S. and you walk through the plus size department, you will basically find the same shapeless silhouettes in most of the stores. A basic t-shirt, business suits, cable knit sweaters and cocoon shaped jackets are always available.
The only designers that really offer you anything on trend and sexy are the urban designers. I feel that we should have more options, just like infinite options that the missy and contemporary departments of any large retail store have.
The challenge is to get the buyers and the merchandisers to understand that we also want the fashion forward, fabulous and sexy clothing. And we want the plus size department in these stores to have the same bells and whistles as the rest of the store. I don’t think it has ever been easy, I also see this as a work in progress.
Insightful! So, then what words of advice could you share with the aspiring designer and stylist?
I have always believed that great style is beyond size! Now that I have evolved into the design world I really appreciate the years of fitting women of all shapes and sizes. Whether you are designing or styling it is important to always accentuate the positive and genuinely make the client feel good.
I am anxious! When will we be able to get our curves into your fits?
That is a good question. Presently my partner and I have been in talks with several retail partners so hopefully we will have news for you really soon. Also, once the Susan Moses Collection site is up you will be able to order the evening pieces to your specific measurements.
If we wanted to catch a sneak peek of your collection or to find out more about the Susan Moses Collection, tell us where to go!
Right now, the Susan Moses Collection website is under construction. If you want to catch a sneak peak there is a video on Susan Moses / Facebook and you can also go to Rich Lew.com to view photos of the Susan Moses Collection on finale night of FFFWeek.
(editor’s note: you can view the debut plus size designer collection here!)
Gotcha! Okay, last question! What does Curvy.Confident.Chic mean to you?
The numbers on the scale, the latest trends or living by others expectations have no influence onÂ the Curvy. Confident. Chic woman. Instead she is setting trends, undefined by the numbers on the scale and living life totally out of the box, now that’s Curvy.Confident.Chic!
Make sure you stay tuned, as any new developments come my way, I will share them with you! Want to catch a peek at the collection in motion?
Want to keep up with Susan Moses Fashion Tips, thoughts and more? You can catch her blogging at Sonsi Living!