It has been a while since I have interviewed a designer and when I had the chance to chat up the creative force behind Lafayette 148 New York, Edward Wilkerson, I jumped at the chance to do so!
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Lafayette 148 New York is a luxury brand that exudes sophistication and one that is size inclusive- creating luxury stateside for the discerning plus size woman. If you have ever had the chance to deck your curves in a piece of Lafayette 148 New York, then you know what I mean! So, I had to talk to the man behind the brand who designs with us in mind as well!
Please read on to learn more about Lafayette 148 New Yorkand the designer behind the brand, Edward Wilkerson…
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I understand that you knew you wanted to be a fashion designer since the age of ten, thanks to the impeccable style of your mother. What was your first item you remember designing?
A one-shoulder drawstring dress.
As a young child, what inspirations from your mother did you take into your style and design today at Lafayette 148 New York?
My mother had an impeccable sense of style. She was a working woman busy with raising a family but she always looked so polished and put together. She made a big impact on my aesthetic. My designs today are inspired by the new women I meet, but I always keep in mind a woman like my mother who loves feeling chic even when she is juggling a full schedule.
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You have been an integral force behind the brand. Can you tell me, who is the Lafayette woman? Is she inspired by your mother?
The Lafayette 148 New York woman does it all and looks good doing it. I meet a lot of loyal customers when I make personal appearances and they are women who recognize quality. They are vocal. They are career women. They travel. We design each collection with versatile pieces that work for different aspects of a modern woman’s life. My mother is retired now but when I meet my customers, it definitely brings back vivid memories of what first inspired me to enter the fashion world.
There is such an ease of sophistication in your designs, an ease of luxury, can you share how you want the potential Lafayette 148 New York woman to feel in your clothes?
I want her to feel elegant in my designs. Elegance doesn’t have to involve fancy eveningwear, it’s about the way a woman carries herself. That’s why we offer such a broad range of designs and why our designs are so wearable. They let a woman show off her personal style whether she’s at work or being whisked away to a fabulous dinner. I want women to love wearing our clothes.
Let’s talk inspiration, you travel quite frequently! What is it about your travels that you bring back to your designs? What inspirations do you look for while traveling?
The great thing about traveling is you don’t know what to expect. I never know what I am going to see when I arrive at my destination, but once I’m there, I absorb everything from the colors and culture to the landscape and architecture. I apply whatever I find into the next collection.
For the spring, can you share what some of those inspirations were?
The Spring 2012 Collection was inspired by my travels last summer to the Island of Capri, Italy. It was so chic! I tried to capture the island’s beautiful, tranquil ambiance with a crisp seaside color palette and fresh nautical themes. It takes me back every time I see the collection.
Thank you so much for including plus sizes in your collection! It truly is a blessing! If you could think of one of the plus size models today, who would be your plus size muse for your plus size range?
I love Anansa Johnson, Beverly Johnson’s daughter. She models on her own terms and her confidence always shines through. She’s proof that true beauty comes in all sizes.
What prompted you to include plus sizes? Did you hear, read, or have a personal experience that allowed you to extend your sizes?
I have always made a conscious effort to design for real women. There really are limited options when it comes to plus sizes in the high-end fashion world. That is why I made sure all women can find luxurious pieces in our collections. Every woman deserves to be styled in designs that are made for her body.
I know that you do not offer the full collection in plus sizes, but what or how do you choose which items you fashion for her?
When creating our plus size collection, we factor in both what’s fashionable and what will be most flattering. Feedback from our customers also plays an important role. We really do listen. For every design in our plus size collection, we create custom patterns and have fittings with a plus size model. It’s an involved process, but so key to maintaining the consistent fit we are known for.
What does Curvy.Confident.Chic. mean to you?
No matter your size, if you have confidence, you will always be chic.
If you could leave the plus size woman with one piece of fashion advice, what would it be?
Be true to your own style.
This was such an honor to have a few moments to chat with Mr. Wilkerson.
You can learn more about Lafayette 148 New York by visiting the website. You can follow along with the brand via Facebook and Twitter! You can shop the plus size collections online at Lafayette 148, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue as well!
Thank you for doing this interview. I’ve enjoyed Lafayette 148 for quite a while and am confident every time I show it to my clients, they’re getting high quality, beautiful garments.
About a year ago, I noticed that the models they used for plus size were normal size models, so I called them out about it on Twitter (@impeccableimage ). They responded that they would be making changes and within a couple of months, the models were real size. I love that they heard and responded.
I am a very loyal Lafayette 148 customer – I love their fit and their quality. It is so great to see them doing more of their more fashion-forward pieces in Plus sizes too. Edward is inspired and inspiring; whenever I need a “perfect” outfit, especially for work, Lafayette is my first stop.
Thank God for Lafayette 148 – pretty much everything else made for plus size women is matronly crap or club wear crap.
How were you able to interview Edward Wilkerson? What a fabulous opportunity to get to know a noted designer firsthand.