Plus-Size Designer to Show at New York Fashion Week

By Serena Solomon on September 5, 2013 5:50pm 

LINCOLN CENTER — For the first time, a plus-size designer will be showcasing a clothing line on the official runways of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Eden Miller, whose line, Cabiria, is for women sized 12 to 24, has been invited by the Fashion Law Institute to participate in its Friday morning show along with five other designers at Lincoln Center. 

The designer hopes plus-size fashion's long-awaited moment on the official runway will be a start of a more inclusive fashion week. 

"I don't want it to be a gimmick that I am the plus-size designer at Fashion Week," said Miller, 41, a New Yorker who also works as a TV wardrobe stylist and began Cabiria two years ago as a side project.

"In saying that, I have an honor and responsibility to all the other plus-size designers to have a quality level that can show at the [Fashion Week] tents."

While other plus-size lines such as Lane Bryant have held events during Fashion Week, no plus-size designer has been a part of the official schedule with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, according to the Fashion Law Institute, bloggers, stylists and the designer herself.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week officials did not return an email for comment.

"Eden was selected for fashion first — her use of print and proportion is masterful— which is the way that all collections should be judged," Susan Scafidi, a professor from the Fashion Law Institute, wrote in an email.

Besides hosting the fashion show at both the February and September New York Fashion Weeks, the institute assists fashion designers, including Miller, with legal help. 

The inclusion of Cabiria set off a wave of chatter and excitement in fashion circles, according to Liz Black, 28, a plus-size fashion blogger and Refinery 29 contributor.

"This is a revolutionary moment," she said. "The fact that a plus designer is included in an arena where thin is idolized shows that change is happening.

"When I started attending Fashion Week [as a plus-size blogger] in 2008, I was often the only bigger girl in the room," she said. "Now, more and more I am seeing other women who look like me."

Miller didn't start her line to make a statement, but out of her own desire to wear high-end fashion. She helped launch the brand with a campaign on Kickstarter last year, raising $13,254, more than its $8,000 goal. 

"I would go into really high-end shops all over the globe and the sizes would stop at a 12," she said. "I was left out in the cold and I wanted to wear beautiful things and I had the money for them, but they didn't exist so I decided to start my own line."

Miller's shopping woes echoes the experience of other stylish plus-size women such as Black and fashion blogger Kellie Brown.

"You would just have to be more creative than anyone else to make it [clothing for thinner women] work for you," said Brown, who is a size 22 to 24.    

With Friday's show, Miller said she hopes to not only generate respect for plus-size designers, but also a plus-size woman's respect for herself.

"I think it is a debilitating cycle that plus-size women are taught —that they are told they are not worth having beautiful things and then they think they don't deserve beautiful things," said Miller. "It is a perpetual cycle."

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