As Rachel Roy Launches A Plus Line, She Thanks Oprah For Her Success

A quick glance at Rachel Roy’s celebrity clientele — she counts the Kardashians, Tina Fey, and even Michelle Obama as devoted customers — is enough to prove her staying power in the fashion industry.

But its her newest clients that are getting some serious buzz: women over size 12.

RACHEL Rachel Roy Curvy, a new collection that hits stores and online next week, is the designer’s first foray into extended sizing. “If I had it my way, I would have started it long ago,” Roy told The Huffington Post. “There has always been a request for it.”

Well, that request has finally been answered, and it’s good. Even the campaign, starring Candice Huffine, reflects Roy’s simple desire to make clothing all women want to wear.

“My vision for my clothing collection is to dress women so they can go on with their day and life, and it’s a tiny bit more effortless because they have clothes that make them feel smart and sexy. It’s not dependent on whether or not she’s a size two or size 24,” she said. 

It’s that accessibility and sophistication that attracts strong women like Obama to Roy’s designs. However, Roy revealed it was another extremely powerful woman who in 2006 helped her realize her own potential.

“When I was asked to be on the Oprah Winfrey show, it felt that perhaps they meant Rachael Ray … She checked me out and had me on a show entitled ‘The Next Great Thing in Fashion,'” Roy explained. “Of course, in my mind I was like ‘Oh my God, I don’t deserve this title,’ because unfortunately as women that’s how we think. But it made me want to live up to Oprah’s belief in me — I didn’t want to let her down. She had me on national television, showcasing my clothes. She put that out there. I think when we do that for others — hold them up to a pedestal — they’ll want to rise to the occasion.” 

While by measurement standards her new line is plus-size, Roy made it a point to explain why the brand instead refers to it as “curvy.”

“A big part of developing this line was about listening,” she said. “Listening to the marketplace, listening to what was going on in culture, and listening to the women who have been asking us to do this for years. Naming it ‘plus’ or ‘woman’ was never part of the conversation. We set out to create something that was true to us and true to the women who are wearing it — and they describe themselves as curvy.”

Of course, expanding diversity in fashion is not exclusive to size. Roy recounted a time “years and years ago” when her vision was steamrolled by a stylist and casting director who told her casting a racially diverse show would be “impossible.”

“The stylist told me I wouldn’t be taken seriously. What she was really saying is that she would not be taken seriously because it was her job to style the collection. I never worked with her again. The casting director meant that there were so few models of color available. I told him I didn’t care — to go sit outside of [trendy New York City restaurant] Cafeteria and find them. It is possible.” 

Diversity was possible then, and, as proven in part by this new launch, it’s possible now, too.

The 45 pieces in the RACHEL Rachel Roy Curvy 2016 collection will retail between $55-$179. The line will be available in select Macy’s stores and on next week, and on in March. 

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