Many plus size women and femmes can surely relate to the disenchanting experience of in-store clothes shopping. The non-inclusive sizing and lackluster selection almost never yield that cute cocktail dress or comfy jumpsuit you’ve been visualizing for weeks. This too was Nina Parker’s lifelong shopping experience; however, with the proper resources, Parker has set out to change the plus-size fashion game in a major way.
Nina Parker–longtime journalist, television host, and all-around media personality known for designing some of her own iconic red carpet looks–has recently made history as the first Black woman to establish a plus-size clothing line with mega-retail company Macy’s. The Nina Parker Collection is set to launch both in stores and online on May 14.
In an exclusive interview with E! Online, it was revealed that the line will feature 17 pieces sized from 16W to 24W, all falling within a range of $39 to $129. Parker has crafted the line with tons of care, being intentional about diversifying the prints and fabrics, as well as including pieces that are typically forbidden in the plus-size fashion world such as tank tops and bodycon dresses.
“I want them to feel like they matter, like they are a bad bitch,” Parker says of her potential consumer base. “I want them to feel bossy, like they can walk in any room and everybody will take notice.” Parker was involved in the process every step of the way, educating herself on fashion industry lingo, advocating for better placement and display of plus size clothing in department stores, and approving the fit of her designs on curvy, FUPA-adorned, thick-thighed models.
Widely known for its relatively inclusive sizing, moderate price range, and exclusive partnerships with brands and famed clothing designers, it’s a wonder that Macy’s is just now investing in a Black woman-owned, plus-size brand such as Parker’s. This news succeeds the franchise’s announcement of its initiative to launch several exclusive collections with Black fashion designers. USA Today reported late last year that beginning in March of 2021, designers Zerina Akers, Misa Hylton, Aminah Abdul Jillil, Allen Onyia, and Ouigi Theodore will also have their lines actualized in partnership with Macy’s.
Durand Guion, VP of Macy’s fashion office, had this to say:“We are committed to bringing more diverse-owned brands and design talent into our assortment. We know having a supplier base that reflects our diverse customers offers shoppers a more robust experience, allowing us to expand the breadth and uniqueness of our merchandise, while nurturing diverse talent in our industry.”
Provided her launch goes well, Parker is already determined to expand her line to feature shapewear, swimwear, shoes, and even jewelry. “I’m literally watching and paying attention,” the vigilant fashionista remarked in her interview with E! “I'm reading your comments. I'm looking at what I put on. So just know, if you think it's not available in your size, it will be.” It will surely come as no surprise when Parker manages to accomplish all that she sets out to with her plus-size fashion endeavors.
Top Image: Screenshot from Nina Parker x ESSENCE collaboration video
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Jamilah Horton is a graduate of Wellesley College with a B.A. in Cinema & Media Studies and Africana Studies. She lives in Harlem, NYC and enjoys watching and critiquing the latest films and television shows, especially those that center Black women and femmes. Subscribe to her YouTube channel That's A Wrap TV for more!