Designers collaborating with other retailers to bring their clothing to new customers is nothing new in the age of fast fashion. But there's something totally different about Rachel Antonoff's new foray into the plus-size market: the designer has teamed up with online clothing subscription service Gwynnie Bee. "I love the rental aspect," Antonoff says. "It's just such an interesting idea that you might not want to invest in something permanently, and how cool that you can just rent it?"
A chance meeting at a showroom visit lead to the collaboration. Gwynnie Bee CEO Christine Hunsicker says customers are looking for more fashion-oriented pieces, and execs felt Antonoff's designs would fill a gap. "We fell in love with it, and went over to the sales rack and said, 'How do we make this happen? How can we get this to the plus-size community?" explains Hunsicker. "Her designs are very distinctive, her use of print and pattern are very distinctive. There aren't many brands out there that fit that quirky-polished look, and that is something our members really like, especially in rental."
The line will include seven pieces designed by Antonoff, ranging in sizes 10-32W, or L-5X. Gwynnie Bee's plans range from one item at a time for $49 month, three items at a time for $95 (the most popular plan), to 10 items at a time for $199. Antonoff brought in her designs and picked the fabrics, before Gwynnie Bee took over with their expert plus-size pattern making. Antonoff calls it a "best-of" collection of her favorite prints. "We got to bring back some of our favorites, like the dissected frog print from the science fair collection, and the fruit print from spring which is my absolute favorite, so that is really exciting," she explains.
Gwynnie Bee has partnered with designers before, but Antonoff is their biggest name to date. It was also an exciting chance for Antonoff to bring her quirky-cool designs to a broader size range. "My whole thing is that fashion and clothes should be fun, accessible, should make you feel good about yourself, and never ever should make you feel like you have to be something you're not," she says.
This won't be just a one-time thing either; Antonoff tells Fashionista that in addition to partnering with Gwynnie Bee again in the future, she is "definitely looking" into expanding the size range of her own line. "I think the plus-size market is really underserved," she says. "I do think that's starting to change, but I'm just really excited to be a part of that."
Rachel Antonoff's line for Gwynnie Bee launches June 19.