Often 40th birthdays prompt people to reflect on the big picture, so to speak. For Patrick Herning and Kathryn Retzer, two longtime fashion friends, that a-ha moment came last summer, and the answer is coming to fruition this week with the debut of 11 Honoré, a Los Angeles-based luxury e-tailer for sizes 10 to 20 that aims to drive the already buzzy apparel category to a higher level with runway fashion from designers such as Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung.
Retzer began her career in publishing at Allure and Vogue, then became a fashion editor at Town & Country and style director at San Francisco magazine. She met Herning in the Bay Area and the two have been friends for 15 years.
Herning is a well-known fixture in the Los Angeles influencer marketing scene (he was a Bay Area tech entrepreneur for 10 years, moved to L.A. and started a marketing agency, sold it to HL Group, ran their L.A. office until 2015 and started consulting in 2016).
“The intention with consulting was to create the space to come up with a meaningful concept to connect 10 years in tech and 10 years in fashion,” said Herning, who serves as cofounder and chief executive officer of 11 Honoré.
It was a project with Marina Rinaldi and plus-size influencer Chelsea Miller that sparked Herning’s idea. “Right before Labor Day, I asked Kathryn, ‘Who is paying attention from a luxury retailer perspective to this community?’ What I found out right away was that no one was. Arguably, there is a lot of plus-noise and opportunity out there. What we find so compelling is the white space within the white space — the aspirational and designer customer,” he said.
“The conversation was about what’s missing,” said Retzer.
Herning and Retzer prefer the term “size inclusive” to plus-size. “The average size for women in the U.S. is 16 and 67 percent of women are size 14 and higher, so this is the new normal, and they are not being served by big-box retailers and designers. For the first time we are providing runway options for this customer,” Herning said.
He and Retzer went on a New York road show, which was scary and stressful, but for their launch partners, who were already creating larger sizes for private clients or trunk shows, there was no need for convincing.
The fall preview that launched on the site’s landing page today with model Candice Huffine features designs by Kors, Gurung, Marchesa, Badgley Mischka, Monique Lhuillier, Haney and La Ligne. Retzer worked with each designer on a micro edit of pieces that would work best in larger sizes.
As the site continues to grow and scale — the e-commerce will launch in July, and product will ship in August with the traditional fashion calendar — the aim is to grow the contemporary relationships. “For every one designer label, we looking to bring on four to five contemporary labels that are cool and innovative,” noted Herning.
Retzer said 11 Honoré will also develop personal shopping and tailoring services. “We want her to come to the site to shop, but also to feel validated, understood, listened to,” she said.
“Since we are truly a destination and style resource for women, we wanted to create a sense of place, a place that is inclusive and honors our customer with a wardrobe and world that is more reflective of her. 11 Honoré is where women are honored and luxury has no limits,” said Herning.
To hear Huffine at the shoot is probably the best testimonial of all. “The launch of 11 Honoré is so exciting for me because I’m the customer; for years this is something that I’ve waited for,” she said. “It is something that I’ve needed and I couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t have, and I say we as in women who are above a size 10.”
She added, “The shopping experience is really hard sometimes, it has not been tailored for bodies above a certain size. That doesn’t mean we are less deserving of great, quality fashion and high-end designers. I think that what is happening in this space with 11 Honoré will literally change the face of fashion. This opens up a whole new conversation about celebrating the beauty of women. With the range of designers extending their sizes, it means that we will see inclusion across the board because luxury fashion now exists in this space. I can’t wait to see what doors this opens for the fashion community.”