Cynthia Vincent — the designer who founded the brands St. Vincent, Vince and Twelfth Street — is back with a new line for women sizes 10 to 22.
Baacal, launching this month as a direct-to-consumer business, positions itself as a purveyor of classics and of-the-moment silhouettes ranging from basics to outerwear, priced from $95 to $795.
“I wanted to make a brand from my point of view, where I ‘fit’ into fashion. I always found it challenging to find pieces that represented me and women like me. It was incredibly challenging to find investment pieces of quality beyond a size 12. Knowing that the average American woman is a size 14, I wanted to create a brand for the true majority,” said Vincent.
The line is partly created using upcycled, vintage and existing stock fabric that reduces the carbon footprint. In crafting well-made clothes with limited runs, Vincent’s intention is to create the opposite of landfill fast fashion that will remain in a woman’s closet for years to come.
Said Vincent, “We know that 70 percent of American women are a size 14, and 30 percent of those are teenagers, so they are here to stay. They’re not here to wait to become our society’s best selves, they are here to be their best selves. The younger generation doesn’t necessarily subscribe to our thin thinking. I think that’s a game-changer.”
The name of the line was inspired by Lauren Bacall, who, when she started out, was she told she needed to lose weight. Vincent said she always had an affinity for the late actress.
“It’s my play on the word and what she represents and also separating myself from my name. It’s bigger than my name,” she said. The Spanish surname is also a nod to Vincent’s Mexican heritage.
When she was designing her contemporary line Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, the demand was for 0s and 2s. “From an economic standpoint it didn’t make sense to offer 12s and 14s. But a day didn’t go buy that someone didn’t say, ‘Could you please make clothes in my size?’ So it’s been brewing for a good 10 years,” she said.
While running a creative consultancy the last few years, Vincent often found herself in need of nice outfits to meet with high-profile clients.
“I went shopping to the nth degree and it was so discouraging. I felt fat and ugly and I knew it wasn’t me, it was the clothes. I could tell they weren’t fit on a larger body or they were fit on a larger size assuming that every body is the same shape. So I fit my clothes on a size 16 model,” she said.
The collection includes pieces such as tie-neck blouses with yokes that can be worn forward or backward, allowing for different necklines; trenchcoats with raglan sleeves and epaulets that smooth the silhouette; dusters; tailored coats; shirtdresses, and adjustable caftans.
She said TheCurvyCon conference was a good learning experience, and helped affirm her decision to start a new line.
“A few investors told me I needed to lower my price points because larger women weren’t going to pay for fashion, but after the first panel, people were asking me. ‘Where can I get this?’ So I left knowing I was right. They are buying inexpensive clothes because that’s all there is available.”
Vincent said her goal is to be 80 percent sustainable while producing locally.
“I was very naïve to how polluting our industry was until recently. Now that I am out in the field, I see there is so much waste. We just need to be educated and think creatively,” she said about doing things like eliminating the plastic bags that cut fabric is delivered in, or donating garment waste and sending it to recyclers.