E!’s “Nightly Pop” host Nina Parker is turning her frustration over the lack of apparel options for plus-size women into a new venture.
Parker is teaming with Macy’s to release a multicollection line of plus-size apparel, with the first collection debuting on May 14. The collaboration is the first plus-size brand designed by a Black woman for the retailer.
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“I was getting frustrated with the [plus-size] options and it never made sense to me why if there’s something available in a size two why isn’t it available in a size 20?” Parker said during a Zoom interview. “I thought it was so strange that certain designs are limited by size when there are so many women who are above a size 12 that just really know how to dress and carry themselves.”
Parker started working on the collection in December 2019 with Reunited Clothing to create plus-size styles that she couldn’t find on the market. The debut collection offers bodysuits, dresses, skirts, tops and jeans and incorporates design elements like zippers, power mesh and stretchy fabric that allows for comfortable and flattering wear.
Comfort and practicality are some of the most important aspects of the collection for Parker. For instance, she designed a yellow cut-out shirt that a customer can still wear with a regular bra instead of a strapless one. She also designed a skirt with an adjustable zipper detail so that the style can be changed up to work for various occasions, like going to the office or happy hour.
“The architecture of everything has been made for women’s comfort,” she said. “Sometimes when you wear stuff, you think a man designed this. For me, it was important for women to know that another woman who hates being uncomfortable put this on, too.”
The Macy’s collection isn’t Parker’s first foray into fashion design. The TV host has previously designed her own red carpet dresses when she’s covered past awards shows, which she designed because she couldn’t find flattering options that she liked on the market. Parker’s own designs include a black dress with sheer sleeves and a jeweled fringe skirt she wore at this year’s Golden Globes and a midnight blue gown she wore on the 2020 Oscars red carpet.
Parker’s intent with the collection is to instill confidence in the wearer. In addition to the pieces made with stretchy and comfortable fabrics, the collection includes a graffiti-style printed dress that features words of affirmation, such as “Queen,” “Love,” “Hustle” and “Hope.”
“Plus-size women are often taught to hide themselves,” Parker continued. “This collection is meant to make them stand apart and be proud of who they are and not have to hide.”
Parker also touched on the fact that she is the first Black woman to design a plus-size line for Macy’s, stating: “There are so many Black designers right now that aren’t getting their due, so hopefully when people see a woman of color designing for a major brand, that allows and opens the door for even more women to come on board.”
Macy’s debut Nina Parker collection will be followed by new drops each month through the end of the year. The collection ranges in size from 0X to 3X and starts at $39.
“Initially, I really let my clothes wear me because I didn’t have a lot of options,” Parker said. “Later on, I decided I’m going to control my narrative and controlling my narrative doesn’t mean self-care mentally. It’s how I want to be seen by the world and so when I started to really embrace that is when I started to feel like anything was possible.”
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