Nina Parker's Shopping Struggles Inspired Her New Macy's Line: 'I Tapped into My Frustration'

·4 min read
Nina Parler
Nina Parler

Macy’s

Nina Parker is adding fashion designer to her already impressive résumé — and making history while doing so.

The E! star just became the first Black woman-owned brand to design a plus-size line exclusively for Macy's — and it's officially hitting stores and online May 14.

"It's kind of crazy to have that title, but it's really dope to be honest," Parker tells PEOPLE, 41.

The Nightly Pop host explains that she was first inspired to create the clothing line because she felt like the choices for her body type were "limited."

"I felt like options were kind of few and far between, and it just started to become frustrating. It either was really expensive or the quality wasn't that great and it was kind of just like the quick fashion type of stuff," she says of her struggle to find quality clothes for her body type. "It was frustrating because there were so many things I wanted to participate in as far as fashion goes that just wasn't available to me."

Nina Parker
Nina Parker

Shutterstock

Parker says she had toyed with the idea of creating a clothing line before she was approached by Reunited Clothing and was "surprised" when her concepts with the company were then green-lit by Macy's.

Of her collection, the journalist says it was "important" for her to create fun yet functional clothes that can go from day to night and could be worn "multiple ways" so that you're "getting your money's worth."

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"I have a long skirt with a gold zipper down the front but the zipper can go up to mid-thigh," Parker says of her interchangeable collection piece. "You can wear it to the side, you can wear it to the front, you can turn the skirt around and wear the zipper in the back. So to me, that's three different ways to wear the skirt."

Other must-have items in the line include an array of brightly colored tops and onesies, mesh and sequin textured looks (there's a sparkly lime sweatsuit!), fitted dresses and trendy two-piece sets that could easily go from casual with sneakers to dressed up with heels. She also was inspired by the uplifting messages friends and family tell her and embossed pieces with the words "Fearless," "Queen" and "Boss."

Nina Parler
Nina Parler

Macy’s

When it came to designing the pieces, Parker says she didn't turn to her fellow red carpet fashion gurus (like co-hosts Brad Goreski and Zanna Roberts Rassi) for advice on the collection, instead she wanted to "figure things out" on her own.

"None of them knew that I was doing this," Parker reveals. "I just really wanted to figure this out on my own. And I felt like the plus world is a different kind of world. And to be quite frank with you, I felt like there's no better expert than a consumer."

"I had been a consumer for many, many years, and this wasn't like couture type of situation," she says. "I felt like I had to tap into who I was and my frustrations in figuring out how I want these outfits cut or the way that the length of the skirts and the shape that you want. All of that was super important to me. I was a part of every single design meeting, every single fitting; I was hands-on."

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Despite having a clear vision of what she wanted for her collection, Parker admits the design world was a brand new experience for her.

"This is such a learning experience and it really is like taking a college course," she says while sharing details about the collaborative design and production process with Macy's. "Sometimes they'll say, 'You know what, this might be better for fall, or this is something that we have in another capacity. It can become a little bit of like a Sophie's Choice for you when you're like, 'Oh, I got to get rid of some things.'"

Nina Parler
Nina Parler

Macy’s

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With the brand launching May 14, she's already working on the fall collection and is set to drop a holiday line with the department store, but is still taking "baby steps" as she enters the design world.

"I'm trying to just get through this year. But ultimately I'm putting in the universe and I definitely want to expand," the television personality says. "Of course want to expand into shoes. I also want to do belts. I also want to do shapewear because I have thoughts on all those things."

Adding, "I'm an overachiever child, so I tend to shoot for the stars. If I get the moon, I'm happy."

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