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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ashaki Charles Designs, a Canadian Design Team

I was recently contacted by Julie, one of the partners at Ashaki Charles Designs.  She wanted to introduce me to their up and coming company that is based out of Toronto.

As you know I love to support Canadian businesses as much as I can so I sent Julie a few questions to help us learn more about Ashaki Charles Designs.  Here is our online interview:

Tell me a little bit about your clothing line.
The line is an on-trend, vintage-inspired collection of feminine pieces. May-December, our debut collection, includes gowns, maxi dresses, mini dresses and jumpsuits. Our clothing is figure-flattering; whether flowing or structured, made to compliments every silhouette.  

How did the two of you get started in the fashion industry?

We started out making our own jewellery because we had a difficult time finding contemporary pieces available for plus size women. When compliments turned to requests, we began designing and selling our creations, leading to opportunities to accessorize fashion shows and photo shoots. 

What do you think your clothing line brings to the Canadian plus size woman?

Ashaki Charles Designs brings Canadian plus size women the option to wear the same designer clothing as their smaller counterparts. A few mainstream designers have launched plus sized lines, but the clothes are always different to those in available in smaller sizes – the material, style, price; you name it. 

As a Toronto based design company, where do you see the plus size clothing industry heading?

We see the industry headed for expansion and acceptance.  There’s no reason why Canadian women have to do almost all of their shopping overseas and across the border. There are only a handful of major retailers in Canada carrying plus size clothing and three out of five are owned by the same parent company. 

I see you were chosen as one of a few designers to feature your line at Full Figured Fashion Week 2011 in New York. What was that experience like?

It was a great experience. We were able to participate in a whole list of activities including industry parties, fittings and of course the runway show. The backstage rush is completely different when your name is on the line.

And what response and/or positive things have happened since attending Full Figured Fashion Week?

We met some great people at FFFWeek and we’ve kept in touch. We’ve participated in the NAAFA (National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance) 2011 Conference in DC, The Fuller Woman Expo in Detroit, FNO Plus in Virginia, The Clothing Show at Toronto’s Exhibition Place and at Pop-Up Plus in New York. 

Your clothing seems to be made for a curvy figure however your product is available in sizes 2-32.  Do you begin by designing for a fuller figure and scale down the size or vice versa?

We design our clothes with various women in mind. The beautiful thing is that all women have curves, some just have more than others. The larger the size, the more curves our clothes facilitate. When we select one of our designs to go into production, we ensure it’s one that will appeal and compliment women of any size. 

What can we expect from Ashaki Charles Designs in the coming future?

You can expect more high quality vintage-inspired pieces, continued use of colour, clean lines and the introduction of separates. 

Aside from your website where else can find your designs?

Ashaki Charles Designs can also be found at SexyPlus Clothing in Toronto. They are also going to be available in Atlanta, GA in the near future. 

Is there anything else you would like Plus Size Fashion readers to know about your company or product?

In addition to clothing, Ashaki Charles Designs continues to design jewellery which is also available online. Our Spring/Summer collection look-book will be available in late 2011/early 2012. 

Here are some of their designs:

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