5 Questions with Plus Size Fashion Designer Elle Dove on Size Diversity, Creating Art & More

From creating wedding dresses to evolving into ready-to-wear, Elle Dove is carving a place for herself in a burgeoning industry that needs more size diversity.

And she is here to give the industry that and more.

This young plus size fashion designer is an amazing creative soul who has a way of creating works of art for every woman, no matter what her size.

As we watched her collection on the runway at the recent LifeStyled Honors event in Atlanta, it was all about those styles that plus size women are told they can’t wear. Her show proved that we can!

Crop tops? Check. Wide leg pants? Check! Bold colors? Check! We saw body con dresses, sheer pieces and lots of confidence on that runway. We also saw models of varying shapes and sizes, which had the audience cheering loudly and offering resounding applause as each model hit the runway.

We had to talk to this inspiring entrepreneur, who is a fearless force to be reckoned with. We hope her words empower you as much as they did us.

1. What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

Honestly, I have never wanted to be anything else. Since elementary school, I have wanted nothing more than to create, what I know now as, wearable art.

I will never forget one of the first things I tried to turn into an outfit. Our art class was doing a study on American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Our teacher challenged us to recreate a piece and I chose a flower. After the assignment was completed, I tried to apply the flower design to a dress and used new coloring techniques. I guess it’s safe to say, I didn’t look back because I never lost the need/want to merge my love for art and the world around me to create beautiful ready-to-wear garments. So I guess you could say it has always been in me and that’s how I naturally express my creativity.

2. You design for plus sizes, including above a size 24 and 3X. Why was this important to you?

This is a GREAT question!!! Simply put, ‘Plus is Plus’. Full figured women don’t have a ceiling size at 24 or 3X, so why stop at that size? While I understand as a business why this may not look beneficial monetarily, I feel that if you decided to service a particular market then it’s your duty to service them as a whole and not pick and choose what works for you.

I feel that instead of saying “No, we will not make this in sizes over a 3X”, businesses should become more innovative in their tactics to service their “new” target audience. I am passionate about dressing plus size women no matter what size she is, and as a business, I knew fully well what I was getting myself into. So I embraced the challenges and created innovative solutions that fit the volume of my brand. To me, innovation has been lost so businesses are running the numbers and leaving it at that when in fact, they should evolve to accommodate more customers.

3. You recently showed your new collection at the LifeStyled Honors event in Atlanta. What was the theme and inspiration behind this collection and why was it important to show model diversity on the runway?

This collection was so much fun to design! I find inspiration often around me and this collection was no exception. I had so many great things happening this year from meeting new people and making some amazing beautifully talented friends. As I was designing, I thought about all of the fun times I had had with my girlfriends and wanted to capture that energy. Hence, “Energy” was born.

This collection focused a lot on color and the fits were flowy and lightweight with an emphasis on comfort and style. I wanted to design something that fit most groups of friends no matter the age, and while that was a challenge, I believe I have something for every woman and her girlfriends.

Whether it is on print or the runway, I make it a point to diversify by models in body type. First, they are all ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS and as a brand that carries up to a size 34/36, it’s my duty to show my brand on multiple body types.

4. Who are some of your favorite designers and why?

Diane Von Furstenburg, who created the wrap dress in the 70’s. Talk about innovation! This is mainly why she is one of my favorites.

I also like Elann Zelie of Zelie for She. Her pieces are amazing and laid back, and her models are to die for.

If I ever meet these two amazing women and designers, I’ll probably fan all the way out.

5. What’s next for Lorenza James by Elle Dove?

On July 7th in New Orleans, Lorenza James by Elle Dove will be debuting our FW18 collection at the Essence of Curves fashion show. This show will be phenomenal and trust me, this presentation is going to be everything!

Special thanks to Elle Dove for talking to us and for her passion in designing for women of all sizes. Good luck with Essence of Curves and we are sure this is just the beginning for Elle Dove.

You can check out Lorenza James by Elle Dove here.

And PLUS Model Mag readers get 10% off their order with code PLUSMM!

You can also follow the brand on Instagram here and on Facebook here.

Let’s support the brands and designers that support us, such as Elle Dove.