The reason for all the chatter is not only that Henning offers luxury high-end workwear that hasn’t been seen much in the plus size fashion industry, but also that Chan’s backstory of why she created her own clothing line is one that shows empowerment, drive and inspiration.
Chan, who is also a plus size model signed to Jag Models, is no stranger to the struggles of shopping for clothing as a curvy woman, looking for workwear that’s stylish, luxe and functional.
“While my colleagues were often in designer clothes, I mostly wore fast-fashion because that’s all that fit me. I didn’t look as put-together and as capable as those colleagues, and I grew sick of the disadvantage I faced because of my size.”
“Henning’s message is to tell women like me that they deserve to be on the same level as everyone else.”
Chan shared a fashion fail story with Flare.com that she described as “scarred into my memory”:
“When I was on my way to my first cover interview (which is the biggest test you can have as a journalist at a magazine), my pants split up the butt while I was getting into my Uber. I had to do the interview with my bare butt on the chair. So, I always felt like I didn’t quite belong.”
As you can see, her personal experiences working within the fashion industry as a plus size woman with limited workwear options was what fueled Chan’s desire to create her own line that would encompass everything she wished for herself.
That’s not to say she didn’t pay attention to what customers wanted.
She spent a great deal of time building the Henning community on social media, even creating a Facebook group offering a space where women can come together, talk fashion and life, while sharing what they would love to see from Henning.
“When I was a fashion editor, I used to spend my days at my desk and my nights at industry events. At those events, my picture would be taken—which often resulted in me asking to have the photos taken down. Why? I’d be wearing something like a t-shirt in a sea of designer dresses. So for Henning, I made a dress I’d be proud to wear to after-work events.”
Chan has always been vocal about her mission to give plus size women more visiblity, and now she has Henning to not only offer that customer more options in an underserved segment but also build a community where the customer feels involved in the conversation.
Her passion is very evident in how she speaks about the plus size fashion industry on a whole and her place within it:
“To me, size inclusivity means representing and serving as many women as possible. I hope to be able to make as many sizes as we have demand for. A personal goal of mine is custom sizing, so hopefully we’ll be able to offer all sizes in addition to fixing fit issues that individual women have across sizes.”
Currently, Henning offers sizes 12 to 24 but customers can pre-order above a size 24 under “Don’t See Your Size” on each product page.
It doesn’t stop there, either.
The size of plus size models that brands use in their campaigns is always a hot topic. With the average American woman now a size 16/18, it’s even more important now to show visibly plus models that are that size and above. Chan told us:
“For our first collection, we shot Rachel Cargle, who wears a Henning size 20 and will continue to represent visibly plus-size women as we grow.”
Chan is also making herself available in person, offering customers the chance to schedule styling appointments with her at Henning’s New York office on Fridays, from 1pm to 5pm.