SS15 La Strada per CABIRIA and Cabiria Collections

October 26, 2012

More great news (69% funded!) and an explanation for some critics

Hi friends,

Today was another great day for Cabiria's Kickstarter campaign moving ahead. We're 69% funded on Day 4! Thank you! First thing this morning I met with a lawyer from the Fashion Law Institute Clinic from Fordham University. Yes, there is something as specific as a Fashion Lawyer. Although the woman who runs the program is smartly dressed, it's regarding the specific laws around contracture for sales, licensing, labeling laws, indemnity, delivery, as well as intellectual property protection and trademarks, etc. for a business where garments are knocked off all the time, and designs are difficult to protect.

This may sound cutthroat and not in the spirit of starting a creative project, but as an artist it's also important to think like a businesswoman. Upshot is that I got some great pointers and referrals. Yay!

here I am heading out to a networking event last night in Flaminia in Black Cherries. Tiny Empire State Building in the hazy background.

Afterwards, I found out that we'd been mentioned by The Brickhouse of Style and Skorch Magazine on their social media platforms, and the store Wells & Verne in Portland, OR and Nina Blakemore in London, UK are interested in carrying Cabiria as well! We're international, baby. (hey - the new James Bond is coming out. I can't resist a little Austin Powers impression.)

Then off to the patternmaker, Michael Bevins at 4 Seasons Fashion, right down the street from swag provider Gregory's Coffee to do some final pattern tweaks before being ready for grading and production.

In the past few days, I've gotten a lot of compliments and kudos from people really seeing the value of this line. But, being in a public forum, I've gotten a few critics on one specific question, and I'd like to address that.

Why don't you make higher than a size 24?
The implication in this question - actually it's been outright stated - is that I am becoming part of the problem that excludes plus size consumers greater than a size 24. Since I stop at a size 24, I suppose it's a valid accusation. However, it's unfair to lay the ills of an entire industry at the feet of one small designer simply because I'm accessible with a face and an email address. Succinctly, it becomes a financial decision that I had to make to have any solvency ever.

It took me 2 years to get this project up on Kickstarter, after years of just mulling it over in my head. I worked several jobs, didn't go out and play too much, and saved my money in order to pay for the development and initial launch of the line. I called in a lot of favors, but some things are still costly and set as a fee, such as use of people's factories or services. They in turn have spent money to keep their doors open, much in the same way that many of the indie boutiques Cabiria wants to be in are self financed and run with a very narrow margin of error.

Pattern development and fittings cost money. Each size that you add to a line adds development and grading costs to the line, which is why numbered sizes tend to fit truer than 1x, 2x, 3x, etc. But it's money, which I'm on Kickstarter to help supply.

a long article on grading and pricing

a long article on what's involved in developing a line with a patternmaker and samplemaker

Also, most brick and mortar plus size boutiques carry up to a 24. Yes, it perpetrates a difficult cycle, but why should a tiny business absorb more risk on top of all the inherent risks already in place? Again, I have a face so I am on the block, but there are LOTS of people with more money than I have who can take the financial risks and change the system. For instance, Marc Jacobs talking about having a plus line, but where is it? And Oscar de la Renta making "plus size" up to a 16. And Ralph Lauren saying they're using the first "plus size model (she's a 12)", when I clearly remember Guess? using Anna Nicole Smith at a size 16 in the 1980s and my dad showing it to me. Just three off the top of my head with much deeper pockets and false promises to the plus community.

I am one woman doing what I can within parameters that will allow slow and steady growth and survival. I am also very proud of trying to forge a path with a very unique line in beautiful fabrics and fabrications, and that's why I'm on Kickstarter.

All the best, Eden

Below are first fitting muslins for a master pattern, taken in 2010, when I first started working on this project.


  1. Way to go on the utter Fail -- you are bypassing the massive support those of us that are sized over a 24 could offer! then to be rude about it on top of it all?

  2. If you'd just said "i don't have the resources to do that at this time," or "i hope to expand in the future," and left it at that, the fat community would have been sad and disappointed, but that's pretty much what makes this startup no different than what's already on the market, and we're okay with that. we're not attacking you by challenging you to show us why you're different from what's already on the market. but your responses have been less than inclusive. basically what you're saying is "this is what everyone else does, so send me your money so i can maintain the status quo even though you'll not benefit from it in any way" in the face of a bunch of people saying "hey, this inclusive company doesn't include me, and i hoped we could talk about that." what i'm reading from all this drama is that you're inclusive for the slightly-more-accepted plus sizes, and you're choosing to pretend that the deathfats of the world just don't exist, except perhaps to pad your wallet for your business venture. that's not really how biz works: you've got to sell something that people want. not something people will never get to use.

    i'm not sure how the argument that you're a 24 and that's a sufficient end to the size range is a valid one. not only do sizes vary widely from brand to brand, but you've got to see how you're not the fattest size in the world? are you the largest person you know? have you ever bought a size 24 and found it was too small, even though you "know" you're a 24? i sure have. even people who wear 24's are concerned your clothing isn't inclusive enough for them.

    it's hard enough finding plus sized clothing that isn't hideous, let alone finding plus sized clothing that actually fits plus sized people. you've got a great inbetweenie company in the works, and i hope you succeed at your endeavors, but i hope it makes sense why a portion of your target audience is upset at how their concerns have been handled. concerns, btw, that are not unusual or unreasonable. every time a plus line opens up (or tries to), one of the first questions is "what's the largest you'll carry, and do you plan on expanding your size range?" if that's not your intention because you lack interest or resources, that's fine, but please don't patronize and insult the people you expect to fund your biz with this response.

    1. Do not speak for me as a 'fat community'. There are fats out there who are bullies, and they do not represent my voice. I support this woman's work to start-up a business, and hope she succeeds. This attack at this woman makes no sense. She was never rude to any of her online responders, quite the opposite - there were several that ganged up on her. Can't we as a "fat community" focus our anger on some of the larger companies that have the resources to knock out a line of larger clothes, but choose not to?

    2. Thank you Lizz for your lucid, civil, and kind response. I appreciate that greatly. - Eden

  3. Ok all. First of all, I was not the person who stated the words "all-inclusive", but it was attached to my link, so I'm getting a lot of anger directed at me about it. I would like to point out, however, that it's in my logo that I run sizes 12 - 24. Pretty declarative statement right there.

    I am not angry at all fat folks. I don't assume anything about anyone's self identification. I didn't make a decision to exclude people specifically because of their size. I made an economic decision based on what's probably going to allow me to survive as a human being. The idea that I'm "padding my wallet" is ludicrous at best, and I'm nobody's trust fund kid.

    The plus size community has been sold crappy garment quality for years and been told that that is all we deserve. So I get to fight market assumptions and body prejudice to sell some dresses that straight sizes wouldn't blink at. I have to meet the accustomed price point and with that, I'm not getting rich. Not by a loooooong shot.

    I am selling an option. I do hope to expand in the future. However, people first saw a comment that wasn't actually made by me and got pissed, then took out all their deserved rage at the fashion industry on me. I can't engage in this any longer in this moment, because it takes me away from energy better spent elsewhere on things that make the business move forward. I know I'm doing something needed in the plus size fashion world, and I know I'm a good person who's been advocating for body acceptance and pride for a long time. I wish everyone peace.

  4. I would like to address this issue in particular, being the owner of a plus size ecommerce site we also felt the need to be inclusive and carry all sizes, up to 5x. However, it became very clear, rather quickly I might add that the larger sizes 4 and 5x did not sell at all. I have spoken with many retailers in the plus size community regarding this issue, and we all have had the same question. "Why are our larger sizes not selling?"

    If anything I believe many retailers do carry larger sizes, we know these ladies exist, for whatever reason they are not purchasing these styles. We are briniging and I include Cabiria more stylish options for the plus community, in a nutshell if larger sizes begin to sell we will start to carry them again. As with most small business we must proceed on the side of caution and lean towards guaranteed sales. Production and website fees are staggering and we are hit very hard by these costs.

    Let us try to remember that we are all on the same journey, one that removes the stigma associated with body image. In turn, let us support these designers who work hard and struggle to provide the plus community with stylish and fashionable options that they have not had in the past.