The plus-size industry doesn’t count on too many luxury products. In fact, this is a kind of brand new chapter for us in the market. The good news is that more companies are taking the initiative to change this. Eradine is one of the new faces of the luxury market in the plus-size fashion industry.
I had a close-up and personal chat with Kiera Rigden, founder of this exquisite kaftan line. So exquisite that every piece has a name, a story behind. Everything is carefully picked thinking on the customers. Eradine stands after “elegant, strong and memorable”. Much more than a brand is a project aiming to empower women with fashion, through fashion.
What made you start Eradine?
As a curvy woman, I often faced the dilemma of finding outfits suitable for work or events that would compliment my curves. Last year, while attempting to find elegant clothes for my holiday, I realized how few options there really were in the luxury market for my shape. Larger sizes available appeared to be ‘scaled-up’ versions which didn’t fit well and were generally unflattering. The initial concept was to provide a range of ‘resort wear’ that would have a more inclusive size spectrum – from there it has evolved into a brand that focuses on designing and producing luxury fashion for women with curves.
Since when are you in the fashion industry?
The secret to my success is my amazing team who continue to translate my concepts into the most breath-taking designs. My background isn’t in fashion, so I am a novice in a very specialized industry. To me, it’s been one of my greatest advantages. I have heard the phrase ‘but this is how it is done in fashion’ more times than I can count since starting this journey. Not coming from fashion, I often approach decisions and strategies from a different perspective.
You have a number of different Kaftan designs. How many are they? What fabric do you use with every one of them? How you have chosen the name of every design?
The “Kaftan Collection” has launched with five designs, each named after a mythological being. ‘Artemis’, our signature kaftan, is named for the Goddess of Hunt & Wisdom. Powerful, elegant and ethereal; it is made from the most gorgeous silk and designed to flatter curves.
‘Dryad’, named for the nymphs of the forest and protectors of the great oak, is perfect for wearing for an evening out. The train is breath-taking when you walk, cascading behind you like a waterfall.
‘Alseid’ and ‘Nereid’, the woodland and sea nymphs, are our more casual pieces – perfect for loungewear or lazy days in resort. We are updating ‘Nereid’ to include a beautiful trim. Wear it over a slip dress or with a camisole and trousers for a smart-casual look.
Our final design within the collection, ‘Naiad’, the freshwater nymph. It is timeless and with a blended fabric to create a wonderful flow when worn.
Who designed the kaftans?
Ellie, my designer, and I worked on the pieces together from concept through to fabrication. All our design team is trained to produce these pieces from scratch. Only when required, we use local manufacturing companies that specialize in the production of luxury garments.
As we expand, we aim to produce and distribute domestically wherever possible. This will enable us to create opportunities in the local economies where we are launching our products and reduce our carbon footprint.
A risky project
Your line is for curvy women, what makes you work for the plus-size industry in such a risky project?
I’d love to promote the use of curvy instead of ‘plus-size’. I personally believe it has an extremely negative connotation. Who defined what size is ‘plus’? Whomever it was, I wonder if they ever realized the negative impact it would inevitably have on generations of young girls who strive to achieve an unrealistic and often unhealthy concept of ‘body norm’.
I recognized a fundamental gap in the market and there are few companies willing to step into the gap. From the moment I decided to take a risk, each decision has shaped Eradine into the brand it is today. It’s not just about making luxurious fashion, there is so much more we can influence as a brand. We aspire to be a voice that beckons a changing tide; to help recalibrate the perception of body norm.
I understood the risk but I am invested, personally and financially, in ensuring this brand is a success. I cannot wait for my “Eradine Muses” to be gracing the stages of fashion week worldwide. Powerful and gorgeous women (both inside and out) that are a size UK14 and UK16.
The favorite “child”
If you had to choose from your collection your favorite kaftan, which one you pick? (and why)
Artemis. It is my favorite design and I wear it everywhere – to events, dinners, to travel, to the office and when on holiday. I love the fact that you can wear it so many different ways – arms in or out, belt-fed all the way through and tied at the back or just through the front to create a striking flow. Arms in and belt through front loops only is my preferred style. I would really struggle to tell you which print is my favorite – I’ve worn them all and love them all.
The human side of Eradine
Please share with us about “The Rigden Trust”
The Rigden Trust will focus on empowerment, sanctuary, and self-worth. We recognize the need to empower through education, to provide sanctuary to enable change and recalibrating self-worth. 20% of the net profits for Eradine will be donated to The Rigden Trust when it is fully operational. It is a great opportunity to stand behind a force that will focus on empowering women, on showing young girls that “being beautiful” should never be at the expense of a healthy body or mind.
The faces of Eradine
Who are the models from this first campaign? What can you tell us about them?
We had three stunning Eradine Muses for the first campaign. Emma, Georgia and Isha – absolutely gorgeous both inside and out. When trying to find models for the campaign, I was offered various UK12 models and told they were plus-sized. I was horrified! When did it become ok to call a healthy body shape ‘plus-size’. This resulted in two fundamental strategic changes for the brand, the first was that we would never use ‘plus-size’, the second is that we would look for intelligent, stunning women who represented a more realistic body norm – UK 14 / 16. We found our muses through a social media campaign and I am so proud that they chose to be part of the Eradine journey.
Is there eventually any plans to launch accessories for us?
Absolutely! We’ve started design R&D on some amazing accessories that will be launching in 2020. I’ve seen the concepts, the materials and mock-ups of some pieces already and I am so excited. They are exquisite.
Last but not least: what is in the future of Eradine?
Our next two collections will be released soon. We’ll also be launching Eradine’s sister brand, Bink Attire, that will bring affordable luxury for curvy women into the market. Watch this space!
For shopping Eradine, please click here.
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