|Model Tinder Badhesha looking glorious in my favorite piece from the “Viva la Frida” collection.|
I think we have established my admiration of indie designers, yes? Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with one such designer, Youtheary Khmer. Was she delightful? Yes! Was she smart? Absolutely! Was she candid? You betcha! We talked about everything from her design background, to her new collection “Viva la Frida”, to the financial aspects of being an indie designer. So, let’s get down to it, shall we?
I knew she was a model before becoming a designer. What I did not know, is that she began as a kid and was a plus size model at the tender age of 17. So, clearly, she has been around this industry for a long time. I also learned that she spent time as a buyer for Ashley Stewart and attended not one, but two, universities majoring in marketing and business. Color me impressed. This lady knows what she is talking about. Top all that off with her creative flair and it’s a recipe for awesomeness!
|The lady herself, Youtheary Khmer|
I asked Youtheary what the biggest challenge she faces as a designer is. She responded that “having women understand that different sizes become different body types” and “designing clothes to compliment most body types” would be the biggest challenge. I totally understand what she means. One of the glorious things about women’s bodies to me, is how we are all so different; how one woman might develop round ample hips and another might have gloriously strong shoulders, and yet another (like me) might be round and squishy all over must pose a challenge to designers. We are all so unique. Now try to imagine being observant enough and skilled enough to create fashion forward clothing to suit as many body types as possible. When you stop to think about it, it’s really quite an undertaking.
|Looks from the “Viva La Frida” lookbook|
The “Viva La Frida” collection is everything. You can see, this is a line designed for the woman who is not afraid of being seen. This is a line for audacious, bold and confident women. Me being me, I see size acceptance and political fatshion opportunities wherever I look. So I figured it was a no-brainer, that this was Youtheary’s thinking as well. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when she brightly responded to my questions around this with “It’s just and aesthetic style choice (for me)” . It seems, even in her early design days, while designing for straight sizes, she still felt a strong pull to the look of crop tops with maxi skirts. It’s just who she is, and I love that she did not compromise that when designing for us. “I’ve always loved my curvy body”, she told me. I do believe that self love and acceptance translates into her bold and fearless designs.
|Bold and glorious|
As an indie designer, her collections are self funded; meaning there is no “angel investor” showering her with money to create her line. In fact, I believe this to be the case for just about all of our indie designers. Youtheary was very open and frank in explaining the financial strain to me. In fact, she has a campaign currently running via Fund Anything in hopes of being able to expand her business, where she openly explains her thoughts. For example, to get into larger stores and really get her work out there, she would need the resources to make the large quantities of goods to supply them with. That takes money. It’s a sort of catch 22, I think. Then there’s the subject of pre-orders. I have heard/seen many women lamenting the process of pre-ordering. Let me break this down for you. If you love and support these visionary designers, then you are going to have to be patient. They are literally sewing your dress for you with their own two hands. We have to give them a break here, ladies. With our pre-orders they are able to keep their businesses thriving, they are able to continue to bring us these fantastically beautiful creations, they are able to be indipendent. I believe, it is our duty to support them.
So, you love her, right? You totally want to support this brand? And you can’t wait to slip your lovely body into these perfectly delicious threads? Here’s how you can do just that. Here’s Youtheary’s website and Facebook page. She recommends, for the purposes of pre-orders/purchasing, that you head straight over to her Esty shop. At this point, the first set of pre-orders should take about 4 weeks to ship. Just remember, be patient; this stuff is well worth the wait.