Jenine Nerecina is living her dream as a luxury and couture fashion designer for women with curves. At a young age, she knew she loved creating beautiful pieces but after finding a gap in the market for a premiere exclusively plus size formal wear brand, she made the leap to begin her brand Nerecina. She is currently based in Los Angeles and is focused solely on creating luxurious designs for plus size women in high quality fabrics. We spoke to Jenine about how she got started and what inspired her to create her brand:
How And Why Did You Start Designing?
Creating beautiful clothing has always been a lifelong dream. I’ve been sewing and making clothes for my Barbies since I was 7 years old and I had my first fashion show when I was in high school! I went to school for fashion design, knowing from the beginning that starting my own brand is what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to start a bridal and formalwear brand because I love the “wow” factor and dressing women for their most special days. In my last year of college, I started a size-inclusive bridal and formalwear brand, offering almost every size. I showed in fashion weeks and dressed women of all shapes and sizes. But about 2-3 years into it, I realized that plus size women are truly in need of luxurious, modern gowns. So I decided to rebrand to focus on creating gowns for plus size women, exclusively.
What Is Your Fashion Philosophy?
It’s all in the fit. Most people don’t invest in alterations so they don’t know the difference it makes when a garment is altered to fit their body perfectly. A perfectly altered piece should literally fit the wearer like a glove. For bridal and formalwear pieces, alterations are needed 95% of the time.
How Has Your Design Changed Over Time?
People are always wondering why I decided to exclude straight-size women. Why couldn’t I keep designing for all sizes? I could have, but I did not want to be another brand offering “extended sizing” meaning, they literally just take their straight size designs and grade it up to “fit” a larger body. It often does not work, because plus size bodies are proportioned different from straight size. My designs have changed over time because now I am specifically creating silhouettes for plus size bodies, taking into consideration that these women are often shaped differently from one another and don’t fall in a single size on the Size Chart. It’s definitely been a learning curve, but I love that I am bringing something unique and fresh to the market.
What Inspired Your Collection?
When I designed this bridal collection, my #1 goal was to create a line of wedding gowns for plus size women that is currently not on the market. I looked for fabrics that were beautiful and luxurious and opted for more modern silhouettes. In plus size bridal, I feel like there’s usually one silhouette brands like to put plus women in: The strapless ballgown. It’s structured and easier to fit on larger bodies, but so boring! The “naked effect” trend in wedding gowns started a few years ago and unfortunately, plus women haven’t been able to join in on this because brands didn’t design it for them. So, I decided to create my own nude gowns exclusively for plus women. Aside from the Boheme Gown, all of the gowns are completely sheer and come with a skin-tone colored slip instead of a built in corset. All of the sheer gowns combined with the skin-toned colored slip gives off a bare look. Also, as an LA brand, most of our brides get married in warm/hot weather, so the lightweight nature of our pieces make it perfect for them!
What Is Your Biggest Hurdle Building A Brand Today?
My biggest hurdle building a brand today is the fact that I am testing something new in the market. Big brands with large teams are barely able to figure out Plus Sizing, can little old me really do this by myself? It’s definitely been a learning curve and a lot of experimenting, but I learn from every outcome. My resources are currently limited to myself, so it’s a lot of figuring it out on my own and never having enough time! But it’s truly my passion and literally my life’s work so I love every frustrating and exhausting moment of it. My dream is for Nerecina to become the go-to brand for plus size bridal and formalwear, so I just have to keep going!
What Do You Think About Fashion Today?
I think fashion today is oversaturated and is not eco-friendly or fair trade. It’s slowly changing as new brands are coming along, but consumers don’t want to pay the price for it! Aside from bridal boutiques, it was difficult for me to find a marketplace that is in line with my brand values to sell my collections. I wanted to make sure that whoever I was partnering up with to sell my products understood the value and niche of my brand. I was so happy that I found Nineteenth Amendment/N.A.bld because they support emerging designers like me whose goal is to change the way fashion is made today. By putting brands like mine on the forefront, I truly believe we can slowly get consumers on board with ethical fashion.
More About Nerecina:
Nerecina is Couture made in Los Angeles exclusively for women with curves. Luxurious, customizable, and ethically produced bridal and formalwear for plus size women.
“Our mission is to design and create bridal and formalwear that is luxurious, customizable, and ethically made— without worrying about the size tag. Our couture pieces are made-to-order and ethically produced in Los Angeles. Nerecina’s goal is to change the way women shop by creating stunning, unique designs in luxurious fabrics, doing away with categories and ideals, and offering customization options for every style we sell— while being socially responsible and promoting body positivity.”