Announcing her own plus-size fashion range on Monday, the writer and actor Lena Dunham said her aim was to stop the perception that plus-size women are “stupid”.
The five-piece collaboration with 11 Honoré follows the Girls creator’s catwalk debut last year, for 16Arlington at London Fashion Week.
“There’s so much judgment around bigger bodies and I think one of those judgments is that bigger women are stupider,” Dunham told the New York Times.
“They eat too much and don’t know how to stop. Thin women must be discerning and able to use their willpower. Bigger women must be limited in their understanding of the world, and they keep doing things that are bad for them.
“The amount of people who have written to me … [saying]: ‘You’re promoting obesity. Don’t you understand you’re killing yourself? Are you stupid? Why are you doing that?’”
Dunham said her collection did not include tracksuit items, despite the pandemic ubiquity of sweatpants, because: “If a thin girl wears sweatpants, it’s kind of cute – like, ‘I’m having a rough day!’ But for a chubby girl it’s: ‘You’ve made a lifestyle choice to give up.’”
The garments in the collection are named after locations around SoHo, the part of Manhattan where Dunham grew up in the 1980s and 90s.
“We don’t stop loving clothes or having unique styles just because the world desexualises and dehumanises plus bodies,” she said, adding that there was still “a huge barrier to entry for plus women even enjoying fashion”.
In mainstream fashion, Dunham said, “only certain plus bodies – under a size 16 – can join the party”.
Dunham added that she wanted to “send the message that being curvy is something to celebrate, not simply handle – it’s not a problem to fix or cover up, but rather a really beautiful celebration of having a lot to give.
“It took me a long time, but I love the fact that my body tells a story of vastness, of ample-ness, of presence. And it’s mine and I’m not going to spend a lifetime apologising for it – I’m going to celebrate it in clothing that says: ‘Here I am.’”
The founder of 11 Honoré, Patrick Herning, said Dunham’s changing body shape in the public eye made her ideal for the collaboration.
“As a woman who has been a size four on the red carpet as well as a 14, Lena has a unique point of view that I know will resonate with our customers,” he told the Guardian.
Herning said the collection sought to underline the importance of size inclusivity.
“It has always been our goal to create an inclusive retail platform for this customer, giving her the same exact options as straight size women,” he said. “I’m proud of the role that we have played in disrupting the industry.”