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Aug 18

Kaelen Haworth Is Joining the Extended-Sizing Conversation With Her New Line, Second Sight

When designers start working on a new collection, they likely ask themselves, What do women want and need right now? Maybe it’s an optimistic splash of color, or a return to power suiting, or clothes to wear for the resistance. Or maybe it’s stuff that actually comes in their size—something you’d think more brands would address, considering a majority of American women (67 percent, to be precise) wear above a size 14, while most brands stop at 10 or 12. Kaelen Haworth’s new line, Second Sight, nearly doubles that range with pieces in size 00 to 24.

You could say Haworth laid the groundwork for Second Sight when she was designing her first label, Kaelen, which quietly ceased production after Spring 2017. The business mirrored that of many New York designers: She designed four collections per year, dealt with the pressures of runway shows, and was dependent on wholesalers, meaning higher prices and little room to experiment or add extended sizes. Second Sight is practically the inverse of all of that: It’s online-only and direct-to-consumer, offering monthly “editions” of five elegant, softly tailored dresses and blouses, usually for under $500. “Something is changing, and [my former business] wasn’t sustainable,” she says. “Shows were never really my thing, and I’m not sure I ever really needed to do them. I was making clothes for the runway, and I always thought I’d work out [the kinks] afterwards in production, but I never had time. So when the collection got to the retail floor, it wasn’t always the best we could do,” she continues. “And in the age of the Internet, it’s really hard to ask people to look at the same stuff for four months, or to look at something [online] and realize you can’t buy it for another four months. With monthly editions, we’re still designing everything pretty far in advance, but we’re adaptable.”

Adaptable is the key word. When a fabric shipment was delayed for her most recent edition of tops and dresses, Haworth had to swap in an ivory jacquard—and on the fluid, feminine pieces, it worked nicely. Feedback from customers is crucial, too; she’s not necessarily crowdsourcing ideas, but takes every email, Instagram DM, and in-person comment into consideration. “It’s amazing to see how much easier it gets when people give you that [immediate] feedback,” she says. “We’ve been shooting on friends and family and a few people we’ve found on Instagram, so we’re using that as an opportunity to talk. It’s interesting to hear what their challenges are and what they want to see [being offered in their size]. A lot of the girls who model the extended sizes have said, ‘I don’t want to just show my shoulder or my ankles, I want to show other parts of my body.’ We’re hearing what they want instead of assuming what they want,” she adds. “But I think disrupt is the wrong word for it. I want to enable! It should be easier.”


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