Lena Dunham has turned her hand to fashion design with the launch of her own plus-size clothing collection that she revealed she created to encourage other curvy women to reject society’s attempts to ‘dehumanize’ and ‘hide’ them.
The 34-year-old Girls creator announced her 11 Honoré x Lena Dunham capsule collection this week, releasing a series of images of herself modeling the range, which includes five pieces ranging from a $98 tank top to a $298 blazer, all running from size 12 to 26.
While several of the items already appear to have sold out in a few sizes, news of the actress and writer turning to clothing design has received mixed reactions on Twitter, with some — like The View’s Meghan McCain — sharing excitement, while others have questioned what qualifies the Girls star to design a clothing collection.
New duds: Lena Dunham has designed a plus-size clothing collection for 11 Honoré, and says she hopes women who buy from it feel ‘powerful’ when they wear it
Range: The 34-year-old Girls creator announced her 11 Honoré x Lena Dunham capsule collection this week, which includes five pieces ranging from a $98 tank top to a $298 blazer
Speaking to Vogue, Lena said that she has always been curvy, but as she has gotten older, she has become even more aware of a hole in the market when it comes to larger sizes.
‘I’ve always been someone who’s had a curvy body,’ she said. ‘Sometimes it seems that the people who make plus size clothing think that women want to disappear — that because our bodies are curvy, we don’t want to be seen any longer, and that’s just not true.’
Lena noted that there have actually been plenty of designers who have been happy to dress her, including Christian Siriano and Christopher Kane, but that the fashion industry as a whole isn’t particularly welcoming to a variety of sizes.
‘Fashion is not an industry where curvy bodies are embraced, but there have been plenty of people within the industry who have viewed me as someone they might want to dress, which has been an enlightening experience,’ she said.
‘I’ve been the butt of a fair number of jokes because of the shape and size of my body,’ she added, but ‘those comments have come more from the media outside of fashion than within fashion itself.’
The fashion industry is slowly changing, though, with brands like 11 Honoré — one of Lena’s favorites — embracing size inclusivity.
‘Sometimes it seems that the people who make plus-size clothing think that women want to disappear — that because our bodies are curvy, we don’t want to be seen any longer,’ she said
‘We don’t stop loving clothes or having unique style just because the world desexualizes and dehumanizes plus bodies,’ she said of plus-size women
‘The thing I find is that companies think we either want to dress like we are headed to the club or like we are grandmas, and [founder Patrick Herning] gets that there are as many fashion-loving plus women as there are straight size women,’ she told the Daily Front Row.
‘We don’t stop loving clothes or having unique style just because the world desexualizes and dehumanizes plus bodies.’
For this capsule collection, Lena was inspired by the idea of a busy New York City woman in the late ’80s to early ’90s.
She turned to that aesthetic for a $138 skirt and a $129 collared shirt — as well as the $268 Madderlake dress, for which her father, artist Carroll Dunham, designed the print.
Lena said she loves a vintage look, but that vintage shopping can be really hard because fashion often didn’t come in large sizes in past decades.
With 11 Honoré x Lena Dunham, she wanted to make vintage looks accessible, and also make sure they fit: The brand ensured that everything was cut just right, so women would feel ‘no tugging or pulling’ when they wear it.
Style: With 11 Honoré x Lena Dunham, she wanted to make vintage looks accessible, and also make sure they fit
Vintage: For this capsule collection, Lena was inspired by the idea of a busy New York City woman in the late ’80s to early ’90s. All of the pieces run from size 12 to 26
In the family: Her father, artist Carroll Dunham, designed the print for this Madderlake dress
‘I know what it’s like to go to a photoshoot or red carpet event as a size 4 or 6 and be able to wear any designer and to be a size 16 and have my options way more limited,’ she said
‘I know what it’s like to go to a photoshoot or red carpet event as a size 4 or 6 and be able to wear any designer and to be a size 16 and have my options way more limited. Even with the magic of a Hollywood stylist at my fingertips!’ she told the Daily Front Row.
‘Patrick and I don’t want any woman to feel that way. We want every woman to have access to clothes that tap into her inherent sense of self-worth. These clothes do that for me.’
Speaking to the The New York Times, Lena added: ‘There’s so much judgment around bigger bodies and I think one of those judgments is that bigger women are stupider.
‘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 on my page: “You’re promoting obesity. Don’t you understand you’re killing yourself? Are you stupid? Why are you doing that?”
The yays: The View’s Meghan McCain said she is excited for the collection, while some others also praised it
Star power: Instagram comments rolled in from Rita Wilson, Margaret Qualley, Debra Messing, Harley Quinn Smith, Selma Blair, Kathy Najimy, and Zooey Deschanel
Since news of Lena’s collection hit social media, it has spurred a range of reactions, with congratulatory Instagram comments from Rita Wilson, model Margaret Qualley, Debra Messing, Harley Quinn Smith, Selma Blair, and Kathy Najimy.
Zooey Deschanel wrote that images of Lena modeling the collection were ‘so pretty,’ while Jewel wrote that she loves the clothes
The View’s Meghan McCain wrote: ‘@11Honore is one of my favorites and my go-to for so many of my wardrobe pieces. I am really excited for this new line of clothing @lenadunham!’
‘Lena Dunham creating a line of plus size clothing that is actually cool is the exact energy I’m looking for in 2021,’ tweeted another.
Some of the items also appear to be sold out in several sizes on the brand’s website.
But others are not impressed, calling the collection ‘basic’ and saying it is too expensive.
‘That clothing line is a joke. It’s super basic stuff that is already available in plus sizes – really, an oversized blazer and oversized tunic? – and for much, much cheaper. Most plus sized women are poor, but hey let’s sell a basic white tank top for 98 bucks,’ wrote one.
‘Damn not to be rude but these don’t look good,’ another said.
The nays: Many are not impressed, calling the collection ‘basic’ and saying it is too expensive while wondering why she has a line in the first place
‘The average person can’t afford those clothes so it seems like she’s making them for those privileged few. Shocking,’ wrote one more.
And some are furious that she designed the collection in the first place.
‘Lena Dunham is living proof of how many opportunities you get to bounce back if you are white, wealthy and connected,’ wrote one.
‘Literally full offense to lena dunham you’re one of the least fashionable people i’ve ever seen why would i want your clothing line,’ tweeted another.
‘White mediocrity persevering is Lena Dunham getting a clothing line when no one wants to dress like her,’ said a third.
One more added: ‘Not for nothing but lena dunham is consistently one of the worst-dressed people on the red carpet, and i trust her exactly zero to design cute clothes. call me when octavia spencer or chrissy metz gets a line.’