By Leona Palmer
We are so excited to share with you the talent behind the items we feature on Madison Plus Select.We have started this series with designer Eden Miller, the owner of Cabiria. Her focus on fit and fabrication is unique and she has an amazing eye for prints. Cabiria is the result of the most successful plus sized focus Kickstarter campaign and how we found out about Eden, we love having her a part of Madison Plus Select and highly recommend you give her designs a try. Eden Miller (right) was raised in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas. She was 8 when she began designing clothes, saying “My hands knew what to do, though learning things like how the eye travels around the body or proper zipper placement came much later.” Learning to sew first from the residents of a nursing home where she worked, and then honing her craft at a costume and pageant dressmaking shop, this woman has some old-school, professional skills. At 17 years old she brought her love of vintage theatre and cinema fashion, as well as the DC hardcore punk scene to the Pratt Institute in NYC and formalized her self-described “ad hoc style sensibilities”.
Designing for plus women is at the heart of what Eden is passionate about, in the most personal way. Describing how she had always wanted the beautiful high end clothing in plus sizes and being repeatedly let down by what was available–clothes mostly appropriate for a considerably older clientele—she recounted a vivid memory of being thrown out of a department store. “When I asked where the sexy plus size clothing was, I was shown a sweatshirt with a duck and picket fence on it. I freaked and security hauled me out. That’s when I decided to start my own company.”
And so Cabiria was born. Recently the most successful plus fashion campaign ever on Kickstarter, Cabiria is “inspired by Italian mid-century cinema, especially the circus themes of Federico Fellini, and whimsical French 1930′s era fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli,” but Eden also named the classic designers Walter Plunkett and Robert Kalloch as well as contemporaries like Marc Jacobs, Erdem, L’Wren Scott and Prabal Gurung. “I’m a huge fan of pattern on pattern madness. I guess ‘safe’ isn’t really in my design vocabulary.” Indeed, her dresses are a stunning hybrid of old and new. Classic, sexy silhouettes in bold prints and patterns cut from high quality fabrics and completed with flawless tailoring. “I’ve spent a long time developing ways for these pieces to fit the body, accentuate the wonderful things about plus bodies, and move beautifully. And they are built really well out of fine fabrics, so you don’t feel dressed for the wrong occasion, ever.”
Eden recognizes that there is more understanding now in the market place of who the plus customer is and what she wants, especially due to the internet, but Eden wants to challenge the restrictions even further. Those old rules of what to wear and how to wear it that reflected a woman “educated to be ashamed of her body….Where the message is ‘No one wants to look at you’” are rules to be thrown out. Describing herself as an old school feminist, there is a strong will to break down the box that plus fashion has lived in. She wants her women to know what they deserve and what they are worth–including higher quality, beautiful clothing. Not just rare investment pieces and not cheap goods with a high price tag. Confident in her unique aesthetic and abilities, she wants to see more competition: more plus designers offering more high end clothing, more square footage in department stores, an “egalitarianism of choice” in all styles for plus women. She ended our interview with the heart-felt desire to walk down the street telling other plus ladies, “YOU’RE pretty! YOU’RE pretty! YOU’RE pretty!” Eden feels her calling is to make plus women own their beauty and to dress them in a way that shows it off. She has already begun doing exactly that.
How do you want women to feel when they’re wearing your clothes?
Luxurious. Sensual. Frivolous. Confident. Worthy. Beautiful. Strong.
What’s your style mantra?
Own it. Rock it. You determine what makes you feel amazing, not any rule.
Three must-have travel necessities?
Moisturizer, water, and a big shawl! I travel all over the world, and planes can dry out your skin. I’ll use everything from Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee to Dr. Hauschka’s Sea Buckthorn Night Cream to plain olive oil in a pinch. Water is self explanatory, and the shawl makes a great extra layer between you and the cold, a protection from the sun or prying eyes, and in a pinch, a simple pillow.
New York or L.A.?
I refuse to choose. I like apples AND oranges!
The one book you’d want on a desert island?
“How to Survive on a Desert Island and Get Rescued Quickly”
If you could have any super power what would it be?
I think flying, floating, or breathing underwater would be really cool. But being able to clean things like water sources or oil spills by touching them would be like a Midas touch with practical application and good real life consequences. My brain is way too logical sometimes.
Why are you excited to be working with Madison Plus Select?
First of all, I love the resource itself. I love that Aimee and her team are really devoted to finding the best plus size independent designers out there and fostering them, introducing them to new potential customers, and growing the support base for new designers to launch. She’s doing important things! Also, her implementation is GORGEOUS! Madison Plus Select chooses fantastic models and photographers, and everything looks high end and well thought out. I am so pleased to be part of such a professional, beautiful business.(It’s mutual, we are so pleased to have Eden and Cabiria be a part of our business too!)