CURVES IN STORE
by valery amador
What a pleasure it was sitting down for a virtual chat with Robin Schneider, the Chief Designer / Merchandiser for the new Zaftique (www.Zaftique.com). I admire this Diva -- her background, passion and devotion has made her role at Zaftique unique in that she has “Walked-the-walk.” Robin is not just a plus size designer, but a curvy woman who understands first-hand the challenges of fit, fashion and style for the fuller figure.
Valery: Tell us a bit about the history of Zaftique.
Robin: Zaftique was started 4 years ago to feature the creations of a collective of plus size fashion designers and suppliers. Although it attempted to fill a niche in the plus size market, it lacked any design focus or direction so in the end it didn’t quite hit the mark. About a year ago, Zaftique came under new ownership and a great new direction. We’re now focused on style, comfort and enhancing the body shape, rather than just covering it. Zaftique’s new business objectives, combined with the newly redesigned website and its new focus on providing the most comfortable and sophisticated fashions for today’s fuller figures has breathed fresh new life into the plus size fashion industry.
Handkerchief Baby Doll Top
Valery: Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do at Zaftique and how you got started in this business.
Robin: I’m the chief designer at Zaftique where I have the incredible opportunity to realize my design concepts as a proud part of Zaftique’s incredible design team. My background is theatrical design and production; but after many years working in the entertainment industry I finally decided to follow my own passion, which is fashion design. Years of shopping frustration led me to the conclusion that sexy, sophisticated and stylish apparel was never going to be made in my size if left up to the current fashion industry’s direction. So I went back to school and learned pattern making, draping, design and how the fashion industry operates. The main thing I learned was few instructors knew how to design for a plus size body, and most of them didn’t think it was worth teaching.
The general consensus was that fashion was only for the skinny. So I dragged in my own dress form, padded her out to a size 18 and got down to work. It wasn’t easy to change perceptions, but ultimately I learned what I needed to know. To date my custom curvy dress form is one of the most popular forms in the design studio. I am proud to have been the first student to design for plus sized models in the annual fashion show. Hence my fashion design career started.
Pleated Hem Skirt
Valery: What does it take to create a new line? How many people are involved in the process?
Robin: The Zaftique design team consists of 5 Designers, 5 Patternmakers, and 8 samplemakers. Initially we focused on recreating our basic form so that we can produce a superior fit for fuller figures. We follow trends in “straight” fashions and concentrate on interpreting them in a way that will truly flatter a curvy body. The important thing is to be aware of proportions and It is a team effort to get it right. Not only do we want to create great styles but we want them to look and feel great on any curvy figure.
Valery: How have you been focusing on fit for the curvy figure? How does this differ from "Straight" fit issues?
Robin: In the past, plus size clothing expanded in all directions as it was graded bigger from a much smaller size. The reality is that we don’t get taller just wider and the clothing needs to reflect that for a proper fit. At Zaftique we focus on full bust lines, hips and waists and avoid enlarging the areas that do not expand. A “straight” woman can wear anything but a curvy woman needs a garment designed especially to fit her unique proportions. We spend a great deal of time determining those curvy proportions and then create garments to flatter and enhance them.
Valery: We love the new layout of the www.Zaftique.com website! Tell us a bit about how the redesign came about.
Robin: The old look of Zaftique just didn’t fit with our new direction. In the past year we have transformed the dated and casual look of the site into a more sophisticated and user friendly format. We focused on easy navigation, intuitive category breakdowns and clear concise garment descriptions to better inform our customers. Since our new styles and models are worthy of the pages of any fashion magazine, we wanted the look of our site to reflect that.
Valery: Okay, and besides the website, we love your new web cover model! Who is she and how was she chosen for this coveted position.
Robin: Her name is Jamie and we loved her vintage glam look. She was the perfect choice for our retro-Valentine pinup photo shoot. She even showed up with her own pair of pink marabou slippers! Talk about a true curvy diva.
Jamie in the Zaftique
Velvet Diva Dress-Merlot
Valery: What advice can you give to women who are interested in modeling for Zaftique?
Robin: We are always looking to for new models to represent our diverse customer base. Ultimately we would like all of our customers to find a Zaftique model that they can identify with. Our future photo shoots will feature a variety of new models with many different looks and ethnicities. We look for beautiful curvy divas with a positive body image and a sense of personal style.
Valery: What can we look forward to in the near future with Zaftique?
Robin: New styles are going up on the site every day, including additions to our intimate collection, great dresses, our signature line of denim and lots of stretch lace. Our current focus is on body types and how to best dress them. We have developed a system called Z-fit so you can easily find the styles that will most flatter your figure. Once you have determined your body shape you can select your wardrobe by finding the styles designed to fit your specific body type. This will ultimately lead to better fit and great looking style. Great things are in the works at Zaftique so bookmark us and visit often.
Thanks Robin! Now, visit www.Zaftique.com and experience for yourself the stylish fashions designed to hug your luscious curves. Also, take advantage of this exclusive Venus Diva offer! Visit www.Zaftique.com and receive Free shipping on orders over $50.00. Use code FSDiva50 at checkout. Offer valid until 5/31/05.
about valery amador
Valery is the creator of The Venus Divas and the co-founder & CEO of Venus Imaging Education, LLC. She is a former plus size model, actress and director and has over 20 years experience in teaching and coaching children and adults in the areas of modeling, acting, self-esteem and communication.