By Kenya Vaughn Of the St. Louis American
“Two years ago BET’S Rip The Runway said, ‘Oh, we heard that you make plus-sized clothes’ - and, honestly, I didn’t,” said fashion designer and St. Louis native Qristyl Frazier.
“I put that show together in 12 days, and it was a knockout. I came up with 10 pieces. We really just made it happen.”
It was baptism by fire that ultimately put Frazier on the map for making clothes for the ladies with a little something extra. After successfully staging her second appearance on Rip the Runway two months ago, she has obviously stumbled into something she loves and has a knack for. And based on the 150 emails she received in an hour the day after Rip the Runway 2008, there is a desire and need for her work on behalf of what she calls “Plus Sexy” women.
“The next day after the first Rip The Runway, I had over 150,000 hits on my website and everybody wanted to look at my stuff and take orders,” Frazier said. “It has taken me two years to get to that point.”
With her online boutique at www.qristylfrazierdesigns.com, ladies can have a virtual shopping experience with items for sale and quick tips on how to create an ensemble using a Qristyl Frazier design.
The bold colors that range from coral to lemon drop on her form-fitting tops, bottoms and dresses are the antithesis of the straight-up-and-down, oversized black uniforms that tend to make up the women’s world departments at most clothing stores.
“You’re not going to see these kind of clothes in the store, and that’s why there’s a market for me to slide in there,” Frazier said.
“I want the ladies to say, ‘My smaller fashionista sisters have clothes, but guess what. I can go on Qristyl Frazier Designs and see that she has some clothes for me and my body.’”
Frazier has used her own experiences with being top-heavy as inspiration for her designs.
Her career in fashion began with an overcrowded home economics class. Because there was no room, she had a choice between sewing and typing. That decision carried her from a youth in Laclede Town to Columbia, Mo., where she received a degree in Fashion Design from Stevens College, to New York City, where she is currently on the grind for Qristyl Frazier Designs.
“I put myself through school by sewing for other people,” Frazier said. “And over the years I learned how to sew for different body types.”
It was her ability to make clothes fit any form that ultimately led to Frazier’s relationship with BET.
Even after seeing her name on TV and having her inbox flooded with requests for more information about who she is and how she does what she does, Frazier admits her business has some serious growing to do.
“I can’t design everything that I want to design because I don’t have the money,” Frazier said.
“I want all women to have nice clothes, so I really need capital. I’m not an Ashley Stewart or Lane Bryant who can cut hundreds of thousands of units and ship all over the world and afford to do a $59 top or skirt.”
But Frazier is working on branding herself as the ultimate label for the Plus Sexy Woman.
While she promotes healthy living, Frazier was quick to point out the need for designs that are inclusive of all sizes.
“We all have a couple pounds to lose, but you still have to wear clothes now,” Frazier said.
“You may have to lose 40 or 50 pounds or more down the road, but you still need clothes that you can look and feel nice in today.”
For more information about Qristyl Frazier or to purchase an item from her “Plus Sexy” line, visit http://www.qristylfrazierdesigns.com/.
“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.”