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Meri By Design is ruffling some feathers as she joins ADEVEE Fashion in breaking down stereotypes around curve and inbetweenie fashion.

Meri By Design is ruffling some feathers as she joins ADEVEE Fashion in breaking down stereotypes around curve and inbetweenie fashion.

If you haven't already heard, ADEVEE Fashion has launched their eBoutique that's home to an array of designers that make clothes for curve and inbetweenie men and women. They're also launching the first ADEVEE Fashion Festival in Melbourne this October which aims to bridge the gap between fashion and size. 

To celebrate, we have interviewed designer Meri Berkopec from Meri By Design, who will be showcasing her collection down the festival's runway along with stocking her pieces on ADEVEE Fashion's online store. Read her exclusive interview with Fashion Weekly below. 

Here at Fashion Weekly, we’re massive fans of your label Meri By Design. Can you tell us about the moment you decided to follow your dreams and launch your label?

MB: I used to be a curvy size 12. My wardrobe was designer labels. Over the years I had a few miscarriages and my body changed to a plus size. I remember walking through MYER and realising that I was crossing over to the plus size department. I was extremely disappointed with what was on offer. It wasn’t the quality that I was accustomed to. Over the years, I’d either purchase off the rack, cut up the garment and re-design it however, in most cases, I would purchase fabric, go to a tailor and design my own pieces. I’d be stopped in the street all the time by people asking where I got my outfit from. Eventually, I hated the job I was in and decided to start up a label and here I am 4.5 years later.

Which style seems to be the cult classic every season that your customer can’t get enough of?

MB: The Audrey dress! They love the Audrey dress because it slips on and gives you instant and effortless style no mater what size you are. It’s my go to dress for everything. I recently had a birthday event and I designed a beautiful dress however, it didn’t arrive on time from my overseas manufacturer. I then had a week or so left so I designed another two dresses and had them made locally but they weren’t completed to my standard so I was left with no alternative but to fall back on the good old favourite, Audrey dress. Luckily, I hadn’t worn the green style yet, so I wore it with fur and it did the job.

Since starting your label, you’ve focused on ‘luxury sophistication, complementary silhouettes, lush fabrics, fine detailing, effortless silhouettes and trans-seasonal collections.’ Why is this important to you?

MB: Because I couldn’t find it out there in the market place. I like to go out with friends who are tiny and I like to dress well and I like to feel amazing when I go out. I like an outfit to make me feel confident and stylish. The feedback I get from customers is that when they put on my clothes, they feel so empowered that they can do anything. That’s why it is important to me. It is about making women feel good about themselves and it’s about making them feel empowered and special. I want women who wear my clothes to stand tall and be proud of who they are.

Meri By Design is ruffling some feathers as she joins ADEVEE Fashion in breaking down stereotypes around curve and inbetweenie fashion.

The hype is starting to build around Adevee Fashion Festival as ticket purchases are getting snapped up quickly. Can you tell us why it’s important for your label, Meri By Design to be showcased at an event such as this?

MB: I like to support the curvy community in any which way I can. I love the curvy community. I was briefly hijacked into the ‘regular size’ fashion design community and it was the worst business experience of my life. I was working with people who were embarrassed to be associated with the curvy plus size community even though they were plus size themselves. It gave me an insight into how degrading some people can be. However, I am grateful to have experienced this because it has made me even more determined to work with companies like Adevee Fashion who are making a difference. There is enough room in the market place for all the curvy designers and it’s beautiful to see how we all support and admire each other’s work. I hope this continues.

What’s your favourite thing about being a fashion designer?

MB: Watching the models come out in my designs and say, ‘Wow’. Or the other thing I love is when I watch a woman completely transform her look from drab to sophistication when she’s wearing my designs. I also love it when someone takes the time to email us and tell us of their great experience in wearing our designs and how amazing they feel. It makes it all worthwhile. I love to see my customers look amazing. I feel responsible.

Why do you think so many people love Meri By Design?

MB: I would like to think it is because they love the designs, the feel of the fabric and how amazing they feel when they wear my designs. I know from the feedback that it is because it makes them feel instantly stylish and confident.

In a few words, how would you describe your new collection that will be showcased at Adevee Fashion Festival?

MB: Success in the city. I’ve designed it around my recent trip to New York. I included pieces I’d wear to work in New York that could transform to evening drinks on the rooftop bar. From desk, to drinks, to dinner. It’s all about lifestyle. I don’t really have any rules for my collection, however, there’s always a little boho thrown into the collection because I am a Sydney girl who loves the boating and beach lifestyle and of course, the Sunday BBQs.

Meri By Design is ruffling some feathers as she joins ADEVEE Fashion in breaking down stereotypes around curve and inbetweenie fashion.

Meri By Design is now shoppable at Adevee Fashion’s eBoutique. Why did you decide to join forces with them and why is this a positive alignment for your label?

MB: Adevee Fashion have a glamorous style to them with a little edge and that fits in nicely with our label. I have turned my back on many boutiques and online stores because it is important to align ourselves with [a brand] who is our style. You can’t be desperate and be everywhere. It becomes too mishmash and it cheapens the brand. We have the power and control over our label and I intend to keep it that way. Many stores and boutiques have employees that keep buying more and more of what we don’t want! I don’t like disposable fashion that feels like plastic or steel wool when you wear it. Adevee Fashion supports our direction and we support Adevee Fashion!

Why should we be shining the spotlight and breaking down stereotypes surrounding curve and inbetweenie fashion?

MB: Curvy women are natural and beautiful - you just have to look at the Bella Models. We are not promoting women to eat pizza and Tim Tams everyday and wear mini skirts when it isn’t flattering. We need fashion that is both flattering and of quality design because the market needs it. We encourage women to step up their game and dress in fashion that works with their figure and lifestyle. Too many women who are curvy settle for 3/4 stretch pants and a tee or tights and a tee. It’s time to step it up ladies. It will change the way they feel about themselves and about how they are perceived.

In your own words, why should our readers buy tickets to Adevee Fashion Festival?

MB: It will be a positive experience. I believe the customers can relate to the models and it will be an opportunity to see what’s available to them outside of their norm. I’d be excited.

What does the future hold for Meri By Design?

MB: Who knows! I want to do everything. I’d love to expand the label to lounge wear, work wear, evening and underwear. A global success story from Sydney. How’s that for ambition! 

To find out more about the ADEVEE Fashion Festival head to their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. To peruse Meri By Design’s latest collection visit www.meri.com.au and stay in the loop via Facebook and Instagram.

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