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Canadian Model Lauren Chan on How Her New Clothing Line Redefines Luxury, Inclusivity and Style

Lauren Chan in Henning x US.<p>Henning x US</p>
Lauren Chan in Henning x US.

Henning x US

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Last April, 2023 SI Swimsuit rookie Lauren Chan, celebrated for her size-inclusivity advocacy, made headlines when the fashion powerhouse Universal Standard acquired her size-inclusive luxury fashion line, Henning.

Chan, who initially graced the world of fashion as a writer and editor, began her entrepreneurial journey in 2019, creating an exquisite line of luxury women’s wear. Her inspiration came from living in New York City and feeling somewhat excluded from the world of fashion and luxury due to the limited size options available at the time. The line’s goals were simple: To “make the world a better place for people who wore above size 12 in terms of products and how they were able to present themselves and be perceived,” and to “prove that plus-size fashion is a viable business,” explains Chan.

It’s safe to say Chan has already achieved both of her goals. The sale of Henning to Universal Standard marked the very first successful exit of an independent, female-founded plus-size brand, proving the viability of a business that Chan knew through lived experience to be in high demand. Today marks the release of the Henning x Universal Standard limited-edition collection that reimagines nine of Henning’s iconic and best-selling pieces, “improved with Universal Standard’s fit excellence, fabric library and customer reach,” explains Chan.

We sat down with Chan and Universal Standard’s chief design officer, Ramon Martin, who shared their insights on what makes this line so special, and the two shared their excitement over bringing this collaboration to the world.

Enhancing style and accessibility

This partnership not only extends the reach of Chan’s coveted style philosophy, but also broadens the size spectrum, ranging from 00 to 40. Embracing Universal Standard’s signature fit and design finesse, this line bridges the gap between size inclusivity, impeccable tailoring and chic design. One notable improvement to the line can be seen in the trench coat. The original beloved trench coat from Henning’s first line retailed for around $1,000 and was made of luxurious stretch wool from Japan.

“While it was luxurious and sumptuous, it was not weatherproof,” explains Chan. However, “with the abilities that Universal Standard has and given the size of their business, the trench is now made out of technical fabric and priced below $400.”

<span>Henning x US Park Soft Trench</span>, $228.<p>Henning x US</p>
Henning x US Park Soft Trench, $228.

Henning x US

A denim that is truly revolutionary

Another much-anticipated addition to the line is the single, never-before-seen piece: denim. While denim was prototyped when Henning was an independent business, it was never sold to consumers. This denim is a straight leg, light wash, made of 100% cotton, which we see a lot of in the market right now. What makes this denim special is the size range and impeccable tailoring. When Chan first started conceptualizing the pant, she notes the style simply did not exist in Henning’s original size range.

“Though it’s just a product, it tells a story and sends a clear message of who’s allowed to be in fashion and thereby who’s seen as valuable,” Chan says.

<span>Henning.x US Bedford Jeans</span>, $148.<p>Henning x US</p>
Henning.x US Bedford Jeans, $148.

Henning x US

The fit trick on the denim lies in a simple seam at the back of the leg that acts to keep the leg straight and maintain the integrity of the jean. Chan explains, “Typically as sizes progress, and this shape has been attempted on the market, what will happen is that because larger size denim is [often] made with such a high percentage of Lycra, the jean will pinch in at the knee and kick flare out essentially not hitting the mark on this trend.”

Martin explains the groundbreaking nature of the denim well, stating that when you begin to offer “a product that has never been available to [the majority of American shoppers], and what’s more, designed and fitted with them in mind, it’s quite a revolutionary step.” The Henning x US denim is also the very first denim pant that Universal Standard has ever offered.

Setting a new standard

Hearing Chan and Martin explain the line, there are so many pragmatic and careful decisions made that it might be tempting to assume the changes are too expensive for most others in the industry to copy.

“I like to take time to explain how these fit tricks are not rocket science nor are they incredibly expensive or difficult to bring to market. What is required to make things like this happen is someone with the lived experience of these issues and someone who cares enough to take the time to fix them,” states Chan.

<span>Henning x US Carlisle Crepe Dress, </span>$188<p>Henning x US</p>
Henning x US Carlisle Crepe Dress, $188

Henning x US

The collaboration could not be more of a match made in heaven. The attention to detail, to how women will feel in the clothing, and who it’s accessible to is unmatched. Universal Standard anchors their fit process at the median size of the American consumer, which is a size 18 (a size that most clothing lines don’t even reach). From there, explains Martin, they “grade out right down to the double zero up to the 40. And then fit across all sizes as well to ensure that there’s a fit consistency for the customer.”

In this dynamic merging of minds, Henning x Universal Standard redefine luxury, inclusivity and style, proving that when creativity and vision unite, the possibilities are boundless. “I have always believed in the power of a piece of clothing to dictate who we see as worthy of respect in this culture,” explains Chan. “And the fact that we can give folks across the most inclusive size range in the business the same experience can’t be understated.”

This line was truly made for the people who wear it. We can only hope that other retailers and manufacturers follow suit.

What’s Lauren’s favorite?

While it will be hard not to purchase all nine items, we needed to know which piece was Lauren’s favorite. She had a quick and easy answer: The State Jacket, a tuxedo blazer based on Henning’s Crosby jacket.

“I just can't wait to wear it. I’m gonna wear it fitted with the matching Mercer pant, with the denim and a white tank and a silver chain,” she says.

Shop the limited-edition Henning x US collaboration collection available from $168 to $398 at UniversalStandard.com.

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