She’s got threadhead. Melissa Mercedes is a designer who’s climbed her way up the fashion ladder, recently spearheading a collection with Eloquii. (It was also the brand’s first line with sizes 30 and 32, so let’s cheers to that. 🥂)

We asked how she got behind the sewing machine and why she’s using her talents for the girls with curves.

You started your career as a school counselor, right? Why the career switch?
I spent 4 years working alongside youth as a counselor for Freeport Pride, a non-profit organization. I also prepared students for job interviews and conducted style tips on dressing for success. After spending time prepping numerous students for their big moments, I realized it was time to concentrate more on empowering people through fashion.

Fashion can be so hard to break into. How did you get your start?
I started by styling friends and family, then created a styling company Called RetroBohoChic. After styling for 2 years, I realized there was a lack of representation in dresses for women of all sizes. Once I had to make my own dress to attend the Latin Grammys in 2016, I realized something had to be done. That’s when Melissa Mercedes was born.

Why did you choose to focus on plus-size designs?
As a plus-sized woman who loves fashion, I’ve always had trouble finding clothing that suits both my body and my style. But since I’m a plus-size woman myself, it is easier for me to understand exactly what I’d like to wear and I understand what the community needs.

How did you stay true to the Eloquii brand while putting your own stamp on the line?
We merged the unapologetic sexiness of the Melissa Mercedes brand with the feminine polish of Eloquii. This collection was created to be the ultimate assortment for day-to-night party dressing.

Where do you get inspiration for your collections?
I put a lot of my own personality into this collaboration. I was inspired by my mother’s favorite flower, and the hero print is a beautiful pattern with a feminine touch of soft greens, yellows, and pinks showcased in sophisticated yet sensual silhouettes.