When Lucas Zunz began running the e-commerce account at his previous company, Sachin & Babi, it didn’t occur to him that he would be tapping into a market often overlooked in the luxury fashion industry. As requests poured in from customers looking for high-end designs in sizes 16 and up, he began to recognize that there was a clear need for change in the industry.
While his direct conversations with Sachin & Babi’s clients helped prompt the brand to successfully expand their sizing range, Zunz still felt that this gap in the market needed to be further filled. He began turning his focus to creating his own luxury label, founded on the principle of inclusivity.
Coyan launched last year, offering luxury evening wear in sizes ranging from 0–24, with a simple wear-to-any-occasion style. Though it may seem obvious in 2020 that a desire for luxury clothing in larger sizes exists, Zunz believes that misinformation and a lack of research have led other brands to jump to the conclusion that inclusive sizing and luxury fashion are mutually exclusive concepts. By conducting his own research into plus-size offerings, Zunz was able to identify how other brands have fallen short.
“There’s a big assumption that plus-size women don’t want to invest in designer pieces because it’s believed that they think they’ll lose weight or they somehow don’t feel worthy enough to invest in expensive pieces,” said Zunz. “That would mean that 60% of women in the US wouldn’t want to invest in luxury pieces, which is completely wrong.”
Zunz found that many luxury brands have continued to offer the majority of their clothing within standard sizing, while only creating “a small extended [plus-size] category or just adding some random plus-sized model without really putting any thought into it”. He also noticed that the selection available in larger sizes did not reflect current runway trends.
“Looking at the plus-size market, everything is either quite inexpensive or dated, has a lot of floral or the print is very loud and sometimes overly sexy,” said Zanz “I didn’t like how they were approaching it. We wanted something that was still feminine yet modest because that’s what the trend is right now, that’s how most women want to dress.”
This desire to move away from the more garish approach in plus-size styling inspired the brand’s name—“coyan” being an old French term for modesty.
“Body positivity doesn’t have to be just about showing skin,” said Zunz. “It’s about having options for every size. That’s why we liked the idea of modesty.”
Having dropped two small collections already, Zunz is excited to see how the brand will grow. He hopes to continue making more red carpet styles for celebrities, like This Is Us star, Chrissy Metz, who wore Coyan to this year’s Director’s Guild Awards. The brand has also partnered with Universal Standard to run pop-ups and trunk shows in the future.
However, like many other businesses, Coyan is not immune to the current Covid-19 crisis. The company has quickly created a solution to help alternatively serve customers for the time being. They’ve launched an at-home try-on program where clients will have a chance to try items free of charge. They will also offer personal styling calls over Zoom.
It’s no surprise that a brand like Coyan would continue a direct dialogue with its consumers during this time—after all, Zunz understands the power of listening to his audience.