Dallas women may be known for their fashion sense, but the fashion industry here isn't nearly as robust as New York or Los Angeles. But New York-based upstart Dia&Co, a personal subscription styling service for women sizes 14 and up, is looking to help change that as it opens its second branch here in Dallas.
One of the women at the helm of the launch is Texas native Elle Monus, who is director of styling for Dia&Co. “There is such a high demand here for plus size fashion and there is no one here serving the community," she says. "Being one of the first ones to step in and make that happen is incredibly important."
Monus knows all too well the difficulties women and girls who wear plus sizes face when shopping for fashionable pieces that match their personal style. Monus says she didn't have many options when she was growing up in East Texas. The lack of options, plus the fact that Monus was raised by a single dad, meant that Monus didn't start exploring fashion as a mode of self-expression until she became an adult.
“Bless his heart, he did the best he could, but single dads aren’t really the fashion experts so I had to grow into my own, and Dia&Co was a huge part of that," she says. "I was one of their very first costumers two years ago."
She was one of Dia&Co’s beta clients, and co-founder Nadia Boujarwah styled Monus' boxes herself. Back then, Monus was working at a law firm and running a fashion blog in her free time for fun. Monus went from beta costumer to brand ambassador, all while providing valuable feedback to the Dia&Co team.
Monus didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to join Dia&Co as director of styling at the new Dallas branch presented itself. “I said, 'I’ll quit my job tomorrow,' because it was something I was so passionate about," she says. "I knew it was the right choice and I have not looked back since."
Monus says she was attracted to the company’s community-oriented approach to business and fashion, and also identified with the company’s mission to “spark radical self-love through style.”
“What you put on your body everyday shows the world who you want to be, and I think that being able to give women the tools to do that is super empowering for us and for them,” says Monus.
Unlike other subscription services, Dia&Co doesn’t send boxes containing the same pieces to all its clients on a monthly basis. The process is much more personal. To start, costumers fill out an online profile that helps their assigned stylist get to know their style and fashion needs.
The stylist hand picks five items just for them. Once the costumer receives the box, they can keep what they like and return what they don’t. Costumers can receive boxes as frequently or infrequently as they want depending on their personal needs.
“We aren’t just throwing clothes in a box," says Monus. "We really take the time to get to know our customer. We build a rapport. We build a relationship."
In line with their company mission, Dia&Co seeks to foster existing customer relationships and help grow the plus size fashion community in Dallas by teaming up with local influencers like Dallas fashion blogger Natalie Hage of “Natalie Means Nice” and sponsoring events, such as this weekend’s “The Curvy Industry Experience,” an event created by Dallas stylist and boutique owner Kristen Mushatt for those looking to network and learn about the plus size industry.
“Women here are fashion forward," says Monus. "They are ready to bring that part of their lives into the light I think and there just aren’t very many options."
The company hopes to be involved in more events in the future and may eventually start putting on events of their own. “We are looking to make Dallas our biggest hub outside of New York, so the potential is great,” says Monus.
To subscribe to Dia & Co., visit their website here.