To actress and comedian Amy Schumer, fashion is no laughing matter.
Schumer, along with Leesa Evans, a celebrity stylist and costume designer, will launch Le Cloud, a ready-to-wear collection of wardrobe essentials for women of all shapes and sizes at Saks Off 5th on Dec. 13.
But why is the 37-year-old comic breaking into fashion?
“My instinct is to be authentic and to empower women of all ages and sizes to do the same. We are making beautiful, comfortable and wearable clothing that is accessible to real women. A Le Cloud customer will feel confident and powerful when wearing these pieces. We take our product seriously, but not ourselves,” Schumer said.
The collection includes rtw separates such as tops, pants, skirts, a jumpsuit and outerwear. Fabrics, which are designed to feel “as light as a cloud,” run the gamut from crepe and French terry to satin and scuba. The clothing is offered in a classic palette that includes navy, camel, hunter charcoal and black, which transitions from day to night. Sizes range from XS to XXL, which equates to 0-20, and retail prices go from $38 to $248.
Le Cloud will be available exclusively online and in-store at Saks Off 5th’s 57th Street flagship in New York and the Beverly Connection location in Los Angeles. The first line has 23 items.
Schumer credited Evans with changing the way the comedian feels about herself and her body. In fact, before she met Evans, Schumer admitted that she must have had at least 100 fittings, and they were always a little painful.
“People are so used to fitting way smaller actresses or models,” Schumer said in a telephone interview. “If I were doing a photo shoot for a magazine or a fitting for a role I was playing, the clothes didn’t look right or fit right. I was made to feel like my body was wrong. I was so reticent about my fitting with Leesa, and she just approached it in such a different way.”
Schumer met Evans on the set of “Train Wreck,” where she was the costume designer and tried to get to know Schumer and the role she was playing and what she felt good in. Eventually, Evans became Schumer’s personal stylist.
“She [Evans] taught me about proportions, and she taught me that I could feel comfortable in something other than sweatpants. The tools that she gave me for feeling comfortable and feeling that I could reach my full potential, and I was more worthy to be out in the world in an outfit. I wanted to pass that on to every woman. That is my truest, deepest reason I wanted to do this. And wanting it to be affordable and comfortable and look great,” she said.
Evans has designed costumes for such other movies as “Bridesmaids,” “Neighbors,” “22 Jump Street,” “Get Him to the Greek,” “I Love You, Man” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
“When designing Le Cloud we approached each style with the goal of creating shapes that make women feel good about themselves, so their unique personalities can shine through. When you find those silhouettes, they become your daily uniform. It’s both an emotional and positive connection to clothing that we’re trying to create through our brand,” Evans said.
The collaboration also has a philanthropic thrust.
Thirty percent of net proceeds from the sales of the collection will be donated to Community Partners, a not-for-profit organization in support of the Stylefund project, the partners’ program they founded in 2017 that aims to empower women to use clothing to increase their confidence and their success. Schumer explained that Stylefund was developed from her wanting to give the tools that she learned from Evans to as many people as possible, especially women reentering the workforce or those who have been in the military or incarcerated, “or women who like me that don’t know how to dress for their body types and how to feel good about it.”
Tom Ott, chief merchant at Saks Off 5th, said, “This is a first-of-its-kind partnership for us at Saks Off 5th and the essence of what Amy and Leesa are working to accomplish through Le Cloud is something we’re proud to support. We feel confident about adding Le Cloud to our fashion offering, knowing there is a desire among shoppers for more inclusive and stylish apparel.”
Right now, they’re doing their first season exclusively at Saks Off 5th, but the partners hope to expand the concept down the road and sell to other stores.
They decided to launch with an off-price retailer to keep the prices affordable.
“We didn’t want it to feel exclusive to just people who are making 100 grand a year or over. We made the prices as reasonable as possible, without sacrificing the quality. I think it sends a good message. All my friends are nurses and teachers and mothers. They’re not buying the newest designer stuff. I wanted it to be affordable to people in my actual life,” Schumer said.
Saks Off 5th, which is handling all the manufacturing and logistics, is producing the line overseas.
Schumer said she has road tested many of the looks already.
“What I notice is, I’m lucky enough to have a lot of the pieces in my own closet. I’m constantly on the road traveling, and I notice that I’m filling my little suitcase all with our own clothes. That’s the best sign. We have the softest cashmere sweaters, really flattering. If you’re having a day you’re feeling a little bloated, you’ll still look your best. That’s what’s so cool about it. My sister and I always joke around about people saying ‘day to night,’ but this is stuff that I could wear on stage at a big show and literally sleep in. It’s that comfortable — everything to the coat to our poncho, everything is soft to the touch, and it’s great for work or going out,” said Schumer, who is pregnant with her first child and due this spring.
The collection doesn’t include maternity clothes, but there are looks Schumer can wear now. “It’s not supposed to be maternity. A lot of the cuts of the clothing really allow for those big belly days. And if you’re a curvy girl like me, it’s all about the proportions. A lot of hugging in just a little below the bra line. I can still wear a lot of it even though it wasn’t designed to be a maternity line,” she said.
Schumer said she’s always conscious about how her clothing feels when she’s on stage.
“Our whole philosophy and what Leesa taught me, as a woman, if you’re uncomfortable or insecure about any part of your outfit, if you’re tugging on that shirt to keep it down, or making sure it’s not too low cut, then you’re not able to really live to your full potential. Leesa always makes sure it’s the person that you notice. While these clothes are beautiful and we’re so proud of them, we think that people will really notice the woman wearing them. That’s something that we really keep in mind,” Schumer said.
Throughout the process, Evans said she learned more from Schumer than Schumer probably learned from her.
“It’s been so much fun to do this with Amy. You’d think there would be more of a learning curve about the design process. The learning curve is about learning what the everyday woman really needs in their life. If anything, Amy has influenced me 10 times more than I could have ever influenced her,” Evans said.
Schumer acknowledged that putting outfits together has never been her forte.
“Getting dressed has always been really stressful for me. I never had that thing where I knew how to put together a good outfit that I felt great in. I was more apt to take myself out of the equation and dress way down so that people knew I wasn’t even trying,” she admitted.
The models they are using are their friends who are teachers, waitresses and nurses, and Schumer said she plans to promote the line personally. “We definitely will promote it. I will personally be out there getting the word out. Whenever my schedule and my pregnancy allows, I’ll be in people’s dressing rooms with them,” Schumer said.
In addition to her pregnancy, Schumer is keeping busy with multiple projects. “You would think that’s enough, right? I think that’s enough,” she said about her pregnancy. She said she’s currently on tour and is about to film a TV special. She’s also about to announce several films she has lined up and a new TV series.
But designing a fashion collection ranks right up there.