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Meet North Hollywood Fashion Designer: Theary Sim

Today we’d like to introduce you to Theary Sim.

Theary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As an overweight, I had a hard time finding clothing that I could be proud to wear. At the age of 12, I started to recreate clothing and making it styled to my preference. I didn’t know I would become a fashion designer until I was discovered at 14 as a model. I didn’t quite understand the plus size industry at the time but I was open to seeing how I could help, plus I loved fashion. After, having the opportunity to model with the top retail stores, I knew then that I wanted to become a fashion designer. I hated the clothes they put me in, I did a lot of research and would speak to everyone on set to gain the knowledge and relationships that would help me jump start my career in fashion design. In 2012, I launched Youtheary Khmer. A woman contemporary clothing brand for woman sizes 12-24.

Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road these past 4 years, however, this first year I launched my brand it took off. I wasn’t in the fashion industry, outside of modeling I worked in the mortgage industry right out of college. The market crashed and so did my position at my job. I’ve been working on my e-commerce at that point for 3 months and it was nowhere near ready to go live, but on June 1st, 2012 I was having a bad day at work and I went on Facebook and posted my website, and asked everyone to give me feedback so I can make my site better. When I got back from my lunch break, I was fired from my job. With no options as to how I was going to pay my bills, I went home to apply for jobs. I checked my emails that evening and there were 217 emails from my website. It wasn’t feedback, it was sales. In 7 hours, my entire website sold out. That’s when I knew that my purpose was not in the hands of the housing market but in my own hands. The first year, I gained a great deal of support. I opened a showroom and office building. Youtheary Khmer was placed in 32 specialty stores in the US and 7 international.ly and was growing. In 2014, the demand for plus size awareness grew. Major brands were offering plus size options, independent designers tripled and that lead to more options for customers. Which ultimately lead to the decrease in sales for Youtheary Khmer. Customers were able to get simpler styles for less at large retail chain stores, which were putting independent designers out of business. Some large retailers even were copying independent designer’s designs and selling them for less the following season. The struggles to stay in business was very difficult and still is.

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
I’m excited for what’s to come. In 2017, I plan on making a specialty collection that will have one of a kind gowns that are limited. I hope to expand Youtheary Khmer to have both ready to wear and specialty gowns in the near future. Moving forward I would love to create an extended brand that carries both straight and plus sizes.

Let’s go backward a bit – can you tell us about the most trying time in your career?
That has been some transformational times in my life that has affected my career. After the passing of my father when I was 17, I had a hard time adjusting. He was my rock and the only person that supported my decisions. 6 months later, I had to attend college. I received 12 full academic scholarships and I choose one university and just tried it out. I realized that life is too short to just to go through the motions. So I dropped out of school, left my full ride behind and moved across the country. My family did not support my decision. They did not believe fashion design was a career, they did not believe modeling was a job and they did not like that I was promoting obesity by being plus sized and making clothes for other plus sized people. Growing up Asian American, how you looked, how much luxury items you own and what career you have is what determines your success. Because I wasn’t fair skinned, petite and a doctor. I was a disappointment to my family. So I moved across the country to a place that didn’t judge you for being different. I finished up school with a dual masters degree in Fashion Design and Business Marketing and $120,000 in student loans lol. It’s not funny but it actually is. Sometimes, living is more important than being debt free. I was able to really learn about myself and what I wanted out of life. I didn’t have a mentor, a rich last name or a great connect. I just worked hard. Hard enough until someone else believed in my dream. I started from ground zero and made my way to a place where I can share my passion with women all over the world. Where I took a thought in my mind and now, people I have never met are tagging me their social media pages saying how much they love my designs. Regardless of the lack of support, I knew that I was created to be great. And I am supposed to share my story so I can effect someone else’s life and encourage others to do the same.

What about “Wow-moments” – any moments that stick out? Any moments when you felt like you had made it?
I guess every moment has felt like a wow moment. Every day you hear about people wanting to be their own boss and wanting to live their dreams. I never really thought of it that way. I just always loved fashion. And I realized it came naturally to me, not so much as a career but a lifestyle. I didn’t fit trendy clothes as a teenager, I wanted to fit in like any other kid. I wasn’t trying to be different or stand out. I just wanted to be like everyone else. But, no matter what I did I wasn’t the same. I realized that people were looking at me because I really was different. And it didn’t matter what I did to try to fit in, I was going to be different. Once, I realized that people were more interested in my differences is when I knew that I was special. So when it comes down to it, it’s not about the clothes, it’s about helping others understand their talents and show them that if you truly follow your passion that it will be completely fulfilling and you will discover your purpose. Clothing has allowed me to share my gift. And even if I did not make a dime, I would still be doing this because this is my way of changing the world.

Pricing:

  • Our price points start from $39.00 – $198.00
  • Special and custom start from $148.00-$289.00

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.youthearykhmer.com
  • Phone: 404.884.8006
  • Email: info@youthearykhmer.com
  • Instagram: Youthearykhmer
  • Facebook: Youtheary Khmer

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Image Credit:
Beach Credits:
Photographer- Nichole Alex
Hair- Veda Nelms
MUA- Stephanie Loise
Model- Kelsey Olson
Stylist- Rae Bryant
Clothing- Youtheary Khmer
Studio Credits:
Photographer – Nichole Alex
Assistant Designer – Rae Bryant
Wardrobe Stylist – Jaq Gibson
Assistant Wardrobe Stylist – Dinae Nugent
Make Up Artist – Nesha Harris
Hair Stylists – Veda Nelms & Velvet Nelms
Model – Kai Morae
Model – Corbin Hunter
Model – Gabriela Aguilar
Clothing – Youtheary Khmer

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