Heidi Klum on her new clothing line and why no one wanted her to do fashion shows

Behind the scenes of Heidi Klum designing her Esmara collection with Lidl. (Photo: Courtesy of Esmara by Heidi Klum)

Heidi Klum has long been a familiar face in fashion, modeling for brands like Victoria’s Secret and appearing on shows like Germany’s Next Top Model and Project Runway. But for the first time ever, she’s the name behind a full-range clothing line, and she’s doing it in collaboration with German grocery store Lidl. The German beauty teamed up with the grocery chain in order to create Esmara by Heidi Klum: Heidi & the City, a collection that debuted at New York Fashion Week.

“Lidl approached me and asked if I wanted to design collections for them, and I was very surprised,” Klum tells Yahoo Style about the collaboration. “They wanted to break in to fashion, and I said, ‘To be honest, this is the most genius idea.’ To have one step less to do in your life as a woman is the most amazing thing.”

The line features bold prints that real women can wear. (Photo: Courtesy of Esmara by Heidi Klum)

Accessibility is key to the collection, which features 84 affordable pieces in Klum’s own fashionable corner of the supermarket. While she veered away from creating items that might be too “high fashion,” she was able to push boundaries with color and design, at a pace that real women can keep up with.

“I think to fantasize about all of these high, high, high fashion pieces … where is someone going to wear that?” she questioned. “When you are a woman who usually goes to black, to gray, to blue, and you’re kind of scared to buy something that’s a little outside of the box, you don’t really want to spend $300. If it’s 60 bucks, a head-to-toe look, I think a woman will actually experience something that is more fashionable than what she’s used to in her closet.”

The fashion-forward model and television personality was able to incorporate the latest trends in terms of prints, colors, and materials. However, by incorporating them into wardrobe staples such as hoodies, bomber jackets, jeans, and suits, she is able to appeal to a larger audience. The “wow” factor comes through with cobalt blue, leopard-print, and black-sequined pieces, which she is telling women are easier to wear than they might have assumed.

Klum acted as a stylist during the debut of the line, which took place in the form of an internationally streamed fashion show and presentation in a stylized supermarket in New York City, where she says it was most important to illustrate the collection’s ability to be mixed-and-matched.

Klum explains that her clothes are all about giving the “wow” factor to everyday women. (Photo: Courtesy of Esmara by Heidi Klum)

“I think a lot of girls go into their closet, where there’s a ton of stuff, but they’re like, ‘There’s nothing in here.’ But I think it’s because they also don’t necessarily know what goes with what,” Klum says. “You have to visualize it for them, because people have other things to do, and they’re not in the industry. That’s not their job; that’s my job to make it easier for them.”

From her travels and her work, Klum admits to the many places that she gathers inspiration. But the one place she homes in on for her designs is the street.

“It’s one thing when you see pieces walking down the runway, and then looking on the street to see what people are actually wearing. So, I think you have to always have an open eye. All of these things influence you, and that’s what eventually goes into the next collection.”

The model says that size inclusivity is something important to her, as she has been excluded from fashion herself because of it. From the earliest days of her career, Klum recalls there being “size issues” in the industry. Her belief is that this should have changed a long time ago.

“I tried to do fashion shows, but nobody wanted me because they considered me too big,” she says, “if you believe it or not. Because I had too much boob and my hips were too wide. They were always like, ‘You have child-birth-friendly hips, you don’t fit into anything.’ So it is nuts. Fashion is for everyone, you can’t exclude people due to their voluptuous size, or being shorter or taller. You can’t be like, ‘You don’t fit into the fashion world.’ That’s crazy.”

Klum continues to be inspired by real women in her life, including America’s Got Talent co-star Mel B — someone the model says would rock her line well.

The pieces will be available starting Sept. 21. (Photo: Courtesy of Esmara by Heidi Klum)

“She’s not scared of anything. She loves the glitz. She would probably put on the leopard pants with the sparkly jacket, for example, and a blue top. She’s very creative in putting things together,” Klum says. “I have to send her some stuff … she’s gonna be upset if I don’t give her anything.”

Each piece in the collection ranges in price from $6.99 to $29.99, apart from a real leather jacket retailing for $49.99. Esmara by Heidi Klum will be available at Lidl stores nationwide beginning Sept. 21.

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