Winning Your Wardrobe

Raleigh designer Anna Cate Fleming of Anna Cate Collection
Raleigh designer Anna Cate Fleming of Anna Cate Collection

Picture your wardrobe. How much of it do you wear on rotation and how much mostly just hangs?

Studies show that, on average, most of us have closets comprised of 20 percent “go-to” pieces that we wear on a day-to-day basis, while the rest is just extra. It’s that extra that Raleigh designer Anna Cate Fleming wants to transform into the everyday, and her brand, Anna Cate Collection, embraces the challenge of creating those precise go-to clothes. 

“I want the clothes to be worn year-round, it doesn’t have to be season-specific,” Fleming says of her clothing line. “We try to encourage sustainability in the wardrobe.”

Anna Cate Collection launched a little over two years ago via wholesale, meaning Fleming sold to different stores around North Carolina to begin with. Now, her clothes are for sale online and in 300 stores along the East Coast and across the Midwest. 

Fleming’s body-positive clothes are designed to look good on all different shapes and sizes but the brand didn’t start out that way. When Fleming first started dabbling in designing clothes, she took art that she created and incorporated it into clothes her husband would wear, planning eventually to use her artwork to create a menswear line. But Fleming realized quickly that she knew much more about women’s clothes and decided to start a women’s line instead, with the help of her sister, Holly Dickens Boyd, who is a Raleigh fashion blogger. 

When her collection initially launched, Fleming noticed that when people of all sizes tried on her clothes, they usually had a comment to make about how their body looked. This inspired her to make timeless pieces that spoke to a combination of silhouettes and made all women feel confident wearing the clothes. 

“We want to cater to the girl who doesn’t love how her arms look all the time, but wants to feel attractive in the clothes,” Fleming says. “We want it to be easy and timeless but still current. We want it to be a staple.” 

Now, the brand is focused on solid-colored pieces to be worn more often. Instead of artsy prints and patterns as the muse, Fleming uses sculptures and shapes to influence her clothing designs. For each piece, she uses similar fabrics that are soft, weighty and can be molded and crafted to the shape that Fleming envisions as she updates her styles season by season. 

The past month has been Fleming’s most successful so far in terms of online sales and wholesale and Fleming has even brought back a popular piece—the Mackenzie dress—that was a long-standing best-seller and had been discontinued. The Nina top is another best-seller, and one that Fleming says every woman should have in her closet. 

“The little celebratory moments that keep happening are the most rewarding and humbling in this process,” Fleming says. “We’ve gotten good feedback from across the country and now I feel like we finally understand what our girl wants, what our niche is and what products are going to keep being successful.” 

Follow Anna Cate Collection on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest and shop at annacatecollection.com.