Our friend Tessa started this amazing apparel line last year that is very much in line with the heart behind our own brand. We asked her to write a Real Talk post about the motivation behind starting her company, her observations from working in the fashion industry, and her own personal experiences in motherhood.
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I've never had any major body issues, but having gone through two pregnancies, I can say that the changes your body faces during that time can test even the most confident woman. I probably have under ten photos of myself during either pregnancy, which is sad, but most of it had to do with the fact that I couldn't find clothes that flattered my growing bump, and the extra cushioning that came along with it ;)
While my brand isn't a maternity line by any means, the ideas surrounding it came to me during my second pregnancy. Something about motherhood, my changing body, and everything else going on, made me think differently about my body and what it was capable of.
I started to realize my body wasn't just something I should be "sculpting" like an art piece so that I could look a certain way, so that when people looked at me I would meet some kind of standard. Suddenly my body was a machine that was literally growing another human being and it brought great purpose outside what the world focuses on (appearance).
In addition to this fresh perspective on what my body's purpose(s) were, I also gained some new perspective on the fashion industry itself. I've always loved fashion, but I've also known that there were issues with the way women were portrayed. But during my journey through motherhood, I gained a new perspective I wasn't expecting to find...
While I found myself extremely frustrated at the clothing options I had, it went deeper than my search for a pair of pants. It came from this place inside that was crying out to feel understood as a woman. I would go into stores and feel completely alienated: I felt that the clothes in the mall were made for a fantasy woman that had nothing to do with me or my current reality. I wanted to feel beautiful and stylish as a pregnant woman, but sitting there in my fast-fashion maternity pants (that had ripped after only two weeks), I felt none of these things.
Post-pregnancy, I was working as a freelance personal shopper and stylist, and I had some pretty "raw" experiences working with women in the fitting room, which is a very vulnerable place. All insecurities are manifested when trying on clothes: everything you dislike about yourself is magnified. That's why I loved styling so much, I was able to speak truth to women and help them bring out their best features, in addition to realizing their true beauty. It was a powerful experience, but I came away from those experiences even more frustrated because many of the clothing options I was finding for my clients still didn't do them justice.
Of course, styling was not the final destination for me because I eventually came to realize that the most fulfilling way for me to address this problem was to make my own pieces. When starting my line, I was able to culminate all these experiences into a few staple pieces that addressed the problems I had faced in my own life, and in my client's dressing rooms.
Today, the collection is a reflection of who I think the modern woman is: she is a confident, go-getter, taking her life into her own hands. She is changing the world with her ideas, her skills, and she's not afraid to take risks. On a practical level, when designing my collections I think about what's in style, of course, but I also think about how those pieces fit into everyday life. I think about the woman who is driving her kids to school, going to a business meeting, and then straight out for dinner... I ask myself, what would she be wearing that could get her through all of those things without having to change? I also assess fit meticulously, trying to select designs that will flatter all body types as much as possible.
My hope is that when women wear my clothes, they feel beautiful and confident. But even more than that, I hope that the clothes fit so comfortably and perfectly that they are able to forget about their clothes and get on with their day. I hope they are empowered to get out there and change the world. I really believe if we as women can conquer our obsession with our appearance, if we could forget about what we look like for a minute, and focus outwardly, we could make some pretty massive changes in our society. And that's a really exciting thought.