Girl Power! Part II July 22 2016
On the next installment of Girl Power!, I highlight more trailblazing women who are part of the body positive and body inclusive movements in the fashion industry.
Brazen Bras was the host of my first pop up shop, so it has a special place in my heart. I probably sent the most green pitch but Christine, the owner, responded warmly and agreed to host me. Like many of the lingerie boutique owners that I've worked with, Christine started Brazen Bras because of the lack of full bust options at most lingerie shops. I've had two pop up shops at Brazen Bras and both times Christine's father and daughter, Angela, were there. The mother-daughter team runs the boutique but Christine's father is very supportive of his daughter's and granddaughter's entrepreneurial pursuits, which I think is awesome. I love family businesses and they are definitely Jersey strong!
Several months ago, I attended a panel discussion and meet and greet at Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. I started chatting with a tall and slender young woman named Briauna and I remember assuming that she must be a model turned fashion designer. Well, I was only 50% right. Our chat revealed that she is indeed a model, but she is also the founder of a body positive modeling agency called We Speak. Briauna mentioned that sexual abuse, exploitative labor practices, and body shaming are rife in the modeling industry, so We Speak is an ethical alternative to these abuses. We Speak models are health conscious and are not subjected to vague and arbitrary wage deductions. It was quite the coincidence that I met Briauna because, at the time, I was in desperate need of a professional model. I booked one of her models, Victoria, a few days later.
I discovered Essential Bodywear (EBW) from an Hourglassy post and contacted the two closest representatives to me: Tina (Staten Island) and Cheryl (Woodbridge, NJ). Essential Bodywear sells bras up to an H cup with a business model that is similar to Mary Kay. Their independent contractors have the freedom to make their own hours and work as little or as much as they want. Both Tina and Cheryl are proud moms who want to be involved in their kids' lives but also want to earn money to help support their families and local charities. These days doing both is becoming more and more difficult. Another good thing about Essential Bodywear is that representatives are located all over the country. So if you live in a full cup lingerie boutique desert, there is probably an EBW representative near you.
Christine and Angela from Brazen Bras