We always love highlighting fashion designers and plus size brands that are not only providing great styles for curvy women but also have a positive mission. SmartGlamour is an embodiment of those characteristics. Not only do they provide affordable, fashionable clothing for women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and heights, but they have three notable goals:
1) to empower women through clothing and help them on a road to body acceptance;
2) to make good quality clothing that is sold at affordable prices, and;
3) to cut away at women on women hate.
Now those are things we can totally stand behind!
Check out my interview with the thoughtful and talented Mallorie Dunn of SmartGlamour!
Natasha: What do you want to come to mind when people think of SmartGlamour?
Mallorie: When people think of SmartGlamour, I want them to think of confidence, empowernent, happiness, and fabulous clothing for everyone.
Natasha: What is the story behind the company name?
Mallorie: The name actually came about in 2007 – while I was still in school at FIT studying fashion design. I had a project where we were assigned to make up our brand, the name, the hang tags, etc – and I came up with SmartGlamour. The name, to me – is an emphasis on the duality of women (and people in general) – that we don’t have to be in just one “box”, we can be beautiful and academic at the same time. You don’t have to choose making a difference in the world or looking and feeling wonderful – you can have both.
Natasha: What motivates your styles and designs?
Mallorie: This is always a bit of a difficult or long winded question for me. I’ve always loved fashion, loved making clothing, etc – I started teaching myself how to sew as a young teenager – making handbags out of old jeans, re-purposing clothing into new items. I decided to go to FIT to study design as soon as I knew fashion design was a career choice – but my end goal was to have a small store and make clothing. Once I realized how difficult that was, and that I didn’t want to go down the path FIT was laying out for me – I got an Art Education Degree. Then dipped back into corporate design – then freelance design – and then finally figured out how to combine my true passion for clothing with my other biggest passion – helping people and empowering women. That is what motivates me to design – SmartGlamour does not exist simply because I love making clothing – it exists because I want to empower women to accept their bodies, take control of their wardrobe and I’m using my knowledge and talent as a fashion designer to give them those tools.
Natasha: How would you describe the SmartGlamour customer?
Mallorie: The SmartGlamour customer can be – and is – anyone who wants to wear women’s clothing. I don’t care what size you are, how old you are, what shape you are, what your personal style is – if you wear women’s clothing, you can wear my clothing. However – my target customer – are really the people who feel marginalized and left out of the conversation elsewhere. Either they are “too” short, “too” tall, “too” busty, “too” large, “too” petite, etc. No one is “too” anything for me – but we live in a society where women are constantly being told so. Women feel excluded from fashion – and I am welcoming all of those people with open arms. Not only will I have clothes for you – but I will also have representation for you in my look books, runway shows, and campaigns.
Natasha: What are some of your most popular pieces?
Mallorie: My most popular pieces are the Arianna Convertible Dress, Allison Pencil Skirt, Meredith Wrap Dress, Amy Wrap Top, Amelia Satin Bomber Jacket, Rose Off the Shoulder Dress, and Michele A-Line Skirt. People want versatility, longevity, and quality from their clothing – and these pieces are staples that will last forever.
Natasha: How is designing for a plus size woman different from designing for a straight size woman or petite woman? Did you need to be specifically trained on how to design for each size range?
Mallorie: It’s not. The only time you hear someone say you have to “design differently” for plus size women – or petite women – is when that conversation is also tied into one about “flattering shapes.” Which is just another term for “this makes you look skinny.” I don’t believe in those rules and I don’t follow them. The only requirement someone needs to follow while dressing is – does this fit onto my body? I simply do not change a thing about any of my pieces – aside from their size – when they go from XXS to a 6X. They are the same clothes. They have the same style lines. There are no “magic design tricks” – it’s math. You are scaling things up and down. This is not to say that everyone fits in a set size – they absolutely don’t. Which is why customization is so important. And being able to have access to customization that is affordable. Size charts (and sizes) exist because we mass produce our clothing – so there had to be a set of size standards. But people are not charts – and we are not made up of simply bust, waist, and hip – so a LOT of people fit outside of those narrow boxes – and that’s ok! But we need to stop being afraid of our bodies, learn about them instead, know our measurements and ask for what we want!
Natasha: How do you see the fashion industry changing in the next 10 years?
Mallorie: Honestly – I don’t know. I don’t think large corporations are really ever going to care about making people feel good about themselves. They make their money doing the opposite – scaring them into thinking they aren’t good enough, but they’d be better if they bought their products. I HOPE that small businesses and indie designers can become more popular in America. We are a country over run by fast fashion – and a lot of people turn a blind eye to how dangerous it is. You get excited because you found a top and a skirt for $4.99 a piece without thinking how it’s actually possible something could be that cheap? Who made it? Where did it come from? When will it fall apart? What chemicals are all over that fabric? I hope that enough education continues to occur so that we, as consumers, appreciate quality over quantity – and find our bodies and ourselves worth it, to spend the difference.
Natasha: What tips do you give to women who are insecure about their bodies or fashion style?
Mallorie: I have a couple different suggestions for women who are insecure about their bodies –
1. Stop putting on clothes that are too small or don’t fit. Move on from them. Get clothing that fits you now and that makes you feel good now. Bodies change – and sometimes they’ll never go back to something they once were – and that’s ok. Move forward.
2. If there is something you don’t like about your body – try to think about it rationally – and ask yourself why you feel that way? Where did the idea originate from that whatever part of yourself you are looking at is “bad” or “not attractive.” Most of the time – these ideas are because of the ideal that is fed to us by the outside world – but someone decided upon that, and it wasn’t you. Was it someone you even value the opinion of? No? Then you don’t need to follow those rules.
3. Learn more about your body. Sit with yourself. We are often more scared of things when we don’t know about them. I have heard a lot of women say that they “don’t even know what they’re body looks like” – or they avoid looking – by doing that, you are building up an imaginary demon in your mind. The more you know about yourself – the less scary it will be.
And as for fashion sense and style – I think you just need to start with where you are comfortable and then take baby steps forward. Fashion can be very pretentious and intimidating – but I believe it shouldn’t be. Follow bloggers that you feel represent you in some way. Don’t go crazy feeling like you HAVE to chase every trend. You don’t have to follow trends to be stylish. Look to other eras. Think about what you are gravitating towards and why – experiment. Have fun!
Natasha: What is your new mom campaign about?
Mallorie: This campaign was inspired by a couple different ideas: one being how we live in a society where #DadBod became an overnight sensation – celebrating men for depicting the average, everyday version of themselves – when that is the last thing we would accept women to be? Another being the fact that women are more than just bodies, and becoming a mother does not change that or take away our style sense, personalities, or goals. And the last being society’s focus on women needing to “get their body back” when in reality – our bodies are always changing, growing, and aging.
I want Moms to know that they can and should take time for themselves – and that cute clothes can also be comfortable and practical! And I want the viewer to see varying types of Moms, of bodies, and of styles – and that not one is better than the next.
Natasha: What are three things people don’t know about you?
Mallorie: 1. When I was in 9th grade I was voted Best Dressed and Most Likely to Succeed 2. In high school, I became the fashion columnist and newspaper editor because I hated how dismissive and materialistic the current fashion column was – so I wrote in about it, and then took it over – and changed it into a feature about all of the awesome people with interesting style in my school. 3. I’m always in charge of dividing up the check when I go out to eat with my girlfriends.