WHY OUR PIECES ARE A CUT ABOVE
- Collaboration and co-creation. We are intentionally based in Washington, DC and highly engage women across ages and professions in our design process. Over 100 women have been intimately involved in developing our styles. We know the biggest frustrations of women with their day-to-evening pieces, why some women love pockets and others don't, and their favorite design details. This is not a static but ongoing process and we always welcome your feedback.
- Viewing clothing not in isolation but in integration with a woman's build. Women aren't built like mannequins or hangers, and most women have very different builds than runway models. Our founder's background in figure drawing and bodily changes during pregnancy and post-partum heavily influence our design process. Yes, our designs look great on the runway, but they look even better in person.
- A radically different fittings process. Many conventional fashion brands fit clothing on one fit model over just a few fittings and then "grade" it up and down to make it fit different sizes. This is why you find so many pieces with too large or too small armholes, wonky torso and skirt lengths, odd puckering, and more. We use a double digit number of real women across ages and builds to finalize our fit- for example, we fit our first piece on over 30 women across an age span of 45 years before moving into production! We consider how bodies change over time and the natural weight fluctuations of most women in our design process. We don't follow industry conventions unless they are helpful. If a practice makes a better product we take it on. And if it doesn't we find a way to do things differently. For example, we use far more shaping and darting than the average fashion brand and will do another fitting for as small as a 3/4" difference. Yes, it's hard for us to do this as a new brand, but you can see the difference in our product.
- Our values. Our fit and aesthetic alone distinguishes us, however our beauty is not just on the surface. Our six core values are deeply interwoven into everything we do and every decision we make.
OUR FOUNDER'S STORY, PART I: THE FIRST DECADE
I entered law to pursue social justice, yet I had trouble finding clothing that fit my values, vocation, and aesthetic. Working on human and labor rights issues around the globe enabled me to understand how complex and harmful the global garment industry can be. The collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh was a turning point in global consciousness, prompting consumers to investigate the industry and demand better. It also propelled me to deeply ponder the best way to integrate my love of great style and passion for human rights. I felt blessed to work directly with Bangladeshis who were Rana Plaza first responders as the founding Board President of CriticaLink, and as my life evolved I could no longer fight the pull to create the type of clothing I had sought for a decade.
Never one to accept that something can’t be done, I refused to believe the status quo has to be the future. When I voiced my desire for more socially conscious apparel options I also found I was not alone. All of my friends wanted to build a socially conscious wardrobe, they just didn’t know how. These conversations also shared another common theme: limited options for well-fitting, flattering, and stylish clothing at an affordable price. The market hadn’t yet caught up to our desire for something better. It was still far too hard for us to make clothing purchases that value the people who work in our supply chain and their communities. The garment industry remained the second worst polluting industry in the world.
I started to see a number of fantastic socially conscious brands popping up, yet sustainable fashion wasn’t mainstream…yet. I believed the industry could do better by both those who make clothing and those who then wear it. And Maven Women was born.
OUR FOUNDER'S STORY, PART II: THREE YEARS (AND ONE BABY) LATER...
Here I am road testing one of the first samples to determine fit and style edits, wear testing a maternity and breastfeeding design which caused me to change the fabric, and welcoming my son into the world.
I could wax poetically about all of the values behind our clothing line, yet once I made the leap to fully focus my vocation on Maven Women the hard, gritty realities of creating a thoughtful fashion brand become all too apparent. No one had created pieces with this aesthetic, fit, and social impact before and it quickly became clear why.
There are few people in the fashion industry who truly understand the needs of busy working women as they age. Seeing how clothing is made showed me why I have to take so many pieces to the tailor, as many brands cut corners in the fittings process.
Many ethical and sustainable brands also only focus on one element of their supply chain, as that's hard enough, yet we aim to make the most socially conscious choices from farm to factory to final product. Fabric selection is incredibly complex and there are few options that match our aesthetic. We are also incredibly particular about the minutiae that make a dress truly high quality. It took three years of hard work with fabric sourcing, design, fittings, testing, partnership building, and quality control to create a product that is thoughtful at every step.
My journey also had a bit of a (planned, yet how can one ever plan it?!?!?) "curve" ball. Less than six months after I launched Maven Women I became pregnant. In Maven Women's first two years my normally "pear-shaped" body has taken on more shapes than I can count with pregnancy, post-partum recovery, and breastfeeding; due to the latter I then had an "inverted triangle" shape for the first time and then an "hourglass"! I've poured everything I've learned about what fits and flatters me in each of these seasons into our pieces, and I even started working on maternity and breastfeeding clothing. We do so many fittings that my water in fact broke when I was fitting one of our maternity prototypes!
I am proud to introduce you to our meticulously crafted pieces and I invite you to journey with us and invest in investment pieces!
Founder, Dreamer & Schemer
P.S. Yes, that's me in the photo above wearing Maven Women (and it was taken when I was pregnant!).