In celebration of Fashion Week, Seek is pleased to highlight several of the unique brands and businesses which make the fashion industry tick. Check back every few days for a new Q&A!
On today’s blog, we learn more about Mallorie Carrington, the designer/founder of SmartGlamour. SmartGlamour is an affordable, fashionable clothing line for women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and heights. The company makes clothing in standard, plus, petite, and tall sizes. Every piece of SmartGlamour clothing is made with love in NYC.
Read below to hear more of Mallorie’s story, and be sure to check out the SmartGlamour website, too!
Q&A: Mallorie Carrington of SmartGlamour
What inspired you to start your business?
SmartGlamour began because of my passion for putting an end to the problem of women’s negative self-image. I believe that a lot of factors go into why women feel so badly about their bodies and appearance. The two largest involve the misrepresentation of women in the media and women’s struggle with shopping for properly fitting clothes. Women above a size 12 or 14 are greatly under-served, and it’s also very hard for petite women, or very tall women to find affordable, stylish options. Often when we can’t find things that fit, we ask ourselves what is wrong with us instead of what is wrong with the clothes. And when we look at ads, celebrities, and images around us and see no one that looks similar to us, we again wonder what is wrong with us.
By creating affordable, fashionable, customizable clothing for every size, shape, age, height, and weight, selling it all in the same place for the same price, and depicting women in our ads and look books that represent reality (every size, shape, age, height, and weight) we are combating these problems and empowering women.
Who is your target customer? What sets your business apart from other similar companies?
The SmartGlamour customer can technically be anyone who wears women’s clothing – but our target is really any one who feels they are being under served or misrepresented elsewhere. Because our clothing runs in such a large size range – and then is additionally customizable, it lends itself to helping solve a myriad of fit issues that women face: lengths being too long or too short, being a different size on top vs on bottom, having a full bust, etc. There are a lot of things about our company that set us apart – aside from offering affordable customizations, we also have the largest size range I have yet to come across, make everything in NYC, promote women’s empowerment, and hire women to model our clothing that represent our full size range and never photoshop them.
How did you get your start in design?
When I was younger I always assumed I’d be a math teacher. I’m good at math and like helping others – but when I entered high school and found out they had a fashion design program I was surprised and excited to say the least. I thought being a fashion designer for a living was equivalent to being a princess. I have always, always loved clothes, accessories, and just dressing up in general – and so I dove in.
What are your favorite pieces from your collection/line?
Personally – I wear Allison Pencil Skirts, Jackie Skinny Pants, Nicole Wide Leg Pants, Annalise Swing Tops, Amy Wrap Tops, Gloria Shorts, and Betty Sweetheart Tops all the time. I only wear my own designs at this point – but those are my go to’s and they can all be mixed and matched. We just released our fall collection and I am already really excited about a couple pieces – to add to my personal collection – like a faux leather jacket and a crop top with lace trim.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
Through SmartGlamour, I hope to continue to inspire women to self accept and love – and to empower them to take charge, learn more about their bodies, and ask for what they want in life. I hope to continue to offer accurate representations of women that ladies can relate to – in a world that is so devoid of that concept.
What is your creative process?
My clothing is much more women forward than it is fashion forward. Not to say we don’t create affordable and fashionable pieces – we do, but we aren’t reinventing the wheel as far as design. Instead – we are reinventing the way clothes are made and offered to women. Because of this – that is really where my creative juices flow. We release campaigns like #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies, #MeasureMeBeautiful, and most recently, #SameSizeDifferentEyes to push our message along.
What are the most important aspects to consider when designing your pieces?
For me – it is all about quality and production while keeping items affordable. I hand make the clothes to order – so to ensure the price is affordable, the design can not be too complicated or have too many bells and whistles. We use quality fabric that is not luxury – no silks or leather, etc. People often ask me if I use any “design tricks” to create clothing that is wearable from XXS-6X but I don’t. I am a firm believer that any person can wear any thing as long as it is their size.
How did your company get its name?
I came up with the name SmartGlamour back in 2007 while I was studying at FIT. I had a class project where we needed to create a brand, style, hang tags, etc – and I chose SmartGlamour. I’ve always been bothered by the strict and narrow boxes society tries to put people, especially women, into. And I have always thought of myself as equally fashionable and intelligent. This is something a lot of people have struggled with in regard to my personality, drive, and appearance for as long as I can remember. SmartGlamour is about being anything and everything you want to be – and doing it seamlessly at the same time.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated in a couple different ways. The most important way being the impact I have on women’s lives. I receive emails and messages from strangers who have stumbled upon my company, and may not have even ordered yet, but applaud me for the message I am sending to women and stressing how needed it is. I’ve had women tell me my brand and imagery “subliminally teaches everyone that they are okay as they are.” which is just lovely. How could I ever stop doing that? Additionally – I stay motivated by the friends and family I keep around me. My girlfriends are some of the most inspiring women I know – all very different, very talented, and so driven. And my family and fiance are beyond supportive. I literally could not run this business without them.
Currently we are online only – at www.smartglamour.com. We have a three month pop up from in the East Village which closed in May and I hope to soon replicate that idea at a smaller scale around the country.