We have a chat with Mallorie Dunn of Smart Glamour, an affordable, fashionable, and customizable ethical clothing line for people of all sizes.
Tell us about yourself – familial/personal story, education, and prior work.
My name is Mallorie Dunn – I am a 29 year old fashion designer living in Astoria Queens in NYC. I’ve lived in NYC for over 10 years now. I started making my own clothes and teaching myself to sew as a preteen. When I was a junior in high school, I began fashion sketching classes and then sewing classes as a senior. I continued to study Fashion Design at FIT in 2005, and then studied Art and Design Education at Pratt Institute. I worked in corporate design, in the Juniors ready to wear sector – for about 2.5 years, and then left after feeling creatively stifled and frustrated at the varying negative attributes of fast fashion. I switched to freelance and part time work – doing everything from tailoring, to tutoring, to technical design, to custom pieces – and during that year, I had the creative and physical energy to start thinking about what was really important to me when it comes to fashion. I landed at accessibility, ethical practices, and quality garments – which led to me to launching SmartGlamour in February 2014.
What is the importance of ethical fashion to you?
Ethical fashion is important to me for many reasons. As someone who handles every part of design – from conception to execution – I strongly believe that workers should be treated fairly and paid appropriately. No matter how large SmartGlamour grows – the production of our garments will always, always be ethical. Additionally – I don’t feel fashion is truly ethical – unless it is accessible to all bodies; this is a cornerstone of SmartGlamour.
What is the importance of sustainable fashion to you?
Sustainable fashion is important to me also – for many reasons. I believe in quality over quantity and I believe fast fashion is hurting the planet in numerous ways. We devalue ourselves, so we buy low quality inexpensive clothing that doesn’t fit properly – because we don’t think we deserve better. We throw it out and hurt third world countries in the process. It’s a dangerous cycle.
What is SmartGlamour?
SmartGlamour is a body positive clothing line of ethically made, customizable fashion basics for sizes XXS-6X and beyond. We promote self acceptance and body love. We have three main very broad goals: to empower women through clothing and help them on a road to body acceptance, to make good quality clothing that is sold at affordable prices, and to cut away at women on women hate that stems from insecurity and the belief that beauty and brains can not go hand in hand.
What makes the company unique?
What doesn’t? Everything about SmartGlamour is unique. The fashion world as a whole – is very exclusionary and pretentious – and that’s something I detest about it. Clothing and expressing oneself should be for everyone – and so SmartGlamour is for everyone. When I say all, I actually mean all. I do not shy away from the reality of human being’s bodies/shapes/abilities/differences – that is what makes the world a beautiful place. So I highlight those things – by dressing everyone, and celebrating everyone. We also do this ethically – with available customizations. I have not found any other company that does what we do.
What is the greatest challenge in founding a business?
The greatest challenge in founding my business specifically is simply doing everything myself. I not only design and hand make every item we sell – but I also take care of social media, customer service, public relations, photography, videography, marketing, and more. There are never enough hours in the day.
What meaning or personal fulfilment does this work bring for you?
Phew – everything. SmartGlamour would simply not exist without it’s message of body acceptance and self love. I’ve had customers cry tears of joy in my pop up shops, decide to show their arms for the first time, buy their first swimsuit, etc – having accurate representation of bodies – and giving all bodies access to the same fashion is powerful. It is teaching everyone that their body is not wrong – contrary to what the mainstream media is trying to tell us.
With regard to ethical and sustainable fashion companies, what’s the importance of them now?
Well – I think they were always important. But, I think consumers are becoming more conscious of the companies they spend their money with and where their clothing comes from. Even if not just for the ethical stand point – but because they want to get a quality garment for their hard earned money. They want clothing that fits. They want to spend money on brands that they believe in. And companies that are ethical not only in production but also in practice and in representation are leading the way.
Any advice for women in leadership?
Love what you do. Stand up for yourself. Ask for what you want. And don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?
Follow SmartGlamour on social media – @smartglamour, and shop with us! At www.smartglamour.com We also host one day pop up shops around the country – so request your city, and come out when we are nearby!