When I was brainstorming about what type of posts to do that would (a) add variety to the content during "Back to Basics" and (b) still be true to the theme, one of the first things that came to mind was Nancy Boland and her upcoming line of petite clothing. Full disclosure here, while I *am* a brand ambassador for the company, I was not compensated for this post! Visit them on Instagram and you'll see why I fell in love with this line. It's simple. It's chic. It's basic, but in the best possible way. GEARR is t-shirts, jeans, jackets, and other staples that combine high quality materials with beautiful attention to detail. They're the basics that are anything but basic, and perfectly sized for petite girls like me.
I had the chance to sit down (virtually, since we live on different continents!) with Nancy and pick her brain.
Image Courtesy of GEARR
SC: Hi Nancy! Thank you for being available for this interview! First question: At what age did you start becoming fascinated with fashion?
NB: My fascination with fashion began quite late in my teens, probably around the age of 16/17. I had always been a huge tomboy growing up so fashion was the last thing on my mind but one day I came across an editorial feature in a magazine of a model perched very elegantly on the back of a tractor (think it was a Mario Testino shoot) of all things! Having grown up in a rural, remote village in England there hadn't been much inspiration in the fashion stakes and something about this editorial really caught my imagination. To this day I'm still really inspired and excited by that unexpected ''edgy'' element so often seen in fashion.
SC: When did the passion for designing petite clothing begin? What instigated the desire to create a petite clothing line?
NB: A petite clothing line has been on my mind on and off for about five years now. Established petite lines either didn't get the fit right, didn't have what I was looking for or simply didn't have enough variation. Finding clothes in ''regular'' lines was always hit or miss, usually miss and I was growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of choice and poor fit. I knew that if I struggled then other women must do too. Finally, after a succession of personal fails in the clothing department I decided to start researching and designing a collection that would not only fit our underserved market but look good too.
SC: What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
NB: By far our biggest challenge has been sizing. There is no standard sizing with ready to wear clothing which is why we can all differ so drastically between brands, so petite clothing has been adapted from ''standard'' clothing lines that have no means of consistency, hence why they can be so hit or miss. So finding consistent measurements for petites has been the most challenging and part of the challenge has been to accept that for some items there is no standard size and that's where we need to offer more options. For example, for our jeans we have taken inspiration from menswear and sized them by waist and leg length and offered a variety of different leg lengths instead of one standard 29" petite leg as every body is different, some have longer legs to torso ratio and vice versa.
SC: How did you decide what pieces you would create for GEARR's first collection?
NB: I've always had a very clear vision about what the first collection would look like and what GEARR would represent as a whole. That was always to focus on making the classics to the highest standard possible in terms of fit, fabric and overall quality. Simple basics made to quality design has always been our main aim.
Image Courtesy of GEARR
SC: Where did the name GEARR come from?
NB: GEARR means short in Irish! We wanted something subtle but meaningful. My paternal side of the family is from Ireland so its nice to have that personal touch but its also made for some great promotional material, like our #GreatGearr which we intend for our customers to use once we launch.
SC: You keep teasing us with a "Fall 2016" launch! Any info on when exactly we can get our hands on these goodies?
NB: We will be launching our countdown very soon on our Instagram feed so stay tuned for that!
SC: If you could describe your brand in 5 words, what would they be?
NB: Chic, Sophisticated, Elegant, Wearable, Effortless.
Image Courtesy of GEARR
SC: Where do you see GEARR in 5 year's time?
NB: Launching our website was always going to be first and foremost in order to reach the widest audience possible but a physical store would be great to offer our customers too, especially seeing as one of the biggest complaints by petite women is the lack of choice or often lack of any petite collection visible in stores. We are planning some pop-up stores to seek out customer demand in the near future and give potential customers the ability to try on our clothing firsthand. There is a real lack of presence for petite clothing in stores and we would like to rectify that.
SC: Give the readers some background! Did you go to school for fashion design? Where are you originally from? Is there anything in your personal history that influences your view of fashion?
NB: I studied journalism and worked as a content writer for other fashion brands. Of course all the time I was dreaming of how I would describe my own items once I had designed them. Product descriptions can make or break an item online and its really important for customers to understand what they are buying and know as much as possible seeing as they can't try it on in person. I wanted to make sure ours were descriptive without being overwhelming and included all the relevant details. I really enjoy online shopping and I'm really passionate about making shopping with GEARR a positive one for all of our customers.
SC: What do you enjoy most about designing clothes?
NB: The freedom to create the collection I feel petite women have always wanted has been incredible. Being able to design something from scratch and see it come to life through every process is a real joy and makes me excited for future designs.
Image Courtesy of GEARR
SC: Any advice for aspiring designers?
NB: Learn as much about the business side of fashion as possible. You don't have to be an expert in every single element but knowing the basics can really benefit you on so many levels. Having a working knowledge of pattern cutting, sewing, and costing can really save you time and give you peace of mind in the long run. It may sound obvious but knowing a little about every area you cover really ensures that you stay in control of what is ultimately your business. It goes without saying that you have to be passionate about what you're doing. We all know fashion is a competitive industry and if you don't enjoy what you're doing then it can be a painful process but perseverance definitely pays off and if you love what you do it helps ease you through the harder times.
SC: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Nancy! We can't wait for the countdown to start on Instagram so we can finally get our hands on your beautiful pieces!