Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Part of my design philosophy is to create clothes that flatter as many bodies as possible, while still maintaining a sense of style and comfort. It's a challenge to create clothes that can flatter different body types when bodies have their curves in different places. That's one of the reasons why I developed my Girlfriend Tested™ design process. I want women with different shapes to help develop clothes that will highlight their form without being so fitted they're uncomfortable or self-conscious. Overall, we describe our fit as tailored yet relaxed. We want to emphasize that our fit is slightly off the body, so if you want your garment to be fitted we recommend sizing down. As we go into production, we're going to have our friends wear test all the garments to create an honest fit guide for every style.
All of our clothes are Girlfriend Tested™ to ensure fit, function, and price. Over the years I've had many friends ask me to make certain garments for them when I started my own line. My friend Angie asked me to make a sustainable and chic T-shirt (pre-order the Angie T-shirt), since her style is elevated causal. A couple friends have asked me to make a jumpsuit they can wear to work and on the weekends (Britini Jumpsuit - coming soon!). As part of the design process, I invited my friends to come preview all the pieces in the collection as works in progress. I welcomed their honest criticisms and suggestions on how to make each garment more wearable. The result is like a peer-reviewed stamp of approval on each garment.
The Girlfriend Tested™ label ensures we've worked out the kinks on each garment. We've tested all the pockets to make sure they're deep enough to comfortably store your cell phone. Women with different body types, their curves in different places, have all had their recommendations included in the design of each garment. And when it comes to pants we've sampled them in every size and asked our friends to try them on to create an honest fit guide.
One of the most valuable parts of the girlfriend previews has been the part where we talk prices. I shared our cost to design and produce each style here in Los Angeles and my friends responded with their recommended price. Sometimes it was hard to hear how low they wanted some garments to be priced at, especially when the cost to live and work in LA is so expensive, but I listened. Part of the challenge and opportunity for me it to clearly communicate the True Cost of ethical garment design and why the fast fashion prices we're used to are not sustainable (and a real waste of resources!).
As we grow, here's how the Girlfriend Tested™ stamp of approval will expand to include your suggestions:
1. Polls - Follow me @elliceruiz on Instagram and Twitter and look out for my design polls. I'll open up the design process to you to hear your suggestions on lengths, color, and fit.
2. Private previews - Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to receive invitations to our collection previews. You'll have an opportunity to share your feedback on future collections.
3. Comments - Share your feedback and/or desired design details in the comment section below each product listing. I take these comments to heart and will use them to improve and enhance each collection going forward.
One of my friends described my design philosophy as empathetic. In other words, I design with women - their bodies and lifestyles - in mind. Due to my own experiences and struggles trying to find clothes that flatter my shape, my design team and I work really hard to make sure each garment is comfortable and functional. We focus on fit, function, quality, comfort, and garment care.
- Fit - Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. We are constantly questioning how each style will look on various body types. Overall, I would describe our fit as tailored yet slightly off the body.
- Function - All of our clothes are multifunctional and transitional, meaning they can be styled up or down for any occasion. My goal is to create clothes that you can wear to work, on the weekends, or on vacation.
- Quality - I try to incorporate design features that make the pieces I create durable and of the highest quality. We work with a female-owned, local manufacturer who is committed to our standards for quality and sustainable production.
- Comfort - I want to create clothes that you'll love to wear again and again. With that goal in mind, I design each garment to be wearable and think about what you'll be doing when you wear that particular piece.
- Garment Care - If you're like me, you're on the go. I want to make garment care easy and sustainable, so doing laundry doesn't take away from your creative practice or harm the environment. I try to make sustainable garment care easy and encourage cold-wash, line drying, and multiple wears as the foundation of an eco-friendly laundry routine. Fabrics are meticulously sourced for ease of wash and wear.
I'm going to be honest. Growing up I had real issues with perfectionism. I stressed myself out trying to eat perfect, have the perfect gpa, and do all the "right" things. Thankfully, I did learn how to set attainable goals. I'm still a bit of an over achiever but I think that might help me here. I have a grand vision for where I'd like to take this company and the only way I'm going to achieve that vision is by setting reasonable goals. I believe in action over perfection.
Enter: My 80/20 rule of design.
In a perfect world, every garment I design would be made from 100% organic fabric, made locally using renewable energy, and have zero impact on the environment. But I'm not there yet and neither is the garment industry. As I wrote my business plan, I laid out a roadmap for sustainability markers that I'd like to achieve as my business grows. About 80% of our design processes and manufacturing methods are directed towards sustainability, leaving plenty of room for improvement.
I also apply this rule of design when balancing my collection. I try my hardest to create wearable and functional clothes for modern women. In truth, about 20% of the clothes I design are not work appropriate and serve a limited function. As an artist and art lover, I give myself a little room to create artsy statement pieces that you'll probably only wear for special occasions.