Angela Brasington founded Anjé Clothing, and is a partner with Virtueconomy. When you shop the Virtue collection, part of the proceeds benefit The Kota Alliance.
1 - tell us about your background, and how you came to this business?
I spent 10 years in the fashion industry, working in different parts. I started as an executive assistant and worked my way up to the Executive with an assistant. But I worked hard and learned throughout the entire journey. I learned about business, I learned about business practices, business people, an antiquated industry and a desire to do something positive with what I’d amassed.
Producing domestically was my first step to ensure ethical manufacturing practices for production of the Anjé brand as well as quality control. Empowering women to be confident from the inside out is another important aspect of our company. Whether in business or in a social setting, we are equal, capable and dangerous.
2 - why is it important to produce clothes locally?
It is important to produce clothes locally for a few reasons. For one, it is our small effort to bring back domestic manufacturing jobs. We encourage other brands to do the same so that it will be more feasible and cost efficient for everyone. The truth is, it is possible to produce locally/domestically and still turn a profit, have beautiful materials, and maintain great quality. But we need to start a revolution to get the word out there even further. Rebecca Minkoff, The Row and other well-known brands have started to produce some of their products here in New York. Even if it’s just a chase collection, it will help the garment center(s) thrive and grow and bring prices down all around. The more that participate in this movement, the better the outcome for everyone involved.
Additionally, it helps me have a close eye on quality and safe practices. I can walk into any of my factories at any time and check on our goods, see who is sewing them, make sure they have their labor law posters hung on the walls, etc. It gives me great pleasure to know the people handling our goods, to ensure they are taken care of and treated well. That represents the brand that Anjé is - quality, care, luxury. The only time I can’t visit the factory is during their lunch break - I LOVE THAT! That’s how it should be because this is clothing, not brain surgery. I experienced such poor treatment of workers because of deadlines due to improper planning or something else that trickled down from the top, making the laborers suffer. It really bothered me. That will never happen in our company.
3 - how does your business help empower women?
Anjé helps encourage woman to be powerful in all walks of life. I often write blog articles on topics that I would want to read or things I do that my friends found helpful. I share networking tips to help other women get going in the right direction, mentor young women on entrepreneurialism and fashion, interview other women that I find inspiring and share the video with my audience.
When I host pop ups, women ask for styling tips and it’s fun to show them how to dress the same piece for day and night separately. Something as simple as showing a woman how to wear a piece of clothing can make the world of difference in her confidence. As crazy as it sounds, clothing has a lot to do with empowering women. Our clothing is designed for comfort and with the woman in mind. The fabrics are silky smooth and buttery soft on the inside and out. What you feel against your body and the way the clothes drape and move with you are all part of the empowering formula. It's your attitude. When you feel good you exude your most confident self.