Today we're here with the lady, the myth, the legend: Krissy Mae Cagney. She's going to answer a few questions about the making of the EMPOWER Collection, and more specifically how we ended up with so many amazing bras in this Collection. Read on to find out how we developed these styles, how we learned from our past, and which bra is Krissy's personal favorite.
Let's get down to it. How long did it take to develop and perfect these styles? What did the process look like?
A custom collection –we call it “cut & sew”– can take anywhere from 3-7 months from start to finish. We started designing EMPOWER in December, immediately after the Black Friday release. I will let you decide how particular I am based on how long it took to actually release this collection... haha.
It typically takes a few days to create a color mood board and sketch up a set of rough styles with our team in Texas. I actually design the back and fronts separately (I’ll tell ya why in a sec), then I make a list of the small details that I know I want on the bras. For example, branded zippers, drawcords, pull tabs, and aglets–all my little signature details.
Once the overall vibe and look of the fronts and backs are hammered out, we hand it off to the other part of the Texas team who brings it to life in multiple ways via graphic design and tech packs! I am no scientist nor clothing designer by trade, so I have the technical pros decide which backs will support which fronts the best. Then we finalize fabric choice, color, and sizing to bring the entire thing together.
That’s the easy part. Then we wait.
We wait for a lot of things… fabric to be milled, samples to be made, details to be approved.
Slowly, we start getting proofs and samples of the zippers, drawstrings, etc. Next come the fabric samples, where we approve for both feel and color. Sometimes it takes multiple tries to get a color right, which sets us back a month. Then the fit samples! If a fit sample shows up and I think the band needs to be larger or straps need to be longer, we change the fit. This too can set us back a month. This is all just part of the sometimes painful process of creating and perfecting custom apparel.
Once the fabric is done and the fits are approved, we go into production! Once the first couple of final products are made, they are sent to us to ensure they are damn near perfect. This also allows us to start teasing the bras to all of you while we wait for the collection to be completed.
Where did you draw inspiration from in coming up with these designs?
I honestly draw a lot of inspiration from my travels! When I travel, I am always paying attention to clothing in other cultures and I collect ideas all year long. I will see the back of a handmade swimsuit in Mexico and think, “with a few tweaks, that could make a great sports bra. The front zip design on the Focus Bra was inspired by a wetsuit (more scuba inspired stuff coming down the line). Additionally, I really love Japan’s fitness fashion culture and look to a few Japanese brands for inspiration as well.
Ultimately I try to piece the designs together with little things I observe in my daily life, even when I am on other continents.
How are the bras different from the bras we’ve designed and released in the past?
I will just put it this way… I listen to every iota of feedback we get and I take action on it, because this about YOU, not about me.
The winter 2017 bras were too dull.
The summer 2018 bras were too sexy.
The winter 2018 bras were to fancy.
So I removed anything a little too drab, a little too risque, or a little too flashy. I tried to add some function and funk to this collection with zippers, mesh, and straps. I went with an overall more sporty vibe.
When we designed the bras, I asked myself, “will ALL women feel EMPOWERED in these?”
Not some women.
Not just thin women.
Not just thick women.
Not just built women.
Not just flat chested women.
Not just busty women.
I think we came pretty close to nailing that with this collection.
Which bra is your personal favorite?
This question doesn’t seem fair, so I am going to answer it unfairly. I have three favorites… a favorite look, a favorite fit, and the one I am most proud of.
I love the look of the FOCUS bra, as I can change it as I please. It is actually two looks. I like that depending on where I am, I can decide how modest I want to be–or not be. Having a bra that I unzip easily allows me to keep myself cool when I am hiking, cycling, or lifting, but I can zip it right back up if I need to cover up for whatever reason.
I love the fit of the TRUTH bra, as the jacquard straps are second to none with the elasticity. Additionally, the wider support band is my jam, as my boobs fall out of the bottom of many popular sports bra brands. When I put this bra on in my size for the first time, I teared up a little bit that I made something that feels as wonderful as it does.
I am most proud of the LIBERTY bra, as I was certain it was going to fail in the support department. The first fit sample showed up and I was equal parts defeated and over the moon. Off of a body, it was flawless. On a body, it was all messed up. So with a bit of determination, we finally nailed the fit of the asymmetrical straps. Not only did we nail the fit, but we all tried to bounce our boobs out of it with zero success. I am quite literally shocked at how supportive it turned out.