95 episodes

Tired of clothes that don't fit from a fashion industry that doesn’t care? If you’ve set out to do better with your brand, How Fitting® is the podcast for you. Hear how relatable fashion design entrepreneurs fit their customer, lifestyle, and values, meet factories, and learn practical tips from experts so you can create a perfect fit in your fashion business. Hosted by freelance women’s apparel patternmaker Alison Hoenes.

How Fitting Alison Hoenes | women's apparel patternmaker

    • Arts

Tired of clothes that don't fit from a fashion industry that doesn’t care? If you’ve set out to do better with your brand, How Fitting® is the podcast for you. Hear how relatable fashion design entrepreneurs fit their customer, lifestyle, and values, meet factories, and learn practical tips from experts so you can create a perfect fit in your fashion business. Hosted by freelance women’s apparel patternmaker Alison Hoenes.

    Fashion As Skincare And Self-Awareness with Freya of Solpardus

    Fashion As Skincare And Self-Awareness with Freya of Solpardus

    In episode 94, Freya challenges the assumption that synthetics are better for swimwear with her sensitive-skin-focused brand Solpardus – which means ‘sun leopard’. With natural-fiber swimwear and apparel, Freya cares for her skin and the community of other women living with psoriasis, eczema, and sensitive skin that she’s met through running her business.



    Solpardus makes all natural bamboo swimwear and linen clothing with skin comfort at the forefront of our design. We marry style with comfort to bring 100% natural, British made, ethical and sustainable swimwear and relaxed tailoring that is perfect for psoriasis and eczema.



    The idea for Solpardus came over lockdown in Cornwall when my own psoriasis was in full flare and incredibly sore. As with some other psoriasis sufferers, I find that a healthy dose of sunshine can work wonders for my skin. However, as I am sure any woman can attest to, synthetic swimwear is far from comfortable at the best of times and unbearable against inflamed skin! So I scoured the internet searching for natural fabric swimwear.



    After only finding one brand in America and one in Australia (with neither delivering to the UK) I decided to make my own bamboo fabric bikini. I was thrilled to find that, in spite of the messy stitching and wonky elastic I had achieved with my small sewing machine, my first attempt was perfect for my skin. I wore it all summer taking full advantage of the glorious Cornish weather! 



    Since then I have made it my mission to challenge the status-quo of synthetic swimwear and bring it back to its natural roots! With Solpardus I also try to encourage women to find empowerment through both comfort and style, especially those with psoriasis, eczema or any other skin complaint. Solpardus, meaning “Sun Leopard”, is in reference to the pigment disparities that often occur when psoriasis heals in the sun giving the skin a leopard-like appearance.





    In this episode, you’ll learn:




    The assumption about fashion that Freya is trying to rewrite



    How Freya’s sensitive skin sparked the idea for Solpardus



    How Freya got manufacturers to take her seriously



    How starting Solpardus challenged Freya’s assumptions about the fashion industry



    The pros and cons of natural fibers for swimwear



    What went into Solpardus’ first in-person event



    How Freya cultivates self-awareness when it comes to her skin and her business




    People and resources mentioned in this episode:




    Solpardus website



    Solpardus Instagram



    Solpardus TikTok




    Do you want fashion business tips and resources like this sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for the How Fitting newsletter to receive new podcast episodes plus daily content on creating fashion that fits your customer, lifestyle, and values.

    • 50 min
    Creating A Size Chart with Representation with Og Ajibe of Oge Ajibe

    Creating A Size Chart with Representation with Og Ajibe of Oge Ajibe

    In episode 93, Oge Ajibe talks about what she’s learned (and where she’s learned) about inclusive fit and fashion business. After 6 years and multiple pivots in business, Oge has slowly created her own way to make sustainable, comfortable clothes that fit no matter your size. She’s uniquely created Oge Ajibe’s size chart, figured out pricing, stayed visible online, and she has big plans for the future of her brand.



    Oge Ajibe is a company that educates consumers on portraying themselves across all aspect, of fashion. Our inclusive, sustainable apparel, all handcrafted in Canada, provides our customers with a unique sense of comfort and confidence.





    In this episode, you’ll learn:




    How fashion school did (and did not) prepare her for fashion business



    What Oge did to build her confidence in the quality of her work



    How Oge’s business evolved over the years



    Why Oge thinks big brands are avoiding offering inclusive sizing even when small brands like hers can afford to do it.



    The unique way Oge created her brand’s sizing to fit XS-5X



    Why making custom clothing helped her RTW business



    What Oge learned from the home sewing community



    The journey one piece of clothing takes to get to the end customer



    What success looks like for Oge




    People and resources mentioned in this episode:




    Oge Ajibe website



    Oge Ajibe Instagram




    Do you want fashion business tips and resources like this sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for the How Fitting newsletter to receive new podcast episodes plus daily content on creating fashion that fits your customer, lifestyle, and values.

    • 58 min
    Reaching Profitability In Fashion Business with Laura Briggs of The Shortlist

    Reaching Profitability In Fashion Business with Laura Briggs of The Shortlist

    In episode 92, The Shortlist founder Laura Briggs gives us a detailed look at how her fun and cheeky petite-only brand has reached profitability. From pricing and production to business operations, Laura describes the growing pains she’s gone through and the huge milestones she’s reached as she’s scaled her 3-year-old business.



    Laura was also my guest two years ago on How Fitting episode 37 where she talked about how she first started The Shortlist and what her first year of entrepreneurship looked like.



    The Shortlist is a premium, limited edition petite fashion brand.





    In this episode, you’ll learn:




    Why Laura moved production from the UK to Poland



    How many collections The Shortlist released before it became profitable



    What the turning point was for profitability



    What Laura is changing since realizing The Shortlist customer base is wider than she originally thought



    The balance between innovative designs and familiar basics



    How The Shortlist has built exceptional loyalty and repeat business from its customers



    Laura’s genius system for celebrating how far the business has come at each step



    The rollercoaster of launch day and what Laura is doing to minimize the challenges



    How Laura balances sharing her personal entrepreneur story and The Shortlist brand voice in her marketing and copywriting



    Laura’s plan for scaling The Shortlist this year



    How Laura’s long-term goal for The Shortlist drives her decisions now




    People and resources mentioned in this episode:




    The Shortlist website



    The Shortlist Instagram



    The Shortlist LinkedIn




    Do you want fashion business tips and resources like this sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for the How Fitting newsletter to receive new podcast episodes plus daily content on creating fashion that fits your customer, lifestyle, and values.

    • 50 min
    Taking The Stage Boldly For Inclusive, Slow Fashion with Suzanne Vinnik of By Vinnik

    Taking The Stage Boldly For Inclusive, Slow Fashion with Suzanne Vinnik of By Vinnik

    In episode 91, hear how former opera singer Suzanne Vinnik designs bold, inclusive fashions that make women “feel seen” and encourage them to take up space for who they are. Knowing first hand what it is like to be exploited working in the arts, Suzanne runs her business differently. Her secret to success both on and off the stage is prioritizing community and personal relationships and paying everyone she works with living wages.



    Suzanne Vinnik, a distinguished figure in both classical music and the fashion world, boasts a richly diverse career path. Originally traveling the world as an opera singer, Suzanne performed at renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and notable opera houses across Europe, Russia, Norway and the United States. As a leading soprano, some of her favorite operas included "Manon Lescaut," Nedda in "Pagliacci," Mimi and Musetta"La bohème," and Violetta "La traviata," captivating audiences with her emotive performances.



    Parallel to her operatic endeavors, Suzanne embarked on entrepreneurial ventures, founding Shoperatic, a pioneering social media network and marketplace tailored for women in classical music. This platform served as a hub for artists to connect, collaborate, and showcase their talents, solidifying Suzanne's reputation as an innovator within the industry. Users could buy, rent, sell and promote their outside skills. 



    Driven by her passion for fashion and a commitment to inclusivity, Suzanne transitioned seamlessly into the realm of design, launching "byVINNIK," a luxury womenswear brand celebrated for its size-inclusive ethos and ethically manufactured garments. Based in the heart of Los Angeles, Suzanne's designs have graced the frames of Classical Music luminaries, Broadway stars, and prominent figures in television and film. 



    The impact of Suzanne's creations extends beyond the realm of entertainment, with her designs featured prominently on platforms like Disney+, Netflix, and HBOMax's acclaimed series "The White Lotus," on Jennifer Coolidge earning recognition with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Contemporary Costumes. Her work frequently adorns red carpets, editorial spreads, and stages worldwide, embodying a fusion of sophistication, elegance, and inclusivity.



    Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Texas Christian University, supplemented by studies at prestigious institutions such as Mannes College of Music and Otis College of Design. She further honed her craft at the Opera Studio of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, mentored by the late Renata Scotto, and as an Administration Fellow at The Dallas Opera's Hart Institute for Women Conductors.



    Beyond her artistic pursuits, Suzanne is a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship, ethical manufacturing practices, and classical music education. Her expertise as a textile connoisseur, style forecaster, and classical music aficionado has positioned her as a sought-after keynote speaker at conferences, and universities, and as an expert for popular TV Shows like Today Show and Access Hollywood. Through her inspiring journey from opera singer to fashion designer, Suzanne empowers women of all backgrounds to embrace their confidence and individuality, embodying the transformative power of artistic expression.





    In this episode, you’ll learn:




    Why Suzanne left a worldwide career in opera to start a fashion brand



    The transformative power of owning your boldness and dressing accordingly



    How Suzanne created a loyal community before she even started her brand



    How the personal relationships she’s built with her clients influences her design decisions



    Why ethical production and paying fair wages are so important to Suzanne



    The people on Suzanne’s team and what they each do in the business



    How By Vinnik’s production model has changed and why



    How Suzanne prioritizes her day to not burn out even though she’s “bad at boundaries”



    What

    • 56 min
    Prioritizing Customer Research and Values To Shape A Modest Activewear Brand with Aja Cohen of Transcendent Active

    Prioritizing Customer Research and Values To Shape A Modest Activewear Brand with Aja Cohen of Transcendent Active

    In episode 90, hear how Aja Cohen left her big corporate fashion career for a lifestyle - and fashion business - that put relationships and her values first. Transcendent Active is helping women embrace who they are and move confidently toward their goals. Her modest activewear designs aren’t just covering, but also comfortable, sustainable, and functional and are worn by more than just the modest community.



    After designing fast fashion for over a decade, Aja Cohen launched an activewear brand for the woman she believed was not being spoken to in the marketplace - the modest woman.  At the time, she struggled to find modest activewear pieces that weren’t made of heavy, non-breathable fabrics or couldn’t wick sweat away properly. More importantly, she couldn't find brands that matched her strong ethical values of sustainability and locally made.  She knew there had to be a better option for women who wanted to workout, do good for Mother Earth, and honor their religious values.  Transcendent Active was born at the height of the Covid pandemic and combines eco-conscious fashion with strong ethical values.  Made in America from recycled plastic water bottles, the brand is committed to providing women of all faiths and sizes with high-quality, sustainable activewear. The signature All Day Active collection includes skirts, exercise dresses, quarter-sleeve tops, leggings, and bike shorts. Transcendent Active believes every woman deserves clothing that supports her lifestyle and faith while fostering confidence and style through movement.





    In this episode, you’ll learn:




    The positives and negatives of Aja’s corporate career in activewear design



    Why knowing your customer is so important



    How Aja has built a healthy business without selling on Amazon or manufacturing overseas



    Why the pandemic was actually a great time to start a business for Aja



    How Aja cultivates real connections and relationships with the people she works with



    How Aja decides her priorities and delegates the work to get it done



    How Aja approaches the difficult decisions of hiring and firing



    How customer research has shaped Transcendent Active’s collection



    Transcendent Active’s sustainability efforts



    How to stay focused on your values




    People and resources mentioned in this episode:




    Transcendent Active website



    Transcendent Active Instagram



    Transcendent Active Facebook



    Transcendent Active LinkedIn



    Transcendent Active TikTok




    Do you want fashion business tips and resources like this sent straight to your inbox? Sign up to the How Fitting newsletter to receive new podcast episodes plus daily content on creating fashion that fits your customer, lifestyle, and values.

    • 51 min
    Resortwear That Benefits The Natural World with Janet St Cyr & Diana Kerins of Bambina Swim

    Resortwear That Benefits The Natural World with Janet St Cyr & Diana Kerins of Bambina Swim

    In episode 89, hear how Janet St Cyr & Diana Kerins have created a swim and resort brand inspired by nature and travel. Learn what this mother-daughter partnership did to land a dream collaboration with a luxury resort and how they are growing their business slowly and steadily.



    Bambina is a women’s swim and resortwear brand owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Janet St Cyr and Diana Kerins. Their creations blend bold, vibrant aesthetics with unparalleled comfort to ignite confidence and happiness in those who wear them.



    They’re committed to keeping production right here in the USA and their collections are sewn at a women-owned factory in the heart of New York City’s garment district.  From how they source materials to how they manufacture and package their products, they’re always learning and seeking out the most Earth-friendly ways to bring their collections to you. 



    Bambina’s new resortwear launch for Summer ‘24 - The  Cardamom Collection, includes a beachwear robe and sarong featuring a custom print inspired by the endangered species of the Cardamom Rainforest in Cambodia. A percentage of proceeds from every sale will go towards The Wildlife Alliance to protect these beautiful and vulnerable creatures.





    In this episode, you’ll learn:




    How nature, the environment, and travel inspire Bambina Swim collections



    What it is like working as a remote mother-daughter partnership



    Why Bambina business started out sporadic and what changed for Janet and Diana to take it more seriously



    What Janet and Diana look for and design in a quality garment



    Why Janet and Diana are intentionally growing the business slowly



    How Bambina gets its funding



    How Janet and Diana landed a collaboration with a luxury resort to stock their recent collection



    What Diana and Janet’s goals are for the future of Bambina




    People and resources mentioned in this episode:




    Get 10% off at bambinaswim.com with code: HOWFITTING



    Bambina Swim website



    Bambina Swim Instagram




    Do you want fashion business tips and resources like this sent straight to your inbox? Sign up to the How Fitting newsletter to receive new podcast episodes plus daily content on creating fashion that fits your customer, lifestyle, and values.

    • 54 min

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