Founder discusses how collection embodies “Babes Supporting Babes” plus what’s next for brand
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Brunette the Label (BTL) launched almost 10 years ago as a Vancouver showroom with one staple sweatshirt that read “Brunette is the New Black.” That sweatshirt garnered enough attention to persuade founder Miriam Alden to jump into the fashion business head first and at warp speed.
Q&A with Brunette the Label founder Miriam Alden
Q:Who are you?
A: I am the founder, CEO and creative director of the fashion brand Brunette the Label. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter and a wife. I am a mentor, an animal lover, a competitive equestrian and the trademark holder of Babes Supporting Babes, my life’s motto.
Q: What drove you to start a clothing brand?
A: Brunette the Label was founded very organically. I always knew I wanted to have my own brand, and had worked in the industry for a while in many different areas. I did styling, fashion writing, modelling and wholesale repping other brands. I started as a junior in the industry and was basically a professional steamer for my first year, but I was the most connected to the business of fashion and understanding what retailers and end consumers were looking for. I loved the wholesale part so much that I ended up opening my own showroom after working in one for about five years. I spent a lot of time going to trade shows, driving around to visit my wholesale partners with my showroom, and then started hosting media events for my showroom. We made a sweatshirt that said “Brunette is the New Black” (my showroom is called Brunette Showroom) and a retailer saw the sweatshirt and mentioned they thought they could sell it in their store. So I made 12, then I made 24 and the rest is history. I think it was one of those things where I worked hard, and the road opened up for me so I followed it and it led me to my passion and life’s work.
Q: What makes Brunette unique?
A: We really are a lifestyle that a clothing brand was built around. “Babes Supporting Babes” has always been what I believe in, for both business and life. I have always believed that there is room for everyone to grow, and work together toward connected success. That if one of us did well and brought the other along then we would both do better together. So, I wanted to create a label that embodied that. We started in the graphic sweatshirt market when most clothing brands at that time had more of a clean, simple aesthetic. It was right before big bold graphics came back in, so we were early in the market for a lifestyle brand that showed it boldly across the front of your shirt. I think that is why it did so well to start. It was new but it was meaningful.
Q: How does your clothing embody “Babes Supporting Babes” and women empowerment?
A: I have always loved fashion but struggled a lot with the exclusivity of it. So I wanted to create a brand that worked for all people who love fashion, and also for people who just wanted to find something that made them feel good, both inside and out. We offer so many different bodies in the collection, lots of oversized cozy fits, and quality is key for me. We also offer the entire collection in sizes X/S- 4/5X.
Q: Tell us about your fabrics.
A: Brunette the label was originally known for our sweatshirts, so we have done a lot of cozy fleece, and that is probably what we are most known for. But, since we have moved into many new categories we also do a lot of 100 per cent cotton, cotton spandex basics, cozy knitwear and denim outerwear. Also, we are a vegan brand and do amazing vegan leather outerwear pieces.
The brand is officially 10 years old in February and I have grown a lot personally since launching. The girl who started the brand is not the same woman I am today, so I think it’s important to grow and evolve and change. But also, my heart and the core of who I am is the same, and I think that shows in the brand and the collection. This brand is a true representation of me and where I am, and I really hope everyone loves it.