1 In Conscious Consumer/ Fashion

Behind the Label: BRASS

You would be hard-pressed to find a sweeter pair than Katie & Jay–the innovators behind the new Boston-based fashion label BRASS. These two have a keen eye for design, a passion for quality, and the fashion prowess to craft chic wardrobe basics that never go out of style. They graciously gave me a sneak preview of their curated collection; I immediately wanted to scoop up every one of the five classic dresses and start wearing them pronto. See below for my exclusive interview with Katie & Jay then pop over to their website for more photos and purchasing options (use this code for EARLY ACCESS: Insider23).
How did you two meet?

We met when we were 14 years old during freshman
year of high school. We promise our sense of style has gotten better with age!
Since then we have gone on to do very different things, but stayed in touch
over the years. Katie has since completed her MBA and focused on marketing and
e-commerce. After college, Jay concentrated on weaving, textiles, and apparel
production. Our varied experiences make us a great team. Plus, being such old
friends makes it easier to communicate and keep each other in check.

{This woman is measuring one
of our dresses at the factory to ensure it meets our quality control
Why is the brand named “Brass?”

Brass has 2 meanings.  The first is a bit more obvious
and helps tell our story and the second is more personal.
The first meaning of Brass is a reflection of the products we
make. Both of us felt frustrated when shopping, struggling to find quality
garments.  The styles we love – like those produced by designers as
Theory, Vince and Tory Burch – were like gold.  Beautiful, shiny and
desirable, but unrealistic.  It’s hard for a 28 year old woman to fill her
closet with $400 dresses. We decided to try to fill the gap for women who want
more than cheap fast fashion but don’t want to pay a high premium for quality.
Our dresses are produced in the same factories as the world’s top designers. We
provide the same attention to detail, quality, and craftsmanship. By selling
online we are able to maintain lower overhead and lower markup. This allows us
to pass the savings along to our customer.
Therefore, we’re not gold and we’re not a designer label.
We’re Brass.  
The second significance of Brass has more to do with an
attitude and how we want to lead the business. The word “brass” is
not commonly used, but it means “bold, self confident or brazen.” We are both
known to speak our minds and stand up for what we believe in. We consider it a
sign of good character to be vocal and appreciate a person who can “tell us how
it is.” We incorporate this philosophy – to be straightforward and confident –
into our business. We hope it will make us better business partners, marketers,
manufacturers and leaders.

How did you decide on these styles for the 5

We felt it was important to design versatile styles, a
curated collection of closet staples. We began the design process by evaluating
the dresses we own and love. We lined them up across Katie’s living room and
discussed why we loved these items. We used the same words over and over again:
“It fits perfectly,” “I feel confident in it,” “It’s versatile.”  We knew fit,
and confidence would lay the groundwork for our first
five styles.   

We wanted to make sure other women felt the same way. So, we put together a survey, asking
more than 150 women about their favorite dress styles. The most popular style
was the shirt dress. This dress continues to get a lot of love on Instagram and Facebook.  The other top
styles– the Fit and Flare, Maxi and Sheath–also received a lot of votes. The
survey was a great tool for building our first line. It confirmed our original
thought: women are looking for versatile, basic dresses that can be worn different
ways for different occasions.
How do you plan on accessorizing your dresses
for fall?

One of the great things about our dresses is that they’re
basic, so you can dress them up or down and style them for your personality.
 With fall right around the corner, we’ll be styling the dresses with lots
of layers.  We love throwing a pair of tights on under the Fit N Flare or
Sheath dress and adding a beautiful scarf.  We have two maxi dresses that
we’re super excited to style for fall.  You can take a maxi into colder
weather by sporting a denim jacket or a cute, cropped sweater. Add some booties
and some brassy bangles and you’re good to go. The shirt dress easily stands on
it’s own. For fall, we love pairing it with neutral, textured scarf and
over-sized leather tote.

What other designers/brands inspire your

Our line is inspired by the designer brands that we always
admired from afar, but couldn’t afford to purchase on a regular basis. Brands
like Theory, Tory Burch and Diane Von Furstenberg are among a few that we look
to for inspiration. We love them because of their simple styles, elegant colors
and timeless silhouettes.  Our goal is not to be a fashion brand that you
wear for a season or two. We want your Brass dress to be your go to piece. You
wear it on a job interview or first date because you know it fits perfectly and
gives you that little edge.

 Images courtesy of BRASS.
tell all

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