Any guess which one is me? When I was a young girl I never remember feeling taller or different from my friends, until I was a little older and saw THIS picture! I didn’t realize how much taller I was until I saw myself next to my friends, and that boy next to me was my childhood boyfriend! As tall women growing up, we all have a picture like this, and regardless of our life experiences, we have all had these struggles.
When you are tall, your height plays a role in your identity weather you like it or not, because it is exceptional and out of the ordinary. I embrace being tall as an adult, but there were of course the awkward teenage years which were the most challenging times for me being tall. When I was in Middle School, there was no online shopping. If what you wanted was at the mall, great! If not, then you were pretty much out of luck. I remember buying jeans that were at least 3 sizes too big, but they touched the ground, so I bought them. I also remember wanting a pair of sneakers so bad that I bought a size too small, because it was in stock. I would get the worst blisters every time I wore them, isn’t that horrible? Being tall comes with its advantages for sure, but things like that just aren’t right, and it should not have to be that way. One of my dreams for tall apparel is that by the time my 3-year-old daughter enters that dreaded awkward phase of her life, I want her to have choices and I want her to be able to wear what she wants, not only what is available.
When I was growing up, I was in a competitive dance company and absolutely loved it. To this day, I still miss performing and dancing, but as I got older, it became clear that I was not the typical dance body. Once I entered Highschool I started playing Volleyball where for the first time that I can remember, my height was celebrated, and even envied by my shorter teammates. I excelled quickly and earned a full scholarship to Northern Arizona University. Unfortunately, after a challenging first year I fell out of love with the sport and moved back to Phoenix to attend Arizona State. This was ultimately a great move for my career because I started working retail while I was in college and was able to gain professional experiences before graduating. I didn’t always aspire to be a clothing designer, but I always gravitated towards fashion, so working in a clothing store was a great place to start. While I was in college, I earned a spot interning for kate spade in their headquarters in New York. This was literally my dream come true as kate spade was my favorite designer. I am not sure if this is a common thing for tall women, but my first true love with fashion were accessories. I dreamed about owning a kate spade bag (I now have a collection), I loved necklaces, cocktail rings… accessories always fit, and a great handbag completes any outfit, am I right? Having the opportunity to work in New York, for my favorite designer, sealed my fate working in fashion. Kate and Andy were still running the company at that time and I would see them almost everyday walking the halls. My heart still breaks that we lost her.
A few years later I actually became the General Manager for the kate spade boutique back in Arizona and after a short while I got the opportunity to open and run a Tory Burch boutique for 6 years. As I look back on designers and experiences that inspire me, I am so inspired by these two women. Both kate spade and Tory Burch are female, American designers, who saw a gap in the industry and filled it with their brand and personal story. That what Liv Tall is to me, and hopefully to tall women in the future.
My last Day at Tory Burch
Although I felt successful in my career, I always had that feeling of wanting more. I wanted more for myself. My husband would always say- if you work half as hard for yourself as you do for others, you will still succeed. During COVID I had time to reflect, and after I was laid off it was clear to me that it was time to pursue the dreams, explore the ideas and go for something bigger.
Can you see my shoes peeking out?
My career shaped my perspective on fashion, and the apparel industry as a whole. It has given me tremendous insight and understanding that I would never want to change. What is most significant about my experiences and working directly with clothing, is that no matter how much access I had to great clothes, my options were still limited. Anyone who worked with me in the past could attest to the struggle and watching me scramble every time we had a big event, trip or corporate visit. The hardest was when I would attend Galas (my job at Saks was bougie at times) and I had to find gowns long enough and shoes that matched... a story and whole conversation for another day. Needless to say, it was exhausting and while I do have items in my closet that I love, it is also filled with items that I bought simply because they fit.
My Next Chapter
Two days after being laid off, I reserved the name Liv Tall and started working on creating the brand identity and purpose. I started sketching, reading, and educating myself on the design process; basically, a crash course in fashion design. One of the most significant things I learned while doing my research is the amount of waste the fashion industry creates. Do you know it is the #3 pollutant in the world? (Source: The Eco Experts) It really made me stop and think about being a contributor to that, but there are ways to be mindful, produce small batches and order only what you need so you create as little waste as possible, which are more sustainable business practices. As consumers there is a lot we can do too, but also another topic to discuss in the future.
While I was working on the brand, I also knew that I wanted to manufacture in the USA. I am tired of seeing everything made oversees, and not only want to support the local economy, but I want to have more insight into the production process and know that everyone involved in creating my clothing is being treated fairly and ethically.
So 10 months later I am getting ready to launch my first collection that I have conceptualized, designed and sourced, on my own, with the guidance of my clothing manufacturer, FABRIC (Have you seen my interview on IG with the Co-founder?). I look at my life a year ago and while I was (and still am) blessed in so many ways, I am extremely grateful for the direction it has turned. 10 months ago I had a choice, and I chose to pursue my dreams, with the support of my husband and daughter (if she only knew!).
Liv Tall was created out of a lifelong frustration of not finding clothing that fits properly, always sacrificing, compromising and “making it work.” I love fashion but fashion is not made for the tall woman, and I hope to change that. I hope other tall brands launch and those that are here now, stay. I want my daughter to have choices when it comes to fashion and be able to wear what she wants, not only what is available. Liv Tall is for the tall woman, made by one and I can’t wait to launch and share this collection with you!! ✨
Walking into the next chapter like...