This D.C. Fashion Designer Ditched Her Law Career To Make Clothes For Tall Women
by Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 14, 2017 10:48 am
By DCist contributor Mimi Montgomery
At 5 feet 10 inches, Meghan Evans has always struggled to find clothes that fit her tall frame well. She’d buy mediums and larges for extra length, but the clothing would hang boxy and loose. Once she moved to D.C. in 2015 to work as a lawyer, that problem was only amplified.
“The biggest problem mass marketers face is that tall is not simply adding two inches to your hemline and calling it ‘tall build,’” Evans says. Many retailers like J. Crew and Ann Taylor market to taller women, but don’t always take into consideration that things like bust darts, waist lines, pocket placements and armpit holes are all affected by height.
So Evans decided to take matters into her own hands, and her eponymous clothing line was born.
For its debut this month, she sticks to the business-casual classics: A pink tweed blazer, a blue peplum top, and a textured knit dress are all available on her website, and Evans has plans in the works for pop-up shops, as well.
“I realized how hard it was to find clothes you could wear during the week and on the weekend,” Evans says, especially as a woman requiring specifically tailored clothing. “When I moved to D.C., I obviously didn’t have a full-size closet in my condo, and I don’t want a work wardrobe or a weekend wardrobe or an evening wardrobe. I want stuff that can go from my job to drinks with friends to brunch on the weekends.”
Evans has always loved fashion, purchasing dresses on-sale that would be too short for her and having them tailored into custom tops. But she never thought her style savvy could translate into anything other than a hobby. That is until she realized she had a unique insight into what constituted well-made, frame-fitting clothing for professional women of taller height.
Still, she was a lawyer, not a fashion designer.
So Evans purchased a few books on sketching fashion designs, found a local seamstress in D.C. and began consulting with her, bringing in pieces from her own wardrobe to provide examples and instruction. Trips to trade shows and fabric stores in New York’s Garment District followed, and Evans polled fellow tall friends and scoured online clothing reviews for market research.
Her law background came in handy for the business side of things, too, such as selecting her corporate structure, registering her line and completing the paperwork for it to be incorporated. Plus, it helped her be more judicious in her business planning. “It just makes you very aware and forward-looking,” she says. “Before I take one step, I’m always thinking ten steps beyond…It’s not that you don’t take risks, but they’re calculated and informed.”
Of course, starting one’s own business is a risk itself. Earlier this year, Evans quit her job at a D.C. law firm to pursue her fashion line full-time, a career shift that came with its own struggles.
“It can be lonely,” she says of being an entrepreneur. “Especially if you’re venturing into an area that you’re not trained in formally or have a degree in, and therefore don’t have friends from school as a built-in network.”
But Evans is thankful to have started her line here in D.C., citing its design culture as more open-armed and much less intimidating than that of New York or L.A.
“D.C. has a vibrant community for small and local business, so it’s fun to get to know that community,” she says. She cites local designers such as Rebekah Murray of Virginia Dare Dress Co. and Mimi Miller of Mimi Miller Womenswear as inspiration, guiding Evans throughout the design process with advice and mentorship. “They’re very welcoming, supportive and helpful. It’s been amazing to see how friendly people are.”
And with her plans for future expansion, it’s safe to say Evans could soon be giving out advice to a mentee of her own. Her winter line is currently in the works and will debut later this year, which Evans says will be filled with darker colors and more patterns.
Designing a clothing line while managing a business can be a stretch, but luckily Evans is tall enough to reach it.