There are few experiences more rapidly disheartening than buying women’s professional clothing. Stock is limited, sizing is all over the map and the majority of women end up feeling like their clothing options range from being beige, boxy, boring or only borderline appropriate for work.
For female shoppers, it’s disheartening when more innovative advances have been made in leggings over the last decade than have been made in women’s workwear.
Professional clothing that is unpleasant to shop for not only generates a bad user experience, Ameliora Founder and CEO Adrienne Kronovet told PYMNTS; it also completely fails at its essential purpose. Professional clothing should make its wearer feel empowered and confident — not self-conscious.
“We want to create clothes that really empower women,” Kronovet said. “What really inspired Ameliora was this big question of how can we help women feel empowered, and we realized the way to do that was through clothing. Through making excellent, well-tailored, beautiful garments that someone could put on and feel untouchable in.”
To offer that, she said, Ameliora has taken a very tailored (pardon the pun) approach to its highly curated, small batch-centered offerings.
Minimalist Design Aesthetics
Ameliora offers a limited set of mixed and matchable clothes, eight pieces in all: two jackets, two skirts, two dresses, one pair of pants and one set of high-end leggings. All in black, all (but the leggings) lined with eye-catching red silk and all easily mixed and matched with each other.
“We settled on black because it is the most foundational color and the easiest to build off of — and when I looked at my own wardrobe, I realized that maybe 90 percent of what I am wearing is black,” the CEO said.
The goal, Kronovet continued, was to offer shoppers clothing that was easy to match with and integrate into wardrobes they already owned — and black, of course, is known for going with anything.
But the uniformity goes deeper than the color scheme: Ameliora also makes all of its clothing with the same Italian-milled fabric, so any piece bought now will match with a piece bought further down the line as the brand expands its offerings.
“We picked the red silk, because it’s so luxurious; you put on a blazer lined with silk, and honestly you just feel unstoppable. And red is a powerful color — it’s confidence in color form. It’s the color that best reflects what we want our customers to feel when they wear our clothes,” Kronovet said.
And she knows this from confidence — the way only a 23-year-old founder can.
An Unusual Background
Most college seniors are not ready to create their own fashion line. But Kronovet comes from a somewhat unusual background. The North Carolina native’s grandfather operated a clothing mill that made sweaters for JCPenney. She had her first sewing machine by the time she was 11 and has been making clothing ever since.
“I used to force my little brother to model for me. There are rogue pictures, that I think my mom has mostly destroyed by now, of my poor brother wearing skirts I had made,” she admitted.
Her family encouraged her to enter the fashion industry, and her unique background gave her an unusual insight into how the industry has changed over the last two and a half decades — particularly as fashion production has relocated itself overseas.
“From the beginning, I always knew that I wanted to make things in the United States. My grandfather actually had to shut down his clothing mill because everything had to move to China and abroad, so I have really seen firsthand the devastation of the switch to foreign imports … that is [why] I really wanted to make things in the U.S.,” the CEO said.
What has been surprising to her (and is surprising to many people) is just how thriving the garment district is domestically, particularly in New York City, where all of Ameliora’s clothing is made. There are costs to that, of course: Ameliora’s clothing doesn’t come at a fast fashion price, and there is work to do in convincing consumers trained by inexpensive clothing flooding the market that it makes sense to make a materials and production upgrade when it comes to outfitting themselves for professional efforts.
But the dividends, Kronovet said, have paid off: Ameliora’s ideological commitment to empower women and using American labor have elevated the brand.
“What’s been unique about my experience as a young female founder is that Ameliora’s strong vision has really helped people be happy and [get] excited to jump on our team really easily,” she said.
Ameliora is a new brand — a very new brand, having made its grand launch to the public just two weeks ago — getting up and running just in time for Christmas.
“It’s actually been going really, really well; we’ve seen a lot of gift buying, which has been nice,” Kronovet shared.
As for 2018, the company is working to partner with groups that empower women. Ameliora is also looking to expand its product offering from those initial staples.
“And, I know this is an ambitious goal, but I would like to work on becoming a household name,” Kronovet said.
It is an ambitious goal — but then, no one ever got big thinking small.