I was first introduced to the Maven Women brand when I attended the Free the Slaves Fashion for Freedom event earlier this summer. At the event, Maven founder Rebecca Ballard gave an impassioned answer to a panel question about the power that we, as women, have to change the fashion industry. I left the event feeling inspired and drawn to this purpose-driven brand.
During the event, Rebecca also described how she entered the law field to make a difference on social justice issues, but she found it difficult to find professional clothing that fit her values and aesthetic. So, Maven Women was born.
Featuring Maven as a ‘Brand to Know’ here is incredibly special for me. While I always feature brands whose values I admire, there are very few that I have had the pleasure of also knowing on a more personal level. I hope you leave this post feeling as passionate about Maven as I do.
About the brand
“Maven” is a Yiddish word meaning ‘one who understands’. It is used to denote someone who really knows their stuff or is an expert in her field. Maven Women was founded for the incredible women who are mavens in their lives. They are leading in their fields, their communities, and their families with their wisdom, knowledge, and compassion. They are women who know that their lives matter and that the lives of others matter. We create clothing for women who want to honor themselves and others in their choices. This means honoring their body as it is and as it will be, with the natural fluctuations and changes that happen to a woman’s build over time. It is also honoring the hands that make their clothes, the communities those people live in, and our beautiful and fragile planet. We are created for and with women seeking beauty inside and out. I believe there are more of us than anyone may realize, and that by harnessing our individual and collective potential we can create real change in our lives and in our world,” explains Rebecca.
Maven Women set out to design the perfect dress, engaging more than one-hundred women in the design process. Additionally, Maven’s sizing goes beyond what many other brands are doing, and is particularly ambitious for a new brand. Many conventional fashion brands design their garments based on one model, and then grade their clothing up and down to make it fit different sizes, which some of you probably knew. This is why you find so many pieces that may not fit properly or seem to have some weird proportions. For me, this difficulty always presents itself in the form of too-big armpit holes in dresses, ones that sink so low that my bra is often visible.
Maven designs their clothing differently. They fit their first piece on over thirty women across a 45-year age range before moving into production – talk about ambitious! They also use more shaping and darting than the average fashion brand and make another pattern for as small as a 3/4″ difference, which is why the final products are so incredibly flattering.
Maven has six core values, which I feel go beyond your typical brand mission and values. They are meaningful and detailed, and demonstrate a real understanding and commitment to social justice. This brand is the real deal – not one that is simply riding the wave of ethical style. The values that most resonate with me are “Natural Beauty” and “Restorative Justice.”
Natural beauty, because in a world where fashion has long told women they aren’t good enough, Maven has designed its clothing around a healthy and realistic view of women’s bodies. Restorative justice is focused on turning around the exploitation that has existed throughout the fashion industry.
The Amira Dress
When Maven offered to send me one of their dresses to try, I knew the Amira was the one for me. I don’t typically wear a lot of business attire, since I work in a fairly casual office and industry. So, when I’m looking for a little black dress, I need one that feels just as comfortable at a dinner with friends as it does at a work event or on a business trip. It needs to be appropriate and sophisticated without that definitive business-casual vibe in order to make sense for my closet and lifestyle. Speaking of little black dresses, this dress does come in sapphire and currant – but you know me, I always go with classic black!
And ladies, this dress is so good.
First, let’s just get right to it and address how to care for this piece, because I feel like that’s a really important factor in considering this type of garment. The Amira dress is machine washable. I cannot even fully express what a joy it is to find a dress like this that doesn’t require dry cleaning. The Amira can be washed on permanent press in cold water, hung to dry and steamed or ironed to re-set the pleats near the shoulder. I feel like Maven just understands that I’m on-the-go, and I don’t have time for fussy, dry-clean only garments.
When it comes to comfort, this dress also has you covered. It is ethically made in India with 100% organic cotton, and is lined with a beautiful organic cotton block print. I love that I actually have a comfortable, breathable little black dress now. And…it has pockets.
In the style department, I think the pictures are worth a thousand words, so I won’t go into too much detail about what the dress looks like. Instead, I want to tell you how I felt when I wore this dress, and show you some photos of how I styled it.
When I first tried this dress on, I was stunned at how well it fit. I mean, I knew Rebecca’s story and I was expecting it to be a beautiful, well-made dress, but I was not prepared for just how beautiful it would be. It was like it was made for me, and I felt so confident and stylish in it. Granted, I was gifted this dress, so I understand you might be skeptical of my praise. But I would have bought it. At pretty much any price.
So, if you’re wondering if Maven succeeded in setting out to make the perfect dress…
Have you heard of Maven Women? Which of their six values most resonates with you?
P.S. – To save 10% on the Amira or Sarah dress, use code WholeheartedWardrobe.