Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Zdrale.
Hi Angela, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
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 available. 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 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. 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. I didn’t always aspire to be a clothing designer, but I have always gravitated towards fashion, so working in a clothing store seemed like 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 the accessories. I dreamed about owning a Kate spade bag (I now have a collection), loved necklaces, earrings… because accessories always fit!! 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 every day 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.
After running boutiques for nearly a decade I got the opportunity to work for Saks Fifth Avenue as the Marketing Manager for the Phoenix store. Not only did my fashion world expand exponentially but I was also able to grow professionally and expand my work experiences beyond the boutiques. I adored my job at Saks Fifth Avenue, but this is sadly where my corporate career came to an end. After 4 years, COVID hit, and furlough turned into being laid off and it was time to make the decision- what next?
Although I always had high-level jobs and felt successful, 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 for the first time, 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.
My career shaped my perspective on fashion, and the apparel industry. It has given me tremendous insight and understanding that I would never want to change. What is significant about my experiences and working directly with clothing is that no matter how much access to great clothes I had, 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, only for people to look at me and say, “oh, everything must look good on you.” (Insert emoji with the head exploding!) 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.
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 sustainable business practices.
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, after lifelong struggles 10 months of being unemployed I have launched my first collection, that I conceptualized, designed and sourced, on my own with the support of FABRIC. 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 passions and 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!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of the most impactful pieces of advice I read about being an entrepreneur is that the secret to success is to keep going. It seems like such a simple thing but it has really kept everything in perspective for me. When there is an obstacle or setback, it doesn’t stop you if you just keep going and work through it. I have had challenges along the way and because this is my first time designing there have also been things I have had to learn the hard way, but regardless, I keep going!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Liv Tall is a small batch fashion brand, produced in the USA and designed specifically for tall women. After a career in fashion, I was burnt out on the lack of fashionable options that fit a tall frame properly. I decided to create a brand built on sustainable business practices, that would fill the void I knew existed in the market. Liv Tall offers fashion choices that are well made and designed to last. Items are inspired by trends in style, color, and fabrics, but influenced by my love for a classic silhouette. I am sourcing quality fabrics and focusing on fit and design, because I do not feel that a woman should sacrifice either, simply because of her height.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
The fashion industry as a whole is definitely making changes to be more eco-conscious and sustainable. COVID forced consumers to stop and think about what they actually need and should be spending their money on, including their clothes, and it exposed the wastefulness of fast fashion; clothing being mass produced at cheap prices and quality that we wear once or twice then throw away. This awareness is one of the reasons I built my business practices the way they are, I knew I had to be more intentional and mindful, otherwise I would be contributing to the problem. This is why I am small batch, to cut down on waste, I manufacture in my home town which cuts down on transit times as well as shipping materials and pollutants, and I use quality materials that are meant to last beyond a few washes. As my brand grows I will be incorporating more natural materials into the collection as well to cut down on man-made materials and utilize more natural fibers as well so that I can be more a part of the solution rather than the problem.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.livtall.com
- Instagram: @liv_tall
- Facebook: Liv Tall
Rachel Fischer Visuals