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Founder Feature: Kimberly Barasch

Fast fashion and fast food have a few things in common (besides alliteration). They are both cheap and fun in the moment, but long-term, they’re really bad for our health. 

Kimberly Barasch, founder of Altress, saw the ugly side of the fashion industry while she was living her dream, climbing the ladder in apparel industry giants like Nicole Miller, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, and David Meister.

At this point, you may be thinking, WAIT. Let’s go back to the first paragraph. I get that a double cheeseburger and fries aren’t doing my arteries any favors. But how is fast fashion bad for me?

Fast fashion has a negative trickle-down effect. Sixty percent of apparel produced in a 12-month time span will end up in landfills or incinerated, which is pretty crappy for our planet. And what’s bad for our planet is ultimately bad for us.

“I decided that customization and on-demand manufacturing were the answers to breaking this cycle of waste,” Kimberly said. “With this thesis, I left the industry and founded Altress to transform the way clothing is designed and produced. Through Altress, we reduce the environmental impact of apparel manufacturing while empowering women to purchase product they want, not just what designers tell them they want. We give the power back to whom it belongs, the customer.”

So how does Altress work? The customer creates a dress from a bevy of design options, and within two weeks, she has a beautiful, waste-free garment.

“Our customization platform empowers women to make their dress how they truly want it. With 1,500 silhouette permutations, 10 smart filters, 9 colors, 2 accessible price points ($298 and $348), and 10-12 business day delivery, Altress makes it easy to customize a high-quality and well-fitting dress,” Kimberly explained.

Leaving a successful corporate career can be daunting, but Kimberly credits her upbringing for grooming her for the challenges of entrepreneurship.

“My parents always told me that your 20s and 30s are the time to work your ass off, so that I did and continue to do,” Kimberly recalled. 

“During my time in the apparel industry, I often worked until 2am, and constantly traveled overseas to work with and negotiate with factories. I have always understood the value of hard work, and well before starting my own business, I understood the sacrifice of personal life to consistently accomplish goals. This mentality prepared me for the life of an entrepreneur. I was always living it in some capacity, but I am super proud to be doing it for my own dream now as opposed to someone else’s.”

Another big part of Altress’s success? “My kickass team of women who also believe in transforming the entire apparel industry for the better,” Kimberly said. “It’s crucial to surround yourself with great people. Your team is ultimately who will help you get your business off the ground, and they are also who you will spend most of your time with.”

 “I joined The F Project because I believe there is power in numbers amongst female founders – with a network we can create synergy amongst our brands, products and services, and take over the world!”

The F Project is happy to have this founder on our team!

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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