Real Talk With Erin Drischler Of The Garment Project

Erin Drischler founded The Garment Project, a non-profit that aims to empower women recovering from eating disorders by providing them with new, size-less clothing, individualized for their healthy bodies and lifestyles. We got to know Erin and the story behind her incredible non-profit—read on for more.

Real Talk With Erin Drischler Of The Garment Project

 

What inspired you to start The Garment Project?

I wanted to start telling a different story. There were so many years where I felt stuck in a loop as the ‘sick girl’. I decided that I want to be a voice for those who feel that same hopelessness. For me, clothing and sizing was a huge part of my eating disorder recovery. Returning home from treatment to a closet full of clothes that didn’t fit my body or soul is a struggle that not many in recovery think of prior to it staring them in the face for the first time. Between my fiancé, Jordan, and myself, our careers, hobbies, and talents seemed to give us the expertise needed to try to make a difference.

We recognized that there needed to be a way for someone to maintain their focus on recovery and not their size, even when finding new clothes. We decided that partnering directly with treatment facilities would give us the information we needed about each candidate Garment works with in a private and healthy way. From there, we needed to give each individual a unique shopping experience. Garment created an online tool that allows us to make a new, personalized shopping page for each candidate containing only items in our inventory that we believe matches both their needs and lifestyle. With the help of hard-working and talented people, we believe Garment will change the recovery process and a lot of lives along the way.

Can you tell us a bit more about the power sizing in clothing can have over women and what they can do to overcome it?

Each time I went through treatment, I would learn new skills or bits of information that would improve some of my behaviors and way of thinking. I would usually leave with a feeling of confidence and that I had worked hard to make important changes in my lifestyle. Yet I would find myself in the same place: back at home, day one of no longer having the security of an inpatient treatment team, trying to get ready for class. I was alone in my room staring at a closet full of clothes that no longer fit my body or recovered lifestyle. It was a terrible feeling.

For a long time I used clothes to fuel my eating disorder. It isn’t uncommon to use clothing sizes as benchmarks. I kept and used my old clothes as a means of body checking, or seeing if weight had been gained or not. After several cycles through the treatment loop, I had been convinced to throw away my scale. My eating disorder didn’t need a scale anymore because I had my ‘sick clothes’. I remember one dress in particular that would reveal my current weight based on how it fit. I didn’t have the financial stability or even the courage to box everything up and start over.

Clothing and fashion are personal and powerful ways to express yourself. It is exciting and the easiest way to express your individuality. I was missing the thing I used to love about getting dressed each day. I wanted to be able to pick my outfit based on my mood or whatever side of my personality was stronger that morning, but I was stuck with a wardrobe that had so many negative associations attached to it that I couldn’t feel confident about anything that I had to choose from.

What’s next for The Garment Project?

We are focused on bettering our service and expanding our reach. This year, we are going to be working hard to spread our message and let people know that we’re a resource for people who have done amazing work for themselves and are learning how to lead a healthier life. Of course, Garment is always learning and growing too. It’s a priority for us to be able to expand our service to men and hopefully we’ll make significant progress on that this year as well.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

It took a few years of practice and slips, but I have a completely new relationship with food, my body, and myself. My eating disordered thoughts once consumed my life, paralyzing me from living a life I was proud of. I am three years into recovery and I still feel pride and excitement when I catch myself in control. I eat when I’m hungry and until I am full, and I always order exactly what I want. When I look at a photo of myself, I no longer examine every dimple or imperfection. I am able to see the happiness on my face because that’s what is most important to me now. I learned how to be more patient with people I care about, and forgive others when they might not have met my expectations. The food finally came second to the relationships, which was one of the most important steps in accepting my recovery.

Living this recovered life had not only led me to accept my body and soul, but truly love and embrace what I have to offer. I’m proud of my recovery and the messy, motivating experiences I went through. It is important to us that we be champions of recovery and show those that are struggling how beautiful recovered life can be.

 

Want to learn more about The Garment Project? Check out their website here.

 

 

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STYLIST’S PICKS: LOVE YOURSELF!

Show your support! In honor of #NEDAwareness week, Erin styled 3 looks featuring our limited-edition NEDA tee & undies, with 100% of sales of each item benefitting the non-profit that supports those affected by eating disorders. This week, these are more than just 3 outfits. They’re 3 ways to love yourself, just as you are!

STYLIST'S PICKS: LOVE YOURSELF!

#1: WEAR WHAT FEELS GOOD

Bralettes are always the obvious choice when you want to wear something that makes you feel good. Put this Padded Plunge Bralette under your Limited-Edition NEDA Tee, wear your fave jean shorts for sunshine and accessorize with our Denim Baseball Hat and So Fly Aviator Sunnies.

 

 

STYLIST'S PICKS: LOVE YOURSELF!

#2: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Chill. Play. Move. Leggings are always the best way to show yourself some love. Tie up your tee and pair it with our new printed Move High Waisted Legging, and wear our Play Strappy Back Sports Bra underneath to be ready for whatever your day brings.

 

 

STYLIST'S PICKS: LOVE YOURSELF!

#3: LOVE THE SWIM YOU’RE IN!

Bring body positivity to the beach and beyond! Sport your Super Scoop One Piece Swimsuit even more proudly by wearing your NEDA Tee on top, and add our super soft Denim Short on the bottom when you’re out of the pool. And remember…. for every unretouched swim photo you share with #AerieREAL, we’ll donate $1 (up to $25K) to NEDA. Because EVERY body is a beach body.

 

 

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Spring Break Playlist

The Aerie spring break playlist is ready? Ok, NOW you’re ready for your vacays! We’re kicking it off with #AerieREAL Role Model Rachel Platten’s “Whole Heart,” and the sunshine continues from there. Listen to our spring faves below.

Spring Break Playlist

Follow us on Spotify for more of our faves & comment below & tell us the spring jams you’re playing on repeat!

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

We met Nia last year, and since then she’s been inspiring us with her honesty about natural beauty, insecurities and confidence. Nia’s curls were always huge part of her life—she co-founded the Go With The Fro Tour, a movement to empower women with natural curls—but when she realized that her hair was starting to define her, she knew she had to let it go. We talked to Nia about that process and what she learned from it. Read on for more from this #AerieREAL Role Model!

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

You’ve recently changed your look! Tell us why you decided to cut your hair.  

I knew I wanted to let go of my hair when the image of the woman I aspired to be wasn’t who I was. I was bored of looking the same every day just for validation through social media. I felt unhappy and drained but I couldn’t figure out why until I listed all the things I felt were holding me back. I wanted a fresh start and to completely step out of my comfort zone to finally see myself. I feel amazing, I feel so confident and free.

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

What did you learn in the process?

That you should never remain in a career, relationship or friendship just because of the comfort. I could’ve remained talking about hair just because it was what I built my brand on but it wasn’t what I was truly passionate about anymore. I also learned that some people will be in your life just because of how you look which is sad but it made me appreciate the people in my life who love me for me. I also learned that I used to spend way too much time doing my hair because I can now sleep for an extra hour!

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

#AerieREAL is about standing together and feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. How do you personally identify with that message?

I have never felt more confident and comfortable in my skin as my comfort used to lie within my hair. I hid all of my insecurities underneath my hair because people always gravitated towards it. At first it was fun being known for my hair but I couldn’t keep up with the image of always having to look the same, I felt obliged to always wear my hair out for the gratification of others and thats when I knew I was no longer living for myself. I now identify with it through acceptance of my natural beauty, my intelligence, my kind soul and my ability to always evolve.

Real Talk With Nia PettittWho is your role model and why?

My role model is the older version of myself. We all have this idea in our head of who we want to be and sometimes we never know how we are going to get there. Whether that is a healthier version, a smarter one, a version that is more stylish or more happy. My version is a woman that doesn’t allow likes to validate her worth, that is free with herself to be herself at all times and never feel like she has to be in a box.

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

What makes you an #AerieREAL Role Model?

I no longer look at my flaws as flaws. I look at my stretch marks as lines of love from girl to woman. I look at my acne scars as reminders to stop stressing over unnecessary things. I look at the hair which grows on my skin as a blanket and my belly button as a cool and unique part of me. I am an #AerieREAL Role Model because I understand that the natural me is the best version of me.

How do you stay true to yourself? Comment below & tell us what makes YOU an #AerieREAL Role Model.

 

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How To: Customize Your City Sweatshirt

With warmer weather on its way, your City Sweatshirts will love this breezy new update to show off your newest bralettes. Read on to see Fo’s business in the front, party in the back style and how you can make your own!

 

How To: Customize Your City Sweatshirt

How To: Customize Your City Sweatshirt

WHAT YOU NEED:

How To: Customize Your City Sweatshirt

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Lay the shirt front-side down on a flat surface. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Using the measuring tape and chalk, mark the back middle of the shirt.
  3. Starting from the outer top edge of the collar, draw a line to the middle point.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Using the fabric scissors, cut along the bottom of the collar and along the chalk lines.
  6. Wear it with your fave bralette for an effortlessly cool look!

How To: Customize Your City Sweatshirt

How do you customize your Aerie? Comment below & tell us!

STYLIST’S PICKS: SWIM TO STREET

Love your new swim too much to wait for summer temps? Wear it out! Take Erin’s tips and think of your swim as your new favorite bodysuit. Your closet just doubled in size. You’re welcome. Here’s how to take your swim to the streets!

 

STYLIST'S PICKS: SWIM TO STREET

#1 LAYER A TEE UNDER YOUR DEEP V

The Super Plunge is more than just our must-have new one piece—it’s super amazing to wear all day long! Layer a Real Soft® Tee under it, add your favorite AE Mom Jeans, top it off with your Aerie So Fly Aviator Sunnies and you’re good to go.

 

STYLIST'S PICKS: SWIM TO STREET

#2 TRADE YOUR BRALETTE FOR A BIKINI

With this Eyelet High Neck Bikini Top, who needs a bralette? (JK… everyone!) Wear it with these matching High Waisted Cheeky Bikini Bottoms under your new Chambray Overalls, and tie it all up with AEO’s Oversized Bow Slide Sandal.

 

STYLIST'S PICKS: SWIM TO STREET

#3 SWIMSUIT AS BODYSUIT

Pretend your palm print Super Scoop One Piece Swimsuit is your cutest graphic bodysuit. Add a little denim with our Chambray Jogger and our favorite cargo Short Sleeve Camp Shirt, throw on your rose gold slides and head straight from school to the pool.

 

 

 

 

STYLIST'S PICKS: SWIM TO STREET#4 ALL BEACH DAY & NIGHT

With spring break right around the corner, you can maximize packing space by planning to wear your swim on and off the beach. For the warmest days on your trip, stay cool in our Cutout One Piece Swimsuit (knot NOT a two piece!) and bare your legs in our Camp Shorts. Wear your Short Sleeve Camp Shirt when you’re walking around town, and take it off when you’re ready to get serious about sunshine.

 

 

How are you wearing your swim on the street this season? Comment below and tell us!