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: Last-Minute Gifts

Erin loves Aerie. Erin loves gifting Aerie. Erin is here for you to help with your last-minute gifts! Read on for some of her go-tos.

 

#1. Give the gift that always works.

If you’re really down to the wire, a gift card is always a love. Send an e-gift card to the girls on your list and include links to some of Erin’s outfit picks from this season for inspiration on how to use it.

3 Favorite Outfits

Fave Gifts

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

#2. If it’s grammable, it’s giftable.

Little things = big loves. Graphic beanies, pom pom EVERYTHING… stock up on small things that will make your friends smile. They may not think to get the fun stuff for themselves!

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

#3. Shop for the season.

The softer, the better. Furry scarves, knit gloves and any other winter accessory is a great way to keep the girls on your list warm and cozy this season.

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

#4. Gift a winter uniform.

‘Tis the season… to wear sweaters, sweatshirts and leggings every. single. day! If you know Erin, you know she’ll be living in her winter uniform all season long. Give the gift of stylist-approved comfort!

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

Happy gifting, girls!

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DIY Wall Hanging

DIY your gifts this holiday, or make one for yourself– a woven wall hanging is a great way to get your hygge on! Read on to see how to weave your own wintry decor.

DIY Wall Hanging

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Large weaving loom
  • White yarn to wrap loom
  • Yarn to stitch with
  • Weaving needle
  • Scissors
  • 2 wooden dowels

WHAT TO DO

  1. In the loom, wrap yarn around the top and bottom pegs to make the base that you’ll be weaving through.
  2. At the very bottom of the loom, bring 4-5 pieces of yarn into a knot to create your bottom fringe. This will secure the bottom so that when you’re done with your creation, you can simply slide it off.
  3. The easiest way to get going is to simply “under and over” the yarn, making your base for incorporating fun things like poms!DIY Wall Hanging
  4. To create poms, wrap yarn in circles around your hand about 10 times.
  5. Next, cut an 8-inch piece of yarn and tie it around the middle of the yarn bundle.
  6. Cut the two loops on the top and bottom of the now tied bundle.
  7. Fluff the strings out to make a pom!DIY Wall Hanging
  8. Use the under over method with thicker yarn and tug at it to make it puff out for a fun texture
  9. Once you’re all done, use a dowel or festive stick to weave through the top loops.
  10. Have fun! It’s all about being creative. Try an assortment of yarns and mix up the textures and use your favorite colors to make it your own.

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Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

To celebrate our NEW Lincoln Road store in Miami, we partnered with our friends at Create & Cultivate for a day of Real Talk and fun with some of our #AerieREAL girls.

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

It was a day of inspiring talks, treats and—of course—shopping!

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln RoadTwo of our AerieREAL Role Models, Aly Raisman and Iskra Lawrence, shared a seat before the panels. Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Panels focused on empowerment, body positivity and wellness, featuring game-changing women who are breaking stereotypes and living their dreams. Thamarr, #AerieREAL girl from Musings of a Curvy Lady, said “I love meeting other female entrepreneurs that are super passionate about using their voice for good. Their fierce desire to make things happen is so electric.”

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Ava Frati came to Lincoln Road to tell the story of her swimwear line, Po Swim. She started Po Swim at just 15, and we’re so excited to support her amazing brand. Check it out at our Lincoln Road store and Aerie.comBehind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

The first panel, Self-Love: Learning To Live, Love & Thrive As Ourselves, featured Fo Porter, Alex Michael May, Chante Bryant, Aly Raisman and Heather Records. The girls discussed how they keep it #AerieREAL in in and out of the public eye. Alex Michael May shared: “So many beautiful women came to #ccxaerie @createcultivate pop up at @aerie to share their hearts—to have REAL TALK about the things that connect us—imposter syndrome, loving ourselves and of course laughing through it all.”

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

During the second panel, Unfiltered & Fierce: Navigating The Digital World With Authenticity, speakers Jenna Kutcher, Katie Sturino, Daniela Ramirez, Iskra Lawrence and Jaclyn Johnson talked about their presence on social media and how they’ve stayed true to themselves while their social followings have grown.

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

After Real Talk, girls were invited to a mocktails where they were able to meet speakers and mingle. Aly Raisman was there to sign her new book, “Fierce.”

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

From DIY dream pillows and name plates to a sundae bar, sweetness was spread all around at the Lincoln Road opening. #AerieREAL girl Noyemi summed it up this week: “Last weekend was nothing short of amazing. Thanks to @createcultivate & @aerie for hosting an event highlighting the importance of self acceptance and positive body image. Thank you to all the panelists who killed it with their energy!”

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Behind The Scenes: Real Talk At Lincoln Road

Check out our Facebook events for upcoming fun at Lincoln Road, and come see us to shop any time. See you soon!

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Real Talk with Ava Frati of Pō Swim

We’re so excited to support Pō Swim, a collection inspired by Miami and started by Ava Frati at just 15! We talked to Ava about her entry into the design world, her newest Pō Swim collection and what #AerieREAL means to her. Read on to find out how growing up in Miami has influenced this 15 year old to change the swim game, and meet Ava on Saturday, 12.9 at our NEW Lincoln Road store!

Real Talk with Ava Frati of Pō SwimReal Talk with Ava Frati of Pō Swim

You started Pō Swim at the age of 15. What advice do you have for other young girls trying to start their own businesses?

I launched Pō Swim on my website earlier this year when I turned 15. I worked hard to try and design what young girls, like me, wanted in a swimsuit. The advice I have for other young girls trying to start their own businesses is believe in your ideas and set your goals high. Share your ideas for feedback with those you trust. Take advice and don’t be scared. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

The one piece swimsuit has really made a comeback! What is your fave new swim trend?

My new favorite swim trend would have to be the plunge top. It’s such a flattering and empowering shape– I can’t wait to introduce the new ones I designed.

What’s your favorite piece from your collection?

My favorite piece from my collection would have to be the Mar top with the Emma bottoms. Even though I do truly love all my suits, this set is so versatile. The mesh panels give off an active, sexy look, and the stitching of the suit is perfect for physical activity, or even hanging out on the beach. It’s the one suit that every girl should have!Real Talk with Ava Frati of Pō Swim

How has growing up in Miami influenced your designs?

Growing up in Miami has influenced my designs by seeing lots of bikinis and the beautiful girls who wear them in all shapes and sizes. We are lucky enough to swim, boat and sunbathe all year round. Miami girls are always looking for that “new” bikini. We are active so it must move with us. Miami has influenced the ease of my designs, the comfort of the ultra-soft fabrics and the colors I choose. From the Miami sunsets, to the city lights of South Beach, all the colors and shapes of Miami have built my collection.

Pō Swim is continuing to grow! What can we expect to see in the future from your brand?

When I was younger, I knew I wanted to design. Pō Swim has just started as a bathing suit company but I want to expand and grow. I want the Pō Swim girl to wear my cover ups, carry my beach bags and slip on my shoes! In the future I plan to do espadrilles, beach bags and hats, ready to wear, and activewear. I want to grow with Pō Swim girls and hope they want to grow with me too!

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I am #AerieReal because I took chances and believed in a dream. All young girls dream of a way to express themselves but sometimes we get scared we may not achieve our goals. I chose to express myself through design. I hope other girls love my story and feel inspired to believe in themselves and dream big too. I am grateful to Aerie for giving me this awesome opportunity!

Where there is confidence there is beauty!

Ava Frati #AvaReal

 

Real Talk with Ava Frati of Pō Swim    Real Talk with Ava Frati of Pō Swim

Want to see more of Ava’s suits? Shop her collection in our Lincoln Road store and at Aerie.com!

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Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Our team went to Iceland for our holiday photoshoot, and it was EPIC. This magical place is still fresh in their minds months after the shoot, and we want to share it with you! Read on for favorite moments (moss-covered lava rock! cats! hot dogs!) and travel tips from Summer, our Creative Director, and Erin, Aerie Stylist Extraordinaire.

 

Mývatn Nature Bath

Swimming in steamy geothermal water? Yes, please. Get more info on the Mývatn Nature Baths here.

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Aerie Photographer, Ali, marked her fourth holiday shoot with us. One of Summer’s favorite parts was traveling with Ali and the rest of the extended Aerie family, “truly the best travel companions EVER! I’ve been lucky enough to travel with the same team for years, many of whom I only see a few times a year… so it was extra special to spend this ‘holiday’ season with them and create holiday magic for our Aerie girls. Definitely an unforgettable present. No egos, no divas and of course… no retouching!” 📷

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

The rest of the team joined later, but Summer headed into the baths before sunrise alone. Take her tip and take off your jewels! “The natural baths will rapidly tarnish sterling silver! I mean it will turn it fast! It can be polished and will return to its silvery shine but I suggest taking off the jewels unless you’re into black metals with an oily sheen. Gold is fine. I’m sure there were signs or maybe this is explained on the tour but who’s reading or listening when there’s steamy blue water and mountains to look at.”

 

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Boats and babes are the names of the game at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Our team hit the water and navigated the country with the help of Hero Productions, an Icelandic company that made this shoot possible. In addition to making Aerie holiday magic, they’ve worked on a little show you may have heard of… Game of Thrones!

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Whether or not you can pronounce Jökulsárlón, Icelandic is a language unlike anything you’ve ever heard, and it was one of Summer’s favorite parts: “It’s utterly impossible for this gal from central PA to imitate or comprehend Icelandic, but that makes it both stunning and fascinating to listen to.”

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Iceland makes it a priority to use eco-friendly practices and maintain the untouched feel of the land. In Erin’s view, “it is our responsibility to keep it that way as Iceland’s tourism booms and more and more people visit.” From large, refillable containers in the hotels instead of mini refillable bottles to opting for the delicious tap water over bottled water, Erin loved “how green and socially responsible the Icelandic people are.” ♻️

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

 

💎 Diamond Beach 💎

Poppy braved the temps in her Aerie Swim, but don’t forget the extra layers. Erin’s tip: “Wear weatherproof layers and you will be warm and cozy. Don’t try to look cool! Nerd out in the gear and you will be much happier and drier.”

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

 

Úlfjótsskáli Luxury Lodge

“Horses and sheep and puffins, oh my! 🐴🐑😻 And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.” Summer and the team traveled to Úlfjótsskáli Luxury Lodge and made some new friends along the way. Start planning your own trip here.

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

See a stream nearby? Take a drink! Summer drank “straight from a stream with my hands. If it’s good enough for an Icelandic horse, it’s plenty good enough for me!”

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Summer and Erin were both ALL about the animals. Horses weren’t the only furry friends to meet. Erin loved the “remarkably loud sheep. Chatty creatures.” And if you know these Aerie girls, you know they’re passionate about one pet in particular— cats!

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

 

Matur (Food)

It’s not a good trip without amazing food, and Iceland was no exception.

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Summer was into a surprisingly Icelandic delicacy: “Hot dogs 🌭 try them all! I had the pleasure of sharing my first Icelandic hot dog experience with Iskra and styling assistant, David. Throughout our trip I was able to taste test three dogs from three different places but this was my first and by far the best! First class, #1, Pylsuvagninn Selfossi. Located near the bridge when you arrive in Selfoss, you will not miss it! It’s less than an hour east of Reykjavik.” Erin loved Plokkfiskur, fish stew 🐟 “Warms and coats your insides on the cold day, and you are always on your feet hiking and walking around so don’t be afraid. Protein and carb up!”

 

Akureyri

This little town in northern Iceland was one of Summer’s favorite moments: “It has red hearts in place of the red circles on all the traffic lights. ‘STOP FOR ❤’ what’s better than that? Can we just make a worldwide update to all traffic lights? The whole town has a happy positive vibe and even though we were just passing through, it left a lasting imprint on my heart.” Plan a love stop here.

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

 

A World Of Amazing 

Between locations on the shoot, Erin “was obsessed with stopping to touch the moss-covered lava rock. It looked like broccoli cotton candy. I had to put my feet in it and feel it between my toes. It was just as good as I imagined. Maybe even better! And we got the most memorable shots with the sun setting as we drove back to hotel after our last day of the shoot. That’s a wrap!” 🌍

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

Behind-The-Scenes: Aerie Goes To Iceland

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