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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Love The Swim You’re In Is BACK!

For the third year in a row, we want #AerieREAL girls everywhere to LOVE THE SWIM YOU’RE IN! Last year, you helped us raise more than $15K for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Check out some inspo from the amazing photos YOU posted last year.

This year, our campaign is back and bigger than ever! This spring and summer, we’ll donate $1 (now up to $25,000!) to NEDA for every unretouched swim photo or video you share with #AerieREAL. Start sharing and YOU could be featured on social or in our store windows this spring and summer!

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and start sharing! Tell us why you love the swim you’re in, and encourage your friends to share, too. Because EVERY body is a perfect beach body..

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Holiday Traditions

We asked some of our #AerieREAL girls to share some of their favorite holiday traditions with us. Watch below and find out how they spread cheer!

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Comment below & tell us!

 

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What Does #AerieREAL Mean To You?

What does #AerieREAL mean to you? Since the launch of our campaign: “No supermodels. No retouching. The real you is sexy.” we’ve been listening to your answer. Whether it’s the 42,000 tweets that celebrate body confidence and what Aerie REAL means to you or the 9,000 Instagram photos where our community has shared their “no retouching” moments” we have felt the support and positive response for women everywhere to feel comfortable in their own skin…not retouched.

We feature your Aerie REAL stories and moments everyday on Aerie.com, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram! Today we are featuring 4 girls that truly wowed us with their confidence, drive, and empowering stories.

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Meet Julia, Amy, Cecilie, and Shanni!

The girls were brought to our headquarters for the ultimate Aerie experience: a tour of our lab store, a meeting with Aerie’s Chief Merchandising Offer and Director of Brand Voice, a $200 shopping spree, a private consultation with our Fit and Style Expert, Jenny Altman, and more!

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Watch the video above and read on to check our their personal style and read their stories that inspired us and that we hope inspire others.

P.S. The girls in these images below have not been retouched.

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What Does #AerieREAL Mean To You?

“Being real is accepting your flaws and all. This is something I have struggled with my whole life. Whether it being my height, hips, thunder thighs, and unruly hair. I’ve learned over the years that insecurities are not flaws, but strengths. They make you unique and tell a story. My thunder thighs help me kick butt in sports and show the hard work and early morning training I’ve pushed myself through. My height has made me stretch – literally and figuratively. (Being 5 foot, me and top shelves aren’t exactly best of friends.) It gives me enjoyment when I see the perplexed faces of people who underestimate me because of my size. My hips, that don’t like, show my heritage and make me proud of where my family came from. My unruly crazy curly hair shows me life is unpredictable and beautiful. It’s my trademark no matter how hard I try to change it. I’m better off rocking it and accepting it. No one is perfect, no matter how hard we try to mask it. Our flaws tell a story that we should embrace. It makes us unique. Embrace your flaws. Share your story and be real because imperfections are a beauty to be seen. #AerieREAL – Amy

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Shop: Three Tassel Necklace | Aerie Striped Cover Up (In Store)

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SHANNI_18971Show me someone who’s got no baggage, and I’ll show you someone who’s got no story.” This is a line by my favorite musician, George Watsky. I was always a storyteller; in elementary school I would be asked to give shorter answers with less detail. But now is time to tell my story. I am not normal. I never have been. But my differences make me shine. I am an author; when I was in high school I wrote a book about quantum physics with my father while still studying for history tests and stressing over term papers. I am a feminist; I teach my little sisters that they are equal to their male peers and talk to my friends about rape culture. I am a nerd; I hold Doctor Who marathons, have books spread all over my floor, and spend hours playing computer games. I am a fighter; I have spent the past year fighting my eating disorder and spreading awareness about mental illness. I have baggage, stretch marks, scars, stories, and my purple hair. I am a girl, a sister, a daughter, a feminist, a fighter, a nerd, an author, a storyteller. But most importantly, I am real. Aerie Real.” – Shanni

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Shop: Dolman Open Knit Sweater | Silky Pants (In Store)

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Growing up, my family members would always call me Cindy Crawford because of the birthmark I have on my face. To others, no one really understood why it was there, why it was so big, and would actually give me home remedies to get rid of the mole. I used to dream of getting it removed and would find a way to hide it in public. Once I got to college, everything changed because everyone told me how unique I looked and to embrace what gifts I’ve been given. I love me and my birthmark and we’re not going anywhere! I still get the occasional stares, double takes, and comments, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping it real. I want to show people around the world that it isn’t a bad thing to have an unusual mark on your skin. Everything about you is beautiful and shouldn’t try to hide it like I used to. Embrace it! – Cecilie


julia2JULIA_18326This is Julia, she’s my cousin, my roommate, and my friend. And on top of being all those things she’s talented, driven, and passionate about her dreams. She recently just took a trip through school to Italy for a photography excursion, which is one of her passions that I always find myself in awe after seeing what she creates because they are always so beautiful. I think she knows that she’s good at it because she is so passionate about it. But what I don’t think she ever knows enough is how beautiful she is inside and out, and that is why I am doing this (also because her whole closet is Aerie and I may or may not like to borrow her clothes from time to time. :))  But like I said, Julia is a beautiful girl and I don’t think she quite knows that or embraces that with confidence and that is why I am submitting this little story about her because she would never do it herself. Julia may not find herself to be perfect, but what I see in her is more than what she sees in herself I often think. And that is why I support your #AerieREAL campaign and its aim in promoting natural beauty rather than the unrealistic body images that too many of our girls idealize. Like this photo captures my thrilling Julia’s beauty, free spirit, and zest for life, I think it also has the ability to capture her complete confidence with herself in this moment just as #AerieREAL should do with all women. – Julia was nominated by her cousin, Katelyn

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Congrats once again girls!
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What makes YOU Aerie REAL? Tell us with #AerieREAL on Twitter or write us at social@ae.com.

xoxo,

Aerie

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