When Bronwynne Jones first opened a fashion label, she never in her wildest dreams thought the name would attract so much attention.
Designing primarily for perfectly pear-shaped women from size 8 up, Bronwynne was determined to fill a gap in the fashion market. “I’m pear-shaped and have spent most of my life in clothes that don’t fit so needed to make my own garments,” she says. “Then I decided to do the same for others.”
As well as a name that rang true to her design philosophy, Bronwynne wanted to have a bit of fun, so called her label ‘Thunder Thighs’.
“It’s about empowering pear-shaped women to own their shape and reclaim negative terms,” she says. “I’ve accepted my own thunder thighs, and love that I help other women celebrate their true body shape. We don’t all have pencil figures. Check out Beyonce and Kim Kardashian.
“Sadly, the fashion world makes some women hate their bodies because they can’t get flattering clothes that fit,” says Bronwynne.
The designer began her label around 18 months ago and launched her first full collection at FASHFEST, teaming up Thunder Thighs with accessories from her Infinitie label (more on this in a bit).
“I showcased essentials and pieces with a design edge for pear-shaped women, highlighting the parts of our bodies we like and skimming over those we’re not so fond of,” says Bronwynne.
The collection went off, with Bronwynne styling models with a steampunk edge using bold hats, feathers, flowers and Victorian bling.
From a design perspective, catering to pear-shaped women means Bronwynne must focus on garments that work together to balance shape. “My slim leg trousers work with longish swing tops or vests. My wider leg trousers and tulip skirts work with shorter more fitted tops. The designs came together easily because I’m experienced in designing for what works on my body,” laughs Bronwynne, “but it’s been challenging to draft patterns because there’s no standard size chart for the pear shape.”
Since opening her label, a lot has surprised Bronwynne, including the number of non-pear-shaped women who buy her fashion. “I’ve sold to size 10 women who don’t have any thunder thighs but who love the comfort of my garments,” says Bronwynne. “My designs are flexible and women love making pieces their own.”
Another surprise—and not a pleasant one—was the low level of backlash on the name. “Some think it’s insulting,” says Bronwynne. “They think I’m taking a dig but why would I do that? I’ve lived with those jibes all my life. Some have even said they’d be embarrassed to say they’re wearing a label called Thunder Thighs. I don’t get it and so choose to concentrate on the many women who have asked when I’ll design for them. And so I’m playing around with ‘Great Guts’, ‘Bottom-less’ or ‘Beaut Boobs’, to name a few possible labels.”
Bronwynne is moving into a new studio at M16 Artspace and will be fully set up by the end of May. She’s thrilled to have found a home with other highly creative artists, emerging and established.
In addition to showcasing at FASHFEST, Bronwynne has tested the market by popping up at Canberra Fashion Market, Three Sixty Fashion Market and Fashionably Numb, an event The RiotACT covered in November 2017.
Sustainability is an underlying principle, with Bronwynne designing and hand-making garments in Canberra, maximising useable meterage and minimizing waste. Wherever possible, she uses natural fibres and sources fabric as roll ends and even seconds, reducing costs to clients and saving material from landing in landfill. Bronwynne’s Infinitie label specialises in upcycled ties and accessories for women and men made primarily out of discarded men’s silk ties. She’ll sell Infinitie and Thunder Thighs out of M16.