Who knew faith and fashion could go hand in hand.
Not Megan Phillips.
“I was called by the Lord with a vision to do this,” said Phillips, 22.
By this, Phillips meant fashion.
She knew she loved the concept of making something wearable as a piece of art and after spending a summer in the Big Apple interning at Vera Wang, Phillips wanted to make her vision from God a reality.
But what she saw in her head didn’t fully transfer over to paper. She didn’t know where to take the visions or what impact they could have. Phillips then called on Monica Boes, 22, for help and a friend.
Boes fawned over fabrics and pined over patterns, but didn’t care about the pop culture side of style.
Phillips fell in love with design and could draw the clothes just the way she imagined them and got her fashion knowledge while interning in the Big Apple for Vera Wang.
With that, they created Revivalist, a clothing line with a mission to change the fashion industry and start a movement.
“We want to inspire and encourage women to Godly life,” said Phillips. “Women are special and powerful.”
“Everyone has the opportunity to respect themselves through clothes.”
Their coincidental partnership became a give and take. Their suggestions sometimes clashed; they learned to compromise. But the more they wanted to reach their final goal, the more they meshed their motives into one.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be starting a fashion line with her,” said Boes. “But we’ve been finding a balance and meeting in the middle.”
“We’re polar opposites, but we have a lot in common,” said Phillips. “All of my weaknesses were her strengths and vice versa.”
They established a framework for where they wanted to go. But how they wanted to begin remained a mystery.
That was, until, Phillips remembered the crowns.
“Crowns are the foundation,” said Phillips. “Because we are daughters of the King. We want crowns to be wearable every day because we are special and we are worthy.”
The crown became a metaphor for the mission. The Revivalist brand wanted to do exactly what the word means. They wanted to revive the way women feel about themselves.
“It’s all about achieving self-worth,” Boes said. “It’s finding dignity in yourself and in clothing. We want to make a change for what’s acceptable in fashion.”
Their morals also played a factor into the inspirations in the clothing they made.
“You look at ‘50s and ‘60s silhouettes,” said Boes. “They look sexy with full coverage. There’s simplicity.”
Phillips channeled a very famous lady who carried herself with sophistication.
“It’s always Audrey Hepburn, like ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. She is feminine and classy. We want that modernized retro thing.”
Imagine Motown mod meets Kate Spade. Tea-length skirts in florals or citrus-covered patterns. High-waisted bell-bottoms from the ‘70s when Farrah Fawcett reigned supreme in the entertainment industry. Dressy frocks, mini to midi, that work hard and play harder in. Peter Pan-inspired collars on boxy tees and simplistic shapes. Crowns top the outfits off and show the inner power a woman should feel in her own skin.
The next order of business was, well, the business.
Without a solid place of where to go or how to approach promoting the brand, Boes went back to her college roots and reached out to Cate Loes, the professor in charge of an advertising class she took during her years at Belmont.
Loes’s advertising principles course takes on entrepreneurial projects every semester to help outline the advertising tactics the new business needs to make in order to succeed. But she seemed leery of what Boes and Phillips wanted out of the experience.
“They pitched the idea to our class,” said Loes, “and I wasn’t quite sure about it.”
Loes thought about it though, and empathized with the start-up processes all new business go through.
“Their purpose really resonated with me,” Loes said. “I’m being very serendipitous with this project. It takes courage for them to come up with the idea and it takes courage to say ‘we don’t know what we’re doing.’”
After the project received the stamp of professor approval, it went into the students’ hands. They’ve spent time discussing about the promotional strategies from starting a Kickstarter campaign to the focus of social media promotions when the brand debuts.
Although the class has a short timeline to put all the pieces together, group leader Mary Claire Couch seems confident in what Revivalist will mean for the fashion world.
“It’s hard to market clothing that hasn’t been created yet,” said Couch, “but we can build upon what they have. They have cute clothing and the message behind the clothing is unique and appealing toward the target market.”
Loes agrees, coming from the perspective of a professor and a parent.
“They’re going against what fashion companies say,” said Loes. “They are cool and unique enough to make an anti-fashion-industry statement work.”
And they are.
The average model on the runways of New York or even in Victoria’s Secret catalogs usually maintains a super, petite frame for her 5-foot-10 or taller height. This idea supposedly makes the clothes look the best, but realistically, not many girls have legs for days and perfect proportions up and down.
Revivalist wants to show the opposite of that stereotype.
“We want to represent healthier women,” Phillips said. “We want to live consistently in our brand and promote that.”
Revivalist also isn’t about the need to get rich or famous for Boes and Phillips. The crowning glory of this brand embodies the idea of the reinvention of the sophisticated women and the rejuvenation of confidence within one’s self.
“We are so encouraged by this picture painted by Jesus for us,” said Phillips.
The path ahead shows promise for Revivalist. Phillips said they have seen a huge increase in the business and production side of things and began sewing the samples themselves. No giant manufacturing machines or employee entourage. Just two 22-year-olds with their fabrics and sewing kits. With everything falling right into place, Revivalist anticipates its first collection in fall of this year.
Boes and Phillips plan to start with an online store and gradually, put their pieces in pop-up stores. They dream about where their clothes and the Revivalist brand will take them next.
“Way down the line,” said Boes, “we could be in New York City. It’d be a dream come true.”
Phillips excitedly agrees.
“I’m terrified this is my dream and that I’m going to fail horribly. But I have no idea. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else; 30 years from now, I still want to do this.”
They still want to turn the fashion industry upside down with their noteworthy statement about making the pieces represent a higher meaning than just things you put on your body.
They still want to prove faith and fashion can work together if the elements own the sole mission of the project.
They still want to fight for their mission by letting their clothes do the talking.
“Bottom line, we want to revive what we think has been taken from women in our culture,” said Phillips. “Fashion can restore what has been taken. We are a part of a movement and culture.”