Meet Rochelle Behrens.
Rochelle Behrens was working in politics in DC when she created The Shirt – a button down shirt that doesn’t gape at the bust. If you’re a professional lady in DC, you have been there, but have never had a solution outside of tape or flashing your co-workers on the regular. Knowing that she wasn’t the only one facing this problem, Behrens created The Shirt which quickly gained popularity and sells in higher end boutique stores. Recently however, The Shirt team has launched a kickstarter campaign to make it more readily available. Behrens was able to sit down with FamousDC for a quick chat on how she’s revolutionizing DC women’s fashion and how YOU can help by supporting your local shirt designer on kickstarter.
1. First, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and the inspiration behind “The Shirt?”
I was working at a firm downtown and could never find a button down shirt – cotton, silk, whatever – that fit properly for work. They always gaped open between the buttons at the bust and I was inadvertently flashing my colleagues regularly. Good for them, bad for me. Frustrated by years of wearing ill-fitting shirts, I patented a technology to make button downs fit better and started manufacturing. Fortunately, shortly thereafter, Oprah named it her Must Have Fashion Item of The Year and The Shirt was born.
2. Overall, what’s your take on fashion in DC – do you feel it’s getting any better or catching up to other cities?
Fashion in DC is safe, but it’s also pragmatic. I always think DC is catching up, and then I go to a magazine launch in NYC and realize that we still have a ways to go. But DC is about looking appropriate and there is nothing wrong with that.
3. How can folks help out with this project?
We’re doing Kickstarter to launch a line of shirts that will retail for less just through our website www.the-shirt.com. We’re sold at Bloomingdales and high-end boutiques, but really believe that gape free shirts and confidence at work is something that every woman deserves. Kickstarter is how we’re crowdfunding for our first round of production. We’re on a tight timeline, so don’t be bashful about contributing here now (and passing it along to your friends.) Don’t forget to watch the video.
4. Do you have any plans for more than just shirts?
We started out with just classic white shirts, but now make silks, custom prints, patterns and recently started with The Shirt Dress which was a natural brand extension. Dresses are so easy for women to wear – and now they actually fit! We really do want to focus on making the best shirts on the market.
5. If Michelle Obama called and wanted to kick it for the day, what would you guys do?
Have her model The Sleeveless Shirt while teaching me how to bicep curl.