Interview with Bettie Fatal!

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Bettie Fatal Persephone/Hades (SS/16) collection.I’ve mentioned Canadian lingerie brand, Bettie Fatal, a few times on the blog this year, and they even nabbed a spot on the second part of my favourite Canadian brands list. The brand’s owner/designer/creative director, Avery Barsony designs, makes, and shoots everything for her brand, and on top of that she’s still in school. Barsony is currently studying fashion design at Ryerson University in Toronto and is a member of the school’s Fashion Zone (I also study at Ryerson!). That in and of itself is commendable because I honestly have no idea how anyone can finish up their degree and run a business at the same time. Since creating the brand in 2012, Barsony has built Bettie Fatal from the ground up as an intersectional feminist brand that makes beautiful lingerie for anyone who wants to wear it, regardless of size. Each piece is designed to flatter a multitude of bodies, and one of my favourite aspects of Bettie Fatal is that they walk the walk. Their lookbooks always feature models of various sizes, ethnicities, and identities, showing customers that they are considered and included in the brand’s philosophy. Barsony’s inspiration for her work comes from girl gang culture, vintage lingerie, bondage, and shibari. I’m so glad that Avery answered some of the questions I had for her and I hope you enjoy the interview!Bettie Fatal Witch Trials (FW/16) collectionBB: When did you first fall in love with lingerie and what was the first piece(s) of lingerie you ever purchased? AB: I think I was maybe 15 or 16, and vintage lingerie was my first love. The first piece I remember getting that wasn’t some basic boring bra from La Senza or god knows what was this hilarious, dead stock vintage bodysuit. I think it was white, it had shoulder pads… I only think I wore it once before my boyfriend at the time bullied my into getting rid of it but god I loved it.BB: What made you want to pursue fashion design and lingerie in particular? AB: I’ve been designing clothes since I was a kid, and always wanted to do it. It wasn’t until I was older though that I realized I didn’t have to go into math and science like my dad, even though I was good at it. I showed him my work, explained how passionate I was… and he was sold. He’s been my biggest supporter. After leaving my abusive partner a few years ago I really threw myself into my work and used lingerie as a way to find myself and rebuild my ego from scratch. It played a huge part in rebuilding myself.BB: Which brands have you always admired and which ones have you recently discovered that you love?I’ve had a few brands I’ve been in love with forever… Secrets in Lace, Agent Provocateur, Bordelle… Bordelle really sticks out. And Creepyyeha. She was probably my biggest influence in starting to make lingerie. I’m obsessed with her work. Lately I’ve been super into indie brands and kind of tired of the big names. I’m obsessed with the work of Karolina Laskowska and I’m heartbroken that she shut down her store. I’ve fallen back in love with Kayleigh Peddie lately, and have a new love in Nearer the Moon. Oh! And Rapture and Repent. Bettie Fatal Love Witch (FW/18) collection.BB: What is currently topping your personal lingerie wishlist?AB: The Psyche set by Nearer the Moon! I’m trying to scrounge together some cash to get it before it sells out.BB: How did you come up with the name Bettie Fatal and how do you think it describes your brand’s overall aesthetic? ABL Someone I used to be friends with actually came up with it by accident. She misheard someone speaking and thought that was their name. She told me about it and was like wow… that’s so you. It combined my love of Bettie Page and my obsession with fierce imagery. It became my nickname, and it turned into my brand! I feel like it fits perfect. A lot of my inspiration comes from Bettie Page, vintage lingerie, and fetish wear, but i also love lace and pastels (when the mood strikes). I feel like the name sums up who me and my brand are really well.BB: When did you decide that you wanted to start your own brand and what made you want to take the leap to business owner at such a young age?AB: I started my business in 2012, which is a long time ago now. I designed under a different name before, and I think i just wanted to make things. I started off doing fetish wear, decided it wasn’t for me and I was hitting a wall. Not to mention the constant invasions of privacy and disgusting dudes in my inbox. People think when you do lingerie or accessories or whatever that you just want to talk about sex all day. Not with random men online, nope! I changed over to lingerie, what I really wanted to do, and never looked back. It’s my safe space. People who know me know that if i’m not sewing, because my machines are in to be serviced or whatever, I go crazy. It keeps me sane.BB: You not only are the head designer and owner of Bettie Fatal, but you also act as its creative director and photographer. How do you manage staying on top of everything?AB: To be blunt, i cry and have no social life. I work 24/7. I sacrifice my sanity, my health, my social life… My friends hang out with me a lot in my studio to keep my company, bless them. But I love it. I love owning my business. It gives my life purpose and meaning and it’’s my creative outlet. I love being able to say everything that comes out of Bettie Fatal was from me. Bettie Fatal Off to the Races (SS/17) collection.BB: Where is your customer base and how did they find your work?AB: People think my customers are local but they’re sooo wrong! Very few of my customers are actually local. A ton of my customers come from LA and Australia. The Canadian lingerie market is pretty boring and conservative. A lot of the cities and countries I sell to are homes to creative and extravagant people. BB: What is your five-year plan for your brand and where do you want to end up with your business?AB: Once I graduate and actually have time, I want to expand. That will mean, unfortunately, giving up some control and hiring people to help me out, which is scary. I’m looking at opening up a proper studio space in Hamilton to work out of. I want to start by getting my pieces into physical retail locations, and hopefully, at some point around the 4-5 year mark, open my first physical Bettie Fatal store!BB: Is there anything about the lingerie industry that someone who isn’t working in it might not know that you’d like to share?AB: Oh my god. Sizing. So much about sizing. That not every store sizes the same way, so it’s important to look into that store’s sizing before ordering. Also how hard it is for a small business to do additional sizing. I always, always offer custom sizing. But to have it always available is really expensive and a lot of work. It’s something I will do, but not until I have the resources to do so. Also, the most important thing, is that as Cora from The Lingerie Addict says, you have to vote with your dollars if you want a brand to stay around. I’ve almost went under before, more than once. We’ve seen it happen to lots of brands we love over the years – ones you wouldn’t expect. If you love a brand and you want it to stay, the best way to support it is to put your money where your heart is. I’m a firm believer that it’s worth it to save your money and buy fewer, good quality lingerie pieces you love than lots of cheap ones. Avery also has a lingerie blog, which you can read here!Bettie Fatal Heaven on Earth (SS/17) collection. To find out more information about Avery and Bettie Fatal, visit bettiefatal.com or find them on social media belowFacebookInstagramTumblr

Source: Interview with Bettie Fatal!