This year, Vogue announced, “There’s no one piece that will take you farther than a bodysuit..”
Bodysuits are back – in a perennially chic, fuss free way. Pairing seamlessly with everything from velvet slip to denim skirt, the no-nonsense silhouette has quickly joined the ranks of wardrobe hero piece, notably in the modest realm.
That’s where Philadelphia-based fashion designer Tamar Daniel comes in; her bodysuits are refined and minimal, her brand is bold and empowered. “The Tuxe woman is ambitious, more than anything. She’s driven and smart and unstoppable,” the founder says.
Born in Jerusalem, raised in London, Daniel herself very much embodies the “wonder woman” philosophy inspiriting her label. Attending Israel’s Shenkar College of Design and being awarded the WGSN prize at the ITS Fashion contest in Italy, her career launched with stints designing for TOPSHOP in England, then across the pond at Anthropologie.
Post market crash in 2008, the mother-of-four re-entered the workforce motivated to fill a void. Daniel’s early experience gave her an invaluable insight into the industry – she had witnessed firsthand the need for functional, sharp-looking styles for female professionals. “Bodysuits as a category was under served. And I wanted to address that need.” Tuxe was born, stamping it’s signature on the “bodywear” space.
What started as a vision has evolved into a sizable (ethical!) operation, boasting swanky Pennsylvania boutique and contracts with major retailers Moda Operandi and Bloomingdales (with more to come in 2017). See, a modern Wonder Woman – bodysuit and all. Here, the savvy momtrepreneur talks inspiration, branding and jelly donuts.
What motivated Tuxe?
I was working for Anthropologie designing knit tops, and when the market crashed in 2008, I lost my job and so did many of my friends. I realized as we gathered ourselves and reentered the job market, that we all felt more confident when tucking in, and that bodysuits as a category was under served for the professional woman. And I wanted to address that need.
Greatest source of inspiration?
I draw inspiration from my amazing grandmother. Who, at 94, is still so elegant and creative and relentless in her pursuit of perfection. She escaped the Holocaust with pattern pieces for corsetry in her little suitcase, and supported herself through that craft as an orphan in a new country. It’s a story I come back to again and again
Lesson learned while building a brand?
To follow up. No one cares as much as you do about your brand. No one is giving out any prizes. You need to hold on to your own vision and help others to see it. Sometimes that means trying lots of different avenues to arrive at the destination.
How to juggle a family work-life balance?
I have been very immersed in building this company and my kids have grown up being part of that. The only way I know how to do it is to involve them. They know about writing a P+L, shipping out orders, making a sales pitch and tracking sell-through! My daughter wishes I used pink and bows more often but I don’t always listen to everything they say.
My husband is my secret weapon, he can make an excellent Shabbat meal, is a fantastic father, and has believed in me and my career from the start. We support each other and it would be very difficult without that type of equality in place.
Favorite Hanukkah tradition?
I adore Chanuka. In Israel, the doughnuts start coming out in October. And there are so many awesome flavors. I miss them so much and haven’t found an equivalent here in the states so we make our own. It’s a massive mess but so worth it. Then, we serve them on our blue and white Menorah patterned serving dishes from William Sonoma, a great gift from my sister some years back.
Holiday gift list?
I’ve been crushing hard on Anita Ko Ear Cuffs, and I am buying Amazon’s Alexa as a gift for my kids and my (Spanish speaking) housekeeper. I’m hoping it will allow us to have music in the house without screens, and to help us translate quickly for her.