I hate lingerie shopping. I don’t really connect with the majority of lingerie brands because they don’t make me feel sexy or they’re not made for my body shape. And if I do connect with them, my wallet can’t. Luckily, fashion model veteran and lingerie brand owner Amber Tolliver has reinvented the bra manufacturing industry by developing an all-inclusive size ranging brand with affordable pricing after noticing her girls couldn’t sit comfortable in anyone else’s product.
HelloBeautiful caught up with founder Amber Tolliver about her vision for Liberté, the importance of the Black dollar and what size inclusivity means to her.
As a former fashion student of Columbia College Chicago and Fashion Institute of Technology, Tolliver had a passion for fashion and a mission to create chic, supportive and comfortable lingerie for the modern woman – including herself as an exhausted 32E bra browser. “I was tired of feeling like there was something wrong with my body. Clothes in general didn’t find the way I wanted them to but when it came to lingerie it was impossible to find pieces that fit my personal style and my body,” the lingerie model explains to HelloBeautiful about her awkward shopping experience. For 17 years, Tolliver had a successful career as a model, both plus-size and standard, worked for countless lingerie brands, and also served as the face of Aerie’s 2013 “Real” campaign.
Even with all of this vast success, she realized it was her responsibility as a role model to young girls and a public figure in the fashion world to address the shortcomings of her industry, which was not meeting the needs of everyday women who shopped in the traditional lingerie market. “I wasn’t alone in the struggle to find premium lingerie that came in a diverse range of sizes so I decided to start a lingerie brand that I knew would fill a void in the current market,” the current New York resident told HelloBeautiful. Thus, Liberté was conceived.
True to her word, Tolliver readjusted the narrative of lingerie and bra manufacturing by creating a space for size-inclusivity while having customers feel like their most beautiful and voluptuous selves. The sexy, lacy bra styles range anywhere between 32C to 38H. “This small business provides high-quality, timeless designs with the finest natural and high-tech fabrics from Italian lace to mesh jersey for breathability,” a press release shared with HelloBeautiful states. “Prince ranges from $40 – $118,” it continues while adding that underwear sizes are available between XS – 2XL.
“Women are as diverse as they are multifaceted, this is a fact that can’t be ignored. Having a wide range of sizes that fit a multitude of body types ensures women can be who they are without needing to conform to industry standards,” the veteran model states about the importance of size inclusivity for her brand. “It allows us to connect to the wants and needs of our customers without dictating what they should look like.”
She continues on how she wants each and every customer to feel, “I created a collection that I feel beautiful in and I also feel confident because it fits me perfectly. I want the same for every woman who wears Liberté. I want them to feel empowered and confident enough to look in the mirror and love their reflection.”
In fact, Tolliver admits that incorporating size inclusivity into her brand was one of — if not, the most difficult part of entrepreneurship. “I would say that navigating the development of 24 bra sizes ranging from 32C- 38H was definitely my biggest challenge! We fit on 3 different body types so that our fit is perfect. However, doing it this way takes an immense amount of time and requires meticulous attention to detail,” she confides in HelloBeautiful. On the flip side, she cites the launch of Liberté as her most rewarding moment and biggest accomplishment.”It took over 5 years of product development and my life savings. Launching in February 2019 was by far the most gratifying and rewarding experience!,” Tolliver shares in excitement as she reminisced on the day that her life in the fashion world would change.
Even as an entrepreneur, Amber Tolliver believes in the importance of self-care and it’s the key to remaining sane and productive while in isolation. “Taking a long bath, reading a great book, yoga, putting on lingerie are all acts of self love that will feed your spirit in ways you didn’t even know you needed. Feeling beautiful and sexy while you’re alone will keep you connected to you when you can’t necessarily be connected with others,” she says.
Unfortunately, as a fairly new Black-owned business owner, like many others, Tolliver has taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic and the amplified racial injustices in this country. This is the time to amplify Black voices and #buyblack now more than ever to show solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters, especially those entrepreneurs. Tolliver couldn’t agree more and believes that now more than ever is the time to support Black-owned businesses to establish a level playing field in order to expect true equality as a result. “In addition [to] individuals supporting black business, financial institutions must do their part to clear a path for lending opportunities,” she explains about equal opportunities.
Similarly, she expresses to HelloBeautiful the importance of the Black dollar and investing our money into our own communities. “This is paramount to rebuilding black communities. Our collective spending power is valued at over a trillion dollars. Imagine what could be achieved if a fraction of that was shifted into supporting local black neighborhoods,” Tolliver says. “It would break a cycle that has plagued black communities since the Civil RIghts Movement and the implementation of red lining. We have the power to enact change but that change starts with supporting one another.”
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