"Take Back Your Height" - Kathryn Brolin
After spending years in the modeling industry, Kathryn Boyd Brolin recognized a niche of women who, like her, were troubled by the lack of inseams long enough to fit their lengthy frames. Her search was accompanied by many frustrated hours spent trying on pair after pair, looking for a brand worthy of a tall girl’s loyalty.
What came next was the birth of a sexy, high end fashion line for ladies who need a brand made specifically with the longer than average length in mind. Midheaven Denim is a line of premium denim made from the best Italian fabric, cut and sewn by experienced artists in downtown Los Angeles with a focus on detail, comfort, and specificity of fit. We cater to all sizes of the longest legged women out there, and the most important thing to us is to make the jean feel personal to each person who be-comes an owner of them.
What challenges initiated your quest for a height-inclusive denim brand begin?
Being tall has always been a big part of my identity. As a young woman growing up I was always so much taller than most of my peers. Trying to blend in was never in the cards for me as I was a head and shoulders taller than most at a young age. More than anything the struggle to find clothes that fit my taller frame was becoming more and more difficult as the years went on. I noticed there wasn’t one specific brand that I considered interesting and attractive that catered to girls with longer legs.
The idea began germinating when I was in high school and as I commenced what became a modeling career, I noticed that the conversation of many of the girls around me on castings and jobs would become centered around where we could shop for clothes that would fit, primarily jeans. The lightbulb moment for this task was back in those days. Only now did it feel like the right timing to introduce a brand primarily serving the needs to taller women, that was conscious of the environment, inclusive of higher than average sizing, and who focuses on quality vs quantity.
What does “taking back your height” mean for you and for Midheaven?
“Take Back Your Height” was a mantra born in the very beginning of crafting our business model and how we wanted to introduce ourselves to the world. As a tall woman, I am all too familiar with the subconscious need to dip my shoulders downand lean in to the conversations happening below my eyeline. I didn’t like what that was doing to me physically, but also emotionally. I really wanted to encourage girls who may have had an insecurity about their height to hold their shoulders back and be proud of their bodies. “Take Back Your Height” was just that: taking ownership of our beautiful God-given figures and feeling confidence in that ownership.
How has the fashion industry changed in terms of inclusivity over the last few years?
In some ways I am very proud of the moves the fashion industry is making on so many levels. We source our fabric from the world’s greenest denim mill. For a premium denim brand to only service girls up to a size 29 or 30 is not realistic. We set out to be a brand that includes women who are between a size 24 and size 34. In offering a broader size, the fashion industry is not only helping women, but is also helping to rewrite our definition of beauty and expanding our societal acceptance and promotion of individuality.
What does empowerment mean to you?
Empowerment is feeling confidence with one’s own self so as to champion and celebrate the endeavors of others. That to me is true empowerment.
What does “Midheaven” mean?
Midheaven is the highest point the sun reaches in its daily traverse of the visible sky. I liked that as a feeling, an emotion, to feel the confidence to strive for one’s own personal “midheaven,” both physically and emotionally.
What environmentally sustainable practices have you incorporated into your brand?
There is such an important conversation happening around sustainability right now. We can no longer neglect our impact on her (the environment). I never wanted to start a denim brand so as to produce thousands and thousands of units that would end up in a landfill and damage the environment in the process. It’s one of the reasons why we place such an emphasis on the quality of our product. Midheaven is an investment, and is supposed to live in one’s closet for years to come. They practice the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle in every step of the way, and all of the waste produced in their spinning, warping, and dying departments is recycled. We always use entirely eco-friendly packaging materials, including “plastic” bags made from plants and recycled tissue packing paper.
Tell me about your selection of handpicked, high quality fabrics.
Not only are we able to import fabric directly from the world’s most eco-conscious denim mill, but in doing so, we are also able to use the softest, most durable denim that will hold up over time. We stand by the quality of our denim, and celebrate the work of the talented sewers and craftsmen who assemble our products together in downtown Los Angeles.
Being the entrepreneurial powerhouse that you are, what lessons have you learned from successfully juggling your many growing roles?
I love building this company. I love what Midheaven represents in my life as a plant that needs grooming in order to grow. I love the feeling I get at the end of the day when I lay down and fall asleep fast knowing I’m tired from a long, full, productive day of building, nurturing, contemplating and pursuing. I feel scared regularly. Scared that a decision I’ve made is not the right one. That choosing a certain stitch over another is going to make a garment not sellable; that the fabric I’ve ordered from Italy isn’t going to arrive on time; that no one is going to buy what I’m selling; that my business model needs adjusting; that the aesthetic I’ve chosen for our next campaign might be off the mark...I think being an entrepreneur is all about making confident decisions with the big picture in mind, and I truly feel that every day we move forward is a successful day, because they are always filled with learning. Building a business they say is all about putting out fires, which I do believe is accurate, but if in your mind those fires don’t lead to open land suited for more building, you’re probably destined for another line of work.
Congratulations to you and Josh on the arrival of your beautiful daughter, Westlyn Reign. How has your role as a mother influenced your entrepreneurial spirit? With such an incredibly face paced lifestyle, what helps you slow down? What grounds you?
I am a mother first and foremost. It took me becoming a mother to see that that takes priority over everything else. Staying devoted to the happiness and growth of my daughter is what makes me a better worker, a better friend, a better mentor, a better wife, and a better human. Westlyn is such a great teacher to me. She, by nature, forces me to be back in the moment with her every waking moment she and I spend together. The time we all get as a family is so precious and cup-filling. Honestly the hardest part of work right now is taking time to focus on my family in its very new phase because this part we can’t go back to again. It is all so precious to me.