TCU student uses modest fashion sense to inspire others to live for themselves

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    Brittany Henderson aspires to inspire young women, and she hopes to use her radiating passion for fashion and style as the medium for encouragement. Chatting over coffee and bagels in the TCU Barnes & Noble café, she explained her ideas and motives of what she hopes to do. Her plan is two-fold: create a fashion line and travel to high schools to encourage girls to embrace their own personal style. It hasn’t been a simple discovery to find what she’s meant to do, though. 

    Long-legged and curly redheaded, she talked about her own development of personal style and confidence. In a school where Nike shorts and oversized t-shirts are the norm, she was dressed in cute high-waist shorts and sandals. But like most, she went through an awkward stage, complete with questionable clothing and hair choices, but she embraced it with a laugh and a shrug of her shoulders: “It made me who I am now.” 

    Today, she prefers to put her best foot forward and exude confidence on the daily, and she does so not only through attire, but attitude, too. And hers is a good one. A positive one.

    For her future fashion line, the goal is to enable women to discover and flaunt their own signature style. Her biggest tip is figuring out a women’s best asset and then playing up that area via clothing. Hers, she said, are her legs, so oftentimes she’ll go for cuts higher on the waist to elongate the leg even further. “Everyone has an area that they love the most,” Henderson said. The trick is to find things to accentuate whatever that area is for different people.    

    Her line—though only in the very earliest of planning days—will encompass styles that can fit a variety of body types and shapes. Henderson is realistic about women’s bodies; she knows they aren’t all the same, and she wants all kinds to feel welcome to shop her brand. She has played around with a couple different names for the brand, and so far she has two favorites. One is a combination of her first initial plus last name, “Benderson.” The other is a phrase that one of her good friends made very well known by those close to her, “Oh Hey It’s Britnay.”

    Stylistically, she plans to create a modest but youthful feel for her clothing. Think J. Crew meets Forever 21. Her target audience will be young, high school to college aged women, so she still wants to keep it fun… With a few boundaries. “Modest is hottest,” Henderson proudly proclaimed. She wants to steer young women away from the notion of dressing to impress other people, and more specifically, away from dressing in ways meant to catch a man’s eye. “What you wear should make you feel good about yourself as a whole.” She promotes that style should be a personal thing, a medium for which to express yourself. Everyone’s heard the old “If you look good, you feel good” spiel, but Henderson almost has the opposite belief: if you feel good, you look good. It shows through how a person dresses and carries him or herself. Confidence does come from within, she said, and it then resonates through style choices.

    A junior fashion merchandising major, Henderson did not always know that fashion and design would hold an important place in her future. Prior to landing in her current major, she took a shot at three others: communication studies, graphic design, and strategic communications. While she respectively enjoyed each of them, she couldn’t truly picture herself finding and enjoying a career in any of the three. She has always loved clothing and exploring her own personal style. When it clicked that she could transfer this love into a career, her mind was made. The fashion merchandising program is small, but that aspect draws her into her major just that much further. She’s been able to form close relationships with both her professors and her peers. Patricia Warrington, associate professor of merchandising and textiles, said, “She’s very high-energy, very personable, very excited about what she’s studying and how she’s going to translate that into her future.” Henderson said the close-knit feeling of the department has really pushed her to grow in her studies. She was even inspired last year to design and make her own dress and her date’s bow tie for her sorority’s formal.

    From some experience working in retail as well as participating in a list of activities at TCU, she’s learned that she has a passion for people, as well as style. This realization got her thinking of ways to further help people beyond the creation of a fashion line. That’s how she stumbled upon the idea of travelling to high schools and speaking to young women. She would call it a “Beauty Day,” and the topics would vary. Basically, she would take the day to discuss style, body types, and confidence with young women. Incorporated into the day, she would help the students find where they could put together outfits that suit them. She would bring in stylists and make up and hair artists to share their knowledge on bringing out inner beauty with some simple tips, as well.

    Planning and chasing her goals one sketch at a time, Henderson seems to have found the knack for developing her future into something that is completely tailored to her. From fashion design to inspirational speaking, she is setting no bar to limit where her career may go. And that, in itself, is a beautiful design.

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