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ABLE – What Units Them Aside and The place They’re Heading – The Small Issues Weblog


It was truly a pleasure to be in the company of so many inspiring and driven women while I was at the ABLE flagship store in Nashville last weekend.

I’ve known about ABLE for nearly a decade! The company started out as FashionABLE and they sold scarves made by women in Ethiopia. Read the full story here.

I was attending a blog conference around 2012/2013 called “Influence” and FashionABLE (now just called “ABLE“) was at a pop-up shop during the conference. I loved their mission then, and while the brand has changed, their mission to support women, their ethics-focused business model, and their drive to expand their clothing line to a 5x are slightly different but still deeply important ways to continue supporting their cause.

I don’t want to describe ABLE as a mission first, fashion last brand because while they are focused on their mission, that certainly does not mean their apparel and accessories are subpar.

I’ve had a handful of ABLE pieces, you probably know how much I love the Merly jacket, and while I was in the store I was able to try on so many more things. The quality of their pieces, from a basic black v-neck t-shirt, to their washed black denim jacket, and their leather jacket is very impressive. They source their materials with a focus on sustainability, so you can feel good when you are making a purchase. The entire collection, too, is thoughtfully styled so that the pieces can last from season to season.

It was a lot of fun to be able to shop for a few new wardrobe staples, try on the shoes, and even see the jewelry department at the back of their store.

ABLE jewelry is handmade by women who are getting back on their feet after a challenging period of their lives. They are paid a fair wage, taught how to make the jewelry, and are provided with a stable and supportive work environment. It was humbling to walk through the jewelry department and meet some of the women who were all incredibly kind and eager to show us how the jewelry was made.

When I put a pair of ABLE earrings on, I now can picture the women sitting at their workstations pounding on the metal to create the pieces. I loved being able to see behind the scenes!

During the trip, we also had an opportunity to hear from Marielle, a slow fashion advocate who focuses on ethically sourced and sustainable apparel. Admittedly, this is not a category of apparel that I know a lot about, so it was a truly valuable education for me.

She also spoke to the need for an expanded size range, across the board and specifically at ABLE. ABLE has already expanded their sizing for some of their collection up to 3x and intends to offer their full collection in sizes up to 3x by the fall of this year. That is just the start, and their plan is to work hard on offering an even greater size range that fits flawlessly and feels great.

One of the most incredible things to witness was ABLE‘s willingness to ask questions, to listen to feedback, to hear about what matters from people who wear plus-size clothing! And as someone who falls into the category of “straight sizing”, it was so informative to hear about what challenges plus-size people run into and how ABLE wants to mitigate that and hopes to inspire other retailers to do the same.

It’s not often that a brand is able to stir up emotions in me, but ABLE truly is who they say they are in their mission. It was an inspiring trip that left me feeling extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn so much and be surrounded by incredible women.

Images c/o Shannon McLaughlin



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