Talking Business: Fitty Apparel Adds Locations, Takes Body Positivity Nationwide Local company
When the Fitty Apparel store at Three Rivers Mall closes for two weeks at the end of December, it’s no vacation break. Meanwhile, the brand will open two more stores, one in California and one in South Dakota.
Owner Ayron Cox has said he wants to bring his Body Positive women’s clothing line to more people.
“I try to provide a different experience where they don’t have everyone, like in society, telling them that they have to be Kardashians,” he said. “They can create their own styles.”
The veteran moved to the Kelso area in 2015 and opened Fitty Apparel in early 2020. He owns several other manufacturing businesses, but said he noticed early in the pandemic how often women were humiliated online.
He decided to take action and bought a manufacturing company so he could do it “so that every woman is on the same level playing field,” he said.
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“We make and make everything, so our clothes start at a little extra and go up to 9XL,” Cox said. “Women can come in and choose their own patterns and colors of clothing and everything is done for them, so that every woman feels special, beautiful and unique. “
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Even the brand’s name, Fitty, follows this theme. In New York slang, where Cox came from, “fitty” means handsome, sexy or attractive, he said.
While he saw what was going on online and said that growing up with seven sisters showed him the pressure women face when it comes to body size, he has also had the personal experience of being humiliated. for its size.
Previously an active duty Marine, Cox had back surgery, then discovered he had thyroid cancer.
The treatments and reduced mobility caused Cox to gain weight. He said he ended up losing friends because of it, the ones who focused on looking healthy and fit, which was depressing.
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He works to challenge the stereotype “if you’re tall or taller, you’re automatically unhealthy,” he said.
In 2020, Cox started small, he said, with lightly weighted hoodies to help fight seasonal depression and anxiety. He then started making masks and the business took off, shipping to 57 countries and doing print jobs for other companies.
Now it offers tailor-made work and almost any type of clothing that customers can imagine. He said many customers came to see him because they couldn’t find what they needed in standard clothing stores.
He makes bespoke bras and shirts that are perfect for a teenage girl over 6 feet tall. He can make leggings and hoodies in any colors and patterns that customers want. A dressmaker handles orders for custom dresses, and Cox said they’ve done everything from wedding dresses to a custom Great Gatsby-themed dress for a party.
It keeps prices low while controlling manufacturing, he said, so people can “find clothes locally that they don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on.” It also offers a lifetime warranty.
Fitty has also dealt with some commercial clients, printing shirts for Go Fourth, Rainier Days and several local fairs, but her main base is “people who come back because they love the quality of my clothes”.
Tailoring doesn’t just mean finding clothes that look good on you, Cox said, but clothes that stand out.
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“The Longview-Kelso area is about 50,000 people, so it’s more of an exclusive thing, it’s not something you will find at Walmart or meet other people wearing it,” he said. -he declares.
Cox has also listed his store as a safe place for LGBTQ people and tries to provide a safe place for everyone, he said. He enjoys working with parents and children to come up with clothes that children think are stylish and popular, but are not too revealing for parents to be comfortable with what their child is wearing.
Looking ahead, Cox said he wants to keep the two new stores up and running and help people realize that Kelso Mall is not dead. His current manufacturing facility is in California, so he would also like to open a more local factory.
He just bought a smaller printing machine to have it in-house, so he can now do custom prints on-site for people who stop by.
“My future is just to spread awareness of my brand and make women feel that no matter what size they are, they are always special and beautiful, because size does not determine beauty,” he said.
Talking Business is a series featuring new or expanded local businesses and in print every Tuesday. The series was put on hold during the pandemic and recently restarted.
Contact Daily News reporter Hayley Day at 360-577-2541 or [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.