What started 13 years ago as a mission to reinvent the button-up for women has since bloomed into the globally-recognized fashion brand, Frank & Eileen. Since it's founding, former engineer Audrey McLoghlin has dedicated her company to being a sustainable, women-led, women-owned business.
A passion for creating
Audrey McLoghlin's career started off a bit different than most designers for big fashion brands. From an early age Audrey knew that she wanted to go to engineering school. But like many students, once she graduated she was unsure if this was the path for her, and so she began the painstaking search for her new passion. She started to feel increasingly drawn towards manufacturing and production.
Over time, she realized that her love for making things didn't have to be just widgets and electrical circuits -- it could be clothing too. At the age of 25, she made her pivot to the fashion industry. And this is when her past became crucial to her future. Audrey often credits her engineering background for teaching her to think critically and problem solve in a way that has served her throughout her journey.
An entrepreneur at heart
A self-proclaimed "serial entrepreneur", Frank & Eileen was not Audrey's first independent foray into the fashion world. Her first retail concept was a women's specialty store called Oona, named after her mother. Next, she started her first knit line, Aude. And then serendipity intervened to inspire the concept for Frank & Eileen.
Similarly to how a fairytale would start, one day while visiting a manufacturer in Los Angeles, Audrey stumbled upon a dusty old book about a family-owned Italian mill in Bergamo, Italy, and inside she found the most beautiful Italian menswear fabrics she'd ever seen. It was love at first sight. She was instantly inspired to create from the beautiful menswear Italian fabrics and reinvent the women's button-up shirt. To this day, Audrey still visits Bergamo at least twice a year in search of inspiration for her next collection. She locks herself in their archives, browsing through books filled with every fabric they've developed since 1897.
A story of love, born in Ireland
Audrey had her product. But what about the name? Inspired by the true love story of her grandparents who were married in Co. Wicklow, Ireland in 1947, Frank & Eileen was born.
A force for good
From the start, Frank & Eileen was never just about making clothes, its mission is to model and support female entrepreneurship -- the company is 100% women-led -- and to be a force for good. Sustainability is another key mission of the company. Albini mill, the family-owned Italian mill from where they get their fabrics, has led the charge for 100% responsible practices in the textile industry. Every fabric they use meets the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 global certification for the absence of harmful chemicals.
Even their newly featured knitwear line, which they introduced just 5 years ago, was created under their mission to be a force for good. They partnered with Los Angeles based artisans, in each step of the process--from knitting, to sewing, washing, and then dyeing--done locally, creating jobs and only working with partners who have proven fair labor practices.
It's evident in the structure and practices of Frank & Eileen that being a women-led, sustainable company isn't a role Audrey takes lightly, nor does she shrink at the meaning of either mission. Instead, she has taken the bull by its horns and created a company that encompasses the true meaning of giving back to its community.
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