Written by Eleanor Turner
I was digging around in a cardboard box in my dad’s basement looking for family photos when a button popped out that read “The Big Favorite.” When I asked my dad about this mysterious little brass button, his answer came as a shock. At that time, I was three years into a Fashion Design Major at Savannah College of Art and Design when I learned that my great grandfather was a textiles and manufacturing entrepreneur. In that moment, I discovered fashion and apparel was literally in my blood.
I connected immediately to The Big Favorite brand and put that 70-year-old button in my back pocket for future revisiting. Fast forward to my SCAD 2008 graduation when fashion fell off a proverbial cliff. Not unlike 2020’s recent graduates, I had to get creative on my job hunt in such uncertain times. I accepted an unpaid PR & Marketing internship in a windowless sample closet at the Tommy Hilfiger NYC headquarters, and was determined to get my foot in the door. I turned that into an eventual paid position, assisting the top four heads of Tommy International with runway collections, listening to stories about Studio 54 parties with Basquiat while I sat at hidden dinner tables in Perugia, Italy. I became a familiar face to Tommy Hilfiger himself; my 21-year-old self was mesmerized by the magic of fashion at the time.
I moved on to a design position at Tory Burch and then eventually to J.Crew, where I cut my teeth with the likes of Jenna Lyons and, one of my idols, Mickey Drexler. It was a coveted position with enough budget that didn’t interfere with creative freedom, and we were encouraged to experiment. I saw wins and mistakes on a massive scale. I was riding a wave that was cresting.
“El, what's your next move?” my brother, an asset manager, used to ask. He saw the future of J.Crew, and sadly, he was right. What was next was going to show me what I was really made of. I come from an entrepreneurial family - my dad, and my great granddad were both entrepreneurs. So I became connected in circles in New York, exploring the possibility to revive The Big Favorite. That path led me to co-found women’s work apparel brand, Argent, where I learned a ton.
"Building a company is like having a baby."
It takes a long time, you push, you breathe, it's painful, and at the end, there is so much love and pride. I am super proud of my contribution to Argent, and proud to see my creations live on.
I believe creativity is the best antidote to compromise. I believe creatives predict the future by building it. I believe more creatives should bet on themselves and their abilities to build companies that are better for people and planet. I believe creativity is our pathway to a better future. That’s why I’m reviving The Big Favorite, the most reliable undergarments on the planet, for the planet.
More on why I chose to launch with undergarments first, in my next story...