For many women, their 20s are the hardest years of their lives. Personally, I had no idea who I was.

I was no one’s child, no one’s mother and no one’s partner. I defined myself by my job. I was working too hard, for too little, and not having pride in my career left me feeling lost.

At 28, I was the design director for a major brand. Despite vacant storefronts on Madison Avenue, apparel companies blazed ahead, feverishly mass-producing product to keep up with fast-fashion. This has led to an alarming statistic - 60% of all product is either incinerated or goes to landfills within 12 months (NYT). Apparel companies were not thinking about how to innovate to break the cycle.

I decided that customization and on-demand manufacturing were the answers. Customization empowers women to purchase product they want, not just what designers tell them they want. It puts the customer (the person that matters) in control. Customization also requires on-demand production, which reduces waste through simple economics: supply = demand. Product is only created when a customer orders it, eliminating wasteful overproduction.

I founded Altress because I wanted to innovate and transform the failing apparel industry.

An Altress is a woman who challenges the status quo to make the world a more equitable, sustainable and better place. With Altress, I have found who I am, and I hope to lead by example and encourage women to create positive change in their lives and the world around them (and look super hot doing it).


Altress Founder, Kimberly Barasch