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This GL girl started a clothing brand that's *all* about body positivity

Ava Meisel is confident, enthusiastic, and so professional that it is tough to believe she is only 13 years old. The New York native spoke with GL this week about her new clothing company, b + apparel. She opened the shop on Etsy several weeks ago after completing a business master lab from another clothing company. Learning from professionals in the industry gave her the confidence to follow her passion for fashion and start a line of tie-dye clothing with a positive message behind it. b + apparel's values are very close to Ava's heart, inspired by her own mental health struggles and by witnessing how differently her friends carry themselves depending on how they feel in their clothing. With this brand, she hopes to provide a supportive community for girls who are struggling with commonly shared stresses of growing up. 

Ava began spreading the word about her company by showing her creations to friends and using their extended networks to drum up excitement about the custom pieces. She is also taking advantage of social media advertising by posting on Insta and Tiktok accounts (be sure to follow her for all the updates!).

Although people in her community are *loving* her designs, she has had to deal with the difficulties of being taken seriously in the fashion industry as a teenager as well as the geographic constraints of living on the rather isolated Fire Island. Being off the coast of the mainland with just one small post office makes it difficult for Ava to get materials and send out orders, but that hasn't stopped her from dropping new designs regularly! Even with these obstacles, she says that the "satisfaction from seeing that what she is trying to do reached someone" makes the hard work more than worth it. The lifestyle of positivity and confidence that she wishes to promote with her clothing motivates her to continue growing the brand. 

Her big plans for the future don't stop there, however: Ava eventually wants to start donating a percentage of her proceeds to charity. She also plans to create a wellness blog on her future site for girls across the country to share their stories and look to one another for support. The charities that she wants to support with her brand include those that help provide mental health resources for people who cannot easily receive them and for sickle cell disease research: it turns out that people with blood type B+ can help with treatments to sickle cell disease! Ava's research on this topic inspired her to share her profits and help make the world a better place. 

While Ava's petite body type makes shopping at stores that aren't exactly known for size inclusivity relatively easy, she is disturbed by the unrealistic physical standards that certain brands set for young girls. As she told GL, "I have a younger sister... she's eight and I hate that she looks in the mirror and doesn't feel confident in what she is wearing." Ava hopes that her clothing and accessories appeal to the everyday girl and help her feel like her most beautiful self! She shared a touching story with GL about finding the courage to love her natural self, as "This year I would go to get ready for school and pick up mascara and be like, 'do I really like mascara? Who am I putting this on for, like is this just so boys will notice my eyelashes and think I'm pretty? So I've totally stopped wearing makeup this year." With her newfound love of the natural look, she hopes to help other girls her age accept themselves and immerse in the lifestyle of positivity that her brand aims to create. 

All images provided by Ava Meisel 

by Lexi Casazza | 10/12/2020
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