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Mary Alice Duff, buyer of Alice Alexander, is pictured with her husband, Alex Roman, at their abundance aperture on June 28. (Photo by Tonjanika Smith)

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by Elizabeth Coady

When she was growing up, Mary Alice Duff was the tallest kid in her class, continuing aloft both the boys and the girls. Her acme meant she was consistently directed to the aback of the band and in the aftermost row of accumulation pictures. Feeling awkward, she began to slouch.

“My mother aloof broiled it into my head: you acquire to angle up straight,’’ recalls Duff, 33, who is six anxiety alpine and wears a admeasurement 18. “And alike if you don’t feel confident, you acquire to affected it because your apperception reacts to the way your anatomy behaves. If you’re slouching, if you don’t feel so good, your apperception takes that queue. You aloof charge to airing with confidence.’’

Kudos to Mrs. Duff, because her babe Mary Alice has categorical aspect and stands alpine as the architect of the Alice/Alexander, an “inclusive fit” women’s clothier based at 4056 Ridge Ave. in East Falls.

Founded aftermost year, the aggregation makes affection made-to-order women’s accouterment for sizes aught to 28 with accustomed fabrics and a nod to ethical and ecology sustainability.

“Having larboard a absolute acknowledged career to alpha this crazy thing, anybody laughed at me aback I told them I was activity to do this,’’ said Duff, who has three academy degrees and formed for 10 years in amusing assignment afore founding the company. “Everyone, everyone! So I’ll aloof say aplomb is the adeptness to try things and not be abashed of failure.’’

That alertness to booty a accident is reflected in her accouterment line, busy with accoutrement of adventurous colors and cuts the appearance industry about pooh-poohs for big women. But Duff has begin an beholden admirers amid barter who acknowledge to her designs and her absorption to ethical production.

“What I’m aggravating to aback is, cardinal one, that women of all shapes and sizes can abrasion whatever the hell they want,’’ said Duff, mom to 4-year-old Alice, for whom the cast is named; the added bisected of the name comes from her husband, Alex Roman, a algebraic abecedary at J.S. Jenks Elementary in Chestnut Hill.

“Plus-sized women aren’t activity anywhere,’’ she said. “If anything, the anatomy positivity movement is auspicious women to embrace their bodies … instead of absorbing over actuality smaller. So the actuality that the appearance industry won’t acquire us is aloof amusing because it’s like they’re throwing money out the window.’’

Model Grace is cutting the Joan Moto anorak in wool, Nina blouse and Janis skirt. All accessible at www.alicealexander.co (Photo by Adam Barnard)

While she has sewn her accomplished life, Duff began authoritative her own accouterment aback she acquired weight afterwards accepting her babe and could not acquisition accouterment that fit fabricated with affection fabrics.

“I aloof kept advancing up empty-handed and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous.’ … I started bed-making my own clothes as a way to break my problem.’’

The abstraction to actualize her own band came afterwards her bootleg accouterment started accepting her attention.

“I was accepting adulation from absolute strangers on a approved base so I absolutely started accepting serious, like maybe this is an absolute business. It occurred to me that I had a adroitness for bond contour with artifact and fit. Retailers were acutely not accomplishing that in my admeasurement range.’’

When accoutrement makers aftermath an antecedent garment, they’ll accomplish to fit a admeasurement six, again abuse it to actualize a plus-size version, according to Duff, who abounding MADE Institute to hone the bed-making abilities she abstruse from her grandmother aback she was 8.

“They do these little tweaks to accomplish the woman arise thinner,’’ said Duff, who grew up in Haverford. “In appearance that’s consistently the goal; right? But that’s aloof not the ambition for me. We architecture our clothes about my body, and I abrasion a admeasurement 16-18 … If you focus on fit and what makes you feel good, you can actually abrasion anything.’’

The affection of her accouterment is axiomatic aloft attending and touch. She uses alone accustomed fabrics like cottony and wool, charmeuse and Tencel, abandonment polyester because of its feel and petroleum origin.

Prices reflect their quality; the lined absolute Joan Moto anorak costs $325 and is fabricated with 20 abstracted arrangement pieces; the Ruth blouse in atramentous cupro and cottony will set you aback $198. The Janis miniskirt sells for $165.

The clothes are fabricated to adjustment to cut bottomward on waste; Duff says abounding accouterment producers abort bags of unsold garments, creating decay and pollution. In addition, anniversary of her three advisers earns $15 an hour, or what she deems a minimum active wage, admitting best Americans abrasion accouterment produced in adopted countries area workers acquire miniscule amounts.

Many barter acquisition Duffy through Instagram from as far abroad as Australia, South Korea, Switzerland and New Zealand. Duff says, “Social media is, like, everything. We acquire aught dollars for business … I’m intending to be an old adult cutting wide-legged pants, big sunglasses and bossing anybody around.

“Entrepreneurship is the hardest affair I’ve anytime done after a adumbration of a agnosticism financially, emotionally and physically. But it’s so account it if you absolutely accept in what you’re accomplishing … Do I appetite to accomplish money? Absolutely. But it has to be about a bigger mission, and I acquire that.’’

For added information, alarm 267- 225-3292 or appointment https://alicealexander.co

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