Tired of trying to fit into other brands’ ill-fitting clothes that often aren’t designed for large-chested women, Perfect DD’s founder Alice Kim has created a company to address that.
While tops were the focus of the label’s launch, wovens, sportswear and other more work-friendly categories will be added. The founder has firsthand knowledge of some of the obstacles her customers face.
As a “small-frame Asian woman” with a 32DD chest, growing up she always felt insecure about her appearance and trying to hide herself, often by slouching, Kim said. “Back in the day in high school and college, they didn’t make proper bra sizes. I’m a 30F or a 32DD. The smallest-size band back then was a 34. I always felt like I had to fit into clothes. What fit my shoulders would be tight across my chest…I never felt secure. I either felt indecent or grumpier than I am.”
As the name suggests, PerfectDD is meant to relay ready-to-go items that won’t require the time and expense of tailoring, a routine add-on that many large-chested women face with their purchases. Others prefer a more practical route and opt for safety pins. Kim knows the drill: During her tenure working at Diane von Furstenberg, she would use safety pins to look more modest in one of the designer’s wrap dresses, or have the frocks tailored.
Through her research, Kim learned that nearly 18 million women have the same struggles. A 35-women focus group helped her to develop the collections. After deciding “If not now, someone else is going to get there. Why not me?” Kim started her own brand. Operating the self-funded business from her West Village apartment, the native New Yorker was convinced that “dressing every day has to be easier.”
Button-down shirts, T-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts are among the offerings designed for women with a DD-sized bust or larger. Striving to build a community, and early signs indicate that is happening, Kim aims to create a forum or a safe space where women can share their experiences without fear of body shaming. “If you are of this body type, you understand immediately. The amount of love and responses that I have received…and people are sharing their stories.” she said.
Interestingly, many people, who have had mastectomies have reached out and appreciate the drape and comfort of the garments, Kim said. “Designing with your chest size in mind is a new concept. I have so many stories of women sharing their pain points and I can look cute.”
Kim previously worked in international merchandising and licensing for von Furstenberg for nearly six years until 2015. From there, she joined Shopbop as a divisional merchandise manager for all accessories and shoes. After a short run at Walmart and Jet, Kim started PerfectDD a little over a year ago and launched the site right before Black Friday. She recently described her new venture on “The Next Big Thing” podcast.
Somewhat nervous about launching during the pandemic, Kim said, “The shutdown validated my concept. People aren’t just buying to buy. People are buying what they need. I’m providing a solution that is a void in the market.”
Geared to be closet staples, PerfectDD items are offered in black, white, and some in gray. Versatility allows for T-shirts and sweatshirts to be used for workouts or they can be dressed up for Zoom calls, or on their own. The founder’s friends posed as models for the new site, which she built herself. To react to sales quickly, PerfectDD is made domestically. “I’m very bootstrapped. I haven’t spent much money besides for the inventory. And I’m lean on the inventory because it was my first run,” she said.