An unlikely garment jumpstarted the career of Los Angeles designer Ripley Rader. In 2012, she launched her first line not with traditional tops or pants but with the jumpsuit. The ’70s-era garment was coming back into vogue with revamped versions evoking Studio 54 and Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. Rader liked that they had the potential to be flattering on any body type, and her drapey and fluid pieces were a hit. From there she expanded into ready-to-wear caftans, shift dresses, wide-leg pants, and crop tops, taking the most popular sellers and launching a plus- size collection in May. “I want to dress all women,” says Rader. “That’s the cornerstone of my brand—radical self-acceptance and radical confidence.”
Growing up in West Virginia, Rader was surrounded by textiles. Her parents owned a fabrics store, and her grandmother taught her how to sew. After college, Rader pursued a career in musical theater, landing in Los Angeles. Then she met a Fred Segal buyer who was so impressed with Rader’s homemade jumpsuit that she encouraged the aspiring actress to start her own line.
The versatility of Rader’s designs has attracted a diverse celebrity clientele, from Amy Schumer to Gigi Hadid to Kate Upton. “The idea of not dressing someone above a size 12 is vapid to me,” says Rader. “I’m a feminist, and when women of all shapes and ages tell me they feel empowered by my clothes, that’s success to me. Mic drop.”