Check Out Our Founder’ Latest Interview With Prominent Fashion Figure Valerie Steel

Empowered By You founder Renata M. Black is deeply committed to the cause of female empowerment. So in addition to operating a social enterprise that benefits  underprivileged women around the world, she launched the unique Paradigm Shifters initiative on Huffington Post, a series of interviews with a prominent women that provides insight and inspiration about empowerment, self-sufficiency, and perseverance.

In her most recent article in the series, Renata interviews Valerie Steel, the director and chief curator at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture.  She has curated over 20 exhibitions – such as Shoe Obsession, Daphne Guinness, Gothic: Dark Glamour and Love & War: The Weaponized Woman – and has authored and co-authored over a dozen books about the history of fashion.

Throughout the insightful interview, Renata and Valerie explore the intersection of fashion with female empowerment, namely the use of women’s fashion as a tool to shift paradigms and positively impact the world. Here’s a key excerpt that resonates strongly with Empowered By You’s mission.

Did you want people to see lingerie in a different light?

Well I guess I don’t believe that the meaning of any item of clothing lies within the clothing itself. I think that meaning is something that we construct and that we constantly reconstruct. For example, the idea that a corset is automatically an oppressive garment used by a male-dominated society to oppress women and make them unhealthy and weaker is too simplified. Women wore corsets for more that 400 years because they saw some value in the corset for themselves. It’s like Marx said, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please.” Women wore corsets because it gave them a more youthful feminine figure, it was a sign of respectability and high social status. Women had a variety of reasons. When women gave up corsets, in a way they didn’t really give it up so much as internalize the corsets through diet and exercise to try and continue to idealize the body. They just did it in different ways. So lingerie is not just an erotic enticement to men but it can also have significance that varies from woman to woman and changes over time to the wearer herself.

For many years underwear’s primary purpose was to keep clothes from getting dirty from the body because you could wash the underwear but you couldn’t really wash clothes, you didn’t have dry cleaning. You had velvet and silk clothes and elaborate embroidery, so your underwear was protecting the clothes from the body. Later on, as clothing became more revealing, underwear started to serve new purposes and no longer could function to pad you out so much or push the fat around. It became the layer that’s underneath the garment between you and the world. And it’s become much more minimal as clothing has become much more minimal, which doesn’t mean it can’t also have a variety of intimate meanings for the woman or the man who wears them.

The use of fashion to empower women and promote positive social changes is at the core of Empowered By You. Not only does our extensive line of high-quality Designer Lingerie empower the modern and independent women that wear it, but EBY directs 20% of profits from sales to the Seven Bar Foundation, an organization that helps underprivileged women climb out of poverty on their own terms through microfinance loans.

To learn more about the Empowered By You Cause, visit our website or email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

 

Our Founder Explains Empowered By You’s Cause

Renata M. Black is one of the leading figures in promoting an ethical and empowering approach to business. As a social entrepreneur and humanitarian, she’s made every effort to put her values into practice and spread the word about Empowered By You and the Seven Bar Foundation, two organizations she founded in order to empower women in a sustainable way.

It’s also why she launched Paradigm Shifts, a unique initiative on the popular Huffington Post website that provides insightful and inspiring messages regarding female empowerment and altruistic causes. If you want to learn more about our founder and the principles through which she operates our company, read one of her most personal and inspirational articles on why she came up with Empowered By You and what drives here to succeed.

Here’s a great excerpt that gets to the heart of what makes Empowered By You a unique and excellent company to support.

When the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” were launched, (remember that series of ads in which women were asked to draw a picture of what they thought their faces looked like, and then those images were juxtaposed against actual photos?) I was immediately affected. Boy, what a difference between perception and truth – it challenged me on how I look at myself. I, like all other women, am my most severe critic – am I too fat, not pretty enough, not smart enough? All the usual qualms we women have which, by the way, are constantly reinforced by the media.

The Dove ad campaign made me aware….and gave me a sense of relief that we’re all too hard on ourselves – how we look at ourselves is probably not how others see us. Dove’s tag line “You are more beautiful than you think you are” really hit home.

So, how do paradigm shifting ad campaigns inspire me to better define how I communicate my life purpose in an authentic way?

After living in India from 2005-2007 to build a microfinance program for over 800 women, I returned to the States inspired by the resilience and unacknowledged beauty of these genuine women. One night, I remember watching a fashion show on TV and was disturbed that it reduced women’s sexuality to mere seduction. In India I had experienced how much more there is to being a woman. I thought – what a missed opportunity to harness the energy and excitement the show engendered, and to redirect it to empowering women – rather than to objectifying them. Women can be sexy AND smart – who is highlighting this side?

I wanted to inspire people to see women differently: in particular to see lingerie as more than an item for seduction. So, I put my energies where my heart is: in the past eight years, the Seven Bar Foundation has hosted luxury lingerie fashion shows with top designers: Agent Provocatuer, Carine Gilson, Fifi Chachnil, and Atsuko Kudo, supported and attended by strong and positive female role models: Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria, and Michelle Rodriguez. Our shows, Lingerie London, Lingerie Miami, and Lingerie New York, have garnered over 3.8 billion media impressions. The media instantly got it. The Wall Street Journal reported, “What’s sexier than luxe lingerie? Microfinance” It worked. The paradigm of lingerie for seduction shifted to empowerment of women – inner armor for outer empowerment.

 This deep and compassionate epiphany led Renata to create Empowered By You in 2010, a social enterprise that empowers women around the world in a proven and effective way. Through the sale of high-quality Designer Lingerie designed to suit the modern, independent woman, EBY directs 20% of its profits the Seven Bar Foundation, which helps underprivileged women climb out of poverty on their own terms through microfinance loans.

This unique business model reflects Renata’s sentiment that “if advertisers and marketers are going to retail and market to consumers, they should make a conscientious decision to make the product they’re marketing meaningful, thought-provoking or at to least ignite paradigm shifts.” In other words, she walks the walk when it comes to doing good in the world in sustainable and innovative ways.

To learn more about the Empowered By You Cause, visit our website or email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

 

Empowered By You Founder Renata Black Interviews Acclaimed Fashion Designer Rachel Roy

Renata M. Black is dedicated to the empowerment of women everywhere. That’s why she founded Empowered By You and the Seven Bar Foundation, two innovative organizations that advance the status and potential of women in unique and sustainable ways. It’s also why she launched Paradigm Shifters, a series of interviews with numerous accomplished women who lend their insight themes of empowerment, perseverance, and positive change.

Renata recently sat with Rachel Roy, an iconic American fashion designer who is behind many admirable causes both professionally and personally. As someone who is also using fashion as a platform for empowerment, Renata was more than happy to gain Roy’s incredible insight into this vital area. Here’s an inspiring excerpt of her interview.

Renata: Being a woman who has challenged the status quo and has had a positive impact on others, what is the one aspect about yourself that you are constantly striving to make others see differently?

Rachel: As a fashion designer my goal is to make women feel amazing about themselves. When they put a certain dress on, I want them to feel smart, confident and individual.

It starts at a very young age and we have to nurture that. OrphanAid Africa is very close to my heart and I traveled to Ghana last year with my daughter Ava to work with children that are abandoned through war, poverty and abuse. I had a transformative experience when we visited an orphanage. My daughter, Ava and I were playing with the little girls and as they were looking through my make-up bag they found a mirror. Little did I know that we were about to become witnesses to these young girls looking at themselves in a mirror for the first time. Experiencing this moment and sharing their happiness made me realize how incredibly proud we can be of our reflection. It was their first encounter seeing themselves; their first encounter playing with make-up and what made them happy is what makes my daughter happy. I learned that little girls, are little girls, no matter where they live, and sharing and experiencing their beauty, seeing them filled with joy is what I love about what I am able to do. This experience made me realize how we see ourselves, from the inside and outside, ultimately makes us happy and I strive to make women look and feel their best. 

Read the rest of this engaging interview at the Huffington Post, where you’ll find many other engaging articles in the Paradigm Shifters series. This is just one of the many ways that Renata is seeking to improve the status and success of women the world over; expect more great interviews to come.

Renata founded Empowered By You with the unique vision of giving women high-quality Designer Lingerie that would serve as a potent tool of empowerment. She combined this already groundbreaking goal with an innovative business model, whereby 20 percent of profits go to the Seven Bar Foundation, a microfinance initiative also founded by Renata that empowers underprivileged women from around the world.

Learn more about these admirable causes and how you can play a part by exploring EmpoweredByYOu.com or emailing us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

 

 

 

Empowered by You Founder Renata Black on MAKERS.com!

MAKERS.com, a prominent digital platform that showcases thousands of compelling stories from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow, has featured Empowered by You’s own founder Renata Black! Already a huge fan of the encouraging and inspiring website, Renata was incredibly excited to share EBY and the Seven Bar Foundation’s goal with them and the rest of the internet. Be sure to check out the short video below!

Renata Black, has always been an advocate of eliminating poverty around the globe and, as a result, immersed herself in the study of microfinance and its impact on impoverished communities. In fact, in 2006, she worked alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner and microfinance vanguard Muhammad Yunus and successfully established a grassroots microfinance program with Earth Aid India in 2007. The program is now run by one of the 800 women aided by the program and is flourishing.

Driven by the transformative force of microfinance through her program in India, Black returned to the states in 2009 to develop a business model for social impact, establishing the Seven Bar Foundation. This organization was introduced as a “ladder” icon, symbolizing extending ladders to women out of poverty and into business. This, combined with the idea to promote funding through Designer Panties– an untapped niche market in the luxury lingerie industry-is what has raised Empowered By You to the level it is today. 20% of every sale empowers women via microfinance with the oversight of the Seven Bar Foundation. Empowered By You, now found in over 40 stores, is a lifestyle brand expanding into designer collaborations.

Black is currently the vice chair of the Young Presidents Organization’s CSR Network, a member of 85 Broads, and a member of Women on Wall Street and Advertising Women of New York.

For any questions or feedbacks, please email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

How Seven Bar Foundation Works- Explained in a Three-Minute Video!

Empowered By You was launched with a unique but vital mission: to give women stylish and empowering Designer Lingerie that can also benefit underprivileged women from around the world. This cause is served through our support of the Seven Bar Foundation, a non-profit organization established by our founder Renata Black to help women attain self-sufficiency and realize their potential.

Check out this video on the process of the Seven Bar Foundation and how it helps women worldwide:

How Seven Bar Foundation Works from Seven Bar Foundation on Vimeo.

In sum, the main goal of the non-profit Seven Bar Foundation is to empower women worldwide out of poverty and into business through microfinance, allowing them to get a “hand-up, not a hand-out.”

The Seven Bar Foundation is a social enterprise that offers a unique and sustainable approach to empowering women. Its unique fund-to-fund model utilizes cause-marketing campaigns, such as Empowered By You’s, to fuel its microfinance initiative, while using top fashion events to generate brand awareness. The funds generated by these shows and co-branded products are then allocated to reliable microfinance institutions, which in turn distribute them as microfinance loans to female entrepreneurs and small business owners around the world.

When you buy our high-quality lingerie, you’re helping this social enterprise with its unique mission: 20 percent of our net profits from sales to people like you go directly to the Seven Bar Foundation’s microfinance campaign. Ultimately, we aim to contribute up $1 million to this cause by 2015. You can learn more about the Empowered By You cause and the Seven Bar Foundation at the About Us section, which includes an educational video on how microfinance helps recipients, information about the Seven Bar Foundation’s latest campaign for 2013, and see inspiring testimonials by the accomplished and empowered women who have benefited for conscientious buyers like you.

For any questions or feedbacks, please email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

More About Our Designer Panties

The Empowered By You panty was born out of founder Renata M. Black’s involvement in the Seven Bar Foundation. The Foundation redirects the attention of the fashion and luxury lingerie industry to the empowerment of women via microfinance. Renata raised funds for the Foundation by creating luxury lingerie fashion shows, including Lingerie Miami in 2009, Lingerie New York in 2010, Lingerie London 2012, among others. The constant revenue stream fuels microfinance loans so underprivileged women can be given small loans to start their own businesses allowing them to become economically self-sufficient, providing for their families’ futures and replacing dependency on limited donors.

“Working on the shows and having had the pleasure to work with some amazing designers during the process made me realize that I wanted to give more people the opportunity to be part of the Foundation’s mission to empower women. That is when we created the Empowered By You panty” stated Renata M. Black.

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Designed by Hun Kim, the former senior design director of the Polo Ralph Lauren Blue Label collection, the Designer Panties feature two styles: a low-rise Brazilian-cut thong with patented silicone flocking and full-coverage briefs made of the same material, each completely seamless and available in an attractive range of colors including purple, orange, beige, gray, black, blue, and red.

The Empowered by You panties retail at $25 and 20% of the profits go to the foundation. The clear, reusable packaging includes a triangular insert with a photograph and brief story of a woman who has been empowered to create a business with the help of our foundation’s micro-financing. With this in mind, you will feel great both inside and out wearing our comfortable Designer Lingerie, described as “the perfect everyday panty with patented flocking technology for a seamless second-skin fit.”

To learn more about our products and our services, please email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

Empowered by You Founder Renata Black Featured in BoutiquingAndDrinking.Com!

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Empowered By You was founded not only to give women stylish but comfortable Designer Lingerie, but to serve an even greater cause: empowering underprivileged women with the ability to realize their own potential and become self-reliant. Our founder, Renata Black, has always been an advocate of eliminating poverty around the globe and, as a result, immersed herself in the study of microfinance and its impact on impoverished communities. Just recently, Black was interviewed by BoutiquingandDrinking.Com for their Weekly 7 forum, just one sign of her growing recognition among the entrepreneurial community.

Here are a few highlights from the article:

HOW DOES IT (EBY) REFLECT YOU AND YOUR PASSION?
I have dedicated the last 5 years of my life to redirecting the power of the lingerie industry to the empowerment of women. I feel strongly about paradigm shifts especially about shifting lingerie’s paradigm. I would like women to see lingerie beyond as a tool for seduction and more as a tool of empowerment. Sensual energy is the most powerful energy and we decide what to do with it. It is time to take our power back.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS EVOLVING?
I see us becoming the Tom Shoes of Lingerie and even more important collaboration with artist and designers. Empowered by you is an entry point for women to share their stories. It is a blank space for women to share how they turned disempowerment to empowerment. How they turned a breakdown into a breakthrough. The art of storytelling is embedded in our DNA so it serves to organically evolve into the lives of the women who share our ethos, “ whatever empowers you, empowers women everywhere”

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Deepak Chopra. I mediate with his 21 days of mediations everyday and it keeps me connected to the source. Other than that, other women on makers.com

CAN YOU TELL ME A QUOTE YOU LOVE?
Everything you want is on the other side of fear

Ultimately, we aim to contribute up $1 million to this cause by 2015. You can learn more about the Empowered By You cause and the Seven Bar Foundation at the About Us section. For any questions or feedbacks, please email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.

Empowered By You Featured in The Lingerie Journal!

closeupthongEmpowered by You has just been featured in a review by The Lingerie Journal, an online news and opinion source with expert advice for lingerie retailers. Below are a few key highlights of blogger Rachel O’Donnell’s review, based on the two Designer Lingerie styles we provided to her:

“I found the individual packaging to be a great idea for lingerie retailers who often deal who customers who wish to purchase “untouched” underwear and it gives the item a great “grab & go” feel.
The fabric of the panty consists of an ultra light synthetic fabric and includes a cotton lining inside the panties. Both panties fit well and the patented flocking technology prevents the panties from slipping, bunching and shifting during the day.

The Empowered by You brand only creates two styles of panties, briefs and thongs. The panties are also only available in solid colors with a light chevron pattern in the background of the fabric. Empowered by You is committed to making lingerie for everyday wear which these styles and colors are perfect for.

Although this brand may not be full of style options, it’s a great wardrobe staple for women looking to avoid panty-lines under their clothes and to feel comfortable all day. It is also so rewarding to know that the lingerie you purchase to empower yourself also helps out women all over the world. Empowered by You panties retail at a fabulous price point and would make a great addition to any lingerie retailer.”

Empowered by You was created with the unique vision of giving women high-quality Designer Lingerie that would serve as a potent tool of empowerment. Renata Black combined this already groundbreaking goal with an innovative business model, whereby 20 percent of profits go to the Seven Bar Foundation, a microfinance initiative also founded by Renata that empowers underprivileged women from around the world.

To learn more about our products and our services, please email us at connect@empoweredbyyou.com.