Fran Broder is making her junior high school dreams come true. Her spring/summer line arriving in May is proof of that.
“Now I’m doing what I feel like I was meant to do,” said the Birmingham fashion designer, who runs FauxFurEver. “I feel fortunate at this point in my life, I wake up everyday excited to work – and it doesn’t feel like work. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. For me, it’s just fun. “
In order to understand Broder’s enthusiasm about her career, you have to go back to truly understand her evolution over the last decade.
Broder, who is also an animal activist, with FauxFurEver’s mission to promote luxury without harm, was shopping when she spotted a fabulous faux fur. Like any other inquisitive person, she asked where it was from and the store wouldn’t tell her. So, she began her own search. The search took her over a year before she found it being produced at a factory in France.
She then ordered some, and with a sewer, began designing accessories like hats, headbands, shrugs, and capes.
“People would stop me on the street and ask where I got it because they wanted it,” Broder said of her accessories.
So many people seemed to love them, she decided to start her own business, FauxFurEver, which officially launched in 2011. With the urge to grow and have her collection seen by more people, she applied for the One of a Kind show in Chicago, a juried craft show she’s done the last nine years.
Now, though, her line has come back to Birmingham, and last year, expanded to clothes.
“I would go shopping and I didn’t like anything that I saw...it just wasn’t me,” said Broder, who has also worked in advertising and animal rescue. “I started having my sewer make things that I designed and the same thing happened. People would say, ‘Where did you get that?’”
Broder started with a few home shows, and has begun promoting more locally.
If you want to buy her clothes, described as non-formfitting, edgy, and artsy, she has a shop on Etsy, called FauxFurever, and is, for now at least, primarily selling out of her Birmingham home.
Recently she’s started incorporating neoprene, a lightweight material that’s free of wrinkles and often used in wetsuits, into her clothing designs.
“It’s an unusual fabric that is very popular in clothing now,” she said. “It holds its shape so you can do dramatic silhouettes with it. So I’m combining it with faux fur...making these unusual garments that are really great and they don’t wrinkle.”
As one could guess, her home is currently overflowing with faux furs and clothes.
Also in Broder’s home studio is her favorite quote from the philosopher Epictetus, “Know first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” She said that quote best describes how her most recent career adventure has evolved.
“I don’t like to look at clothing as a superficial thing, I like to look at it as artistic expression because that’s what it is for me,” she said.
For Broder, one of the parts she loves most about her job is working with people and seeing them look and feel fantastic. Their feeling that way in clothes of her own creation is a nice bonus.
“I’m just having fun coming up with the things I like and fortunately, other people are liking them too,” she said.
Photo: Laurie Tennent