In reality, Bodybinds founder, Jackie Hopson is the polar opposite of the seductive and mysterious brand she passionately conceived just over two years ago. Miss Hopson is light-hearted, kind and bubbly – even in her e-mails. Through years of hard work she has managed to invent a brand identity that speaks to women of all shapes and sizes, and is inspired by her alter-ego; a pole-dancing, fearless woman who loves herself with conviction. That kind of self-reliance is exactly what puts her on our list of women we adore. In honor of Jackie and her unique line, we’re giving 25% off all Bodybinds purchases on shop.livefastmag.com when you use the code SUMMER25 through the Weekend! Peep our interview with this divine woman and get shopping!
LF: Tell us a bit about yourself and BodyBinds…
JH: My name is Jackie Hopson, I’m a Hawaii girl that currently resides in NYC, but am relocating to LA this summer. I’ve been sewing since I was 8, studied Apparel Design at Fashion Institute of Technology, and worked in corporate fashion as a handbag designer for 10 years before starting Bodybinds. I love binge-watching TV shows (mostly what’s on Netflix), swimming, and my love for burgers is pretty serious.
During my days as a handbag designer, I picked up a new fitness hobby, pole dancing. It opened my eyes to a whole new world–one of love and appreciation for my body. I was always tomboyish and didn’t view my body as beautiful. My newfound body love inspired me to explore my love of design by playing with lines and shapes that flatter and celebrate our curves. Bodybinds was born out of the idea that every woman, no matter what shape or size, should feel beautiful in their skin as they are. We inspire our wearer to embrace her femininity in new ways. We have several different line offerings in our brand. The versatile Black Collection is our most popular line, which you have on your store site, allows women to change things up by either wearing the pieces with their own undergarments, over clothing, or over nothing at all. The newest line, Lattice, is a more glamorous take on lingerie using hand weaving and ring embellishments… up to 366 rings for one bra!
LF: What is it about lingerie that you love?
JH: I love the feeling I get when I put on beautiful lingerie, how it makes me smile at my reflection in the mirror and I can say, “DAMN. I look good!” I want to empower women to feel confident about themselves and for themselves it shouldn’t have to always be for someone else.
LF: What’s sexy to you?
JH: Confidence! There is nothing sexier than a woman that exudes confidence like a champ. Same goes for men.
LF: When did you start BodyBinds?
JH: In 2012, but I started taking it seriously in 2013 (you could say I was in “retirement from the corporate fashion industry” mode in 2012).
LF: What was the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome while building your brand?
JH: Figuring out the voice of the brand. I’ve realized my personal voice is different than what’s right for the brand and my customers. I am actually a silly, giggly, and sometimes sarcastic person–and that doesn’t work as the brand voice. If it were really up to me, the Instagram account would be full of silly faces, my dogs, and burger shots. But that doesn’t sell lingerie.
LF: Who do you make your lingerie for?
JH: My alter-ego and all the women that are just like her. Pole dancing brought out my confidence, self-appreciation, and inner sexpot. In my fantasy world, I prance around in my lingerie all day, err’day. But in reality, I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Side note: I read your interview with Scarlett Kapella and that is the exact confidence I am talking about. I can’t wait to visit Jumbo’s and see Scarlett dance once I move to LA!
LF: Tell us about your production process? Where do you start?
JH: Everything is made-to-order so it starts with me. For example the Black Collection, which uses neoprene, I use software that plots the designs in order to maximize the yield per sheet of neoprene. For the other collections, I organize all orders into a queue to be handmade. Part of moving to LA is to expand my production capabilities and I’ll be investing in factory production or hiring a few talented helping hands.
LF: What inspires your designs?
JH: I am a giant technical design nerd and like to experiment with techniques to create different uses for materials. Materials: For example, the primary material for the Black Collection is neoprene. These are one-piece construction garments designed to create the illusion of straps and bindings. The benefit of neoprene is that it is soft, flexible, and forgiving. Wearers from size 0-12 can feel confident in any of the collections constructions. Culture: For example, the Lattice Collection technique is derived from my Hawaiian heritage. Traditional Hawaiian mats, baskets, and other home-goods were made from the leaves of the lauhala tree woven together in such a way that they were sturdy and secure. The Lattice Collection is a reflection of this traditional Hawaiian weaving.
LF: What photographers/models/icons inspire you?
JH: There are so many, but Allen Henson is one of my favorites, as my Instagram will tell you. Model/designer/photographer – Cecilia De BuCourt. We met through pole dancing and I am in awe of her artistic vision and how she applies it to so many different mediums. As for models, Roxy (of course!) and Gia Genevieve. Icon? Hands down, Dita Von Teese.
LF: What’s the best advice you have for someone starting their own brand?
JH: Gain experience first. Get out there and learn, fail, and experiment on someone else’s dime. No matter what task you are working on, make it a learning experience – you can always get something out of every experience. Take those experiences and learn from them. Find your own vision and stay true to it. Change is good, embrace it, but always stay true to your vision. Remember who you’re designing for and always bring it back to them. You are going to make mistakes, but mistakes are necessary learning experiences. Making a mistake is not a failure. Not learning from your mistakes is.
LF: Can you talk about your upcoming move to LA?
JH: In the last 2 years, I visited LA 4 times as I have several friends that recently moved there. I had a sample sale during one of those visits and the overwhelming success of it planted the seed for the idea to move. There’s an energy there that I can’t explain, but it always left me feeling inspired and motivated. What sealed the deal was my last trip, a 14-hour layover, where I was lucky enough to be there during market. I couldn’t stop smiling as I zipped through every single floor in the Cooper Design Space building. I just knew that LA is where my brand needed to be. So we’re (myself + Bodybinds) ready to start a new chapter!
LF: How fast do you live?
JH: I would say on a scale from 1-10, a 9. I am never one to settle and always go for it. We only live once, so I make sure to make the most out of it. Sure, there are ups and downs, but I always find ways to turn those downs into ups.