Womanista Exclusive: Fashion Designer Shoshanna Gruss

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(Photo: Pinterest)

You might know her pieces from your own personal struggles – designer Shoshanna Gruss has made it her mission to help women find better fitting dresses and swim suits for over two decades, and was the first designer to bring lingerie sizing to the contemporary swim market. But this born-and-bred New Yorker is also a devoted mother of three and extremely loyal to her philanthropic causes, including many in her hometown. We snagged a few moments with Gruss to chat about it all and her Womanista Approved picks!

Womanista:
You’ve been in business for almost 20 years. How has fashion changed for you over the last two decades? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
The fashion industry has changed in everyday! When I first started shipping my line, there was no Internet shopping at all. Now that is how I do almost all of my shopping these days. There was no fast fashion, there were many less contemporary lines, almost no contemporary swims lines...you name it, it has changed.

Womanista:
Why is lingerie sizing so important to you in your pieces? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
I never understood why someone would sell tops and bottoms of bikinis as a set, and just sized small thru large. Can you imagine if lingerie was sold only in sets, and you only had 4 size options? It just never made sense that bathing suits were sold like that to me. I was a customer not being addressed, so I took the matter into my own hands. 

Womanista:
What’s new for you this summer? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
We are doing a lot of less constructed pieces. More flow. More day-to-night casual/sexy. 

Womanista:
You’re not scared of color or print. Do you have any favorites from collections past that really represent who you are as a designer? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
I think people will always associated the cherry prints and gingham prints with me. I do think they are timeless, sexy and yet innocent. 

Womanista:
You’re a New Yorker through and through - how does that come through in your clothes? What does that mean to you?

Shoshanna Gruss:
My clothes are pieces that are classic, timeless, and versatile. You could get through any day in them, and wear them again and again. Clean lines and bold colors, just like NYC! 

Womanista:
Your mother-daughter collections have been a huge success for the last decade plus. Is there a key to dressing “mommy and me” to make it look modern and cool? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
I think it just has to be fun and playful. We try to work with prints that all ages can enjoy. This is a fun, sweet collection. Serious mother daughter duos need not apply. 

Womanista:
How do you balance work and being a mom? Is anything harder than you expected? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
I didn't have any expectations as I don't think I planned it – it just happened. Yes, the balance is not easy. I'm always going to choose going to the school play, over a business dinner...I just think, ‘which one will I regret missing?’ That usually makes the choice pretty easy. If my business is a little smaller because I choose to be the kind of mom I am, that is A-ok with me. I know I will never look back and think I wish I was a less hands on mom. 

Womanista:
Your philanthropic work has been widely recognized. Why is it important to you to continually give back to your community? 

Shoshanna Gruss:
It is just something I feel is our duty as humans. Anyone who is lucky enough to be able to give back, just should!!!