Danielle Brooks, 28, star of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, collaborated with Universal Standard to design a three-piece collection which she released Tuesday night in Soho. Famous on the screen for her role as Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson in OITNB and on the stage as Sofia in The Color Purple.
Universal Standard, founded in 2015, is dedicated to providing high-quality fashion for women with fuller figures. The event was attended by other OITNB stars like Natasha Lyonne (Nicky), Uzo Aduba (Suzanne) and Adrienne Moore (Cindy). Christian Siriano was also in attendance.
Brooks says that her final products are everything she imagined “and more.”
“I really love what Alex [Waldman] and her team stand for. They stand for all women, and they’re really trying to get rid of this us-versus-them kind of thing, and get rid of the term ‘plus-size’ as well. We’re just women who wear different sizes,” Brooks said.
“She was such a joy to work with,” Universal Standard cofounder Alex Waldman said. “She is one of the most alive, vibrant, sparkling people that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Waldman and her cofounder, Polina Veksler, knew at once who they wanted to collaborate with Brooks when conceiving the idea for the ‘Tria’ collection.
“We had a very short list, and she was on the top of it,” Veksler said.
It is “about damn time,” according to Brooks, that the fashion world embraces non-size-zero figures. She said that her advice to women would be that self-love is “a journey.”
“Be where you are, love where you are, even if you want to change that at some point. We have that one item in our closet that we know I can’t wear, but we’re like, ‘I wanna fit in that!’, and that’s okay,” Brooks said. “Just know that there are people out there that are truly trying to design for you, and who know the importance of style and fashion and know how connected that is to personality.”
As for what comes next, Brooks insisted that she is an “actor first,” but enjoyed the experience so much that she hopes to continue “dipping her feet” into the fashion world.
“We adore her,” Waldman said. “I’m already thinking, ‘How can we continue this collaboration?'”
And as for the question on everyone’s mind – what happens to our favorite inmates in Season 6?
“We all getting in trouble,” Brooks said with a laugh. “Ain’t no coming out from there.”