Welcome to our newest editorial initiative, Who What Wear Spotlight, where we’ll be using our editorial platform, social following, and ad inventory to turn the spotlight on small businesses that need our support now more than ever. Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new fashion or beauty company. If you own a small brand and would like to be considered for the program, please apply here.
For the fashion set, the pandemic ushered in a bounty of new stylings and priorities, among them were intentional shopping and the acceptance—no, the encouragement—of loungewear. With the rise of intentional shopping, we saw ourselves buying straight from small businesses, even if that meant shopping on social media or clothing-resale apps like Depop and especially if it meant purchasing made-to-order pieces in an effort to reduce our carbon footprints. So you could say Golden Girly, the made-to-order brand of customizable loungewear sets by Brooklynn McCray, is the quintessential pandemic fashion company, except for the fact that McCray started Golden Girly back in 2019. Did she know she was going to perfectly meet the market’s demand in a matter of months? Of course not. (Remember how blissfully unaware most of us were of pandemics in 2019?) But McCray’s had her hands full, filling orders for sweat sets in neutral hues, pretty pastels, and color-blocking brights. How beautiful it is to see the fruits of one young woman’s dreams flourish right when we need joyful stories more than ever before.
McCray was just 21 years old when she started Golden Girly, responding to an urge to design her own clothes despite never been taught how to professionally construct clothes. Using the plethora of how-to videos YouTube has to offer, McCray completely taught herself how to make these loungewear sets that are already making waves in the fashion world. In October, right when we all were in need of refreshing loungewear inspiration, none other than Gabrielle Union posted a video in which she coyly sips from a glass of white wine, throws her head back, and flashes the most dazzling smile, absolutely glowing in a green Golden Girly bra and shorts set. Orders picked up, Complex took notice, and McCray has been running in high gear ever since. I suspect she’ll be outgrowing her Depop platform very soon. Keep reading for my interview with McCray and place an order for the exact loungewear set your heart desires because, after all, that’s the point.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your business?
My name is Brooklynn McCray. I’m 23 years old and born and raised in Ohio. My business, Golden Girly, started on Depop, a clothing resale app, in 2019. After many trials and errors of finding a niche for my Depop shop, I finally landed on loungewear. This eventually grew into me creating my very own loungewear designs. To add my own creative touch, I began offering the option to allow my customers to choose their own colors and pieces to create their very own lounge set, which luckily my followers loved!
And if you had to sum up your business in five words or less?
How did you get interested in designing clothes? Do you have formal training or are you completely self-taught?
I’ve always been intrigued by the fashion world, and it has always been part of my life in some way. I have a modeling background, and I attended school for fashion merchandising, but I never entertained the design side of fashion until now. Everything I do now has been completely self-taught by watching many YouTube videos and through trial and error by experimenting.
What inspired you to start Golden Girly?
I love having full control of my day-to-day life and future, so being an entrepreneur was perfect for me. I came across Depop through my boyfriend, and he convinced me to open up my own shop. From there, it grew into what it is now.
It seems as though you launched your business right before the pandemic hit. How did social distancing and stay-at-home orders affect your business? Did it force you to change your expectations and process?
The pandemic had a huge effect on my business given it was the perfect time for loungewear to thrive. I had already been selling my custom lounge sets before it started, so luckily not much with the actual process has changed. Although due to the increase in orders, I have had to learn to keep up with the growth of my business, which at times can be challenging.
What has been your proudest moment since launching Golden Girly?
Seeing actress Gabrielle Union wearing one of my sets and posting a video to Instagram was really exciting.
Was there a moment when you noticed your brand take off? Have you felt overwhelmed by the number of orders you’ve received, and if so, how do you manage that?
There were a couple of times when I saw a large boost in sales. One of which was during the BLM movement. There was a lot of support for Black-owned businesses, big and small. Another being through YouTuber Macy Eleni, who gave my shop a shoutout after purchasing a set.
I definitely felt overwhelmed, but I did and still have the support of my mom, Danielle McCray, who would come home from work and help me complete and send out orders, which helped tremendously. She is now a full-time member of Golden Girly and still helps me manage my business to this day.
How do you see customizable clothing fitting into the future of fashion?
I am providing a new and fun way to shop by allowing my customers to essentially design their clothing. This is also beneficial to those who are typically either too short or too tall for most clothing, because each item is customized to their specific measurements. I eventually want to expand the depths to which my loungewear can be customized by and for the consumer to make their shopping experience even better.
We like to give a little Spotlight love to other brands. What are two to three of your favorite brands you like to support and why?
One of my current favorite brands is Skin Buttr, a Black-female-owned skincare brand that has the best-smelling body scrubs that I love.
Another brand is Brandon Blackwood New York. I have yet to purchase one of his bags, but I love every single one, and they are definitely in my mental shopping cart.