Buzzoms founder Marshay Clarke talks about making clothes with built-in bras

Raise your hand if you hate wearing bras. Raise your hand if you hate wearing bras, but need to wear a bra for support. If these statements resonate with you, you should have New York label Buzzoms, founded by Marhay Clarke, on your radar. The brand specializes in creating clothes with built-in bras comfortable and practical. Think minimalist dresses, tank tops and jumpsuits that all feature a special mesh construction on the inside.

The material mimics the function of a traditional bra, but without all the pesky underwire and straps that dig into your skin. Your breasts rest comfortably inside the soft mesh pockets while the elastic band underneath keeps them in place. (I can personally attest to this.) Clarke launched her brand in January 2020 after noticing how difficult it was for women with large busts to find bras that complemented the clothes they wore. (Clarke herself is a size 36F.) “I started looking within the issues I was having and how I could fix some of the issues that I think other women probably have too,” says she to TZR.

The solution was clear: create everyday basics that let you ditch the bra, but also offer support. “Whenever I think of a design, I think to myself, ‘What is the basic that everyone should have in their closet, that has not yet been created for curvy women?’” Currently, her clothes with supports Built-in bras range from XS to XXL and caters for bra sizes 32A to 40K. Ahead, Clarke shares her journey of building her brand with TZR and why size inclusion matters when it comes to underwear and fashion.

What struggles or challenges did you encounter while building Buzzoms?

We launched in January 2020, so we were at the heart of it all. I remember our very first launch. We dropped four pieces in three days before my factory told me everyone had contracted COVID-19. So they had to shut down the factory, and there I was, ready to drop everything. I was going to be three weeks behind on all my shipments.

i think this [whole ordeal] taught me how to communicate with my clients and build trust [with them] – being too transparent with everything that happens in the company. If you can get through a time like this, I feel like you can get through a lot of easier times.

How are bras built into clothing?

I call it the pool bag, and we even got a provisional patent on it. Think of a bra shell you would have in a tank top or swimsuit. There is a comfortable inner lining with a thick elastic band at the bottom. We use this breathable power mesh fabric and spandex for comfort (and chest support). The material is very similar to something you might see in shapewear because it has that stretch and takes the shape of the garment. Moreover, we use bamboo fabric for clothes because it is more durable and breathable material. Breast sweating is a real problem, so we use bamboo for its moisture wicking [properties] and it fits well on all body types.

Can you explain your “BFF” sizing process?

How? ‘Or’ What [some] fashion companies usually decide their size for clothes is that they will start with a size two or four. From there, they will add two inches or one inch to each garment and continue to call it medium or large. For us, we took more than 300 measurements from random people and submitted them to our factory with the average [from those] and said, “That’s what our sizing will be.” Buzzoms Flawless Fit (BFF) is our brand’s cup size chart. Now, every time we do something new, we make sure that we adapt to a real body and to many people. We want to make sure you get a garment that fits you well.

What does it mean to you to own a fashion business as a POC?

It means a lot. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed because I don’t have factual fashion experience. Since I only studied trading, there was a lot of impostor syndrome when I started. As a black woman, I think you tend to have impostor syndrome in a lot of different spaces, including fashion.

That’s why every time I feel like I’m trying to catch up with something. I always remember where I come from and I remember that I can do this because I’ve come so far. For example, I went to Columbia Business School on a scholarship. Then I got an MBA in marketing and technology and worked in various financial and technology companies. Therefore, I can do it and I’m good enough to start my own business.

What is Buzzoms message as a brand?

When people try on a Buzzoms top or dress, I want them to think, “This is for me. I’m cool as I am. There’s no reason for me to try to do anything to myself or change anything for myself. I finally found something that works. There are many women who constantly wonder if the skin they are in is good enough. And I say the answer is yes.

Which room should a first time buyer invest in?

I always say the tank top, which can seem boring. However, I say this because of its versatility. I fall asleep in it and know moms who even breastfeed in it. Some people put on a blazer and wear it to work. The tank top is a game changer for basics, and people always order more once they’ve bought one.

We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Elizabeth J. Harless