Redefining leisurewear with Brownlee Bathing Corp.
Words by Matheson Eller
Hardly has there been a moment in time when leisure wear is held in such high regard as in the years 2020 and 2021. Greater time at home amplifies a greater need for comfort and flexibility in clothing. Prior to COVID-19, a Nashville-based wardrobe brand was already hustling to offer a unique product that not only met those demands of comfort and flexibility, but exceeded them.
Brownlee Bathing Corp. (Brownlee), founded by Christina Currey, is “simple, elevated, beautiful casual wear that can span from a weekend to a lifetime.” Brownlee boasts luxury leisure wear pieces sold in sets or individually. Purposefully curated to be transitional, the pieces serve as elevated sleepwear, appropriate meeting attire, fashion-forward dining looks, and everything in between.
In the best way, Brownlee’s products are ageless. The brand serves any and all who live tasteful and on-the-go lifestyles by offering investment wardrobe pieces that transcend time and trend.
“We are for everyone,” Currey said. “There’s no limit to the buyer-type, and that’s the beautiful thing about Brownlee.”
Brownlee was born out of Currey’s natural passion and gift for design. As a child, she found herself always cutting, twisting, and dying outfits to suit her tastes as they evolved. This artistic outlet of constant reinvention led her to wonder: is there something more here?
In Currey’s undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University, she was afforded an esteemed jewelry internship. Later, this would open the door for a design assistant role in New York City. Through a variety of experiences in the fashion industry and years of knowledge under her belt, Currey eventually returned home to the South with her “head full of ideas.”
Once Currey was settled again in Tennessee, the role of community and mentorship was critical in the inception of Brownlee. With the help of a few key industry leaders, who believed there was something more in Currey’s mere sketches and samples, Brownlee quickly moved from a thought to a reality.
Brownlee’s roots are also familial in addition to the aforementioned nostalgic and communal ones. The brand is named in honor of Currey’s grandfather, whom she described as the most stylish, “with it,” host-with-the-most man she’s ever known. When brainstorming names, Currey explained that “nothing else felt right” except for her grandfather’s name. His legacy lives on through the aesthetic and heart behind the brand, which she dubs as “retro, reimagined.”
Arguably the most gripping characteristic of Brownlee, though, is the personalized shopping experience the brand provides. The individual, hand-dying process of all products allows Brownlee to function on a made-to-order basis. On top of that, every product in Brownlee’s arsenal is crafted in Currey’s in-home Nashville studio.
The creation process begins with Supima cotton, which represents less than 1 percent of the world’s cotton and is known for its resilience and color retention. From there, the Brownlee team thoughtfully blends the dyes to perfection, again on a made-to-order basis. Finally, the products are washed and dried on high heat, ensuring no shrinkage of items once they’re in the hands of consumers.
As Brownlee has grown over the years, primarily through word of mouth, the team has reflected on ways to improve. Subsequently, one of the values that guides the brand is excellence. “We wake up every day just wanting to offer a superior product in every way,” Currey said. “This is our collective goal.”
Another way this mission manifests is through a socially-conscious mindset from creation to completion of the garments. The overwhelming majority of the products’ inputs are locally sourced, which results in an intentionally short supply chain behind the brand. “Contributing to the greater good [of sustainability] looks different for everyone, and we’re just doing the best we can with the space that we’re in,” Currey said.
On the horizon for Brownlee are collaborations with existing brands, such as one rolling out in the spring with a renowned Canadian tastemaker. In the past, Brownlee’s brand collaborations have been with artists, musicians, X Games, and MODISTE.
Long term, Brownlee hopes to open a dyehouse rather than a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Customers could come to view the products mid-process and then purchase on the spot. Until then, Currey plans to continue preserving the intimate and made-to-order nature of the brand.
Innovation and perseverance have contributed to the strength of Brownlee’s brand. Few companies in the nation can sport the labels of both local and luxury as Brownlee can. Customers may rest assured knowing the pieces in which they invest are born out of communal mentorship, market research, better-for-you practices, nostalgic and familial ties, and envy-worthy looks.