Many consumers and industry experts agree that the modern fashion industry is in need of a major reckoning, and now, a new Spokane company is helping lead the charge.
Founded by Kim Blessing and Delena Mobley, dom+bomb launched in spring 2022 with a small selection of basic separates for its still-growing collection of sustainably made clothing that's size and gender inclusive. Their goal is to inspire and empower others and build a welcoming, judgment-free community around fashion.
"We did a lot of market research looking at what's available here and just talking to people and hearing how it's hard to find cute stuff that fits, especially in the larger sizes," Blessing says. "There's just nowhere to go.
"One of the big things we wanted to focus on, and why we have a full size range, is that it's so hard to go shopping with friends when you're all a different size. We really want to build a place where people can come together," she adds.
Because the design, production and quality testing process is lengthy — many pieces are currently in development — dom+bomb launched the first of its "essentials" collection with a skirt ($85) and two tops, a crop top ($60) and a boatneck T-shirt ($65). A body chain ($59) made by local jewelry artist Blue Owl Handicrafts is the first piece in dom+bomb's accessories line.
Made from a soft drapey fabric, each piece was designed by the duo to flatter any body type and can be paired with other dom+bomb clothes or with what's already in a customer's closet.
The two founders both grew up inspired by women in their families who sewed and passed those skills on to them.
Mobley recalls saving money she earned babysitting during her middle school years to buy fabric and making herself a plaid romper to avoid being teased by her peers for not having trendy, expensive clothing. As life went on, however, her focus shifted to college and a career, and she only recently reconnected to those garment-making roots while dreaming up dom+bomb with Blessing.
The two met and became friends while working at a local communications firm. They each decided to leave that industry during the pandemic to focus on more creative work and something they're both deeply passionate about: fashion. Dom+bomb was born. The name is a combination of Mobley's initials, DOM, and Blessing's social media handle, @bombthetiara.
"We started making masks [for COVID], and that just kind of started getting me to fall back in love with textiles," Mobley says. "And just tapping back into the self that I had kind of given up so I could take care of serious business for a while."
With backgrounds in marketing and communications, branding for dom+bomb came naturally. Now that the project has gained a solid foundation, Mobley and Blessing have been focused on perfecting their skills in pattern making and finer garment construction. They've also been working with a group of local models to accurately scale each piece of clothing for dom+bomb's inclusive size range.
"We create the designs and then I do all the patterning, and then we sew up samples and we try them on our fit models," Blessing says. "And our fit models are really one of the most exciting things that we've discovered."
When dom+bomb put out a call for models, the duo weren't sure how many responses they'd get, but currently they have 50 people on their roster.
"What's been so beautiful is all of our fit models have a story," Blessing continues. "They come to us for a reason, you know, whether it's because their gender nonconforming and they want a safe and fun place to come, or whether they're larger and they can't find something that fits."
All dom+bomb clothing is available in sizes extra small through 5XL. Current fabric choices are bold, vibrant hues of yellow, fuchsia and teal, plus basic black.
Working with dom+bomb's fit models has helped the duo make small tweaks to a piece that might need, say, more or less length in the bust or hips from one size to the next.
"We have models try on our clothes from the smallest size to the largest size, and then do whatever alterations we need to make the patterns suit all bodies," Mobley says. "We take pictures, and we pay very close attention to the hem, where it falls, and how [a piece] drapes the body."
Dom+bomb's essentials collection consists of simple pieces, but the duo plans to expand with more tailored garments like pants and button-up shirts. Currently, they're finalizing a T-shirt dress that's set to launch soon.
W hile a dom+bomb boutique is planned to open locally within the next year, currently the brand's products are only available online at domandbomb.com, and each piece is made to order.
"We really want to make sure that our stuff does not end up in landfills, so we are only making what we sell," Blessing says. "And we also really want to make sure our stuff lasts, and down the road, we're looking at the circularity piece" — i.e., how to recycle an item at the end of its use.
Blessing and Mobley spent months looking for a clothing maker in the U.S., finally landing on a small garment factory in Southern California that fairly pays its workers. Fabrics are sourced from a company in British Columbia and meet the duo's high standards for being ethically made and long-lasting.
"We really wanted to make sure we were taking care of people, not just here in Spokane, but anything we outsource, because the fashion industry is just absolutely terrible when it comes to the exploitation of workers," Blessing says.
"We knew very early that we should focus on operating domestically as much as possible, and we did that," Mobley adds.
In addition to the dom+bomb clothing collection, the company also offers tailoring and mending, as well as upcycling and styling services, which all tie back to their focus on sustainability.
"A really important aspect of what we do is our styling services," Mobley says. "I virtually go into people's closets, help them kind of cull out what doesn't work anymore, and give them ideas on how to recycle it. But it's also helping them think about how they could maybe revitalize some pieces, bring something in for mending, or maybe change out the buttons or hardware on something."
Customers can make appointments for styling or tailoring services on dom+bomb's website.
"We've learned that sustainability means something different for everyone we talk to, and we don't want to prescribe any way of living," Mobley says. "But if you have questions, we want to be able to answer them." ♦