Making comfortable undergarments for youths of all genders is the goal of Lola Olivia.

Lola Olivia brand specializes in undergarments for youth of all genders

JENNY BLOCK | Contributing Writer

Long Island, N.Y. native Jody Varona holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in Fashion Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in N.Y.C., so it’s no wonder that after she had a terrible experience taking her 13-year-old daughter, Lola Olivia, shopping for her first “proper bra,” she responded by creating a company named after her to address it.

“I realized that there didn’t exist a brand that directly focused on young adults when they are first entering puberty,” Varona said. “This age demographic is in desperate need of subtle, functional bras that are simple, comfortable and proportionally accurate.”

Kids need our help and support so much, she continued, that she just had to make it happen — for youth of all genders.

“I am so passionate about my products helping young adults during this pivotal time in their lives,” Varona said. “When kids don’t have a tangible resource to explore options and products like these, minds can segue into low self-esteem, body dysphoria, anxiety, stress, bullying — with devastating and long-lasting effects.”

Varona said she has always loved helping people. She’s taught fashion to kids ages 3-15, and believes it’s vital for kids to learn “skills like sewing and making crazy things.”

She’s been working in the fashion industry for 20-plus years, and, she said, “I love making people’s lives better through the art of clothing. There is a magic in clothing, and in dressing, that is life changing.”

Although Varona has started a number of companies from her home, she never thought about starting an inclusive undergarment company until the problem presented itself. “I did not have a choice. I had to start this company,” she declared.

Lola Olivia is an inclusive undergarment brand for young adults of all genders that Varona created after finding the bra selection for young adults “awful — too bright, too sexy, too lacy.” And, she said, there was nothing in her daughter’s size. The whole experience was “a total nightmare.”

Even worse was her daughter’s reaction to the experience. “Instead of feeling encouraged and empowered about becoming a woman, she felt frustrated and angry when she didn’t find anything she liked, and she was embarrassed about her beautiful body,” Varona said, and she did not want her daughter or anyone else to go through that. So was birthed the company Lola Olivia.

“At Lola Olivia, we provide a safe space where youths can explore options of bras and binders that are functional and subtle and supportive. We need to modernize this conversation, and help our beautiful kids feel the strength to be their best selves.”

When it comes to this work, Varona said, absolutely everything about it inspires her, including her daughter being proud of her and helping her with the venture. And, she added, “Listening and crying with so many moms as they share their traumatic bra and puberty stories with me is so inspiring. Talking and crying with mothers of non-binary and transgender kids and learning how challenging transitioning can be for a young person and how hard it is to watch them struggle.”

It is imperative, Varona said, that we remember that this age is so pivotal for laying the groundwork for self-worth, self-love and body positivity.

“Kids need help navigating through puberty in a positive way, especially if they are going through this in a body they do not identify with,” she noted. “That can be torture for these young adults; we need to acknowledge this internal struggle and make products that work for their bodies and their minds.”

Lola Olivia products “provide a foundation for these kids. They’ll get up and dressed, they will like how their clothes look on them, and that will empower them. They will feel seen as they want to be seen, confident that they are free to express themselves as who they truly are,” Varon asaid.

“We need to be open to all kinds of emotions on this roller coaster of life,” she added. “This rite of passage doesn’t have to be so scary and unknown.”

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