Be Strong in Who You Are

April 20, 2015 3 min read

Meet Brenda

One of Bonnie Jean’s own designers opens up about

her grandmother’s powerful role in her life and the

importance of being yourself.

Many young girls that I meet are interested in being a fashion designer. What does being
a designer actually mean?
It is very emotional. Every dress that I design comes from the heart. You bring the design
from within you and you put it in front of other people and not everyone will think it is as
beautiful as you do. That’s okay. My advice is to be strong in who you are, and know that
what you say and what you show comes from you and only you. It’s beautiful if you think it
is, and not everyone has to like it.

As a little girl, what were your hopes and dreams?
When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a dental hygienist or a gym teacher, because I was
well-rounded in athletics. In high school, I played tons of sports. At one point, I was even on
track to play field hockey at Penn State! But my passion was the arts, and so I took every
course I could in the arts in high school. I sewed my own clothes in high school, and others
always remarked on my clothes, even though I never dressed to impress other people - only
myself. I loved the freedom of designing my own clothes. I eventually went to Fashion
Institute of Technology and worked in sports wear before I began designing dresses here at
Gerson and Gerson.

You have been at Gerson and Gerson for over 30 years. What inspires you about this
I’m proud to be a part of this company for so long, and to have known Max Gerson
personally. This man, who came to this country with nothing, had a dream to build this
company for his family and for all of us. It is an honor to be a part of the Gerson and Gerson

What has been the best moment of your career?
When Sasha Obama stepped onto the stage with her father

the night he was elected in 2008 wearing a dress I had designed.
It was such a surprise, and it felt so great to be a part of such a
historical event.

Who are some of the strong women in your life that have
helped you accomplish the things that you have?
My grandmother, Alwilda Dixon, noticed that my sisters
were learning to knit and crochet and that I was struggling.
It was because I was left-handed and just could not figure it
out. My grandmother was left-handed too, and took it
upon herself to teach me how to knit and crochet. I knitted
hats, scarves, everything! Seeing that I was able to create
something from my own hands inspired me to start sewing.
I don’t know if that would have happened had she never
saw the potential in me and taken the time to help me learn.

What are your dreams for the girls who wear the dresses
you design?
I hope that when they put on one of my dresses, they feel like the prettiest girl in the room -
because they are! I hope that they realize they are beautiful inside and out and I dream that
the dress empowers them not just to be a beautiful girl but to be a beautiful person in the
world. I want every girl to have a bonnie jean dress and pass on the legacy of the dress to
their daughters.

To Honor Brenda, we are hosting a Design Your Own Dream Dress Contest! To enter and learn more about the rules, click here

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