As a law enforcement officer, Alisha Shoates James of Nashville, Tennessee thought, “There needs to be a better way for a female officer to carry a firearm,” she recalls. “Women are always told, ‘Just buy a men’s small,’ but that doesn’t work.” Her husband and mother had the answer – “Why not you? Why don’t you figure it out?”
James knew she wanted something convenient and made to accommodate the size and weight of the firearm. Once she decided to pursue creating a clothing line, James had much to learn. “I had a cousin in New York in the fashion industry who helped me make some contacts,” smiles James. Then Ten-Four Clothing was born.
She is now very proud of the products created–fashionable business suits that work for women who carry. James explains the design. “The waistband is one of the key components,” she explains. “It is reinforced to account for the firearm. The biggest difference between our suits and regular ones is that most women’s pants don’t have belt loops. Ours do, as do our skirts. Our long pants are tailored but wide enough to ankle carry. We basically thought about everything we hated in a suit and then modified it,” she laughs.
The suit jacket also has internal pockets where professionals can carry their credentials or nonprofessionals can carry things like lip gloss or a cell phone. “They love the flexibility of having a place to put those things when they don’t want to carry a purse,” says James. “All of the material is made with a little bit of stretch. It’s a very moveable, breathable fabric so it doesn’t have that stiff or stuffy feel like most suits.”
James has been very happy with the way things have gone. “I’m particularly excited about the reception we’ve received from the gun community,” she says. ” I knew our clothing would appeal to law enforcement officers but many other women have really gotten into it as well. I’ve talked to women who have to dress for business meetings who love the designs. Real estate agents really like them. They have to show homes at night alone and appreciate the ability to dress well and still carry. It’s fun that we are finding different markets that we didn’t initially think about.”
James is also proud of the philanthropic focus of the business, that speaks to unity between law enforcement and the community. “We have to communicate and sit down together for our society to become healed and whole,” she says.
A temporary website is currently up and taking pre-sales for a December launch. Check out Ten-Four Clothing, the business fashion line created by a woman for women.
Photos courtesy of Ten-Four Clothing