Carla D'Addesi and her daughters have always had a passion for shopping. "It's our cardio," she joked to me about their retail habits. But when they realized that so many of their favorite clothing lines were kicking back proceeds to organizations that didn't share their views, they decided to stop buying in and start their own fashion line.
"We felt very marginalized by the fashion industry," Carla told me at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference last week. "There were a lot of brands that were anti-American or they were giving our dollars to organizations like Planned Parenthood that went against our core principles."
The relationship between the fashion world and the pro-abortion movement isn't a secret. In 2017, 43 fashion designers lined up to help out Planned Parenthood during New York Fashion Week.
Conservative corporate activism watchdog 2ndVote keeps a running list of companies that have either donated to Planned Parenthood or have given to third parties that do. That list includes several famous brands such as Converse, Dockers, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and Old Navy. And if you want to support America's largest abortion provider more directly, there are several smaller brands that are more vocal about their pro-abortion stance.
Ultimately, the idea for the company started with a gradual "build-up," Carla's 18-year-old daughter Vittoria told me. "Over time we would joke about it, you know, 'Mom, you're gonna have to start sewing soon, because there's no more stores.'
"Then one day," Vittoria continued, "like a good Italian family, we're sitting at our dinner table over a bowl of pasta and we were talking, you know, 'What can we do? What's something different that nobody else has done yet, but that can support the movement and be good for everyone?'"
"My family sits around the dinner table and we do discuss religion and politics from the time the kids were little," Carla explained, noting that she also homeschooled her three daughters. "We have always stood outside of the Planned Parenthoods and prayed. We have been at rallies. We do the March for Life. And we just saw that the left so appeared to be reaching our kids in pop culture and we saw a huge gap.
"So we said, 'Let's try and reach the other side for life by making life glamorous and starting a fashion line,'" Carla recalled. "So this is absolutely a brand on a mission for people on a mission."
Carla said that recent controversies over late-term abortion laws and infanticide have only increased the market for her brand.
"And believe me, there's never been a better time to launch a pro-life fashion line than today," Carla explained. "Because forget about abortion; it's now about infanticide; it's now about botched abortions where there's babies gasping for breath on the table and we are denying them the right to life.
"We did the research," Carla said. "There's 9 million teen, tweens, Millennial young women that identify as being pro-life."
And she and her daughters want "to empower them" and "to make them stronger and we're using the medium of fashion to do that."
Right now the COL 1972 site features pieces like hoodies, knit hats, sweatpants, and travel bags, most of which are emblazoned with the company's logo. Over time, the goal is to build out more options for both men and women.
But where does the company's creative spark come from? So far, COL 1972 has gotten some help from a designer in Los Angeles, but Carla says that she and the girls are going to roll out their own designs this spring with their "Life is Amazing" campaign when the weather starts warming up.
"So you're going to be seeing beach bags, flip-flops, dresses that just have the simple message: 'Life is Amazing,'" Carla says. "Because it is!"