Meet B. Lin Murphy, the designer putting Black women first with her anti-microbial bodysuits

B. Lin Murphy prioritizes Black women with her anti-microbial bodysuits designed for comfort, style, and fashion.

B. Lin Murphy fashion designers
Fashion entrepreneur and designer B. Lin Murphy (Photo: Ann Donahue)

Describing herself as a “professional innovator,” B. Lin Murphy designs products that combine consumer needs with creative ideas.

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Born and raised in Chicago, she graduated from FAMU in 2008, then headed to law school while working in accounting. 

“I decided well, okay, I think I’m ready to leave corporate America and do my own thing,” Murphy shared with theGrio.

In 2016, she, her husband, and their daughter relocated to Los Angeles. In 2019, Murphy launched The Bawdy Filter, a fashion company selling bodysuits that emphasized both fashion and function.

As COVID-19 shifts the definition of daily attire, Murphy’s designs can be worn from the Zoom meeting to the grocery store, to the beach, and back home. Elevating the athleisure trend, The Bawdy Filter gear features built-in undergarments with slight compression and anti-microbial material. 

Murphy’s creative grind did not begin with The Bawdy Filter. Her passion to introduce innovative products to existing markets began with Bittyrina, a children’s brand, creating the multi-tard and other dancewear for young, active performers. The Seasoned Millennial, as she’s called on Instagram, has not yet hit her peak.

theGrio spoke to Murphy about The Bawdy Filter, creating for Black women, being a business owner in a pandemic, and what’s next for her. Read the conversation below:

theGrio: How did you get started in fashion?

B. Lin Murphy: I needed to make my days easier. I’m constantly on the go and the fabrics that I’m using for these children’s leotards, [they] feel so good, why not make garments for women with the same fabrics? Not just any woman, but women who are similar to me, who are on the go. We’re all wearing so many hats.

I might have a meeting before I have a happy hour, but I don’t want to change for those events. So, I’m going to use this fabric to create an all-you-need garment that’s going to accentuate [the body].

I couldn’t find something that met all of those bullets. So I said I’m gonna make it, because it’s gonna make my life easier, and I know that means it’s gonna make other women’s lives easier. That is how The Bawdy Filter was born..

TG: Can you tell us more about the anti-microbial aspect of your designs?

BM: The anti-microbial fabric, though it is more expensive, women deserve that value. It allows you to be more flexible with your activities. It’s very lightweight and breathable, you can wear it to work out. You won’t get sweat stains. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria, and some viruses. In the pandemic, there is a renewed sense of importance for garments and all kinds of things that [consider] germs and bacteria. That was always an important factor for me, but now that importance is increasing.

TG: How has the pandemic impacted your business?

BM: My plan was, as soon as I launched, to hit conventions and trade shows. I love talking to people and showing off the garment. We’re limited in that respect. My mindset had to change and realize, okay, now you have to let people know how this feels virtually. That required more creativity and innovation, but these are also tools that I’ll be able to use forever, even once we are out of this mess.

Instead of one-track thinking in terms of how am I going to promote this, I have to find a variety of tracks and have all those available and ready to implement. I think I can speak for most business owners. It goes to show that in order to be an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to shift at the drop of a dime and you have to be able to adjust to the times.

TG: The fashion industry has not always welcomed people with different types of body shapes, especially Black women. How do you as a designer consider those things and how do you think the industry is growing?

BM:100% this is all about the body. When I first told people I’m naming my brand, ‘The Bawdy Filter,’ they [asked] are you sure about that? A lot of times, we have to code-switch. I feel like we have to put on this whole facade.

The Bawdy Filter is my opportunity to say no. We are a whole [population] that you want to make happy, but you are not making things for us. Spanx, and those brands? Yes, I love them, however [they] are compressing our entire bodies. Black women don’t have a problem with our curves.

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There are areas that we might want to touch up a little bit, but there are certain things we need to feel more comfortable. That’s why I was like, no, this is for us. Those of us who don’t have to have a six-pack and we understand we might not ever have a six-pack but we’re still trying to live our best lives.

TG: What’s next for The Bawdy Filter?

BM: We’re getting them out to people in their homes. I also have three new styles that will be launching. Right now, all of them have compression sleeves, but I have some people who have requested sleeveless, so we will have those coming out. My whole goal is for women to stock up and have them ready for however they feel.

What I really love is the fact that I created this for myself and I’m making it available to women not just to profit. I give a portion of each purchase to three non-profit organizations that support initiatives I feel strongly about.

One is the Shades Of Blue Project which focuses on Black maternal mental health. Another is the March of Dimes COVID-19 fund for mom and baby relief. Another is Girlspace Compton. They get young girls together and give them resources and support. They haven’t been able to meet in person due to COVID. I’d like to provide some funds to them just to help them prepare for their next step.

TG: What else should readers know about The Bawdy Filter?

BM: I hope women know that I’m making this for us. [Black women] have so much confidence and so many different body types and that’s something we should embrace and be proud of. We felt left out for a long time and we’ve done our own thing because we’re innovative, but I want women to know I’m doing it for us.

For more information on The Bawdy Filter, visit the brand’s official website.

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