Rosario Dawson on investing in body-inclusive clothing brand EBY

January 30, 2022, 2:00 PM UTC

Actress Rosario Dawson has been a household name for years after many memorable appearances in film and television. Among some of her best-known projects are Rent, Sin City, and most recently, Dopesick. She is also set to star in the highly anticipated Star Wars series for Disney+, Ahsoka.

Adding to her role as cofounder of female-artisan–produced fashion brand Studio 189, Dawson recently invested in women’s empowerment and tech apparel brand EBY, which just completed a Series A funding round that drew $6 million. EBY says it repositions underwear as a tool for empowerment rather than one of seduction, as demonstrated in the brand’s latest marketing campaign, “Feels Like This.” The campaign features EBY’s new Invisible Cotton 2.0 collection. EBY spent the past year finding, testing, and developing the best cotton-blend fabric with no-slip-grip flocking technology.

By the end of 2022, EBY says it will have drawn approximately 40,000 women and children out of poverty with close to $2 million in microfinance funding.

Dawson recently shared more with Fortune about her decision to invest in EBY.

Actress and EBY investor Rosario Dawson on Dec. 6, 2021, in Los Angeles.
Jon Kopaloff—Getty Images for H&M
  • Startup: EBY
  • Location: New York City
  • Year founded: 2018
  • Valuation: Declined to disclose
  • Investment level: Series A
  • Number of employees: 15

Why she invested, in her own words

My investment strategy is driven by a belief in the future of female-driven brands that leave an impact. I invest in products that are a natural extension of what women believe in. I’ve long admired EBY cofounder Renata M. Black’s strength as an innovative leader, and am very much an advocate for her solution-based approach of empowering women through microfinance. I’m excited to now be a part of EBY’s incredible story and help Renata’s vision come to life.

An entrepreneur myself, my commitment to EBY is not my first venture into the fashion and lifestyle space. I am also the cofounder of female-artisan–produced fashion brand Studio 189. Renata and I have been friends for years, establishing a resilient bond over our lifelong unwavering dedication to the empowerment of women, and being fellow co-owners of Latinx-founded businesses. EBY and Studio 189 have also partnered in the past in a product capacity: collaborating on a limited-edition release of special Studio 189 prints on EBY’s signature seamless undies, which sold thousands of units at Opening Ceremony. In 2015, we contributed $15,000 to Opportunity International fund from the proceeds of the collaboration, which has yielded 7,088 women and children out of poverty through business. 

I have always aligned myself with purpose-driven brands like S189 and EBY because for me, it’s very much about making sure that we’re conscious and intentional about how and why we make things, and how and why we buy things. It’s been a beautiful experience growing Studio 189 over the years, and now to help grow EBY, through this best-in-class, mission-based commerce. I am focused on supporting brands that are standout products, ethical and sustainable, which are also firmly rooted in defining fashion as an agent of social change, just as I am. 

Additionally, among other buying trends, we have seen a surge in demand for purpose-driven brands in this post-pandemic era. Consumers are always changing—this we know—but the market is becoming increasingly environmentally and socially conscious, making value-driven brands more resistant to economic unrest and social uncertainty. The trying times of the pandemic enlightened our need for connection, resulting in one of the biggest shifts to purpose-driven shopping the world might ever see. I look forward to continuing to be an advocate for this shift in consumer consciousness.

This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.

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