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GEAR FOR GIRLS A Chapel Hill clothing line levels the playing field for young female athletes
ired of shopping in the boys’ department for her athletic daughter, MaryAnne Gucciardi combined her business savvy and soccer-mom drive to create high performance, comfortable sports apparel just for girls. After extensive design and testing, Dragonwing girlgear hit the marketplace in 2013 with a specialized line of sports bras, camis, tanks, compression shorts and leggings for 8- to 17-year-olds. “When girls don’t feel comfortable in their clothes, it affects their performance,” MaryAnne says. “Dragonwing is focused on empowering girls to play without distraction and with total confidence.” Fabric quality was a top priority for MaryAnne, who spent 15 years in the textile industry in Hong Kong and is mom to Charlotte, now 17, and Ted, a college sophomore. Designing athletic gear that wouldn’t slip, bunch, dig or ride up was her challenge. She began by prioritizing comfort, with soft-brushed inner linings, flat seams and tag-free comfort. Moving on to utility, she demanded a product that would offer stretch, UV protection, moisture wicking, odor control and antimicrobial function – removing more barriers that hold girls back on the court or on the field. Some Dragonwing fabrics are even environmentally friendly, made from recycled materials. One of Dragonwing’s top sellers is the Un-Tee Sports Cami – with or without the shelf bra. It gets rave reviews from girls of all ages who want to go for a layup or inbound a ball without feeling exposed or overheated. Nurturing the competitive drive in girls is important to MaryAnne. 28
chapelhillmagazine.com May/June 2016
As a businesswoman and a mother of a competitive athlete, MaryAnne Gucciardi is working to remove barriers that limit girls in sports and in life.
After all, skills developed through sports – discipline, resilience and teamwork – are helpful in life. “Middle school girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys,” she says. “Their bodies are changing at the same time they’re establishing their game.” Find MaryAnne’s products online at Dragonwinggirl.com, Amazon.com, TheGrommet.com and Soccer.com. Worried about fit? Don’t be. Dragonwing prides itself on customer service and making returns free and easy. – Mary Parry