Launching my own fashion label has been a lifelong dream, one that I almost settled on letting go of until a few things kicked into high gear during a summer on the beach in Nicaragua… an irresistible urge to focus and get back to my passions, a relentless desire to pursue those passions, and a clear longing to make sustainability a fundamental part of my initiatives.
I have been fascinated by fashion since birth, I am convinced; mesmerized by the feel of fabrics and the mixing and matching of different styles and just as intrigued by the methods used in constructing each item, from a simple whip stitch on the inside of a hem to the more intricate stitches used in hand-knit crochet pieces and delicate embroideries.
At age 10, we were given several options for an elective class to take at school; the least popular of the options was the ‘stitchery class’. That was my choice, hands down. I loved every second of it. Sewing and creating things filled me with joy and an incredible sense of peace. I remember how proud I was of my first completed project – a smocked night gown in sky blue colored cotton voile with white grosgrain ribbon ties at the shoulders and white and pink embroidery at the front bodice.
I’ve also always had a deep interest in charity and helping others. I believe that providing people in poverty-stricken communities with skill training and jobs, for example, best enables them to become self sufficient, offering long term benefits to them, their families and their communities. This understanding has had an immense influence on my business model.
I have officially been on this journey since April 20, 2010, when the corporation was formed. Endless hours of research, paired with ongoing correspondence with manufacturing companies, suppliers, patternmakers, cooperatives, artisan groups and others, has been taxing but rewarding in so many ways. Anyone who has started their own business knows that sometimes you go in with one idea and things change. There are endless challenges and each time you take 5 steps forward there are situations that ‘pop up’ and take you 2 steps back. I have had numerous people ask me, “have you given up on the whole idea of having a sustainable business because of all of the challenges?” and my response remains a firm,”no.” My first goal is to design beautiful clothing and accessories that people will love, enjoy and even treasure. My second goal is to follow the ethics of sustainability in any way possible for me at this stage of development. If I take sustainability out of the equation, it doesn’t make sense for me anymore. And so, I continue…
I started with a series of simple pencil illustrations. A single croquis wearing several different looks. So far, I have communicated with potential partners in the US, Peru, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Thailand, and Turkey. We have discussed fabric options, fair trade practices, pattern details, size ranges, colors, logistics, and more. I have samples in work through 4 different groups in 4 different countries and I can honestly say that through this, if nothing else, my passion for fashion and the sustainability of our planet has grown and I have developed relationships with a few amazing and talented people who I may not have ever come in contact with if I weren”t doing this. For that, I am more than thankful.