My Passion for Clothes
I started designing clothes when I was six years old. By six, I had already come to terms with the fact that everything I would ever wear would already have been worn and loved, by my two older sisters.
To make matters worse, my mother ("don't ever underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine!"), liked to dress us all alike...only in different colors. Red, Yellow, and Blue...in sequence. Innately, at six, I must have known that this routine could scar someone for life, so I began to sew. The ruffles came off, the sleeves were cut, and my sisters' lovely dresses became my own. My mother taught me how to sew very well, but it was my grandmother who taught me the excitement of detail and perfection with cloth. How good it feels to "wear something special". "If something wasn't perfect or if it didn't feel good, then change it or start over!" she said. No options. Nothing goes on a hanger that you do not love. It's that simple.
The sewing obsession continued through my teens, past the proms, the weddings, and the events wearing all "handmade" creations. At twenty, I moved to New York and became a "short" fashion model (which didn't really work at all, financially). Everyone wanted to shoot my clothes though, so I was once again sewing every day, surviving on nothing but cloth. It became everything in my universe. Years later, in San Francisco, I found myself without a husband, without a job, and running out of alimony fast. When my ten year old son found me crying one night and asked what was wrong, I blurted out that without a college education I would go nowhere and that I had been educated to do nothing!"
"That's not true," he said with conviction,
"You can do something better than anyone else in the whole world".
"And that would be?"
"You can sew", he said.
And that night I had a vision.
So I started to bead, sew, and coordinate the nine pieces in my vision, not knowing what I would do when they were done. When they were perfect, I put on my favorite piece and went straight to Wilkes Bashford, a high-end store in San Francisco, with the intention of making an appointment to see the buyer. Timing was perfect. Wilkes was hosting a contest the very next night to find a San Francisco designer. Who knew? All of the New York fashion editors were in town to judge. I was ready. I won. From there my career in fashion began and I found my way. My factory started in my bedroom, with simple home sewing machines and later turned into a "home factory" because we took over every square foot of my flat space with fabric and sewing machines; then to a "downtown real factory", and then to Korea to finally manufacture in numbers.
Beautiful clothes, for me, were never about the stand-out design, though. They simply...fit. They have always been easy, beautifully made inside and out, and in fabulous natural fiber fabrics. With these qualities, they sold over and over. I found myself taking pictures of my clothes in windows of stores I had been intimidated to even walk into a year before. Seeing people on the street, even in other countries, wearing my clothes, was a shock; because my sensibility was always drawn to how they looked, and then I would realize, it was mine. Creating the next collection was always easy. It just had to feel good. This went on for decades; from sportswear to lingerie, in the finest stores I had dreamed. Formal design education came very late for me when I met my previous partner, who had designed clothes for Versace, Dolce Gabbana and written programs for one of the finest design schools in Milan.
My Fitting System may have started by accident, but it has certainly made my creativity easy... especially, when I don't have time!! I love meeting you guys through Fabulous Fit, and helping my team walk you through the challenges. Business is now about consulting with designers; identifying their target market, creating the fit to match their vision, and working with all of you. I love most to work with everyone learning to design. I hope you'll join me in our Fitting Forum, with questions and fitting issues that I know we can help you with! And if you wonder if you can do it, my answer is: YOU CAN!