It's been a long time, so I wanted to say hello. There's something I'd love to say.
3 studios. 3 collections at New York Fashion Week. 3 years doing this. We've met all of you at trunk shows and fallen in love with Miami, The Hamptons, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Palm Beach, Atlanta, The Bahamas, Jakarta, Thailand, New Mexico. We've partnered with brands like Moët & Chandon, Porsche, Baccarat Hotel, Emilie Heathe. We've been at the Grammys, film festivals, award shows, Broadway premieres, galas, weddings, birthdays, critically-acclaimed off Broadway plays, dinner with your newlywed in Hawaii, dinner with your best friends at your favourite spot in West Village.
We've been so blessed.
Have I ever told you the story behind the Botanist dress? It was 2 or 3 in the morning, and I couldn't stop thinking of a certain shape, but I had run out of muslin to drape with. So I tore up my cream-coloured sheets and pinned for hours...and that became the Botanist. I didn't know then that it would be the opening piece of my debut collection at New York Fashion Week.
It's been a strange time in fashion, I've learned so much about what works for us, and what doesn't. We hold designers to such rigid cycles and standards, requiring them to churn out beautiful, strong work season after season, sometimes 6 in a calendar year. Making clothing has always been about story-telling to me, and what if there isn't a story to tell every 3-6 months? Every collection has sprouted from a feeling, every colour on our moodboards plucked from a handful of 35mm film photographs I took. A deep interest in something I've read, or seen, or felt.
And how do you force one to feel? You can't.
As a small independent luxury designer, I am so excited to continue focusing on stories, not seasons. I'd rather obsess over the drape and folds of a dress and how it resembles a particularly evocative leaf I grew up with in my childhood home in Malaysia, than churn out clothes that mean nothing. I think that's what sets us apart, and why so many of you tell me how beautiful and strong you feel in the clothes. I trust you'll be patient with us as we move forward. We will remain entirely designed and made in New York's Garment District by an incredibly talented and intimate team, using only the most sumptuous and lovely of fabrics.
Many aspects of running this label keep me awake at night, but here's what puts my mind at ease: that so many of you have come from every place imaginable and found a piece of yourself with us. That you have somehow found beauty, function and meaning in a Botanist dress.
Thank you for following me on this journey. I can't wait to show you more.