Saturday, October 6, 2007


Born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn New York, I grew up inspired by the wild and untamed lifestyle that surrounded me. For example, the community, the bamboo earrings, the relationships, the over-exposure of sex and lies, the movies that depicted females as rebels in an aggressive, sensual and sassy demeanor, and before any of that- my mother. I studied my mother's illustration portfolio from her years as a fashion student. I would wait patiently for my weekly trips into the local shopping district and fabric stores, coming home with bulks of discount fabric and hand sewing outfits for my dolls for days on end. These aspiring sneak peeks into the industry guided me on my journey through this field. I followed in my mothers foot steps as I attended the High School of Fashion Industries in NYC. I went on to study at The Fashion Institute of Technology where I remained a design major for the first couple of years. During these years, I also I began to sew a lot more often on my free time in addition to full-filling custom design orders and bridal projects. Before I knew it, I was styling fashionistas across the big apple.
Early 2002 was the time I established the idea of “butch diva”, as I realized the empowerment of today’s females and their potential to take control. I remember my time @ FIT sitting in classes that lasted 3-4 hours learning how to sketch a skirt and sew a straight stitch line thinking to myself- there is no way I can sit here another couple of yrs learning how to be a designer...since I was so active in the field outside of school. My feelings enhanced as I sat one night watching a Patricia Fields runway show in which she closed with deconstructed tupac and biggie concert tees worn as dresses...I sat on my couch and bawled for a good minute. I had just finished samples styled exactly like these for clients for NYC parties and figured- the time is now! I walked into school one day and instead of going to class, I walked straight into the registration office and withdrew myself from college...that's right- I dropped out.
I took a year off and worked industry related jobs here and there while starting to get the buzz out that I was starting my own line. After about a year of being so hands on and involved, I also held the opportunity of watching fellow peers rush to get their lines out there and make grand mistakes while doing so...I decided to return to school! I thought to myself I don't want to be one those people who are in such a rush to make something happen-so they just do it to say "I did it!"...NO! If I'm going to put my energy into something, everything about it has to be done on a level in which people will take me seriously- the people I'm targeting and selling to and the people I'd plan to reach out to for investing. I studied the ways in which certain people went about handling business vs. how others handled it, and I made my own conclusions about the rights and wrongs and prided myself on not wanting to rush- but wanting to enjoy and have fun with my passion while making sure I went about things the right way. But don't get me wrong- it wasn't easy! If it were that easy- everybody would be doing it!
I didn't return to school for Fashion design, instead I took up a year in Production Management, which I later realized was nothing like how the handbook described, so I found myself signing up for individual electives I was interested in such as How to Start Your Own Business...Accessory Design, and Screen Printing. After a year of playing with my schedule, I enrolled in the Fashion Merchandising Management program in which I graduated with my Bachelors.
Within the past few years I've held many great positions in the industry. I worked for 2 yrs doing Visual Merchandising for Sean Jean Kids, in which I was allowed to travel stores and come up with creative presentation displays...from there I was given the opportunity to work in Quality Control for a luxury cashmere company called TSE (pronounced SAY). Within this position I was given the responsibility of visiting domestic factories and controlling the quality of small lot production. I learned alot about standards and fine quality merchandise...I also gained alot of knowledge on sourcing and trim...not to mention, this is when I became aware of all the factories right here in NYC, it was mind boggling! With this experience, I went on to assist with overseas production with french fashion designer Catherine Malandrino. This was surely when I began to learn how intense the industry gets, as I grew accustomed to working 12 hour days while still finishing classes on some nights. While working at Malandrino, I was recruited by up in coming design house Alice + Olivia. I must say at that point in my career I was convinced this company was by far the worst situation I could be in due to the work load and level of responsibility, however I remained grateful to have the opportunity to face different challenges everyday and learn and only get better at what I do. Inevitably I yearned for a break, and began working as a Production Consultant, in which I freelanced managing the production of skirts and dresses overseas for American Eagle Outfitters, followed by Fabric Development with Ralph Lauren's Black Label. With every job, I was able to meet and work with the actual designers, absorb their thoughts and habits, their triumphs and downfalls, their hits and misses...and everyday I thought to myself- I'm so very fortunate...
Each day is a new day for me, in which I embrace the good and the bad- the fake and the friendly- the weak and the wise in this industry. I do it with a positive attitude while continuing to make efforts towards mastering my craft. In building my Butch Diva empire, I've also taken on the role of a Stylist- as I once read on a fortune cookie message : "great things are accomplished only by the perfection of minor details..." And now as I look forward to picking up where I left off, I plan on sharing my experiences along the way. Thank you in advance for visiting and taking the time show interest in my journey...

No comments: