Growing up, my mother made most of my clothing. I’d pick the fabric and a paper pattern from the local Calico and she and I would work together until, gradually and somewhat magically, a beautiful dress or blouse would materialize. With extensive effort and a lot of love, she brought my style visions to life for a fraction of what they would have cost in a boutique or department store. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how deeply this impacted me.
In my late teens and early 20s, I was a competitive athlete in everything from gymnastics, ballet, and basketball to softball, volleyball, and lacrosse. After turning down full scholarships to play basketball at three different universities, I chose to attend Boston University School of Communications. During my time there, I was exposed to some of the first computer and internet courses and, when I graduated, I landed a job at ABC Sports in Manhattan designing and creating content and programming. I then made a strategic move to mtv.com with the intent of pursuing my dream of becoming an on-air host. This is where my passion for athletics and re-piqued interest in fashion collided.
While at mtv.com, I was a web producer for all the “tent pole” events like Real World, Road Rules and House of Style. I covered NY Fashion Week, created original content for Fashionably Loud, and even appeared on-air occasionally. As a result, fashion started to shape me as a person, and I decided to study at night at F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology).
From there, my career in fashion took off with jobs at Elie Tahari, Marc Jacobs, and Iisli. In 2005, I launched my own eco-friendly brand called Beau Soleil. Eco in fashion was cutting edge and entirely misunderstood in its early years, so I was really honored and excited when Beau Soleil was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue, Shopbop, Intermix, and many other popular retailers.
While there were plenty of naysayers who claimed eco-friendly clothing a fad, environmentally conscious living was so familiar to me, since I was raised by extremely frugal parents. We recycled bottles, composted, and shunned paper towels. Essentially, close to zero waste. I’d always attributed this lifestyle to the fact that we were poor, but in hindsight, minimalism was my parents’ choice. In the world we live in today, this mentality really resonates with me.