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It was a chilly day in October when I received an email from my dear friend, Steven Kolb, CEO of CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers in America). He introduced me to a woman who had followed my story as I moved back home to Detroit to start my journey in sustainable fashion. The email was an invitation to be featured in Naturalizer's Today We Will platform, which brings visibility to women who are championing social change.
It was humbling to be in the mix of incredible women they planned to feature: Body Positivity Champion & Founder of The Real Catwalk, Khrystyana Kazakova; women’s empowerment activist, Candace Reels. But I had never been asked to do this type of work before and had never considered adding my voice to another brand’s platform in this way. After thoughtful consideration, I agreed to join Naturalizer’s campaign.
Why? Because my mission in launching Hope for Flowers is so different from the collections I’ve created over the years. Being a social entrepreneur requires me to use a creative approach – outside of designing. When I learned about Naturalizer’s commitment to share messages of female thought leadership challenging the status quo to an audience of over one million women, I was compelled to join the movement and take the opportunity to share my own vision for a more sustainable future with as many women as possible.
So in the early days of December, during the pandemic, I flew out to Los Angeles to be photographed by the legendary photographer, Cliff Watts, my favorite pieces from the Hope for Flowers winter collection in tow. It took some courage to travel during Covid, and many, many tests. While I have directed my share of fashion shoots and runway productions, to be in the hair and makeup chair and placed in front of Mr. Watts’ camera was a different experience.
The campaign broke this week, and I am finally able to share this experience. Wearing my Hope for Flowers’ Maxi Floral Slip Dress and Hope for Flowers’ Platinum Cowl Dress underneath a vintage menswear blazer with shoes from Naturalizer's sustainable collection, I can now say, with a laugh, that I have become a model and designer!
I am glad I made the trip to Los Angeles. Sometimes you need to be pushed out of your comfort zone to make a difference, and I am compelled to keep doing so. I invite you to check out the full interview here.