The Power of Yellow
When I was in college, I met a girl by the name of Katie Benson. The start of my friendship with Katie isn’t one I can remember. I feel as though I blinked and she had become one of my best friends. I loved her red hair, her sense of style which was marked by faux fur jackets and one of the best ankle boot collections you’ve ever seen. She has an energy about her that I naturally gravitated toward. Katie is similar to me in that she has an extremist personality. If she loves something, she LOVES it. If she hates something, she HATES it. The college chapter of our friendship is a blur of weekend trips to Trader Joes, a mutual love for 5th Harmony (before Camila left, of course), endless late nights spent sewing and laughing and groaning over all of the late nights spent sewing in the design building of our college campus. Katie’s passion for sustainability was the first introduction I had to sustainable fashion. I watched her from a short distance exploring design from an ethical point of view. At the time, I didn’t have a true voice in my designs. I wasn’t yet designing plus but I was interested in it. I was very uncomfortable with myself as a person and with my body. I was designing things that were fun and that made me happy but they weren’t meant for me. With each project I had in school, I noticed I was constantly designing toward a new type of woman. I did not yet know that I was my own most deserving customer.
Katie and I took a surface design class with a teacher named Irina. Irina taught us about natural dyes and Katie burst into fits of pure joy every time we explored a new color. I felt my heart flutter with each new hue we explored and I felt the first tiny seeds of Perennial start to plant themselves in my head. I celebrated in Katie’s excitement with her. I admired her for living her life in a way that considered someone and something other than herself. In a field that tried to tell me at every turn that everyone would always be against me, Katie was always right there with me. As we approached our senior year, Katie became increasingly obsessed with the color yellow. Her senior thesis collection was a celebration of naturally dyed yellow textiles offset with killer prints. Katie dedicated her collection to her mother, Laurel. Laurel passed away when Katie was a young girl, and her passing was a large reason for her passions toward sustainability. Her mother worked for the local Library growing up as a graphic designer, and Katie always felt connected to her mother through their shared love of creativity.
My first collection was pink in celebration of a color that I feel very connected to. If I were a person incarnated into any color, it would be the exact hue of my first color launch. If Katie were a color, I like to believe the exact yellow of this new release is her. I would like to formally dedicate this collection to Katie and her mother, Laurel. I’m so thankful to celebrate yellow by celebrating a friendship that impacted me in such a profound way. It is my great honor to donate 10% of all profits from Launch day until the launch of the next new color launch to Girls Write Now in Laurel’s honor. Girls Write Now is an organization that partners impactful, professional women writers with a culturally and educationally diverse community of mentees — 90% girls of color, 70% immigrant or first generation, 25% LGBT/non-conforming; and 90% high need. These underserved girls, who have long been negatively impacted by the lack of resources and opportunities in public schools, face significant challenges to educational and professional success. By partnering these mentors with these young women, Girls Write Now is focused on creating opportunity to guide and inspire girls to share their craft, empower them to find their voice, and tell their stories from their point of view. For more information on their organization, find their website here.