When I graduated from UCLA, I moved to Italy. When I got there I enrolled in fashion school. I thought that fashion was the perfect way to combine my love of art and craft, and I always loved how theatrical the industry was. I loved fashion shoots and fashion shows. I loved fabrics and patterns and bright colors. I loved to sew, draw, and pair unexpected things together. After I finished my studies I opened up a small shop with my sister called “Compai” in the historical center of Florence, and continued to make clothing and accessories that we sold in the shop and at other retailers. This was a time that I look back on very fondly. I got be so creative, and it was where I first learned about entrepreneurship. We never made a ton of money from these endeavors, but we got to take two hour long siestas in the shop and drink wine on the job, soooooo it was never really about the money.
When, after four years, we closed the shop I continued to work as a consultant in the fashion world. Little by little a job that started out coming from a place of passion and fun, began to feel soul-sucking. In the shop we were making handmade stuff — small batches, using recycled materials. Now as a consultant the pieces I was helping to create were not being made in a eco-friendly way, I couldn’t fit into any of the clothing, a lot of the people I worked with were cut throat and competitive, the ugliness of the industry was getting to me. It was then that I decided to transition into home decor. It involved a lot of the same aspects of fashion that I loved: I got to work with fabrics, colors and patterns and be crafty and create beauty, but the world was less cut throat and intense. I didn’t feel pressure to look a certain way either, which felt freeing.
Cut to twelve years later and things have come full circle. After a decade of working in home decor and building my brand, I reached a place where I felt it was time to dip my toes back in the fashion world, knowing that I could now do it on my own terms, in a way that I feel good about.
Introducing the We Wild collection. My first independent apparel line since the Compai days.
From the start, the concept for the collection was to created comfortable pieces meant to be worn (like much of the stuff I create for the home) indoors and out. I wanted to develop a handful of easy, comfy, chic silhouettes that periodically we can release in new limited-edition prints. We started with my Tigress print, accented in the Chimi print. Both prints began as watercolors.
Because I spent so many years feeling like an outsider in the fashion industry because of my size, having a size inclusive collection that was comfortable on diverse body shapes was extremely important to me.
It was also important to me that the fabrics felt amazing, and that they were easy on Mama Earth, so the entire collection is made in organic cotton. (My sis, Faith, pictured above, styled the shoot — thanks boo!)
I also wanted the pieces to have lots of pockets, so I added pockets everywhere that made sense in this collection.
All of the pieces were made right here in Los Angeles.
I did a terrible job of editing down these photos because looking at them and remembering this beautiful day brings me so much joy. It was the day that reminded me how fun fashion can be, how we are all beautiful in all of our glorious colors, shapes and sizes. So many of my friends and family came out to support, shoot, model, to hang out and enjoy all the good vibes. A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped remind me of how much I love designing and making clothing and to those who helped bring this collection to life. It has been over a year in the making and I’m incredibly proud of the result. From sourcing the organic fabrics, to printing the fabrics, developing the patterns, samples, and dozens of fittings the collection is here, is available in limited edition in sized 00-26 and is available to purchase exclusively at JUNGALOW.
Here’s a little behind the scenes video from the day of the shoot:
A HUGE thank you to all of the models! My BFFs Tigra, Shannon, Sofia, my incredible team, my family including my mother in Mary, my beautiful MIL., my niece Noa and of course, Ida. Thanks so much to Keziah, Lauren and Anaisa for lending us your amazing beauty and talents for the shoot!