cait +tiff


Leave a comment

C / a year ago

show

A year ago today, I was in a car with my parents on the way to Kep. I was exhausted, because the day before, I had put on my first fashion show.

I think it took me a while after the show to figure out how I felt. I know this, because people kept asking me, and I would just stare into the distance and say “good, really good.” Lies. Nothing profound came to me because it was the beginning, and no one ever realizes what is happening at the beginning.

I do, however, remember everything that went wrong with the show. Every stupid detail.

  • One of the models didn’t even walk because the dress was re-fitted too many times and I tried to save it but I couldn’t.
  • A few of the dresses that were dyed turned out too light, and I hated the sad-lavender color that I couldn’t change.
  • One of the dresses ripped before the show.
  • The makeup took longer than we thought so we didn’t have time for a proper run-through before the show and no one got touch-ups before walking.
  • I really wanted all the models to be comfortable so I ended up designing things more for them and less for me.
  • One of the shirts was made with a neckline so small, the model had to take out her hair, that had just been done, and wiggle her way into it.
  • There weren’t enough drink tickets.
  • At one point, the damn DJ came down to the runway DURING the show to take photos for himself, and missed the cue for the finale. He only came back up to his booth after seeing my head explode with expletives. He had one job. One. Job.
  • I said bad words really loudly.
  • I wanted to include more people but I was worried that the venue was too small so I had to say no to people when they wanted to come support me.

I remember being sweaty, and chugging champagne, hoping it would take hold of my brain, or at least take care of the nerves. I remember being mad at the champagne when it did neither. One of my lovely model/friends did a little toast for me before the show, and it was probably very sweet. I, of course, don’t remember anything she said, because I was SO not in the moment and instead, running through all the scenarios where everything went wrong and someone caught on fire and died and everyone hated the clothes and Anna Wintour was there and said “you will NEVER make it in fashion” in front of all of my friends who by then, of course, hated me. None of those things happened, but welcome to how anxiety feels.

The entire night I felt an inch away from tears, and it was exhausting. Fashion is so glamorous.

I did cry when my dad gave a speech at the end of the show, in front of everyone. It was a happy cry, and my heart still fills up when I think of it. I cried when I saw Tiff walk, because she was the person that pushed me into designing, and had an incredible amount of faith in me when I deserved none of it. I also cried when my mom walked, because it was my MOM and she was walking in my fashion show and how do you not cry? And…I might be crying now, whatever. Mind your business.

In any case, I really didn’t enjoy the show. But I am SO glad I did it. I was scared of it and had no idea what the power of vulnerability would do for me. Putting things out into the world to be judged has never been something I am comfortable with. I even tried to bribe my high school english teacher with two papers, so I wouldn’t have to present in front of the class. When we started the blog, I would tear through every piece I put up, scared that someone might see it and scoff. I’m sure that happens, it just doesn’t actually matter. But I would have never gotten to the place I am now, on my couch in LA, if I hadn’t done the show. The show made me a designer, for real. I designed a collection, my friends walked a runway lined with fake candles, and we had photoshoots and made a damn look book. How legit is a look book? So legit.

So I am thankful for the whole experience of the show. Would I change things? Of course, there was no world where I was going to walk out of the door and make it perfect. But it’s a place to grow from, and I like my cozy little starting point. It was kind, full of people I love, and I got free french fries afterwords. Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be perfect. I can’t handle the pressure of constantly creating perfection, I’m not Adele.

If you want to see photos from the show, they are here, here, and here. I will always be grateful that my messy little show was full of so many incredible ladies. Thanks, guys.

caitsig

 

 

 


Leave a comment

C / the next round

lady.jpg

Between job hunting, working on custom pieces, and honestly trying to sty awake, I decided it would be a good idea to get a second collection going. Always make choices when you are strung out and exhausted, that’s what I say.

Just at the beginning bits of it right now, but pulling together a few things that I like looking at, thing that inspire me, and the feel that I want for the next collection. These are a few of them.

Untitled-1.jpg

blue.jpg

rainbow.jpg

tucso-.jpg

Untitled-2.jpg

silence.jpg

surf.jpg

1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 7, 8


5 Comments

C / the runway / part three

happy cait.jpg

Happy Friday. It’s a good one today, and I finally have my brain back after about 2 weeks of what feels like a mix of hangover, stuffy nose, and PMS. I have been a joy to be around. Inhaling green juice at a record levels has helped a bit, and I am very excited to show the last five looks from the show with the world. In case you missed the previous batches, click away here and here.

I don’t think I mentioned it before, but my mom and dad came out to Cambodia for the show. They are kind of the best. This did, however, make every moment that much more emotional for me. For those of you who know me, you know I cry, like, all the time. It’s not that I’m emotionally unstable, it’s just that I have a super leaky face. Having my parents here made everything that much more meaningful, and that much leakier.

This last group of women is pretty diverse. It includes the first lady friend I made in Phnom Penh, who still has the same love of pumpkin pie that I do. There is a Peace Corps superstar in there, who is actually a secret acrobat. One of the models leads giant international teams to eradicate malaria in Cambodia, can make me laugh on demand, and is the very proud owner of multiple dirndls. This group also includes a woman who has put up with me for 32+ years, and maybe because of that, owns a chainsaw and a blowtorch. Lastly, one of these gorgeous women gives quite possibly the best hugs in the whole world and is one of a very small group who understands my crazy circus brain.

I give you Lisa, Erin, Abigail, Betsy, and Lin.

Lisa

LisaLisa BarLisa strut

Erin

erbear.jpg

Erin bar

erin walk.jpg

Abigail

Abigail hand.jpg

Abigail Back.jpg

Abigail smile.jpg

Betsy

Mom yeah.jpg

Mom Bar.jpgMom pretty

Lin

Lin Bar.jpgLin Crazy train

Lin Peace.jpg

Lin Hooray.jpg

Thats the show.

IMGP7097.jpg

mom and dad.jpg

cait.jpg

It’s damn near impossible for me to thank Mike, Julia and Michael for capturing what has been one of the very best experiences of my life. It’s rare to have a photo of the exact moment when I couldn’t possibly be any happier. I’m even teary typing it. Good lord, get it together, Decker.

group hug.jpg

The End. Thank you so, so much.

caitsig

 


8 Comments

C / the runway / part two

The next five include a crazy-talented photographer, a Khmer-American pop star who says “hella,” a woman who makes the best spice cake in the world, the founder of Cocktails Without Borders, and a development superhero who loves paneer like I love my family. They were wonderful to work with, and I am so happy I had the chance to.

May I present: Lauren, Nitika, Lucinda, Laura and Jen.

Lauren

Lauren bar

Lauren 3

lauren 2

Nitika

Nitika bar

IMGP7003.jpg
nitika legs

Lucinda

lucinda bar

lucinda enter

lucinda werk

Laura

laura legs

IMGP7009.jpg

laura 2

Jen

jen profile

Jen Smile.jpg

IMGP7013.jpg

Hooray! Look at those faces. They all told me they had no idea how to model and they all lied.

caitsig

All photos by  Julia White Mike Gebremedhin and Michael McKay


2 Comments

C / designer uniform

karl

As a new designer, I am constantly looking at the pros to see what they do. I read interviews about managing time, the creative process, and what kind of team it takes to put together a solid collection. I am getting a small collection together right now, and a few people have asked me what I will wear to the show. To be very honest, I hadn’t even thought about it. It feels like I have too much going on to figure that out. I sort of thought I would just be able to “Wizard of Oz” the whole thing, and stay hidden behind the curtain the whole time. Then I realized there isn’t going to be a curtain.

Anyway, I looked into what designers wear to their own shows, and was pleased to find that many of them wear the same thing basically all the time. It’s usually a mix of black, white, and grey, and always super comfortable. The pros below have a zillion years of experience and can make most anything look put-together, but it’s good to know I have a sartorial pass for the show.

LANVIN

alber

Alber Elbaz is responsible for the brand overhaul of Lanvin, and has brought incredible color and depth to the line. But I love that he is basically in fancy jammies on the runway. I love the contrast with the super glam designs.

lanvin-dress

VERA WANG

vera-2

The rise of the leggings can probably be attributed to Vera Wang. She has been wearing them on the runway long before the “are leggings pants?” argument started. (To settle that argument, no, they are not. But I’m not going to stop treating them as such.) If a lady in leggings can change the way people get married, think what I can do if I don’t put pants on ever. On second thought, probably don’t. Just look at a few of her always-elegant creations.

Vera-collection

ALEXANDER WANG

wanger

Always in black or grey, always in cool sneaks, Alexander Wang is all smiles and all kinds of comfy at every show. His models look slightly less so. It’s because they need a snack.

wang-show

CÉLINE

phoebe

Pheobe Philo is sort of my hero. I have had a crush on this lady for years, and am eternally grateful for her leading the charge on bringing back the sneaker. You can see her personal stamp on a lot of her pieces, and unlike a lot of other designers, I can see her wearing the clothes she designs. With sneakers.

celine

MARY KATRANTZOU

mary

Mary Katrantzou designs clothes from another planet. Her wild prints have lead the “clash revolution” and it’s rare to see a piece of hers with less that 5 things going on. Yet she wears all black, all the time. I love that her stuff is so unexpected.

katranzou

So now I figure out my uniform. I am not sure what it will be yet, but I am guessing it will include the white Brooke Brothers shirt I have been wearing non-stop since Christmas.

caitsig


 

Cover photo by Candid.

Other photos by Lanvin, Alexander Wang, Vera WangCéline, Mary Katrantzou


Leave a comment

C / all the weird pieces

inspo

I am reaching in a few hundred directions right now for inspiration. I wrote a little bit about it last week, but the process of designing is getting better, but still a lot of work. Because my words have completely escaped me today, here are some of the things I have on mood boards all over the place. It’s a damn mess.

strs

bridget-2

stuff

eileen
bowie bridgetYeah, I have a very strong Bridget Bardot thing going on. More on what I am doing with all of this soon.

caitsig


2 Comments

C / tish and blue

jungle

Hey girl, hey. Working with our amazing friend, Tish, was way too much fun. She is a vibrant, outgoing, whip-smart woman, who also happens to be stupid gorgeous. She wanted something classic but interesting for a friend’s wedding in Bali, so we put together this two piece. The design was pretty simple, it needed to breathe (Bali: sweat monster), move well (hello dancy party pants!) and be sexy without crossing the line into, well, over the line.

I am happy with how the piece turned out, and even though my post-fashion program brain is picking the whole thing apart, she looks gorgeous, and I will take full credit. Minus the genetics, the fabulous shoes, the lighting, the actual photos and the construction of the dress, other people did that. But the rest was me, allllll me.

03---Tish-on-Wall (1)Tiff took Tish out on her gorgeous rooftop for the photos and I love them. Its great seeing Phnom Penh as the background, and almost makes me miss the place. I also love the idea that something I make has an adventure out in the world. Especially if those adventures include the implication of sexy times on a rooftop. Rawr. 07---Tish-Attitude

08---Eyeless-Tish-at-Sunset

09---Headless-Tish-at-Night

10---Tish-in-the-Headlights

(Did you hear that? Tish just dropped the mic.)

If you want to steal the photos, I totally get it. But please ask Tiffany Tsang for use.

caitsig


2 Comments

C / alissa’s werk dress

alissa-header

I hate business casual. I actually think its one of the things that makes life worse for all people because it’s like “be professional, but not too professional but you CANNOT wear the things you love, and basically its only ok if it’s those horrible black scratchy pants.” Clearly, I have a lot of feelings on this very important matter. So when Alissa presented me with some extremely lovely Cambodian fabric and asked for a work dress, I felt the need to make it not-horrible. This piece was actually conceived way back in March, here, and Tiff took some very pretty photos of Alissa at Nuk last week.

02---Alissa-By-the-Window

I have said it before, but it’s really easy to make a dress look good on a gorgeous girl like Alissa. Since she is leaving us/starting her PhD program in London (woohoo good choice!) in a few weeks, this will be our last shoot with her for a while. Unless one of us moves to London, which I’m not saying is going to happen, but I’m just saying that it could, because how fun is London? SO fun. Anyway, here’s Alissa looking sassy as hell in her werk dress.

06---Alissa-Looking-Down

05---Alissa-Back

08---Alissa-Reclining

caitsig


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.

 


2 Comments

C / progress report #2

header-feet

I was supposed to be in a draping class this week, but life doesn’t always work out the way I plan, so I have a few days off. Taking this time to catch up on emails I owe the people I love and plan for a few very exciting upcoming adventures, including employment. More on that later. The upside of an unplanned week to myself is that I have time for a proper progress report.

I’m now at the point in the summer, where I only have a few weeks left here in London and I am decidedly unhappy about it. I have loved living here, and school has been more than I could have hoped for. Fifteen year old me just yelled NERD, but it’s entirely true.

Since I last checked in, I have done a lot of work. My Fashion Design Sumer School course was four weeks, with a different project every day, which means I have a very heavy portfolio at home and I’m glad we used recycled paper. I shared my final small collection with you last week, but so much more went into it than I could show in a post. As I have learned here, it’s all about the process and in my recent experience, the first draft sketch of a piece is a mere shadow of the final product. Life around me has been the most inspiring part of living in London and the things I see here change my designs. Museums, music, history and architecture are all great to draw from, but some of the most interesting details in my work usually come from someone I saw on the tube, the way a dessert was presented or the constant mix of old and new. The photos here are a CliffsNotes version of the last few weeks, and a mix of work and adventure. There are SO many more photos that I want to include, but let’s not break the blog.

In probably-not-chronological order, my life here.

selfridgesbird-thing

shoreditch-graffitti
paper-dress

The window display at Selfridges, student art at CSM, Shoreditch graffiti, a paper dress I made with my class partner

st-pancras

three-dresses

school-2

St Pancras, a dress at the V & A that I have taken 4 photos of, a dress I didn’t buy, school project: invent something

school-1

mill-street

irish-sunset

School supplies and sketching, best visitors from Oregon, Irish Sunset

school-3

GOT

london-eyeball

A purse made out of garbage, 3D art project, cheeky graffiti, the London Eye at night

monmouth

Latte art staying power at Monmouth Coffee. Happy, Dickon?

darlinginspo-from-all-over

Inspiration to remember, pretty colors at the V & A, life-changing honeycomb

whitstable-beach

baby-chocolate

kids

Whitstable, a pretty lady and a borrowed baby, Mast Brothers chocolate, kid being awesome

HP-SD

                                                     The king of England, and my heartcaitsig


1 Comment

C / Faker

fakers

Emma Watson graces the cover of the 2015 September issue of Vogue UK. She’s well-styled, put together but not contrived, and well spoken in her interviews. She has certainly had enough practice. This girl is one of the most impressive and accomplished 25 year-olds on the planet, and along with being an actor, a model/muse, and a UN Ambassador, she is also a feeling human being. I have been aware of the her virtues for a while, along with the rest of the world, but something she said in this interview resonated. In reference to being an actor, she said “I feel like an imposter.”

Imposter. Someone who is clearly talented, admired by her community for her work, and has also gone on to do insanely important work by starting He For She, feels like a fake. Rationally, it makes no sense to me, but I get it. A lot of women get it. It’s a bizarre thing, but I have talked to a lot of friends in the past year who have felt like this. Women I know who are accomplished on all fronts; head boss ladies, masters of their fields, super moms and general badasses, have felt this same notion, that somehow, they are faking it. That they are somehow undeserving of what they have accomplished.

It sucks, and can probably be attributed to a mountain of societal pressure, ass-backwards social norms, stupid misogynistic crap and the notion that women’s self doubt is somehow a virtue, but it’s total garbage. It’s garbage that I feel on the daily. Its a strange thing, to be self-aware of the feelings, already knowing they are misplaced and damaging, but still have them.

I have no idea what I am doing a lot of the time in my fashion life here, and I do something that’s new to me every day. I feel behind when I see 18 year olds, bubbling over with talent, and I am 32 and struggling to draw pants. The other students have more energy, better clothes and go to fashion parties and shows that start at 12am.  I go to an 80’s aerobics class and have a long list of “fashion things to google” on my phone. There is a constant battle on my head between the “you are doing it your way” camp and the “holy shit, you are lame” camp.  I talk myself down from that pointless ledge a lot, noting that I have other talents, different valuable experience, and that I know all the words to “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue, and they don’t even know what that means.

So this next week, I have a class on draping. We will be working on dress forms and pinning fabric to make different shapes and looks. It will be another new thing that I have never done, but I am looking forward to it, and am determined to know I belong there. It has been incredibly helpful to hear from lots of you, and all the messages that you wrote about the collection on Tuesday were amazing. They made me feel like I’m actually doing it, and I really, truly appreciate your words. Have a great weekend.

caitsig

Photo via A Well Traveled Woman.

And because everyone should know the words…