It’s been two years since Hopeless + Cause Atelier was realized. It was born in a thunderstorm—the closing of one chapter is a where this story began. Two years ago, I went to a friend’s house after weeks of severe depression and feeling of failure. I had invested my retirement savings, my life and my reputation in trying to make local retail work. It didn’t and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue to pursue clothing design. She convinced me to keep going and commissioned me to create two looks for her for a couple upcoming social events.
I took her up on the offer and the creative process helped me break through the depression. It wasn’t until August 25, 2015 when I met my friend, Jennifer, at her daughter’s gymnastics practice to deliver her outfit for Diner en Blanc, that I realized that I could, and I wanted to continue to design. I went home and after thoughtful consideration I wrote her this note.
Hi my friend!
I can’t tell you how much your faith in my abilities and support of my dream means to me. Your outfit is my first commissioned piece and seeing you in it yesterday gave me the confidence that I now know I can succeed. As you’re aware, closing the boutique nearly killed my desire to move forward in this space, but I don’t know if I completely told you why. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were growing up? Well, I wanted to be a fashion designer and when that didn’t happen, I moved on. Thank God I found a wonderful path in a career that I not only enjoyed but felt I made a difference in. When it ended, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do next. I was then catapulted into small business. It was hard work…harder than anything I had ever done before, but I felt it was my life work. I could help people see how beautiful they really are and give back in a huge way that made my heart sing. However, I didn’t have all the tools I needed in my tool box to make it successful or even make a living out of it. I was horrible at operations and sales, but you don’t know what you don’t know. When I came to the realization it destroyed me…for a brief moment.
One afternoon, a couple weeks ago I was watching “Eat. Pray. Love.” I remember reading the book when I was at Cardinal Health and thinking, “what is wrong with her?” She cried throughout the book and it annoyed me so much. I wanted to shake her and say, “snap out of it!” It wasn’t until this year that I understood. Well that afternoon, I cried throughout the entire movie. I was in a state of depression and despair and then there was a line that really struck me. The line was, “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.” And being the Catholic girl that I am I reached out to St. Jude for inspiration…the saint for hopeless causes. I said a prayer and asked for guidance and an idea struck me.
I’m a HOPELESS fanatic of fashion. I’m a HOPELESS believer that everything happens for a reason and you should use it to drive or inspire you. And, because I’m human, I feel HOPELESS at times so I give others hope to be who they are meant to be. Life is filled with CAUSE & effect. What if there was a fashion line that supported: livable wages, eco-social practices, and gave back? Now wouldn’t that be a CAUSE to get behind…and just think of that effect. Hopeless + Cause Atelier
I’ve struggled with the name DARAdesigns from the beginning because I don’t like being in the spotlight. I think I can better tell my story about my love for fashion and the type of women who want to wear my clothing through this brand. Your personal note is like my first dollar bill. I will hang it proudly in my atelier space (dining room) until I can get into a real space. Thank you my friend for YOU!!
Her response was probably more prophetic.
I have tears in my eyes as I read this, I am overwhelmed with your kindness, gratitude and openness. I am thrilled to be your first commissioned piece, I am touched, honored and so excited to rock your amazing creation tonight. I completely understand the challenges you have had and the transformation over the last several months. The best part of trying is learning. You did not FAIL, you found out what is in your heart, who you are and your passion. That is a BIG WIN.
I am excited about your new endeavor and the work you will do to link fashion with social profit work and outcomes for a sustainable Albuquerque and beyond….because I know you are the next NYC Fashion Week show….:)
I will ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOU, trust you and celebrate you. the hardest part of tonight will be to say that you created by piece, but not yet be able to refer folks to you….your vision is a much needed one for ABQ—custom, classic and made with heart and love. I will NEED and WANT more, but excited to help you in anyway.
She is an unbelievable friend and has been best marketer of the line as she constantly invests in custom looks from Hopeless + Cause Atelier and is a fabulous model. In fact, as I’m preparing for fashion month and going to New York City (as she predicted two years ago), I am also creating her dress for a wedding in Italy. I re-read Jennifer’s note whenever I need inspiration or want to smile.
Have you heard the phrase, “it’s like a blender on without the lid”? I heard the comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, use this phrase to describe his toddler years ago. Just think about it. Toddlers are all over the place. They have their own ideas, can overwhelm and are messy. I think it’s a perfect way to describe the Atelier in its 2nd year. It’s still so new yet there are so many things flying around. I am so grateful for every person who I have met on this journey….those of you who have asked me to create a look for you, those of you who have attended my shows either locally or traveled to be there with me, those of you who have underwritten and sponsored my events, those of you who have modeled for me, those of you have helped me with my vision (production team, photographers, graphic designers, beauty team, other artists and musicians, and those who have helped me get out of New Mexico to connect to the greater community of fashion), those of you who shared Hopeless + Cause Atelier’s story through your blogs or media connections, those that have invited me to participate in your fashion weeks, those of you who have sent well wishes and even those individuals that have challenged my skills, passion, reputation or have walked away. I believe everyone crosses your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime. You are all woven into my life and have played a part of this trek. I am grateful for every experience!
Just like your own stories, there has been incredible highlights, chaos, laughter, tears (sometimes occurring in unison), exhilaration and devastation, but I believe all these moments have been educational moments and helped me to focus and follow what is important. Since my last blog, I have been invited to show in Dallas and Los Angeles–yep in the past two weeks (you like me, you really like me–LOL! Honestly, I’m humbled by this). I was really hoping to win that $700M Powerball, but I didn’t so I had to respectfully decline those invitations. Once again, I asked that they please consider me for an upcoming season…but whether or not they do, is dependent upon me, and how I show in New York and San Francisco.
She was ambitious and knew exactly what she wanted. She was always mistaken for being too demanding when in reality, she simply knew where she was headed and wouldn’t settle for less. She wouldn’t let anyone dull her shine because she knew her perseverance would one day open the door to a brighter future. Her unflinching determination was a beautiful example…to never give up. Unknown
And if I don’t show anywhere else, expectations have already been exceeded by showing in New York City during Fashion Week for The Society Fashion Week. That was a major goal for this line, but I’ve realized this isn’t my goal, alone. This particular fashion week venue doesn’t provide models or hair and make-up like many other fashion weeks I’ve participated in. I really had to consider whether or not I could commit to the event because as an emerging designer, I didn’t have the budget to pay for or fly 12 models and the hair and make-up team to NYC. I reached out to the models and beauty teams I’ve worked with in the past and said if you’ve ever wanted to opportunity to participate in NYFW and can get yourself there, then I’d love to have you join me for this event. Like that, I had models from ABQ, Austin, Kansas City, Atlanta and LA fill the line-up. I had my incredible team from Alt Salon, Jocelyn and Erin, step up and pull their colleagues to help with the beauty vision. My dear friend and favorite blogger, Jamie, said she will be there for it and another dear friend, Heather, will be flying up from Florida. I SO wanted to have my kids there with me for this event, but I couldn’t financially swing it. However, they will be with me in spirit. For my daughter, once that red-eye lands, I get checked and before I start model fittings, I will run out to the corner florist and pick up flowers because they will remind me of her, to find the beauty in everything, and the connectiveness we have with nature and the universe. For my son, I will take a Spiderman action figure. Through his favorite superhero, his spidey-senses will remind me to listen to my gut or intuition in everything I do, that not all superheroes wear capes, and as Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben quoted in one of the movies, “with great power comes great responsibility”. I was recently reminded of this power—how my access to NYFW opened the door to others involvement. Hopeless + Cause Atelier was tagged a post and it really drove it home for me. This opportunity is not mine alone…it is bringing hope for something bigger in the careers of others and again I am grateful to be that springboard and work with this incredible group.
New York Fashion Week! Who…ME?!? Guess in the words of Alicia Keys, ‘there’s nothing you can’t do…here in NEW YORK!’ WOW!!! So excited for this AMAZING opportunity, like I’m still in shock!?! Stay tuned for more! Bre
…getting to NY is a huge deal for a model!! One I never really though would come to fruition, so THANK YOU for making it a reality. Noelle
With the lid off, one might think that I’m just trying reach those places where things MIGHT stick. That’s not the case. I want to propel to cracks and crevasses out of reach. I’m not going to lie. It’s been messy, sticky and quite honestly, at times, harder than hell. I’ve had many of those “oh eff” (and frankly, “eff off”) moments, when all you can do is just laugh, clean it up and start all over again. Yet, Hopeless + Cause Atelier has reached places I’ve only dreamed of and it makes me smile to think of every moment. I put in the work, but if you’re reading this, you’ve most likely helped me along the way. I hope I will see you at the Rock n Fashion Show on Friday, September 8th. I’d like to see you in person to thank you. If I don’t, please know that I am grateful for you.
In this second year, my gift to you is this thought:
Things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them. Unknown
With light and love!