Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Road To Recovery

Birthday Cake in the dark after SANDY
Last year, my birthday was a catalyst for my Perfect Storm.  On October 31, I turned forty-five - a blessing, to be sure.  My family survived Hurricane Sandy with only a loss of power that lasted five days.  Compared to so many families who lost their homes, it was just a minor inconvenience.  For the most part, I came through the storm unscathed.  It, however, became a moment of introspection and re-evaluation.  I began to question my commitment to my fashion design career.  I'd eaten my way through frustration and disappointment reaching an all-time high of 245 lbs.  I was not being supported for my hard work and dedication by the full-figured women who claimed to love my aesthetic.  And, worse, joy was missing from my life.  After fifteen years of hard work and little monetary reward, I was burnt out.  It was crucial for me to make some changes in my life.   Angry with God, I made the difficult decision to turn my back on apparel.

The Large Cambodia Camouflage Clutch
There is that overused cliche, "It is always darkest before the dawn."  But it seemed to apply to my life as I was about to move in another brighter direction.  Around my birthday, my sister sent me an email about a day-long Handbag Workshop that was being offered at LIM College.  "I'll send you for your birthday, if you are interested, " she wrote.  "Of course," was my response.  My shapeless future took shape in that room filled with dozens of other handbag designer wannabes.

Earlier last year, two women who I work with had already confided in me that they thought I needed to focus on handbags.  They thought my designs were fun and would find a supportive audience.  I am oftentimes open about people's suggestions and this moment was no different.  But I did take a wait and see attitude.  Could they have seen something that I was not able to see myself?  There was a confluence of other episodes that led me to believe that, perhaps, the universe was moving me forward to the next chapter in my life.  Many times I've said that having the ability to design is a gift and I need to honor my gift at all times because it is not one that is given freely.  So I have fully embraced handbag design.

On Monday, February 25, www.skwilbur.com will be updated with the handbag designs that my business partners and I are selling.  Starting off small, we are offering two clutch styles in four different colorways.  We are also giving women an opportunity to special order other colors of their choosing.  We're hoping to finally secure retail orders, as well.  Making progress is a process and I am always in a learning curve.  Yet, I am feeling  positive about what the future holds.  Sometimes you've got to take a step back to move forward.  And when those orders start to come in, I will feel validated and fully recovered.

Peace & Fashion!

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