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purplemaroon women: Look Beautiful, Feel Beautiful

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During a recent photo shoot, we had the pleasure of hanging out with Mira of fafafoom.  She joined us for the day to get to know the brand and our team.  We all had so much fun together!  She talks about her experience at the shoot and more about the purplemaroon woman we design for below. Thank you Mira for coming along to be a part of our story and sharing it with others.    

Mira's blog post: 

MIRA MUSANK | MAY 8, 2015 | WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Loving the opportunity to spend a beautiful, inspiring Saturday with the San Francisco-based purplemaroon team! Josephine Tchang leads these driven, creative, and fun women who are determined to bring versatile and effortlessly chic designs to the modern women. Cover photo by Christian Hadidjaja.

Contrary to the popular stereotype that women are complicated in our needs, most women I know have these two consistent objectives in selecting their day-to-day apparel: to look beautiful and to feel beautiful. That being said, those two seemingly simple objectives are much more difficult in execution, especially for the modern, urban woman. We, who have very limited time to juggle wardrobe selection, live in the midst of all sort of craziness that our days demand. As we start to settle down to our lifestyle and routines, we become less interested in pursuing the hottest trends. We are less interested in gleefully stuffing our wardrobe with a favorite store’s newest offerings every a couple of weeks. Instead, we want to get versatile, easy-to-style, high quality pieces that are appropriate for multiple occasions. We want to shop less impulsively and less frequently. And THAT context, my dear readers, is where purplemaroon comes in.

purplemaroon is a new clothing brand based in San Francisco led by Josephine Tchang (formerly of Creative / Design Director of Babette), offering effortlessly chic, modern women's-wear pieces for work, weekend, travel, and beyond. purplemaroon launched its premier Spring Collection earlier this year, and now we eagerly await the Fall Collection in the works. The core team includes: Josephine, Nicole Bragg, Jo Grushka, Anna Kisielinska (the gorgeous girl modeling purplemaroon pieces!), and Aleksandra Bolka (the photographer behind Hello Matilda Photography).

I first got a wind of purplemaroon last September, thanks to Jo’s announcement on Facebook that she was embarking on a new venture. I met Jo (and Anna) several years ago during the Thread Show at Metreon when she was launching a Polish handbag line in the US, and we’ve been keeping in touch ever since. So when the name purplemaroon started floating around, I put it on my list to contact Jo when the brand was launched. Seemingly reading my mind, Jo reached out to me several days before my scheduled outreach, and we set up a date to hang out in the city when purplemaroon would do a lifestyle shoot including the whole gang. What a perfect opportunity to learn about the brand!

As Chris and I were driving to San Francisco’s Russian Hill area, I couldn’t stop thinking: why 'purplemaroon'? Thankfully, Josephine made a whole blog post about it, so here you go :) When I met the ladies, they had done the first part of the photoshoot at Lombard Street, featuring (who else) Anna! For the first outfit, Anna was rocking the ribbon-tie dress.

Photos by Aleks of @hello.matilda

Meeting Josephine and Aleks for the first time, as well as seeing Jo and Anna again was such a pleasure. The team had great chemistry, and they were clearly having a lot of fun together. We went to a nearby cafe to get some light brunch and started chatting. Josephine was all about catering to the modern woman by creating effortlessly chic clothes, that are designed to be worn in different ways to fit their lifestyle. A fun tidbit: Josephine and Jo considered 250+ names before settling to purplemaroon!

I really admire Josephine for having the incredible courage to start something new after working in the same company for more than two decades prior to starting purplemaroon. She attributed the decision to her yearning to learn new things and take on new challenges; two things that she felt were lacking after being settled and comfortable in one place for so long. To start this new adventure, she took a month off from Babette and went to study experimental knitwear for a semester at Central Saint Martins in London (she has previously studied at both SFSU and FIT).

“I just pulled up a map and decided where to go, somewhere I’ve never been. I wanted to put myself in a unfamiliar place and challenge myself to learn many new things every day.”

She enjoyed the experience immensely, and she knew she had to start something new. The same day she ended up parting ways with Babette, she started working on purplemaroon in her home. Working with local contractors she provides the designs, which are constructed here in San Francisco. For the first four months, Josephine and Jo built everything together, from building the website, to establishing the design, and to creating the operation flow, which is rich with feedback cycles to continuously refine things.

I was still in awe over Josephine’s bold decision, her leap to the “unknown” to start purplemaroon at this point. I was brought up in a family and culture where holding a tenured job is an accomplishment, and it’s rather improbable to start something new after being successful in a position for so many years. But not Josephine. She has dreamed of being an entrepreneur and of building everything from scratch. It’s a totally different game, and she thrives in discovering and building the unknown.

Her “unknown” materializes in designing clothes she and her friends want to wear. The clothes not only empower the wearer, but they also fit the multiple lifestyles of modern women. Josephine is the purplemaroon woman – hungry for knowledge, in charge, sexy, but tasteful and elegant.  And with the functionality and versatility crafted into purplemaroon designs, she will create a purplemaroon woman out of you! It’s no wonder the label’s gaining traction in blogger circles and style showcase platforms like Chictopia these days.

 As for me, I really like the tucks front dress that Anna was wearing during our light brunch session.

Photos by Aleks of @hello.matilda

As we were going to Embarcadero, the third and final location for the photo shoot, Chris complimented Josephine on her amazing parallel parking skills with her SUV (no rear camera, by the way). And I totally agree; her parking skills are undoubtedly a reflection of her day-to-day skills: the uncanny ability to neatly and efficiently get things done. She also could care less about ego – her purplemaroon product label is cut so that it is easily removed, leaving no hole on the garment.

When asked about her one-year goal, Josephine mentioned building a wholesale strategy (purplemaroon will be in CALA Shows this June), growing exposure by introducing the brand outside of SF, as well as making the second collection to be cohesive with the first. The Fall Collection will compliment and can be worn with the Spring Collection.

“I don’t want disposal fashion. I want to create items women can invest in,” she said.  

“I now want to do shirts…they can be the outerwear for your spring pieces.”

Indeed, it requires a lot of thought to bring a design to life.

“It’s a luxury to refine designs as you go, instead of putting out new designs every two weeks like fast fashion.”

So looking at the current spring offerings, the purplemaroon DNA is already shaping up very nicely. Versatile, modern, minimal, approachable – a little tuck here, a little peek there of detail. It’s all function and comfort with the right dose of style. The clothes stand out, but are not screaming out loud.

“It’s hard,” she said smiling, “…but it’s worth it.”

During this last set, Anna was wearing v-neck top and racer back tank, with cascade hem pencil skirt.

Photos by Aleks of @hello.matilda

Easy styling is key, as it’s arguably the deciding factor of why people want to buy these clothes. For this reason, styling is a crucial part of purplemaroon.

“We want women to feel beautiful and to look beautiful. Feeling beautiful is more important, and since not that many people are comfortable with putting looks together, we solve that problem with our design.”

 At that last note, Josephine was practically beaming happily, “Yes, I’m a problem solver…a mystery solver.”

Photo by Christian Hadidjaja

 

Thank you so much Josephine, Jo, Anna, and Aleks. It’s such a pleasure seeing you all and tagging along during your photo shoot. By now, you should see Aleks’ shots on the purplemaroon website and social media channels. What an inspiring and stylish Saturday with the purplemaroon women! I can hardly wait for the next time we meet. In the meantime, there’s this great group shot Chris took of us below.

Photo by Christian Hadidjaja

Thanks for reading; until next time,

Musank

Photos by Aleks of @hello.matilda (purplemaroon) and Christian Hadidjaja (Fafafoom)

 

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