Photography and creative direction: Carolina Palmgren. Models: Accidental Icon and Soumountha, founder of Another Garde.
This is a story of two women who are supporting and challenging each other with every email, conversation and photo shoot. Two outsiders revealing each other in the hopes of inviting more women to join the conversation. By every woman breaking the rules should stand another rebel heart.
I always blush when I see things written about me. If you do, then you are in trouble! Big time.
It has been my experience that women creatives are usually surrounded by other equally creative women. Busy with purpose and urgent business, they put me in mind of hummingbirds circling a flower in full bloom. And so through my relationship with brilliant Suk Chai – a designer who happens to be in the Another Garde garden - I had the good fortune to meet with you, curator and founder of Another Garde. To me, you are like the flower that is the center of everyone’s attention and that causes everyone to flurry around with great excitement.
The first time I met you I was taken immediately with your effortless chic style and your friendly, engaging way. The second time I saw you was on a cold winter’s day. You had wrapped yourself in sweaters and had a turban that made you look endlessly fashionable and cool especially around the rest of us all bulked up and in shapeless silhouettes.
You are always doing something unexpected, always giving us a little surprise. I find I cannot predict what you will do next which makes you an exciting person to be around. Your aesthetic can be seen in the designers you choose to showcase, the way you produce a pop-up, and in the value and beauty of the garments and objects that are in your virtual atelier.
Your project evokes my admiration because it is the perfect representation of a desired nexus between fashion, art and commerce. The Lou button up by Another Garde is simultaneously modest and revealing and it honors my paradoxical nature. You recently revealed to me your gift of art direction at a recent photo shoot and through the stories you tell. And you can provide some shrewd strategic and business advice too! For all these reasons, you are my favorite mentor and partner in crime.
We discovered that we share a similar background in academia and that the limits it imposed were making us yearn for new adventures and an impulse to “throw our papers up in the air” so to speak. Our bond comes from traveling together on different but equally exciting reinvention journeys.
Your passion is contagious, your humor is wicked, your intellect sharp, your beauty effortless, your generosity and support never-ending. No wonder to me that you Soumountha are the flower at the center of it all.
meeting you was one of those moments in my life when I felt both peace and excitement.
You have the softest voice and I was completely taken aback by how calmly yet fiercely you explained how you started your journey as a blogger, revealing a little more to your readers and questioning them with each post you were writing.
Of course, like thousands of people who see you as a muse, I was in awe with your always inspiring and never safe style. You just nail it every single time. It is actually sickening ☺
But what also touched me was how you described what you did: you are not blogging about style; you are writing a new chapter of your life story with a word, a picture, a Comme des Garçons jacket. You confessed:
"Aging is not something I could stop. And with age, invisibility comes. That, I cannot change but I can create my own response to it; how I re-invent myself. I can decide which parts of me I want to reveal or tease , which risks I am willing to take with my creativity, my style or my thinking."
The vulnerability and strength that came out of your confession moved me and stayed long in my mind. And so did the thrills; because what you said is exactly why Another Garde was created. I thought: "I am not a total lunatic. Or at least I am not alone." I was also thrilled because I knew at that moment that I had found a perfect partner in crime to challenge fast and disempowering fashion. Someone who would showcase how great cuts and fabrics could give so much more to women than disposable fashion.
I also knew that your re-invention from a professor to a muse for all women can inspire many other (women) to cross the boundaries that stifle them.
One of my favorite quotes is that of Simone de Beauvoir: 'one is not born a woman, but rather becomes a woman.' Meeting you inspired me to add something to the quote '...but rather becomes a woman by re-inventing herself on her own terms.'