Bitter may have a bad reputation, but its transformative powers are almost magic: grounding, cleansing, protective.
For our fall collection, we wanted to take you to dense forests and walk among bitter mountain herbs to ponder legends of creatures in the realm of the unseen who lend protective powers to humans. Between crooked trunks of pine trees and dappled forest light roam divine guardians in the form of goblins, dragons, and, more often than not, tigers.
Inspired by these magical, and sometimes nonsensical, happenings, we created these garments as an homage to the care we show family, both blood and chosen.
smoke & light
호랑이와 까치 (Tiger and Magpie) is a classic pairing in Korean minhwa (folk painting). Such paintings were hung up in homes to ward off evil as symbols of good fortune. Tigers moreover were revered as fierce beasts, a mountain guardian and the spiritual protector of Korean people. Magpies were the clever, witty counterpart, harbingers of good news, luck, and prosperity.
For all the gravitas afforded them, though, folktales also portray these animals at odds with each other, caught up in foolish acts or the butt of a joke, at turns both rescued and the rescuer.
Thinking about the guardians in our own lives, we know these contradictions all exist at the same time. Those we consider our strongest protectors can also be as vulnerable as anyone else. At the end of the day, we are left with the sometimes puzzling things we do out of love, or to protect one another. A love that is, perhaps, imperfect, but fearless nevertheless.
We’ve embraced our mythic and contemporary guardians in this shirt through the stripes of the tiger and the soaring wings of the magpie: both the smoke and the light, and the radiance that happens when they meet.
ride or die
Inspired by the mountain tiger who appears just as danger strikes, and sweeps you away to safety. This shirt is for those who carry us through the storm and into the light, in all their strength, love, and vulnerability: the besties who are ride or die, or an ancestor who quietly guides you towards truth.
We're on a journey that is at times bitter and, at others, sweet; what matters is that we're together. Through acts of care, we take on shifting roles, leaving all of us changed. Among crowded treetops and through the gathering clouds, we'll keep transforming alongside each other.
Special thanks to models Claire Epstein, Ingrid Raphaël, and Will Zong. <3