B L A C K O X F O R D
A collection inspired by the florist and owner of birch, Torryne Choate
When I imagine the women whom I wish to wear my clothes, they are often in art studios, workshops, kitchens, gardens and homes creating something beautiful and sharing it with their loved ones. For this project, I imagined a florist.
Torryne was the fist person that came to mind. I didn't know her at the time, but I remembered when I first stepped into her flower shop, birch, in Hayes Valley. From the doorway, all the way to the back, the entire store was black, and there was Torryne, this tall chic lady, standing behind the working desk arranging flowers. Her arrangements are natural, fresh and elegant, just like her. Eventually we met through a mutual friend. And thankfully, she delightedly accepted to become my muse.
We started with talking about her workwear. She likes to wear something that's easy to wash and dry rather than wearing an apron. She loves pockets and of course loves black. Through the fittings, I received feedback on the design details, such as garment length and pocket placement, and I made changes along the way.
I bought some yardage of this Japanese black oxford a while ago to make myself a couple of garments. I have worn and washed them many times. It is the best black cotton fabric I've ever worked with. It's easy to wash and dry, and stays beautifully. Essentially, it is the perfect fabric for this project.
Torryne and Canada,
Mother and Daughter.
Torryne is not only a great florist, but also a wonderful loving mother. Throughout our meetings, I could feel the love Torryne has for her daughter, Canada, by the way she talks about her. When she does, her face lights up. Canada is a beautiful and smart young woman who's now studying at Columbia University and living in New York City. Luckily, she was visiting Torryne during her summer break, so we were able to capture them together on film. One of the most rewarding moments of this project was when I heard Canada says, "This is so my mom."