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  • REAL HOUGHTON BRIDES: The Bacall Gown In Paradise

    Houghton NYC Bacall Gown Spaghetti Strap Slip Dress Bias Cut

    Houghton NYC Bacall Gown Spaghetti Strap Wedding Dress Bias Cut Silk Slip Dress

    Houghton NYC Bacall Gown Spaghetti Strap Wedding Dress Bias Cut Silk Slip Dress

  • The Ultimate Wedding Day Playlist

    Houghton Katharine Polk Wedding Playlist

    DESIGNER WEDDING PLAYLIST FOR THEBRIDALINSTINCT.COM

    BY KATHARINE POLK 

    "MUSIC REPRESENTS MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE. PICKING A PLAYLIST AND MUSIC FOR YOUR WEDDING CAN BE STRESSFUL BUT IF YOU DISSECT THE PROCESS BY PICKING MUSIC THAT TRULY MAKES YOU HAPPY THEN YOU CAN’T GO WRONG. AS MY ADVICE GOES FOR EVERYTHING ELSE WEDDING RELATED-  BE SELFISH AND MAKE IT ABOUT YOU! PICK TRACKS YOU LOVE,  AND WHEN YOU HEAR THEM AGAIN YEARS FROM NOW EVEN JUST A BEAT OR A NOTE WILL MAKE YOU SMILE. BREAK UP YOUR WEDDING DAY PLAYLIST INTO MULTIPLE LISTS WITH DIFFERENT MOODS. AND LASTLY, ITS ALWAY GOOD TO HAVE THAT ONE DJ FRIEND HANDY IN TIMES LIKE THESE!" KATHARINE POLK

    THE WEDDING MORNING  |  LOVE BY KENDRICK LAMAR

    THE CEREMONY  |  TUPELO HONEY BY VAN MORRISON

    THE FIRST DANCE  |  YOU ARE THE BEST THING BY RAY LA'MONTAGNE

    TIME TO PARTY  |  IM THE ONE BY DJ KHALED

    X X X  |  IT'S A VIBE BY 2 CHAINS

  • Katharine Polk on The SS18 Collection: As Told To The Bridal Instinct

    Houghton Katharine Polk SS18 Interview

    BridalInstinct.com's Charley Bishop interviewed Designer Katharine Polk about the new Spring/Summer 2018 collection and what it means to be a Houghton Girl- Read Below!

    HOUGHTON NYC IS RENOWNED FOR NOT JUST THINKING OUTSIDE THE BRIDAL BOX BUT COMPLETELY SURPASSING IT! EACH COLLECTION CELEBRATES WOMEN; THEIR STRENGTH, THEIR SEXUALITY AND THEIR BOLDNESS, SS18 DOES JUST THAT, TURNED UP A NOTCH... WITH THE SS18 BRIDE EVEN DESCRIBED IN ONE WORD BY DESIGNER KATHARINE POLK AS 'SEX!'. WE SIMPLY HAD TO SIT DOWN WITH MEGA BABE AND HOUGHTON NYC DESIGNER KATHARINE AND EXCLUSIVELY DISCUSS ALL THINGS SS18 INCLUDING INSPIRATION SOURCES AND HER ULTIMATE REAL BRIDES!

     HOUGHTON NYC SS18 IN 3 WORDS?

    SEXY, CURVY, STRONG.

     TELL US YOUR KEY SOURCES OF INSPIRATION?

    THE WOMEN IN THIS CAMPAIGN- LAUREN BUYS AND HOLLY GRAVES AND A WOMAN'S BODY. I WANTED TO ACCENTUATE A DIFFERENT CURVE AND PART OF THE FEMALE BODY WITH EACH STYLE.

    HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SS18 BRIDE?

    SEX!

     & WHO WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE SS18 REAL BRIDES?

    ANGELINA JOLIE, RIHANNA, KATE UPTON, AND  J-LO.

    WHAT KEY HOUGHTON NYC SIGNATURES CAN BE FOUND WITHIN THE COLLECTION AND HAVE YOU INTRODUCED ANY NEW FEATURES?

    SS18 IS VERY TRUE TO CLASSIC HOUGHTON. THERE ARE MORE EMBROIDERED STYLES WHICH I USED TO DESIGN MORE OF, CLEAN SLEEK SILHOUETTES, AND OUR SIGNATURE WILDFLOWER PRINT. IVE ALSO INTRODUCED MORE STRETCH FABRICS AND THIS COLLECTION HAS MORE CORSETS. BUT THE CORSETS ARE ALL STRETCHY SO THEY ARE SUPER COMFORTABLE AND FLATTERING!

    TELL US SOMETHING THAT WOULD SURPRISE US ABOUT THE COLLECTION?

    1. EACH FEATHER ON ALL THE EMBROIDERED GOWNS IS HAND SEWN ON.

    2. I MADE CUSTOM GLOVES FOR THIS COLLECTION AND EVERY SILVER SEQUIN STAR WAS HAND SEWN ON IN OUR NYC ATELIER.

    3. ALL OF OUR GOWNS FOR THE PHOTOSHOOT WERE A SIZE 2, FITTING BOTH GIRLS WHO EACH HAVE SUCH DIFFERENT BODY SHAPES. THIS SHOWS HOW WELL THE PIECES ADAPT TO EACH WOMANS BODY, NO MATTER WHAT PROPORTIONS!

    WERE ANY PIECES IN THE COLLECTION NAMED AFTER REAL WOMEN?

    YES! ALWAYS! THERE IS A “LAUREN” AND A "HOLLY” GOWN. THERE IS A "LEX” AFTER MY SALES MANAGER... SHE LOVED THE GOWN SO I NAMED IT AFTER HER. THERE’S A LAURA AFTER MY BEST FRIEND IN CALIFORNIA AND THERE’S A JAN AFTER KATE, MY PR DIRECTORS MOM!

     ...AND FINALLY, PLEASE SHARE A PIECE OF STYLE ADVISE FOR OUR FUTURE REAL BRIDES?

    BE COMFORTABLE AND BE YOURSELF. CHOOSE A GOWN YOU LOVE AND NOT BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE LIKES IT.

    Houghton Bridal SS18

  • Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Cyndi Ramirez

    For Fall/Winter 2017, we tapped 10 inspiring, real women to star in a documentary style fashion film, "The Houghton Girl" featuring the new collection. Designer Katharine Polk, who appears in the film, was inspired to design for real women in her collection for the first time after writing a personal essay for HarpersBazaar.com chronicling her own nine-year battle with an eating disorder.

    Meet Cyndi Ramirez below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and opens up about education, confidence and starting your own business.

    Cyndi Ramirez The Houghton Girl

    Cyndi: "I run a website called Taste The Style, an editorial website, which talks about all sorts of stuff life style, we feature amazing women and we talk about style, beauty, home and travel. Additionally I’m also the first lady of Den Hospitality, my husband and I own three bars and one restaurant with partners and I have a really exciting project on the way actually."

    Katharine: "Whats the story with Den Hospitality and what's it like to be the only woman involved in that team?"

    Cyndi: "My husband was working  on opening up the bars when we were dating, and I was like how can I help? So I just kind of  started getting involved in however I could and was handling a little bit with the brand direction, figuring out what our identity was, and from there it kind of turned into the only female role in the business and being that voice within the company, helping the guys get that female touch. We’ve been at it for three years now, we have two Garrets- one in the West Village and one in the East Village, and then we have a bar in Jersey City called Dull Boy which was actually recently named one of the best bars in America by Esquire. Super exciting! Everyone always talks about the Garrets and I’m like I love our Jersey City bar, it’s pretty special. And then we have a hidden restaurant through the Garret East and that’s a secret restaurant. It’s super special, cozy and warm.

    "I’ve worked in hospitality for over 12 years and I mean the sexism in that space is just tremendous. It’s a little nerve racking not really knowing who everyone involved is gonna be, but the other day everyone who came on board were really awesome human beings. I never felt like my voice would ever get shut down, or like my opinion doesn’t matter, and I think my opinion is one of the strongest of the bunch you know, so they’ve been great. I know I may sound like I’m sugarcoating something, but honestly this in comparison to all the shit I’ve dealt with in the past, it’s been a really really great experience and I think because I’ve been in the industry for so long, they value my opinions and they know that I have the experience to back it up even though I never even realized I did."

    Katharine: "Tell me a little bit about how you got into nightlife and how that affected your schooling."

    Cyndi: "So I was kind of a lost teen. I mean me and my girlfriends would get into so much trouble, like the biggest trouble makers! Our poor mothers, all of us had single mothers basically, and it was like our core group of girlfriends and I think just having grown up in Queens with girls who were equally as crazy as I was, I kept that going even when I moved to Manhattan .I moved to Manhattan when I was 17, I would just commute back and forth from Queens to the city in my senior year, I didn’t know where I was gonna go to school I just knew I wanted to stay in the city and I was just kind of like okay fashion is my thing- that’s what I’m gonna do. But I had no real guideline to what was that gonna be. I only worked in retail, in Queens but kind of grew up acting and modeling. I was a child model, all my teen years, who the hell knows what they’re gonna be when they’re super young, all I know is that I really enjoyed partying and I really loved Manhattan. I was like basically I’m just gonna go to school and at the same time I was starting to work for this club promoter... it was the craziest job ever actually, I was 17 years old! I wasn’t even allowed to be in the nightclubs right? I mean I was 17, I was partying in the city too way before so I was kind of used to it, it's kind of wild."

    "My job for him was to basically collect emails from girls in the bathroom and just be friends with them and then the next day we would call them and bring them in. That’s what I was doing when I was 17 and then I was like all right what’s next? I started hostessing at Tao back when it was super hot blah blah... and at the same time I was going to college and I kept missing classes because I could not stay out of trouble when I was partying every night. At one point it was going to be my 4th absence, I was obviously not doing too well, and I basically allowed myself to fail out. Fast forward 2 years later and I was doing the same shit, bartending you know, and I was like okay I have to go back to school, what’s my goal here? So I basically begged them to let me back into school and they let me back in, which I thought was really nice of them and I just fucked it all up again. I just could not fully stay out of trouble. And yeah I basically flanked out twice."

    "I mean I think I really never coped with my feelings about that, because I always maintained the social life that prevented me from addressing these kind of issues and I kind of self sabotaged all that but at some point I was like something's gotta give. So fast forward many years, I was still doing the same shit and I was like I have to do something about this what am I gonna do? And that’s the time I started dating my husband again. He was obviously influential on how I got my shit together. Really. I think we both helped each other out in different ways, he was way more disciplined than I was, he kind of helped me have a better focus on reality. And the reality was that I needed to figure out what I was doing with my life."

    "Not having that diploma and knowing how irresponsible I was during that time period really played into a ton of my insecurities. I still didn’t know my place in fashion world, I knew I didn’t want to be in corporate America either. I didn’t like the idea of going to 59th St. working in a stale corporate environment, like this wasn’t for me..."

    "I was lucky enough I found this very interesting looking internship and she hired me full time.  I helped her kind of grow that business, I helped her maintain it. I did  everything across the board- helping people with their business plans, running social media, putting on monthly meet-ups with 150 attendees. I was consulting, telling entrepreneurs, like these Harvard graduates how to run their businesses and there was a point when I thought what am I doing? I don’t compare education wise to some of these people... who am I to tell you?  But I started to kind of realize the more face time I had with these different entrepreneurs, the more I found I knew about the industry, and I did have a lot of clout in the space. So I think that job was  the beginning of everything, it helped me form the confidence that I was lacking."

    Katharine: "It obviously gave you confidence. We feel like a fraud until we come to a realization that everyone feels that way..."

    Cyndi: "Yeah I think that we all do, I think everybody has that same feeling until you make it, it’s supposed to feel like that.We're in an age where social media obviously plays into your life and the perception of your life is almost more important than the actual life you live- and thats kinda scary. You're always comparing yourself to someone else, I mean I try not to, I think we all try not to... but even the most prepared educated people with the best talent are kind of measuring themselves against somebody else. I'm just lucky that I think I've gotten past the point where I don't have to feel bad about my lack of education or experience, I've carved a space for myself and I built this platform. I'm proud of what I've accomplished but I don't think I'll ever fully feel like I've made it. I don't ever stop innovating and producing so in that sense it's kind or hard to feel that you've made it... right?"

    Cyndi Ramirez The Houghton Girl

    Katharine: "What insecurities do you have now?"

    Cyndi: "As a publisher, constantly worrying that your content isn’t strong enough, writing isn’t good enough... I’m not a journalist, got D's in English class... so I’m still very insecure about having typos. When you open up your platform for a bunch of contributors and writers, some of them which are really really strong writers, it’s a little scary. I’m like every day I feel like a fraud and I’m like I need to hire out  someone else to be editor-in-chief... like I can’t possibly give myself that title but like why the fuck not I mean I built this platform!

    I’m an editor-in-chief and if there are typos then so be it you know? Hire a copy editor but maybe they don't have to take my title away from me. So learning how to embrace this, saying fuck it to the traditional titles and the traditional perceptions of what these roles and career paths are. This is what I deal with, every day, mentally."

    Katharine: "Describe your self-confidence."

    Cyndi: "Having a strong team behind you to support you really helps keep your confidence going and yeah there are times when I'm like what would happen if none of these people were around me? What would I be doing? I'm lucky enough to have my husband who has really made me feel confident in addition to peers supporting me, but I'm still working on what gives me that inner confidence where I don't need to hear validation from other people. I think it will stem from years of experience, from having gone through ups and downs, and I'm still going through my ups and downs. I think going through the motions of knowing that its ok to fail is whats gonna make you confident."

    Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 9.58.29 AM

    Katharine: "Why did you want to share your story and be a part of this project?"

    Cyndi: "I wanted to do this film because I wanted to share and I think its important to be open about your insecurities and to put them out to the women that do kind of look up to us via social. We all go through growing pains and none of it goes away. You just have to learn with those insecurities and learn how to grab on and use them to your advantage. That's what I think I've done- any insecurity that played into me I said I'm just gonna take it and run wth it and push through. But it's not all driven by ambition but also a little bit of fear. And it's okay to be scared if it means that you are going to do something very special with that fear."

  • Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Dara Hartman

    For Fall/Winter 2017, we tapped 10 inspiring, real women to star in a documentary style fashion film, "The Houghton Girl" featuring the new collection. Designer Katharine Polk, who appears in the film, was inspired to design for real women in her collection for the first time after writing a personal essay for HarpersBazaar.com chronicling her own nine-year battle with an eating disorder.

    Dara Hartman The Houghton Girl

    Meet Dara Hartman below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and her other co-workers and female trainers in the film (Keyla Castillo & Bianca Vesco) and opens up about body image, the life of a trainer and personal goals.

     Dara: "I was one of the initial people who helped DogPound to get up and running, so along with training I’m also in meetings day-to-day. I also try to work out at least 1-2 hours a day. My day starts at 5am and ends usually around 11pm. My head hits the pillow around 11:30 or 12."

    Katharine: "What kind of pressure do you feel as a female in the industry?"

    Dara: "There are a lot of pressures, especially on my body... there are a lot of beautiful people in the fitness industry, our bodies are constantly on display. I feel like in this industry I want to authentically represent health and wellness and sometimes it’s actually really hard- when it comes to nutrition, when it comes to planning exercises, when it comes to looking my best and to being as strong as I can, be as energized as I can, as positive as I can. I feel like being a woman in this industry is extremely competitive with other women. But I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a male dominant industry, there are plenty of women in this industry. I really love the community, I love experiencing other classes and I love connecting with other instructors, there have been multiple times when I’ve been banned from studios, because who I work for and what company I represent, which is kind of frustrating because we are kind of on the same boat together. We are here to help each other, so sometimes I feel like people forget about that."

    Katharine: "Do you think that interferes with how you do your job?"

    Dara: "Everything I do I try to do as best as close to perfect as possible, it’s like a pressure to myself when it comes to works-outs and to training clients I want everything to be better just for myself and for the clients. I feel like what we have here at the DogPound is a super positive environment and I feel like it’s completely disconnected from all of that outside New York fitness scene. I mean we are family, like literally a family. My boyfriend is the CEO, Keyla’s husband is a partner, Bianca’s boyfriend is also one of the founders, so we have like this camaraderie which is amazing. I feel like it creates a really amazing work environment, but I feel like my personal pressures can sometimes get in the way, especially cause I’m extremely hard on myself, so it can kind of stand in the way of giving my best."

    Dara Hartman The Houghton Girl

    Katharine: "What kind of personal pressures do you put on yourself?"

    Dara: "It’s a really hard question so let me start from a physical aspect- physically I’m very fatigued most of the time and being part of a start-up there is no time. I mean with our schedules there is no time to rest and you also own a business too so you know what is it like to put everything you have in this one thing, it’s like your baby you know...

    "So what stands in the way sometimes is that I wanna try to disconnect myself from work but my work also consumes my entire life which I actually like... With that fatigue it’s hard to organize the day and feel accomplished at the end of the day if I'm not getting enough rest, if I’m not getting enough nutrition... I mean I wanna stay as organized as possible, as healthy as possible, as fit as possible and the client comes first you know what I mean? It’s really hard to schedule time for yourself and if I do schedule time for myself I feel pressure sometimes internally, like it’s wrong. We all are here working as hard as we can, trying to make this company grow so that can be something that is really tough you know... Even when it comes to my own time to exercise like I feel like it’s really hard for me to disconnect from work and actually feel focused without people coming in and talking and me running late because I’m coming from a meeting with my clients and so it’s things like that. It’s difficult to reach my own personal goals right now but it’s life..."

    Katharine: "What goals do you set for yourself?"

    Dara: "Haha, I don't these goals are obtainable, thats the issue!"

    Keyla: "Don't say that!"

    Dara: "I wanna feel good in the morning, I don’t remember the last time I woke up and felt like oh, I’m ready to wake up... like every day I peel myself off the pillow. Being a trainer we push ourselves physically so hard, when it comes to exercising and working on our own fitness, every day waking out of the bed is actually physically hard for me. I'm extremely sore, so sometimes just the act of getting up from the bed is hard, physically, because I’m so tired, and my body’s so sore."

    Katharine: "Where is the light at the end of the tunnel, like what gets you going what makes you get up every day?"

    Dara: "I work with a man I love and I’m building something with him, and I see myself with him for the rest of my life so like right there is the incentive to do the best I possibly can. When it comes to physically, I would like to have time to treat my body and live the way I’m trying to inspire others to live. When it comes to physical injuries I don’t have time to rest and recover. I suffer from a pretty uncomfortable vocal injury, which is coming from a singing background, so I literally have lost all ability to sing, which is hard but even if I couldn’t sing in the beginning, speaking actually can be sometimes painful and difficult... and working in this huge loud gym and constantly working these long hours can just be physically tolling on our bodies."

    Katharine: "I think your one of the most loving and sensitive people I know, you give so much of yourself..."

    Dara: "Yeah, literally I’m so sensitive that sometimes it can inhibit my work, I can walk in the room and can feel, I can feel what everybody’s feeling. I walk into a room and I know this person’s upset, this person’s hurt, I can tell what’s going on now from working in fitness, whether someone’s suffering from an injury, I can watch them move you know emotionally. I mean it’s something I’ve always been able to kind of feel my whole life and being really sensitive is an amazing quality when it comes to working with people, you know... helping people, sometimes these people are so much more important to me in the moment, you know, I feel like it can inhibit my work ethic, being extremely sensitive. Especially working with the people I’m closest to- working with the man I love, working with some of my closest friends, I feel like it can really like wear me down."

    Katharine: "Do you think it hurts your self-esteem?"

    Dara: "100%. Yeah. Sometimes especially after working with such beautiful beautiful women, beautiful beautiful men... I’m training some of the top models in the world you know? I feel extremely confident in my body and feel confident in my skin, it’s more just inner self- confidence not about my body but just about who I am and how I deal with things internally, when it comes to being so sensitive..."

    "But no one would ever see that and that’s the point. That’s the thing, people think we live these glamorous life styles and train these models and it’s like we work our asses off, but the grind is not glamorous, people think you wake up every day and you have everything you need but it doesn’t work that way. You have to put in that work and it’s the work we’re putting in. And we love everyone very much but we forget that have to live ourselves sometimes. We don’t have time for that."

     Katharine: "Define self-confidence."

    Dara: "Being able to truly feel and be anything you want. And I definitely feel like training physically is giving me a lot of self-confidence with my body and what I can physically achieve. I think what’s important is to surround yourself with people who really uplift you and also not being too hard on yourself. It’s really hard to do."

    Katharine: "What does this project mean to you and why did you decided to be a part of it?"

    Dara: "I love being part of something that is body positive and people positive. I really admire being part of this project, because you’re embracing all different types of women who all come from different backgrounds, who have different stories, who have different figures and different shapes and you're creating something for us to wear and creating a platform for us to convey messages- that is really beautiful."

    Dara Hartman The Houghton Girl

  • FW17 HOUGHTON GIRL INSPO | Bianca & Morgan & Chloe

    Houghton Girl Inspiration Bianca Vesco

    The "Bianca" Sequin Jumpsuit

    Houghton Girl Inspiration Morgan Kibby

    The "Not Your Baby" Silk Embroidered Baseball Jacket

    Houghton Girl Inspiration Chloe Norgaard

    The Sequin Velvet "sequin velveseuin velvdie" Gown

  • Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Houghton Designer Katharine Polk

    Designer Katharine Polk was inspired to design for real women in her collection for the first time after writing a personal essay for HarpersBazaar.com chronicling her own nine-year battle with an eating disorder.

    Katharine Polk The Houghton Girl

    Here she opens up to the Garen Barsegian, the Director of "The Houghton Girl" film about her struggles with body image, self-confidence and the fashion industry.

    Katharine: "The reason we started this film obviously was because of my personal struggles and I guess getting to a place where I could open up and share this with other people. I think I’m often very misunderstood and looked at as someone who is okay and doesn’t ask for help, and I think that when I've ever told someone I was bullied people were so surprised and everyone who have met me over the last few years don’t believe me or think that’s kind of a cliche story. Bullying doesn’t get the attention it needs and I think it’s the root of so many larger problems that kids truly suffer from and it’s something that’s so preventable, so unnecessary, that it’s just as simple as parents teaching their kids to be kind. A couple of words can literally change someone’s life for the worse or for the better. Bullying can be the root of so many problems and so many issues: depression, self-esteem, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, self-doubt..."

    Garen: "You say bullying can be the root of so many issues, what issues did it cause for you?"

    Katharine: "Bullying started to form who I was at a really young age. It made me become just super introverted and I was always very shy growing up. It just sealed the deal and kind of made me not  want to be super outgoing and made me want to go home and be by myself. Any confidence I had, it kind of just squashed that. And when I look back it’s like, I was bullied for being fat or chubby and of course you know I wasn’t... I was tiny, but it’s just boys being boys and being kids and being mean. For no reason. And of course if you ask them now I’m sure they won’t even remember stupid little name calling in the playground in 5th grade. But did they think they changed someone’s life? No, I’m sure they don’t even remember those days or me by any means. But that’s what I think people need to understand, is that literally you can change someone’s life with a couple words. And do I regret anything? No. Because its made me who I am now."

    Garen: "And how did that lead you into insecurities that led to your eating disorder?"

    Katharine: "Obviously I was teased for being chubby back in the 5th grade, which I wasn’t and then by the time I got into high school I was still not very big, but around 18 I started gaining weight when I went on birth control. I gained a lot of weight from birth control, like 30 pounds, at my height at 5’1 it’s a huge amount of weight and I felt horrible. And so when I moved to New York at 24, I went off of birth control obviously after having such adverse effects from it, dropped a lot of weight immediately and as soon as the weight started coming off, I started trying things to keep it off. Obviously I had body image issues and it just started snowballing from there."

    Garen: "What were the things you were doing?"

    Katharine: "Well it was a ton of different things... I’ve had chronic migraines since I was 18, and they would prescribe me a lot of medication at once and I was on a lot of vicodin and percocets, so that was curbing my appetite. First I had to figure out how to start losing weight, so I started working out a lot, I started dieting and quickly restricted my diet to the point where I was just eating 500 calories a day. I would make sure whatever I consumed I worked off that many calories..."

    "I was so anxious, it became an addiction to lose weight faster and I knew anything I kept down, I felt like it would stick to my body so I would throw up anything that I kept down. I would somehow reason with myself and only keep down a scrambled egg in the morning, and then I would just have broth with tiny pieces of chicken in it for lunch and then a couple slices of turkey and pickle for dinner. But I wouldn’t keep any of that down. If I did, it would be just a pickle, just because like that was it, so that was a routine for a long time..."

    "That went on for years and years and years. That exact diet was probably for a year and that would be when I was at home. My work schedule and my life required me to go out all the time but my problem and my addiction would dictate my life style. So when I would go out, I would have to figure out how I was going to work around it, you know where were we going to eat and what I was gonna do. Often I would just drink or..."

    Garen: "What do you mean what you were gonna do?"

    Katharine: "I would have dinner and figure out how I would be able to go to the bathroom and throw up... or you know how I would be able to get around the dinner situation and yeah I finally got to the point where that I was just so sick that I could feel my heart beating so fast and so hard that I thought... I was scaring myself... I thought I was gonna have a heart attack."

    "So, I would say, okay, I’ll take tonight off or I’ll stop for a little bit, or I’ll just drink liquids. I reasoned with myself in very strange ways. I knew I couldn’t go on like that, I was physically so tired and exhausted that I needed to make some changes and honestly it was like living a double life. It was more exhausting trying to figure out how to escape after dinner..."

    Katharine Polk The Houghton Girl

    Garen: "So what happened to bring you to that breaking point?"

    Katharine: "Honestly just pure exhaustion. I was chasing something that was never going to be good enough or something I could never achieve, and I think I just got to this point of true exhaustion... but it’s crazy when people are telling you how amazing you look. I mean it was really bad for like 3 years and then it would continue and I would yoyo back and forth for a long time, I would say up until about this year. It’s not something that you ever get over but until I found something else to help me it’s not I could just go from that to nothing. It’s a way of life and it’s a way you look at yourself..."

    Garen: "Have you fully overcome it?"

    Katharine: "No. I don’t think I will ever overcome, that doesn’t mean I have to make myself throw up now, and it also doesn’t mean that I don’t get up every morning and look myself in the mirror before I get into the shower and pick myself apart and, there is a reason I have become obsessed with the gym now all the time, I definitely have an obsessive personality, it’s the same thing that makes you great at what you do but also it can be detrimental in many ways. But I would rather be obsessive about being healthy and you know getting my mind right and be obsessive about being happy than obsessing about being sick."
    Katharine Polk The Houghton Girl

    Garen: "Was founding Houghton what ended up grounding you?"

    Katharine: "When I was freelancing I was still technically my own boss, I still had to hustle and work for my own jobs. And felt like I had to look better and look as good as all these cute fashionable girls who were applying for the same jobs and it made a big difference. And that definitely drove the eating disorder and image style even more. Once I decided to start Houghton, I mean I still had an eating disorder, but after a couple years and really until this year I was like, I’ve gotta believe in my art and what and what I’m doing. I’ve gotta love myself within and present myself as a full package that’s someone who loves themselves and believes in what I do. I don’t think I believed in what I did as much as I do now."

    Garen: "Did you find success in being yourself?"

    Katharine: "When I started Houghton, it was a really simple idea- I wanted a collection for my friends that were modern independent women, not just for young women but I was also inspired by when my mom got married. She got married about a year prior in her 50's in Vegas and wanted a designer gown but she wasn’t going to wear a sweetheart neckline and a tutu. My friends are designer customers who wear designer clothes and there is nothing for them to buy.  I wanted to make a beautiful collection of clothes that they could wear on a daily basis and they would also wear to get married in and that was the idea of Houghton. And a lot of people understood that but a lot of people wanted to put it in categories-  "Is it bridal? Is it Ready-to-Wear?" They didn’t understand the concept that it didn’t need a label and so after that, I got a little lost because I felt like I got pulled in a lot of directions by the industry. I got pulled one way by buyers, I went through a few sales people you know being torn you have to listen to this buyer, you have to do this, in the end I knew in my gut what I needed to do... but I’m the asshole if I don’t listen to people who have done this for a lot longer than me."

    "It taught me a lot of things, we’ve spent money doing things we should have or shouldn’t have done but in the end we’ve learned what we need and don’t need to do and I’m at the point now when I know who I am as a designer. I know why I started Houghton and I know who I am as a person. This whole journey has put me through ups and downs- people have told me it’s horrible and people have told me they love it."

    "We are coming up on 5 years now,  and it’s been hard to find people that really understand you and I think you've gotta follow yourself and that goes back to being grounded and knowing who you really are. That’s not something that I can force or  make that happen, I think I’m at a point in my life now where I’ve come to some kind of realization that I’m at a really great place, I’ve come through a lot of stuff and funny enough like Morgan I feel like the tortured artist thing doesn’t work for me. I am creating much more art in a happier place with a lot of clarity. And I think I’m definitely finding success in being myself. Now. I don’t give a fuck what other people are going to tell me, we need bright color this season or you need to do one shoulder... If it’s not Houghton and doesn’t look like Houghton you’re not gonna get it. And people are gonna come to you and gravitate towards you when it’s real and when it looks like you when it’s authentic. Of course I want to make my buyers and my stores happy but what are they gonna do in a couple of seasons when I’ve bent and I’ve given them leopard print because they wanted leopard print and now  nobody wants leopard print... and doesn’t look like Houghton. So I’ve gotta do me and people are gonna come to us because they love what we do."

    "I’m making real art for real women that inspire me, these women are part of my life, they have their own stories and this collection for me is the best collection I’ve ever made, I’m honored to have collaborated, designed and created it with these women. Blood sweat and tears went into it and I couldn’t be prouder and this is the only way I wanna work from here on now."

    Katharine Polk The Houghton Girl

    Garen: "Can I ask why did you wanna do this project?"

    Katharine: "I wanted to do this project because I just felt I don’t know where it came originally but something came over me, I think there’s someone watching over me that told me it was the time to help other people. And I think it was his way of helping me share that. And I think that it’s something bigger than me if I can help other people and these women that I’m close with I think it says something that they are willing to remove themselves and not put themselves first. And to use a platform that they have to share their stories and help other women, or men, anyone struggling with similar issues, together we have a pretty big reach and I think this can help a lot of people."

  • Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Kelly Francis

    For Fall/Winter 2017, we tapped 10 inspiring, real women to star in a documentary style fashion film, "The Houghton Girl" featuring the new collection. Designer Katharine Polk, who appears in the film, was inspired to design for real women in her collection for the first time after writing a personal essay for HarpersBazaar.com chronicling her own nine-year battle with an eating disorder.

    Meet Kelly Francis below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and opens up about motherhood, self esteem and body image.

    Kelly Francis Houghton Girl

    Kelly: "I was going back and forth to NYC to work for eight years. And I moved here permanently a few months ago. My family are Jamaican, my grandparents are Jamaican on both sides, my parents were born in England too, so I’m like second generation British.  My Dad’s actually been living here since I was nine, so I’ve been coming here so it’s been my second home since I was 9 years old. When I graduated a friend of mine was working for MAC and she was like do you want to come intern for us, so I did and then I got on so well with them that they kept me on. So I just kept coming back to help them with Fashion Week and glam projects so that was fun."

    "I was a fashion director for MADE for 7 years. I recently left and have been consulting with brands since... Right now I’m working on a fashion tech project for WME which is cool. So it’s like a start-up. It’s interesting, every day now is a bit different from what I was doing before so I’m going to a proper corporate office, which is new and working with like very different people, people who are not from a fashion background. It’s more development teams and talking with people about IOTs and crazy technical things that I’ve never experienced before, but it’s really interesting. I’m in a new space and it’s great."

    Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

    Katharine: "And whats your day-today like being a mother?"

    Kelly: "It’s always a hustle cause I have Noah, so it’s like I have to get up, I’m always up at 6am every day because he gets up at 7am and you need to have an hour of chill before the kid gets up. Otherwise you’ve lost like everything in the day. So like I get up ahead of him, make him a breakfast, get him ready, send him off to day-care and then I’m in the office in meetings. Or it’s meeting the development team, or it’s meeting with designers and brands to get them involved."

    Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

    Katharine: "And so Noah is three? I knew you when you were running around and pregnant, so how did that impact your work life and being a mommy?"

    Kelly: "God, yeah. Well, first of all I mean I thought I’d have kids but definitely not now. I always thought I was gonna work, and do all these things when I’m like 36, that was the age. 36 was the age I was gonna have kids. Then 26 I got pregnant, so.... But then it didn’t stop anything, I was still working constantly and I was working up until he was born pretty much. As soon as he was born it was about to be Fashion Week, so he was born on Sunday and on Monday morning I’m in the hospital emailing trying to get Fashion Week together. So it never stopped. He came out to New York with me, he travelled with me constantly, but he would be a bundle passed around at meetings and anybody else in the meeting would be just holding him like he’s like a proper fashion baby."

    Katharine: "Let's take a step back and talk about your childhood and your body image when you were younger vs how you feel now being a mother."

    Kelly: "When I was younger growing up in England, I was super tall and gangly and I had really goofy teeth and I was just a very late bloomer. I come from a Caribbean family where the beauty idea is different and more about curves and having a more womanly body. I was always the very skinny one and would have nicknames like flamingo... I was teased at school... I definitely compared myself to other woman and its something we naturally do. I was always wondering why I had such a small chest and why I had no butt whatsoever. To me I looked like a boy, so I dressed in baggy stuff, now I still dress that way not because I care about that but because it just moved into my style, but you would never see me with my legs out..."

    "I was a tomboy just through and through and I think that’s the best way when you don’t like how you look that’s also a compensation, it’s easy to fit into that mold as well, cause you don’t then have to be pretty and all those things.  I was really not comfortable around guys in any way and I’ve always had that problem of being to relate in a romantic way cause truthfully I never felt pretty so I could never believe that a guy would ever wanna talk to me on any other level than like a friend. It also stunted that growth in me."

    Katharine: "And then your body started changing when you got pregnant, what kind of mind game did that play on you when you never felt feminine before?"

    Kelly: "All that time in my life where I felt like I didn’t like who I was, I didn’t like how I looked and I finally got to a place where I was like happy with myself and then it changed again! I was really excited to be pregnant, I really enjoyed my pregnancy, but when I found out I was pregnant I did initially start to think like oh my god this body is over. I started to think about what was gonna happen next and I was religiously like, resistant to the changes, so religiously I was slapping on raw shea butter on my stomach trying to make sure I wasn’t going to get stretch marks.  I would stink like completely because like that stuff doesn’t smell good. But I would do whatever, I was just trying to figure out how to not go for the processes that I mentally thought of like stretch marks and the droopiness and whatever."

    Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

    "I still enjoyed my pregnancy and I didn’t dwell on it too much until I actually had Noah. My family loved him to death but my mom was like you know I had you on Wednesday and on Saturday I was back in my jeans, and I was like great and now I have Noah and I’m walking around with this extra baby pouch and looking like 6 months pregnant still and it’s been 4 weeks. I started to feel really conscious of it again, and I’m like oh my god, I’m in another place where I didn’t like how I looked and I was trying to hide it and trying to do all those things that you do post pregnancy where you band up the stomach and you’re trying to loose everything quickly and yeah I couldn’t really look at myself for a little bit."

    Katharine: "You went through this huge process of finally accepting your body and now its like you're dealing with a whole new body?"

    Kelly: "I don’t think people realize how much your body changes when you have a baby. Even the alignment... like I’m boxier now, and when I did lose the extra baby weight my stomach looked completely different. I had this wash board stomach before and now I have muscle separation. The skin is not as tight, and my boobs went from a small C to E when I was breastfeeding and then back when I was done, your breasts don’t looks the same, they’re small and saggy. I’ve never experienced something like that before. I was like wow this is not what I was expecting."

    Katharine: "How do you deal with that?"

    Kelly: "I think for a long time maybe for the first year and half I really toyed with things like I’m gonna have a surgery. I was like really thinking about this maybe I need a boob job, but as time went on I realized Noah was the most important thing. My body had served its purpose and done thing sit was meant to do. I'm proud of my child and my pregnancy and I started to put myself into a different headspace and be like, this is what I've meant to looks like. We see all the time these images that we're always consuming that are not accurate, and if you look around everybody is supposed to be different- thats the beauty of the world. Even though my body changed so much through my pregnancy, I started to adjust to the differences and now I wouldn't change it. This is who I am and now I'm happy with myself. Just because I don't look the way I used to, that doesn't mean my body looks bad or is wrong."

    Katharine: "What gives you strength, grounding and foundation?"

    Kelly: "Family for sure gives me strength and grounding for sure. Like my Dad is the wisest man I know, he always has a word or anytime I’m going through anything he has some kind of tale to tell me either about his life or my grandparents. That makes me realize what I need to do next. And it’s great to have that."

    Katharine: "What brings you joy and happiness?"

    Kelly: "Noah all day long... he always brings me the most joy. I’ve never experienced anything like it. And I always hear people saying having a child changed your life but I’ve never experienced love like the love to my son. 100%."

    Katharine: "Define self-esteem."

    Kelly: "Self-esteem is having the  confidence to be yourself. I love my legs now by the way. After hiding them for years because I thought there were too skinny and its weird I love them and I think that’s my asset!"

    Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

     

  • Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Morgan Grace Kibby

    For Fall/Winter 2017, we tapped 10 inspiring, real women to star in a documentary style fashion film, "The Houghton Girl" featuring the new collection. Designer Katharine Polk, who appears in the film, was inspired to design for real women in her collection for the first time after writing a personal essay for HarpersBazaar.com chronicling her own nine-year battle with an eating disorder.

    Meet Morgan Grace Kibby below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and opens up about the music industry, depression and body image.

    Morgan Kibby Houghton Girl Film

    Morgan: "I’m a musician and a composer. I was actually an actress for a very long time, very long time, when I was a teenager. And then I rapidly realized it wasn’t the career path for me, but I always played classical piano and I played a cello as a teenager as well. And I started writing music and then, the moment that I decided to leave acting, I kind of found myself in M83. I ended up co-writing on a bunch of songs which led me to this beautiful 8 year collaboration where I got to be on tour with M83. I got to co-write, sing and participate in the albums and it was really amazing. And then this year we kind of mutually decided to split and he decided to go in a different direction so I knew it was time for me to move on and it was really scary because it was my comfort zone. I mean you know, I was a huge fan before I even became a part of it but it grew so much in that time- we went from being in a van to being in two tour buses with the most amazing crew and family so it was really scary to think about starting from scratch and not being 22 anymore. I think I had dedicated so many years to that project in my 20's which is when you should be developing who you are."

    "Then, it happened serendipitously, a girlfriend of mine who actually connected me with Anthony in the first place, is a director and she was doing her first feature and asked me to score it. So I scored a film for the first time last year, or second time last year, but the first time by myself. And it was life- changing. I just fell in love with the process, I was super curious about it and after that decided to apply to Sundance Composer’s Lab. I was very lucky and I got in this year and it changed my life, now it’s kind of refocused and it’s kind of where I wanna be. So. Long answer but that’s how I ended up composing."

    Katharine: Amazing. Sundance, was a big moment in your life right? And kind of a game changer?  What was the process you had to apply to Sundance?

    Morgan: "Well, I didn’t realize but Sundance is incredibly hard to get into and it’s a whole application process so you have to write an essay or like a letter of intent basically. You put in your resume, bio, up to 10 pieces of your score work or whatever... of course I included remixes, Midnight City and all these things that I participated in as a writer on top of the some of the queues I had done for a film last year and I got in. But what's amazing about Sundance is that they always reserve a spot for a composer that’s a little bit left of center and not the typical "went to Berkley or went to USC graduate" so I filled that spot this year."

    Morgan Kibby Houghton Girl Film

    Katharine: "Let’s take a step back and talk about some stuff we talked about last night. To get to this point, we talked about your journey of how you got to where you are now, with Sundance being an amazing aha moment.... And people would assume that a few years ago when you were nominated for a Grammy with M83 that it was the time of your life. And what’s amazing is that it was probably when you were the most depressed, right?"

    Morgan: "I was a wreck, I was a complete wreck.  I had ruined my relationship with my fiancé at the time, and I realize in retrospect that I was very clinically depressed. I just wanna emphasize this by saying the big reason I never addressed my depression is cause I feel like Western culture is just so ascribed to this" take a pill and fix it", and I didn't believe in that. Even though I was going through this, I mean life is strange right, the moment my personal life was falling apart, my professional life was on top of the world. That’s how we met each other, because you made my Grammy dress, and it was such a special experience and obviously there was a high in that, but those kind of experiences can be very hollow if you don’t have your shit together. And I did not have my shit together at the time.  I mean it ultimately doesn’t really matter right? It’s nice and it’s fun and it’s pretty but you know you’re not gonna go to sleep with that at night."

    "I have really struggled with depression, and I didn’t realize that until these last six months, strangely enough. And there’s this kind of amazingly pervasive myth that you have to be tortured to be an artist and I think it’s a lot of bullshit. I’ve made the best art and the most freely expressed art since I’ve actually addressed what’s wrong inside. Or not what’s wrong, but kind of not functioning to live the best version of myself and the best version of my life so that’s a big reason why I kind of wanted to be a part of this film. It’s incredible that there is so much stigma that comes along with depression and seeking help and I had always thought, you just need to go talk to somebody or you need to figure it out, or you’re not making the right choices. I finally decided to go and see a doctor since I was suffering from these chronic bizarre rashes and had gained like 30 pounds- all of this stuff was very confusing to me and I was just so miserable and I was so tired. We were doing this questionnaire together and one of the questions was "do you feel like a failure" and I looked at her and I almost burst into tears and I was like I feel like a failure all the time."

    Morgan Kibby Houghton Girl Film

    "Now I’m able to look at it and see what my life has been and what I’ve been able to accomplish and they are lovely wonderful things that I’m so proud of. But to have felt that way since I was a teenager constantly every day leap frogging almost like an addict from accomplishment to accomplishment because that’s the only way to keep on a high... when the crashes happen they can be so awful. Being able to have that conversation with her and being asked that question was like a house that’s been lifted off my shoulders... it was like god I’m depressed! Thank God, now I know what it is and I can deal with it and address it. Since I've been able to address it, it’s insane how my life creatively and emotionally just opened up."

     "I have also personally existed with a deep fear of who I am regardless of what it looks like and feels like to other people. I think I was way too interested, obsessed and conscious of what other people think of me. And now I don’t give a shit. So, I don’t know what happened, well actually there’s couple things that happened. I think it’s getting older, I love getting older, it makes me feel incredible... aside from the fact that I have more cellulite then I did before! But it’s gorgeous too.

    "That’s the beauty of age, I mean I come back to getting older, I just know more of who I am I know more of the way I cope with things- that I can stop my own triggers, be more conscious, more kind and be more present as a human being, as a friend, as a lover, as whatever, as a daughter. It really helps to shape the way that you decide to kind of like roll your tongue six times before you decide to say anything, I think about the way that I affect other people now more than I did before."
    Morgan Kibby Houghton Girl Film

    Katharine: "Has your body affected any of your depression?"

    Morgan: "I mean huge, huge. I’ve never been a twig. I’m very much a renaissance body in a twiggy world...

    "I wish I was as ugly as I thought I was ten years ago. I wish I had that body which I thought was so hideous, when I was 16 or 22 or 25. But will say that I really admire this younger generation of women, they just don’t give a fuck. I was at a music festival recently and there were these girls who were the most beautiful voluptuous... just like titties and ass and cellulite just hanging... and they were like so gorgeous but you know not “Cosmo” gorgeous. But to me they were gorgeous, having this confidence. So I feel like the conversation about body is shifting and I feel beautiful when I am happy and healthy and doing what I love But definitely depression put on 30 pounds.

    Katharine: "What parts of your body do you love?"

    Morgan: "I love my titties, I love my eyes, and I have good feet, not many people have pretty feet."

    Katharine: "What parts of your body don't you like?"

     

    Morgan: "Everything from the hips down I’m not interested in ever showing or, I’m just so embarrassed... ever since I was a child. I mean, you couldn’t get me in shorts past age 8, I wouldn’t do it. It’s like an unhealthy obsession. Trying to get over it but it’s hard."

    "I have never been a small girl, I’m extremely curvy, and I’m a big girl, like I have big bones. If I was born in a different era, I would probably be the epitome of beauty but I’m not you know, I have very curvy full body. It’s something I’ve been embarrassed about since I was old enough to recognize what it was and I was lucky enough that I was an athlete for a very long time so I was in shape, but when I transitioned to being a musician and sitting at the desk all day the tone and the muscle just kind of went away. The perception of what's beautiful has absolutely affected the way I view myself and I hate harping on this but, coming back to being older, the older I get the less I give a shit, I feel beautiful. I feel like I can walk into a room and be beautiful cause of who I am. It’s the classic thing of confidence.  I’m feeling those things coming out of my depression, feeling like myself again has made me feel beautiful again. I think I have realized also through the process of taking medication, which I just wanna say is extremely vulnerable for me to say, it’s really embarrassing I think. It’s not something you’d wanna trumpet to the world but I wish I had this conversation with somebody sooner, it might have helped me."

    Morgan Kibby Houghton Girl Film

  • Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Jenné Lombardo

    For Fall/Winter 2017, we tapped 10 inspiring, real women to star in a documentary style fashion film, "The Houghton Girl" featuring the new collection. Designer Katharine Polk, who appears in the film, was inspired to design for real women in her collection for the first time after writing a personal essay for HarpersBazaar.com chronicling her own nine-year battle with an eating disorder.

    Meet Jenné Lombardo below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and opens up about the fashion industry, motherhood, body image and self confidence.

    Jenne Lombardo The Houghton Girl

    Jenné: "I have a company, MADE Fashion Week, that we sold about a year ago to WME-IMG. My business partners Keith Baptista, Mazdack Rassi and myself are still very much involved, we sit on the board as consultants. We just launched in LA not that long ago, we’re gearing up for Australia in November, which is really exciting, and we’re in Berlin now. We’re also going to do something in Paris this season. I also have a company called The Terminal Presents, which is a strategic marketing company, so I help to keep a dialogue between the product and consumer, specifically with millennials, making sure that the brand maintains its relevancy in an authentic way. I work with brands like Buick. Playboy and PEPSI, all really amazing companies, and American heritage brands which I really love."

    Katharine: "What exactly is your role at The Terminal Presents and what exactly do you do for brands like Playboy and PEPSI?"

    Jenné: "I founded the company 7 years ago and I just never set out to set up an agency, it’s a consultancy, it’s small and malleable. When a brand reaches out to me, they’ve heard of me through reputations, and they’re usually coming to me for help.  I’m not pitching them like "so this is why you need me"- they recognize that they’re in a place where they need to be revitalized and they need change. The process with me and clients is to sit and listen a lot and also make sure that they’re willing to change. Changes are hard and scary, and it’s going to feel unnatural, but if we can do this together we’re going to intimately succeed. And then we look at what the objectives are and diagnose their problem. Okay, here’s your objectives, you want a younger demographic, but yet you’re doing this. We spend a lot of time together in the beginning figuring out what the problems are then coming up with viable business solutions that will help them retain their existing clients and acquire new customers. It’s really a lot of fun, because you get to understand the psychology behind brands and the relationships to their consumer. I think for all of us the conversion rate’s always going to be higher if you feel something. If it’s not touching you then you don’t want to spend money, so that’s what we do."

    Katharine: "What’s important about this film is that it’s about image and what’s real and what’s fake. What you talked about just now is that you’re creating an image and trying to create a genuine real image that connects with people. How do you create that balance? How do you make sure you create a brand or image for somebody, while making sure that it’s also something real. It’s, a struggle, as we are constantly dealing with social media, which we all talk about it a bit in this film... social media is an image and people are judging us constantly about that image. So this film is about pulling back that curtain and showing who we truly are, but it’s interesting that as a career you’re creating images for people."

    Jenné: "I mean there is very big difference between an image for myself personally and an image of a brand. I think there is nothing that I do that is not authentic, I will lash out... like if I don’t believe in what I’m doing it’s not going to happen. And there have been projects that we’ve had to do and my enthusiasm is not behind it because I didn’t feel like it’s real. For me personally in terms of image, I’m unapologetic, I’m very honest. I’m not trying to make anything seem prettier or more romantic or easier than it actually is. It’s important when you’ve got followers, either at a big brand with hundreds of millions of consumers or as a person... I guess people have become brands now... with a couple of thousand of followers, you still have responsibility and I think your responsibility is to be true to your core. If you’re not true to your core people are going to feel that and I think that some of what resonates the most with people now is making your life, your brand and product accessible. Not alienating people through it because they feel like you’re not inviting them in. If they don’t wanna be there, they’ll go somewhere else. It really is an invitation to feel good about yourself and you’re not invited into my world or into my brand because I want you to feel bad- I’m like your hostess, I want you to feel good and comfortable. It’s like not even a choice, it’s a duty and a responsibility."

    Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 9.43.07 AM

    Katharine: "How has being a mother affected you?"

    Jenné: "I  have three kids and they were all under the age of four when I was before thirty so naivety was clearly a key because if you were to tell me that I had to do this now, I would say hell no, get the fuck out. I think naivety was really on my side and it means everything to me, I’m not who I am without them. I feel sort of vacant and empty when I’m not connecting with them and I’m not spending time with them and they need me and I need them. Your mom can tell you you will understand this if you decide have kids one day, but at first it terrified me I was like oh my gosh... I can’t fail, I don’t have that luxury. It’s not an option for me to not do well, because if I don’t show up every day in life then their lights do not go on, they don’t have food on their plate, so that was terrifying to me. But I also was terrified because I’m responsible now for their well being and we’re shaping their personalities and growth so I’m responsible as a human to set a good example and be a good person. Because of that pressure you are forced to have to look inside yourself and see things that you might not wanna see. Things I don’t like about myself I most certainly don’t wanna pass down to my kids. Because then I’ll have to look at them through that and see them struggling with what I’m already struggling with. So it’s really a bit of a catalyst to be able to say okay this is how you are and here are your shortcomings, let’s work on them to make a better and healthier family life for you and your kids."

    Katharine: "How did having kids affect your self-confidence and body image?"

    Jenné: "Actually it didn’t affect my confidence, it made me stronger, it made me see that my body was capable of carrying three kids to term. Delivering three healthy children made me feel really powerful. And it still does. And if I can do that I can get through anything. I’ve had challenging deliveries and challenging births and because they were so challenging, it made me feel really alive. I was like holy cow, you can create a human being and it’s coming out of your body and it’s bananas. But it made me appreciate how dangerous the process of delivering a child can be and so terrifying and how precious life is. After my first two, my body went back, because I was an athlete my stomach bounced back but when my third one came everything went. He was just like chilling in there, and my ribcage got wider and I have a few tiny stretch marks that I sometimes see and sometimes I don’t. But I kind of just attribute that to genetics, like cellulite and stretch marks there is not much you can do about it. I breastfed all three of my children, and after I just decided to just get my boobs done. But it didn’t come from a place of insecurity, in fact it came from a place of loving myself, and being like "you know what I fucking deserve these". I wasn't looking to change my image, I was just looking to be back how I was, now I’m gonna give back to myself.

    Jenne Lombardo The Houghton Girl

    "When we were in the car last night, my kids were like “who do you love more, us or bla bla bla?”  I was like you don’t understand, there’s nobody I can love any more than you guys, but myself. I was like I’ve gotta love myself first and you guys do too. If you’re not numero uno then everything else is going to fail, if you don’t love yourself then nobody’s ever going to be able to love you and never going to be able to give it back."

    Katharine: "Can you define confidence?"

    Jenné: "Confidence to me it is really loving yourself,and it’s not being arrogant and unapologetic, but just saying I’m working with the best that I’ve got and to the best of my ability. And it’s not trying to be an ace and wiz at everything, it’s just being able to say at the end of the day I tried and that makes me confident. Being confident for me also comes in place with accepting that you’re not going to be the most popular and you’re not going to be the prettiest and the smartest and the richest and that’s okay why do you want to do that to yourself? Just say thank you God for letting me be here I owe you to give back and do my part and be the best that I can be. How can you not... that sounds like an awesome way to live, it sounds liberating and freeing and that’s pretty damn confident to me."

    "To be able to say like, to be able to say with confidence, “I’m different, yes, and different is OK,” whether that’s your sexual orientation... Like, why do we have to have answers for things? Maybe you like boys today, girls tomorrow... I dunno. Maybe you’re a vegan today, meat eater tomorrow. Just give people a place to be able to explore themselves and feel safe."

    Katharine: "What gives you strength?"

    Jenné: "My love for my family and my family’s love for me."

    Katharine: "What gives you joy and happiness?"

    Jenné: "Hanging out and laughing.... Memes... legit."

    Jenne Lombardo The Houghton Girl
    Katharine: "What part of your body do you love?"

    Jenné: "My bum and my stomach."

    Katharine: "What part of your body don’t you love?"

    Jenné: "The backs of my thighs... fucking hell."

    Katharine: "What role does your industry play in your life and what would you change?"

    Jenné:  "If you had asked me this ten years ago it would have been a significant role. I would have felt like I had to be keeping up with the Joneses, and had to afford all those nice shoes, this that and the other, and now it’s like, I’ve got three mouths to feed. If I can afford them great, if not, no sweat, it’s cool.

    "I would introduce a new guard of people to help lead the fashion industry. I would stop forcing designers to enter an industry that I don’t particularly think is sustainable. In fact, I know it’s not. Not he way it’s currently set up, unless you’ve got the money to keep plowing through, it’s really challenging. Designers need to have more access to customers. The way that store policies and returns and production schedules work, it’s antiquated.

    "Idealistically, we wouldn’t hero just this front row, perfect, skinny perception. You know, most of my friends, a lot of them are models, and I’m not mad at them for being tall and skinny and successfully making their careers, that’s great. They’re blessed, they know that they are. But there’s more to fashion than just that. And it’s like, the women you design your clothes for aren’t just girls who look good on the runway.

    "I wanted to be a part of this project for several reasons. I mean, first and foremost, it really is to let your audience and the industry know about real women struggling with real women things doing real women things. We’re imperfect, and our flaws and our imperfections I think it’s the most beautiful thing. I’ve been a fan of yours from the beginning, and I still am. Everything that you’ve created, are some of my favorite things- so to put women in these beautiful garments with context? It’s so much more meaningful than just sending them down a runway without any history about why, and it just makes things prettier."

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