Love Sewn for Seaside by Anne Hunter
Fashion designer Nicole Paloma has teamed up with Seaside founder, Daryl Rose Davis, to introduce her sustainably-sourced, local luxury fashion brand, Love Sewn (#love_sewn), a curated six-piece collection that epitomizes the Love Sewn motif for Cabana by The SEASIDE Style®, one of the Seaside Associated Stores.
At a time when many leading fashion designers are setting up shop in cosmopolitan corners of the country, Paloma finds inspiration for her line through strong women in Walton County, especially the likes of Davis. “Daryl is an an inspiration and an extraordinary business woman that I have looked up to for years,” she says.
Paloma began sewing in 2007 under her fashion label called Nicole Paloma Inc. The idea for Love Sewn would be planted seven years later when the designer returned home from rehabilitation to discover that her artistic creations, stitched on the sewing machine, were a physical manifestation of addiction recovery. She set out to bring the same healing to other women and formed Love Sewn, a for-profit company whose mission is to provide inspiration for women who are recovering from addiction, eating disorders, mental illness and abuse by giving them an opportunity to work during their rehabilitation. Until she could develop the idea into a wholesale ordering business and create the revenue stream to employ women to sew the designs, Paloma continued to water the seeds for Love Sewn while also tailoring her fashion line at her retail store, Monet Monet, in Grayton Beach.
It all came to a head when Paloma reached a crossroads with her fashion line last fall. “It wasn’t about coming up with another good idea. It was how to do it with an intelligent business mind. How do I get from Point A to Point B in a new way?”
Paloma thought of Davis. “Daryl is just such a powerhouse. And to see what she and Robert have created in Seaside speaks for itself. She did it. I could do it,” Paloma says. The designer contacted the founder to ask if she would meet and give her advice. Paloma’s number one question: “Should I put everything behind Love Sewn and close the storefront for my fashion line?”
Davis embraced the idea of Love Sewn immediately. “I have 10 years of sobriety behind me and could identify with the same experiences,” Davis says. “I wanted to be part of helping Nicole accomplish her dreams because I believed in them wholeheartedly. She has talent, enthusiasm and a passion which I can identify and admire,” Davis says. Paloma subsequently closed her store in Grayton.
For Davis, that admiration formed as a child in Brooklyn where working moms were her example. “My earliest memories from my childhood apartment in Brooklyn, New York, were that other mothers went to work everyday just as mine did,” Davis says. “I grew up assuming that this would be my life as well. My mother’s friends were women who worked and I have always been surrounded by working women throughout my life. I cannot remember a time when I knew any mothers that did not work outside the home and also do the majority of work within the house.”
Davis’ entrepreneurial spirit was influenced by the circumstances of her childhood and her own mother’s enterprising drive to provide for her daughter. “My biological father died before my mother gave birth. As a young 20-something woman in the 1950s, my mother was left with the responsibility of taking care of herself and me. Schooled in accounting, she was able to secure employment at a firm in Manhattan. This was followed by a stint in retail sales and then relocation to Triple Lake Dude Ranch in Succasunna, New Jersey, where she took a job as the ranch manager and social director.”
Mother and daughter would relocate seven times to different states by the time Davis was in junior high school. “These moves were precipitated by the death of another husband and then a divorce from a third. Each time, she found employment in a different field,” she says about the influence of her mother. “She worked as a surgical nurse, a home economics teacher and in various other professions before she decided to go back to college to study psychology, eventually graduating and having a very successful private practice.”
The lesson that the maternal forebearer drilled into her daughter was self-reliance. “I was to be able to support myself at any time, in any situation that life throws at me and not depend on a man to take care of me. I took this to heart and it became the mantra for myself, as well as for the women I have employed in Seaside Associated Stores. I believe in fair wages, benefits and flexible schedules to accommodate families. This mantra has helped create a very successful working environment for my staff at Seaside Associated Stores.”
As women shift from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership, women like Davis and Palmoa are paving the way. “I have witnessed many other women in their recoveries. And what seems to be a driving force that moves them forward is the ability to support themselves and their children. Many women must remove themselves from their current living situation in order to be able to maintain their sobriety. Their work or their job will become the constancy in their home life as they make the changes necessary to stay sober,” says Davis.
When it comes to the Love Sewn line, Paloma’s first rule is to be insanely comfortable. “With Seaside’s natural effortless elegance, I went with natural linen, luxuriously soft cotton stripes and a pop of an unconventional terry,” she says. The artist points out that these clothes were meant to do it all. “From lounging on the porch, to throwing it on over your bathing suit, to actually putting on shoes, which is not completely necessary at the beach, and dashing to to dinner.”
With such powerful motivational motifs woven into the fabrics, Love Sewn clothing not only offers comfort, but is threaded to inspire and empower women to reach their goals, not just by wearing the line, but by sewing it themselves. “That fear of messing the shirt up is so paralyzing that you never start it,” she adds. “But I found that everytime we make a mistake in life we turn it into something else. That’s self-love, sewn.”
Davis advises women entrepreneurs to follow their instincts about creating a business. “Find a missing niche in the marketplace and start small to develop your idea. You may need a partner to work with you,” Davis explains. “You cannot do it all yourself if you have family obligations that necessitate working from home. Two partners can share the workload as well as the fun. It’s tremendous to see your idea come to fruition.”
The #love_sewn collection is available at Cabana by The SEASIDE Style®.