Our Journey From 5th Avenue & Back.
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, life has a way of taking us back to the point of the beginning, showing us where it all began and how far we’ve come. If we’re lucky enough to catch the moment when the beginning point of the circle links with the end point, it can be an uncommonly poignant feeling. It allows for reflection, a chance to peek at the changes life has presented, and the progress of our efforts. Every once in a while it lets us see that we can play a part - no matter how small - in the world around around us, and contribute to positive change, for ourselves, and others.
Two and a half years ago, my friend Polina and I made a decision based on an experience that, in retrospect, turned out to be a turning point for us. When I insisted on skipping an event, because I “had nothing to wear,” Polina’s confused response was to suggest we simply go to Fifth Avenue, and “…buy me something.” This prompted a discussion, which ultimately led to the creation of Universal Standard. That day Polina wondered what could be the problem with getting clothing when one of the world’s greatest shopping streets lay mere blocks away. She didn’t know then that there wasn’t a single store on that entire sartorially illustrious street that carried my size. It still makes me sad to think back to that moment… and proud, because we’ve helped to change that.
First, just the two of us worked endless hours out of my small one bedroom apartment; later, a handful of wonderful people came on board to help us. Childhood friends gave up “real” jobs, packed up their husbands, children, beloved pets, and got into cars driving across the country to help us do everything from pack boxes to answer phones. We lugged packages to the post office, babysat each other’s children, and filled every spare corner of our homes with boxes, bags and merchandise. Little by little, we met others who came on board; people with vision, talent, and experience, but above all patience, humor, and humanity.
It’s only been two and a half years since that fateful conversation about the lack of options for a size 20 on Fifth Avenue. Today, Christian Siriano opens the doors of The Curated, his breathtaking store where he will not only showcase his incredible designs, but those of other brands as well, including ours.
Christian is an icon of inclusivity, and we are incredibly proud to be part of his first-ever store that is bringing fashion and style to women of many different sizes. This is just the beginning, but it feels good to catch this moment at a point of completion as it links back to its beginning, and know that no one will have to feel that Fifth Avenue shopping is just for others anymore.