Autumn in New York with Gretchen Jones
In a politically and socially fraught world that feels increasingly difficult to make sense of, Gretchen Jones has been a guiding light and a grounding pillar of knowledge in our lives. It was during the 2016 election that we first encountered Gretchen as a voice of activism (though we were obsessed with her long before as our all time favorite Project Runway designer). She is meticulously informed, unapologetically opinionated, and entirely open- using her platform to share her ideas, perceptions, and qualms in a way that feels not only refreshing and useful but also absolutely necessary. From the moment that we heard what she had to say on everything from female entrepreneurship to the changing landscape of the fashion marketplace to the state of women's rights in the US we felt immediately connected to her. Inspired by her bravery to speak out about the very same issues that we find most important, we were eager to meet her at the Women's March in Washington, but the chaos of the whole experience made any kind of planning almost impossible. So needless to say we were thrilled when our paths finally crossed on a sunny New York afternoon in the first few weeks of fall. The kind of support that we have long received from Gretchen is rare and all the more valuable coming from someone whom we respect and admire so much. She has championed our brand and lifted us up since the second she found us, modeling exactly the kind of female empowerment that we hope to embody not only in our journals, but in our entire way of being as a company. Featuring Gretchen feels more than appropriate, and we can't explain how thrilled we are to shine a light on such an incredibly strong, intelligent and beautiful woman. See below to read Gretchen's wise words on navigating the expectations of womanhood, and her thoughts about Dôen as a brand for all women.
– Phoebe Dean
"At a certain point in my life I lost the feeling of being incomprehensibly and innately connected to my name and body in the way I always had before. It was as if one day I looked in the mirror and ‘me’ had entirely vanished. I hated the way I looked, I hated the words coming out of my mouth, I didn’t like what I was wearing, I didn’t relate to how I was behaving, doing for a living, feeling, saying.
I was lost and confused, but I kept pushing, exploring, and trying on new versions of myself with far less attachment than I can remember doing in my past. While searching to reconnect with my own creativity I found new brands that spoke to me (enter Dôen), and with that I gave into elements of myself I had been either fighting, or completely unaware of. I polished up in areas I knew needed work, all the while feeling lonely and lost and confused. And then suddenly, after many new chapters, adventures and challenges, I started looking in the mirror and could see my ‘self’ beginning to re-emerge.
I’ve started to see everything I’ve always been in a new, more gentle light. And I’ve been delighted by who I am becoming, because that person feels whole, real, smart, funny, and as dedicated as ever to being exactly the person they always were: more human. What I am is a woman, designer, public figure, homebody, explorer – who loves to connect with women she adores, who’s growing out her bangs and hating it, who’s starting to wrinkle and grey and accepting it, who’s stepped away from design for a bit to embrace her academic side, who’s confused about the state of the world.
I am a woman who’s found some solace and a sense of home here in the #Dôencollective, because I am 3/4 small town country girl and 1/4 complicated city chick, and because this brand allows me the room to march to the beat of my own drum. My beat isn't the norm, I've chosen to not procreate, settle down, suck it up or quiet down. And remarkably this is who I always was... I just didn’t know it."