Lived In Series ~ Tabitha St. Bernard

Lived In Series ~ Tabitha St. Bernard

May 13, 2018

Our Lived In Series was created to capture our clothing on a series of women, all pursuing their own creative paths, to see how they live in Kordal. So many women in our lives inspire us with their drive, their talent, and their genuine sense of self. These are the women we design for. They remind us of why we want to design clothing in the first place: to create pieces that encourage comfort, ease, and the unique and honest beauty in each and every one of us.

When planning the photoshoot for our Spring 18 collection, we knew we wanted to feature a group of women of all different backgrounds that could wear the clothing in their own unique and beautiful way. Our friend Tabitha St. Bernard, a designer, activist and mother was one of the first women we thought of when organizing the photoshoot. We originally met through the sustainable fashion community and I was instantly struck by her ability to remain calm, present and graceful even in our stressful industry. A kind and beautiful soul through and through. She is the designer of her own zero waste clothing brand designed and produced in the USA called Tabii Just, the Youth Initiative Organizer for the Women's March, and the mother to a beautiful little boy named Ari. 

Photography by Corey Jermaine

tabiandari

With Mother's Day approaching, I kept thinking about a piece Tabitha had written about why she was marching on Washington for the Women's March. It really struck me how powerful motherhood can be, and the strength, love, and selflessness that comes with becoming a parent is such a powerful and beautiful thing. Here is a small excerpt of her reason for marching:

"I am marching for my son and husband. My husband is Jewish American. I am Trinidadian American. Together, our family represents so much of what I love about this country. We represent love, acceptance, diversity, peace and hard work. When my son was born I had a sort of awakening about what race in America would mean for our offspring. Adam and I were just two kids in love. We didn't think too much about how race relations in this country would affect our kids. When my son was born, though, I felt a burning need to protect him and give him the best. The best of myself. The best of this country. The best of this world."

tabiandari

We are so excited to feature Tabitha in a special Mother's Day version of our Lived In Series! We took some time to catch up with Tabi at her Brooklyn apartment and to see how she wears pieces from our spring collection in her day to day. During our visit we also got a peek into her life as mother to her incredibly smart, funny and adorable three-year-old son Ari. He's a amazing kid who likes playing the drums, listening to "We Will Rock You" by Queen, and running really fast in his lightning jacket outside!

When Tabitha isn't busy being the coolest mom ever she works out of her home office designing for Tabii Just and Livari and heading up the Women's March Youth Initiative. To learn more about her work, life and thoughts on design read our Q&A below!

Besides being an amazing woman you're also a designer, mother, and activist. How do you balance all of the incredible work you do? 

To be very honest with you, my amazing partner, Adam, is really the key to me being able to be a mom and still be engaged in various other things. We share every child-related duty so he fills in if I’m not able to be present. Without him, I couldn’t focus on my work the way I do. For the national school walkout, I was working insane hours and weekends for a month straight and he was a huge source of support throughout the process.

tabiari tabiaricute 
 

Since you've become part of the Women's March organization you've attended many protests and rallies, I always love seeing photos of you and your son at these events. What does it mean for you to have him there with you at these events?


He is a big part of why I am involved in Women’s March. I want him to grow up using whatever space he occupies in the world for good. I want him to see by my example that when you see an injustice, it’s your duty to show up and stand up for those affected. It’s now normal for me to pick him up from school and go to a protest and that makes me proud to see how used to it he is. 

What has been the biggest shift for you since becoming a parent? 

Time! I used to be in control of my schedule. Now it’s much more unpredictable. I can schedule a full week of work but if my son is sick, entire days of meetings get cancelled so I can be present for him. My life is now mine only when he’s in school or with his nanny share. Other than that, it’s a constant juggling act to dedicate more time to our family.

tabiaricouch aritabicouch 
 

How do you think sustainable design plays a role in politics? 

Fashion justice is an intersectional issue. Race, gender and immigration are just a few intersects for the people that make our clothing and that are impacted by the shopping choices we make. When we make the choice to support sustainable design, we make the choice to support the makers who are sometimes immigrants, women and women of color. Caring about these intersects means caring about who is in the decision-making seat in countries and that’s the politicians. So caring about politics and staying engaged is a natural extension for those who care about sustainable design. 

You work with deadstock fabric for some of the items in your collection Tabii Just, can you explain what that means? 

I work with one fabric vendor, Laura from Preview textiles, and she lets me shop from their Excess Room. This is where they keep their deadstock, which is fabric that is either surplus from mills or discarded because of an issue like inaccurate color. I start my design process for Tabii Just with looking at this excess and finding beauty in these remnants.

What rituals do you have with your son Ari? 

Bedtime is a whole thing at our place. He eats dinner, takes a bath, brushes his teeth and then we read him 3 books. Usually, it’s books from our local library which is nice because there’s only so many times I can read “The Avengers”. Then we say a Jewish prayer and a Christian prayer. We tell him one thing that he did that we’re proud of him for. I read an article years ago about things kids need to hear so I try to tell him about 3 of those every night. They include things like how happy we are that he’s in our lives, how smart he is, how kind he is, etc. It’s our bedtime ritual and I really enjoy it.

How does clothing play a role in your work and life? How do you blend style with comfort and mobility?

As a mom, comfort is key. I need to be able to move in anything I wear. I also try to pick pieces that help me look pulled together even when I don’t feel like it, like skinny black high-waisted jeans, a great coat, lush sweaters (like the Kordal one I have) and basic earrings. Right now, my uniform is a pair of flat maroon Everlane boots, Suzanne Rae navy high-waisted cropped pants, interchangeable tops with my black coat from H Fredriksson and a black lightweight bubble jacket for warmth from Patagonia. Most days, I go from lugging my son to school in his stroller up and down subway stairs to meetings for Women’s March so I need outfits that are comfy enough to handle both extremes. 


tabiariswinging tabireading 

 

Tabitha St. Bernard is 5'5" and measurements are:
Bust - 31"
Waist - 28"
Hip - 35"
 
She wears a size X Small in the Blush Freya Top and Erika Skirt, Lilac Essential Shorts, and Cream Francis Cardigan.
 
She wears a size Small in the Cream and Rust Verna Jumpsuits, Rust/Cream Francis Cardigan, and Lilac Essential Tank.
 
Shop Tabitha St. Bernard's story here!


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