At the beginning of the pandemic, my family received the heart shattering news that my sister and life-long best friend, Nicole (Coco) was diagnosed with stage IIIC2 cervical cancer. It broke me. In that same moment of fear, I realized that my sister needed me more than ever. Not the scared sister, but the supportive, loving and unconditional best friend she had always relied on. I put aside everything, and in midst of lockdown started flying to Texas to care for my sister and niece. Life changed in a blink of an eye. I witness my sister change physically, emotionally and spiritually. Once chemo and radiation started, we immediately realized that her clothing became inconvenient during her healing journey. The impotence I felt was overwhelming. I am just a fashion designer… I can not do anything to take this away… but how can I help?
My sister was not even going to be able to wear my contemporary brand… this is not going to work!
33:3 was born with the main goal to include my sister’s needs. I sat down with her to listen to all her complains. Together we started designing with a problem-solving mentality, but never loosing focus of style. When we started thinking about this inclusive line, it was a dream… perhaps a distraction of our reality. Time passed and she got sicker, we spent weeks after weeks in the hospital. Radiation had damaged her organs and an ileostomy ended up saving her life. I felt grateful to still have my sister, but in all her worries, one was clear… her clothes. She cried countless times telling me she never could wear “cute” clothes again, goodbye to her staple crop tops. “Don’t worry, I swear I’ll make beautiful clothes for you” … it was a no brainer for me. I started designing a line for ostomies, and it didn’t fit… it wasn’t her… it wasn’t me. I shared my frustration with her, and she had the genius idea to just keep the same collection I designed for her and adjust it for her new needs. I that moment I realized; it wasn’t about making an exclusive line for her… She felt excluded as it is and my purpose was to make her feel exactly the opposite. 33:3 is not a medical line, but in it's totality a dedication to my sister.
During these challenging times in our lives, we find peace in God. We are seeking purposed through our pain, in hopes we can also help someone else in their journey.
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” - Jeremiah 33:3