We had the good fortune of connecting with Timothy Westbrook and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Timothy, what principle do you value most?
I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains in a rural town of 60 that’s right six-zero people year round. All you have is nature there. Nature doesn’t judge you, it is resilient and kind. It seems merciless, but it is simple and balanced. Environmental sustainability has always been the core value of my work. How can we experience luxury in a way that not only allows us a decadent experience but also has an altruistic outcome? For example, what if instead of polluting, when we drive a car it purifies the air? What if attending a fashion show had the same carbon footprint as planting five trees for every attendee. At the beginning of the pandemic when humans started to slow down and retreat, globally we saw the earth begin to heal itself. The smog subsided. If we could globally agree on a slower pace and find a universal peace we would not be racing toward our own destruction. I am interested in creating a better relationship and bond between people and the natural world through the production of my clothing. This first official collection is caught in the space between burial and rebirth to signify a release of the old to embrace the new. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein. It will take a creative approach to sustainability to solve the climate crisis. The pandemic was an opportunity for us to learn a collective lesson. I am hopeful that enough of us are interested in create a new normal rather than going back to the old status quo of a time before March of 2020.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Season 12 of Project Runway was my lowest of lows and it came only four months after my highest of highs when I was a guest speaker at the GreenBiz conference in NYC in 2013. I was 24 years old. I fell into a deep depression that I really only truly started to climb out of in 2017 and only started to conquer in 2019. Emotional and mental upkeep will be a lifelong practice but I believe that this is the underlying structure of my professional success. I exist professionally where art, fashion, weddings, sustainability, social advocacy, and event planning come together. I have cultivated a well rounded package out of my talents that is challenging to blend into a job that can keep me happy or satisfied, hence co-founding my own company. I firmly believe that personal is not the opposite of professional and that professional should not be void of personal. “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business,” absolutely disgusts me. “It is better to ask forgiveness than permission,” is ludicrous. So much of this and altruism finds its way into my work. There is a heart and pulse in my work that you can feel. A childlike playfulness, earnestness, naivety, and openness. There is also a subtle humor because however un-ironic my work is, it doesn’t take itself seriously. I create the work because I love the process and believe that every one of our actions has the ability to incite positive change and vibration. Part of the recent success that I have experienced is from my reconnection to my younger selves. I am giving voice to a little boy who wanted to wear dresses in the early 90’s in a rural town that was so unsafe that I needed to change schools. I have faced my fears and the more in touch I am with my most authentic self the more I have been met with success. It is so reaffirming that my recent success was not on the back of a reality TV show, but due to the merit and quality of my own work, creativity, and character. If you ever feel like you don’t have a cheerleader, give me a call, I will gladly root for you! Self love, and self guided pursuit of dreams is going to be (terrifying) more rewarding than you could imagine.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am at a very interesting impasse in my life. My childhood best friend died in 2019 and I was forced to reconcile with past traumas that I have never confronted. I am almost to two years of consistent regular weekly therapy. I, for the first time in my life, would like to celebrate myself for my perseverance and strength for getting to this point. I have spent two years creating the community and world around me that I want to live in because I spent 30 years trapped in the capitalist rut that was meant to serve the straight white man at the tippy top. It wasn’t a world built for people like me. I would like in this moment to acknowledge and honor myself. I am at the very beginning of what feels like an incredible wave and momentum that started with a severe amount so support, good timing, hard work, and dumb luck, to all of that I would like to mention Issa and Odesa Dragon AKA The Dragon Sisters and my business partner and co-founder of The Brooklyn Sewing Amy Verrier. I could write a book of all of the incredible people who have been along side me and encouraged me and they know who they are, perhaps there will be an entire article where I express my gratitude to each of them individually. But at this time I feel that Amy, Issa, and Odesa are experiencing the same recognition and self-love that I am. A rising tide lifts all ships, but lets shout out to those little individual drops of water who never gave up when they saw the size of that boat.
Other: Venmo @unicornfund
Photography: Danielle Simone Co https://www.instagram.com/daniellesimone.co/ Hair: Luca Ponce https://www.instagram.com/lucaponcebeauty/ Nails: Gabriela Armas https://www.instagram.com/dasmeisterwerk/ Shoes: Ponto Footwear (recycled leather) https://www.instagram.com/ponto_footwear/ Jewelry: Cival Collective https://www.instagram.com/civalcollective/ Styling Assistants: Eleven https://www.instagram.com/deadanimemom/ Alessandra Cannella https://www.instagram.com/freaksh000w/