Fellow Ashtangi Kathleen Macfie with teacher Suzanne Faulkner

Fellow Ashtangi Kathleen Macfie with teacher Suzanne Faulkner

Caught admiring my Riding Jacket on Suzanne

Caught admiring my Riding Jacket on Suzanne

For those of you who have started a business or have leapt into a similarly crazy ring of uncertainty, the pieces of your life that bring comfort and stability become critical. My yoga club – Ashtanga Yoga Club Durham – hosted by Mama and Papa Ashtangis – Suzanne and Nikkos and a duo of Chihuahuas brings me the peace and community I’ve come to depend on. This class is filled with what has become my yoga family, who have been extremely supportive of my work building REID MILLER Apparel.

Top Left: Fitting the Riding Jacket on Emily Ladue; Bottom Left: Kathleen Macfie sharing a moment with daughter Wallace; Bottom Right: Skeeter supervises the fitting

When I found myself grappling with how to ensure that I had properly sized the Riding Jacket, Suzanne offered to host a fit session after our yoga class.
A bit of background information, usually when you are a bigwig, well-resourced fashion house you have a whole troop of “fit models” in every size, in the exact shapes, heights etc. of your choosing, 2, 8, 14 etcetera.  For me there are two challenges, 1) I am not a fashion house with unlimited resources, 2) I would like to fit the Riding Jacket to an athletic build and try it on women of all sizes to get a sense for how it fits women in the “real world”.
So enter Ashtanga Yoga Club Durham. To paint a picture for you, the studio is a beautiful, spacious, light-filled attic, with wood floors, and tchotchkes nestled into every corner. In this space is the most incredible group of people. They are strong. They are interesting. They are dedicated. They are humble. They are kind. They are hilarious. AND they have muscles, forming bodies of all shapes and sizes. To run the risk of creeping out my fellow yogis (many of whom will read this after our fit session), their bodies are a huge source of inspiration for my work. Muscles, curves, personal style thrown in in the form of an interesting haircut, tattoos, crazy yoga pants.

Top: Mika Twietmeyer in the Riding Jacket; Bottom: Kathleen Macfie in the Riding Jacket

What unites this wonderful, colorful group of people? Well I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that Ashtanga is a challenging practice that requires long term dedication to love you back. It can be hugely frustrating, even painful at times, but the beauty unfolds in twists and turns. More of yourself is revealed to you little by little. People of all ages and abilities are able to learn and grow physically and mentally. We were joking the other day about how often you hear f-bombs and other language in the class. It is not all ohms and inner peace. There can be real frustration and there is no expectation that you be perfect or composed during all this.
And this group of people take up really challenging jobs and pursuits that require this same dedication outside of the class. Public high school teachers, professors, heart surgeons, nurses, researchers, artists, parents.  The inspiration just doesn’t stop with this bunch.

Top: Aurelia D’Antonio in the Riding Jacket; Bottom: Emily Ladue in the Riding Jacket

It is difficult for me to put into words the gratitude I felt to have the Riding Jacket I created, drawing inspiration from this community, being sported all around me by my yoga family. On a practical note, I got to see the fit, take individual measurements and learn how to guide people for sizing across a range of sizes and body types.

A special thank you to Chip LeDuff for the beautiful photography, to Suzanne Faulkner, Cheryl Means, Emily LaDue, Aurelia D’Antonio, Mika Twietmeyer, Kathleen Macfie, Wallace Ahern for their participation and to Suzanne for hosting. You mean the world to me.

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