At Armoire, we’re casting a spotlight on some of the notable, powerful boss ladies in our community, and what being a boss lady means to them. Read on to learn all about Yi Zhou, Chief Creative of See ROSE Go, and her brand’s size inclusive vision for the future of fashion.
While I was born in China and raised in the Netherlands, I have lived in New York since 2005. I made my first professional mark working in Hong Kong as an active wear designer for Nike Inc., where I developed a reputation for blending intelligent design with savvy street-fashion. In Hong Kong, I presented my own eponymous collection based on my diverse fashion background and influenced by the fluid sensibility of Belgian designer Ann Demeulenmeester. In 2008, I led Converse’s foray into ready-to-wear as Global Design Director.
Currently, I work as the Chief Creative at See ROSE Go, a brand I co-founded. I’d say my creative approach is based on a solid technical foundation mixed with fine-tuned personal style. I liken my fashion design process to the pleasures of cooking – where solid experience and training have allowed me to toss out the cookbooks and innovate.
Erin Cavanaugh and I have been in the fashion industry for a long time. Forty years between us to be exact. It was during a casual conversation with a friend who wears plus sizes that we learned of the challenges she had getting dressed every morning due to lack of quality clothing available in her size. Instantly, we became emotionally charged to change the plus-size fashion narrative.
Everyone has challenges in their day to day life, but to understand that women are faced with such a daunting task before they even walk out the door! Now this was a problem we knew we could take on. We met and spoke with many women who wear plus sizes, and from these conversations See ROSE Go was born.
What we stand for
We’re a brand created from passion and purpose, with a thoughtful design sensibility guided by insights and input from real women. Women are not defined by size and neither are we.
We are differentiated ourselves by providing fashion that is as beautiful and original as the women who inspired it. Since the very beginning, we have been driven by design, innovative fabrics and superior feel and fit. We are constantly working to combat the limited style options in the plus industry to suit the personalities and needs of customers.
See ROSE Go x Armoire Collaboration
It’s the perfect match! See ROSE Go is essentially the perfect wardrobe for the “Boss Lady,” a woman who is constantly dreaming and achieving. We are excited and honored to be a part of Armoire’s expansion into the plus size market to provide premium options, options, and more options! This collaboration will introduce more women to See ROSE Go designs and plus-size rental we couldn’t be happier to be a part of each member’s Boss Lady story.
Behind the Brand
What does body inclusivity mean to you?
Body inclusivity to me is inclusive representation of different physiques, races, abilities, and gender identities. Beyond representation, I believe it also includes a level of respect. Everyone is different and these differences do not give permission to allow judgement or commentary on another person. It’s essentially the golden rule, respect and a celebration of differences rolled into one.
Any Career Advice?
Stay curious! Avoid the dreaded kiss of death: “… we’ve always done it this way.” It’s ok to be the one always asking why. Trust your gut instinct and lead with a vision.
Complete life balance is BS. Choose your priorities, find a sense of moderation and work at levels you are ok with. It changes daily.
What’s your get sh*t done mode?
Everyday is get it done mode! Each night, I review my schedule for the next day and make note of priorities. This way I can hit the ground running in the morning. My partner Erin and I both have families, so prioritizing must have dones versus what can move to tomorrows is essential for focus. Being able to plan ahead, give focus and stick to time efficiency is key to moving between big picture and day to day. Otherwise, you’ll be sucked into the black hole of minutia!
Who’s your boss lady inspiration?
Well known Boss Lady inspirations are Rei Kawakubo (the design mastermind at Comme des Garçons) Melissa McCarthy, Mindy Grossman and Ava DuVernay.
Closer to home, the women we interact with daily are our greatest inspiration! Our customers, advisors and team members give generously. It is totally inspiring to receive support of this kind. Founding See ROSE Go has integrated us with an entirely new community. Inspiration abound!
Where do you see the fashion industry going?
We are excited to see the industry making strides in becoming more inclusive, embracing diverse marketing and product options for the real world that are not exclusive to an outdated idea of beauty. There is certainly still a long way to go and See ROSE Go is here to continue driving that change.
In addition to inclusivity, the industry has to become more conscious of how it uses resources. Consumption and waste reduction will move to the forefront in a more authentic way. I also believe over-exposure to all things digital is making people hungry for a return to craft and quality. The touch and feel in real life will become more important again.
Through your own work, what do you hope your creations do within the industry and for the women wearing them?
Our ambition is first and foremost, to set new standards for our customer with thoughtful design, pioneering fabrics and superior fit and feel. She is our unwavering focus. Through rewarding her and raising her expectations, we can put a mirror up for the industry and demonstrate the untapped potential of a customer base that has been largely marginalized and ignored.
What do you love about designing for women of all sizes?
Designing clothing is a humbling endeavor, and building a brand from scratch is even more challenging, but we know that there is hunger for what we have to offer. When you can create a unique piece that inspires a woman to go out and make her impact on the world, it makes the struggle worth it.