Alina and I began our friendship on the bustling 23rd floor of Eleven Madison Avenue, where we were both investment banking analysts for the Retail & Consumer Products Group at Credit Suisse. Alina was one year senior, which in banking years translated to one hundred times more efficient and infinitely wiser in everything that mattered. Alina was patient, thoughtful and meticulous in her ways.
Amidst the mountains of financial printouts and corporate strategy pitchbooks covering her desk, I always noticed scattered sketches of figures and shapes, vying for her attention, but always left unfinished. She later confessed that she had been accepted into a fashion institute prior to getting her economics degree from Barnard College, Columbia University. I could see her long-suppressed creative spirits lifting and I knew that it was only a matter of time. Yidi joined the group from Georgetown University with a dual-degree in finance and international business. Aside from all the typical qualities that any good investment banker would normally possess – superb work ethic, attention to detail, and efficiency just to name a few, there was one thing in particular that stood out with Yidi – she had an eye for fashion. Despite pulling all-nighters and working 120 hour work weeks, Yidi would inevitably show up at work everyday with three hours of sleep, and a flawless outfit that she effortlessly pulled together the morning of. She pushed the boundaries of what it meant to wear formal work attire, which consisted of traditional black suits and collared shirts, by adding bright-colored scarves and other non-conventional accessories. I trust her judgment in work, and in fashion, and I am positive all those around her will say the same. Together, we created Terracotta New York out of our love for accessories, appreciation for the underlying simplicity of menswear and desire to translate our vision into understated everyday luxury. In bringing the male-inspired look to the modern day woman, Terracotta seeks to empower women, encourage individuality, promote confidence, and most importantly, add a dose of luxury flare and feminine twist to the menswear-inspired simplicity – all the while reminding us to have a little fun while we’re at it.