Loving the opportunity to spend a beautiful, inspiring Saturday with the San Francisco-based purplemaroon team! Josephine Tchang leads this driven, creative, and fun women determined to bring versatile and effortless chic designs to modern women. Cover photo by Christian Hadidjaja.

Contrary to popular stereotype that women are complicated in our needs, essentially most women I know have these consistent two objectives in selecting their day-to-day apparel: to look beautiful and feel beautiful. That being said, those two seemingly simple objectives are much more difficult in execution, especially for modern urban women. We, who have very limited time to juggle wardrobe selection in the midst of all sorts of craziness a day demands. As we starts to settle down to our lifestyle and routines, we become less interested in pursuing the hottest trends and gleefully stuffing our wardrobe from our favorite store’s newest offerings every a couple of weeks or so. Instead, we want to get versatile, easy-to-style high quality pieces that are appropriate for multiple occasions and shop less impulsively, less frequently. And THAT context, my dear readers, is where purplemaroon comes in to address.

purplemaroon is a new clothing brand based in San Francisco led by Josephine Tchang (formerly of Creative / Design Director of Babette), offering effortlessly chic, modern womenswear pieces for work, weekend, travel, and beyond. purplemaroon launched its premier Spring collection earlier this year, and now the fall collection is in the works. The core team includes Josephine, Jo Grushka, Nicole Bragg, Anna Kisielinska (the gorgeous girl modeling purplemaroon pieces!), and Aleksandra Bolka (the photographer behind Hello Matilda Photography).

I first got a wind of purplemaroon last September, thanks to Jo’s announcement on Facebook that she’s embarking on a new venture. I met Jo (and Anna) several years ago during Thread Show at Metreon when she was launching a Polish handbag line in the US and we’ve been keeping in touch ever since. So when the name purplemaroon started floating, I put it on my list to contact Jo when the brand is launched. Seemingly reading my mind, Jo reached out to me several days before my scheduled outreach, and we set up a date to hang out in the city when purplemaroon would do a lifestyle shoot with the whole gang. What a perfect opportunity to learn about the brand!

As Chris and I were driving to San Francisco’s Russian Hill area, I couldn’t stop thinking: why ‘purplemaroon’? Thankfully, Josephine made a whole blog post about it, so here you go :) When I met the ladies, they had done the first part of the photoshoot at Lombard Street, featuring (who else) Anna! For the first outfit, Anna was rocking the ribbon-tie dress.

Photos by Aleks of @hellomatilda
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Meeting Josephine and Aleks for the first time, as well as seeing Jo and Anna again was such a pleasure. The team has a great chemistry and they’re clearly having a lot of fun. We went to a nearby cafe to get some light brunch and started chatting. Josephine was all about catering to modern women by creating effortlessly chic clothes, designed to be worn different ways to fit their lifestyle. A fun tidbit: Josephine and Jo considered 250+ names before settling to purplemaroon!

I really admire Josephine for having the incredible courage to start something new after working in the same company for more than two decades prior to starting purplemaroon. She attributed the decision to her yearning to learn new things and take on new challenges, two things that she felt was lacking after being comfortable in one place. So one day, she took a month off from Babette to study a semester of experimental knitwear at Central Saint Martins (she previously studied at SFSU and FIT).

“I just pulled up a map and decided where to go, somewhere I’ve never been. I want to put myself in a unfamiliar place and challenge myself to learn new things every day.”

She enjoyed the experience immensely, and she knew she had to start something new. On the same day she parted ways with Babette, she started working on purplemaroon in her home. Working with local contractors, she provide designs to be made in San Francisco. For the first four months, Josephine and Jo built everything together, from building the website to establishing design and operation flows rich with feedback cycles to continuously refine things.

I was still in awe over Josephine’s bold decision, her leap to the “unknown” to start purplemaroon at this point. I was brought up in a family and culture where holding a tenured job is an accomplishment and that it’s rather improbable to start something new after being successful in a position for so many years. But not Josephine. She has dreamed to be an entrepreneur, building everything from scratch. It’s a totally different game, and she thrives in discovering and building the unknown.

Her “unknown” materializes in designing clothes she and her friends want to wear. The clothes not only empower the wearer, but they also multiple lifestyles of modern women. Josephine is the purplemaroon woman – hungry for knowledge, in charge, sexy but tasteful, and elegant. And with functionality and versatility crafted in purplemaroon designs, she will create purplemaroon woman out of you! It’s no wonder the label’s gaining traction in blogger circles and style showcase platforms like Chictopia these days.

As for me, I really like this tucks front dress that Anna was wearing during our light brunch session.

Photos by Aleks of @hellomatilda
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As we’re going to Embarcadero, the third and final location for the photoshoot, Chris complimented Josephine on her amazing parallel parking skills with her SUV (no rear camera, by the way). And I totally agree; her parking skills are undoubtedly a reflection of her day-to-day skills: the uncanny ability to neatly and efficiently get things done. She also could care less about ego – her purplemaroon clothing label is cut so that it is easily removed, leaving no hole on the garment.

When asked about her one year goal, Josephine mentioned building a wholesale strategy (purplemaroon will be in CALA Shows this June), growing exposure by introducing the brand outside of SF, as well as making the second collection that is cohesive with the first. The fall collection will go with the spring collection.

“I don’t want disposal fashion. I want to create items women can invest in,” she said.
“I now want to do shirts…and what’s the outerwear that goes with the spring pieces?”

Indeed, it requires a lot of thought to bring a design to life.

“It’s a luxury to refine designs as you go, instead of putting out new designs every two weeks like fast fashion.”

So looking at the current spring offerings, the purplemaroon DNA is already shaping up very nicely. Versatile, modern, minimal, approachable – a little tuck here, a little peek there for detail touches. It’s all function and comfort with the right dose of style. The clothes stand out but not screaming out loud.

“It’s hard,” she said, smiling, “…but it’s worth it.”

During this last set, Anya was wearing v-neck top and racer back tank, with cascade hem pencil skirt.

Photos by Aleks of @hellomatilda
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Easy styling is key, as it’s arguably the deciding factor of why people want to buy clothes. For this reason, styling is a crucial part of purplemaroon.

“We want to feel beautiful and look beautiful. Feeling beautiful is more important, since not that many people know how to put looks together. So we solve that problem with the design.”

At that last note, Josephine was practically beaming happily, “Yes, I’m a problem solver…a mystery solver.”

Photo by Christian Hadidjaja
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Thank you so much Josephine, Jo, Anna, and Aleks. (Nicole, I hope to see you next time.) It’s such a pleasure seeing you all and tagging along during your photoshoot. By now, you should see Aleks’ shots on purplemaroon website and social media channels. What an inspiring and stylish Saturday with the purplemaroon women! I can hardly wait for the next time we meet. In the meantime, there’s this great group shot Chris took of us below.

Photo by Christian Hadidjaja
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Thanks for reading; until next time,

Photos by Aleks of @hellomatilda (purplemaroon) and Christian Hadidjaja (Fafafoom)

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