The Woman You Want to Be // MILLENNIAL by Carolina Cordón-Bouzán
Mid-January. A table for two facing out over Grand Army Plaza at BG, Bergdorf Goodman’s classic, yet trendy restaurant. A staple in the itinerary of Manhattan’s Ladies Who Lunch. However, that is just scenery.
Sipping two bottles of San Pellegrino and enjoying two salads — a lighter lunch is preferred to avoid afternoon mental cloudiness — it resumed. Though it had been 18 years, this seemed like a weekly occasion. As if no time had passed. Especially considering the coincidence — however, I believe that accidents like this are truly meant to be — that both MILLENNIAL and The ALB Standard launched in the fall of 2016.
Carolina Cordón-Bouzán, the founder of MILLENNIAL, is not your average fashion industry twenty-something year old, nor is she an Upper East Side little blonde princess. She is a native Catalan and New Yorker; the dichotomy of which is evident in her fashion-forward designs. Carolina is a risk taker who created a life she loves. I do not know how else to say it, but love the life you live.
MILLENNIAL was born through Carolina's admiration of fashion as her ultimate form of expression. An International Affairs Major at George Washington University, Carolina had planned to continue her studies in global public health. However, prior to embarking on this new chapter, she cogitated her values, ultimately leading her to pursue something she admired fondly: fashion.
While some thought this was just a phase, Carolina is demonstrating her true colors. Determination, ardor, openness to learning, courage, perseverance, and heart. She says she is “putting her whole self into it.” You can tell.
MILLENNIAL just launched its second collection, the Off-Duty Model Capsule Collection, in honor of NYFW. It is featured in the new designer collective store, Dreams On Air, in SoHo. How is that for “just a phase?!”
What does being a Millennial mean to you? (Applicable whether or not you are one).
MILLENNIAL is a testament to today’s world. Targeted towards young professionals who prefer to not spend $250 for a tee at Barneys — “why give up your personal style just because you cannot afford it,” she quizzically inquired — MILLENNIAL reflects Millennials’ feelings of being at the juncture of “this new adulthood and our dwindling rebellious youth.” Touché, the collections represent just that.
MILLENNIAL is as green as they get. Green as in a baby company, and green as in green. Carolina is mindful of fashion being one of the world's most wasteful industries. She, therefore, set out to make her brand as eco-friendly as possible: using sustainable fabrics and highlighting safe and just working conditions. “We only have one life to live, so we need to do what we can while we are here,” she said.
Of course, Carolina says that she is beyond grateful for being able to dedicate her time to something for which she exudes such fervor, albeit that it does scare the s*&% out of her sometimes. “Starting MILLENNIAL was a big moment in accepting my true self and showing my true self to everyone through my ideas,” she says. “That was the scariest part: the fear of people’s judgement.” Carolina demonstrates her maturity at the ripe age of 23. “These experiences are the ones that make life so full, and if I am going to do it, I am going to be a voice for my generation and learn by doing.”
MILLENNIAL is more than just another fashion label, it represents society. Today's world molds Millennials' opinions and challenges them to define their values. MILLENNIAL is a way to “express and be yourself in a time when you do not think you can.” It is clearly influenced by society, languages, and cultures — which have always been fashion’s muses. It is a means through which Millennials can unite, to create the world they want, while simultaneously not shying away from being themselves.
This stimulating relevance is salient in MILLENNIAL’s premier collection: Uniforme Urbain. Influenced by the geopolitical and socioeconomic times of the past year, New York and Paris came to Carolina’s mind while designing. “The Paris attacks last November really resonated with me, especially the one at the Bataclan. It affected our generation, just as September 11, 2011 had. I remember the strength of New Yorkers, and I knew that Parisians would be the same,” Carolina said. “Our strength and unswerving urban attitudes helped us through this, while still looking like bad asses.” That is the true essence of MILLENNIAL’s first collection, “cultural events that urged Generation Y to band together in strength, numbers, and, most importantly, in love.”
What advice would Carolina give to adults — young and older — toying with the temptation of setting aside expectations and pursuing a passion? Carolina suggests asking yourself what your dream job would be. “Do not laugh or dismiss that ultimate aspiration that you think can only ever be a fantasy, go and get it! No one is going to give you anything in life,” she sagely articulates.
Diane Von Furstenberg’s book, The Woman I Wanted to Be, created a ripple effect in Carolina’s thoughts. [And is one of ALB favorite books]. It encouraged Carolina to question what she wanted her life to be. “Through those questions, I was able to picture the woman I wanted to be.” Diane was a Princess, yet she did not let that stop her from being a strong, independent businesswoman. “I loved the recollection of her days at Studio 54. She would leave her apartment at night, by herself, and go out to dance. It was very rare for a woman to not be on a man’s arm at that time, but she emboldened herself to be exactly who she wanted to be.”
The light lunch at BG ended up not being so light. Not because of the meal, but because of the sentiment, ideas, inspiration, and connection that transpired. Do not hesitate to reconnect with someone you last saw 18 years ago. Do not be afraid to pursue something you doubt will lead to success. What if it does? If you do not try, you will never know. Dare yourself and do it.
Sitting at that North-facing table were two twenty-something women who had last seen each other when they were six. In between their two rendezvous, they each began their journey to become the women they want to be.
MILLENNIAL is currently at Dreams on Air (120 Wooster Street). Dreams on Air is a concept store and PR showroom featuring 25 emerging and established designers. Carolina is excited about establishing a creative community to meet other designers and more established brands. She is most looking forward to interacting with clients and receiving feedback on her products.
In honor of this The ALB Standard and MILLENNIAL collaboration, get in on the exclusivity with 10% off the Femme/Hommed Cropped Sweatshirt with the code #ALBxCCB.