On July 17th 2018, I posted a picture over at the Always Leid Instagram page announcing that the Mt.Sealey Garden collection was almost sold out. Trust and believe that I'm still awestruck and grateful for the all the love and support received towards this venture.
From a business perspective, it's safe to say that this collection has been Always Leid's most successful to date and has garnered a great deal of recognition, an increase in clientele, media interest and in general positive feedback for the brand.
When approached by bloggers and writers who wanted to know more about the inspiration behind such a vibrant collection, I often responded "It's dedicated to my grandfather and his garden he used to tend to."
Here we are almost two years later from the conceptualization stage of the collection and I find myself questioning if I have answered this question honestly. Upon further introspection,a few months of therapy and lots of good,hard cries (and I mean those dry racking sobs where you feel like your chest is going to collapse.), I realized the truth.
The truth is I didn't do Mt. Sealey Garden just because of my grandfather and his garden. I did it because my grandfather died and I was being flooded with ALL the memories I had of him and I really didn't know how to deal. I had never been faced with the death of an immediate family member and it had me reeling with emotions I didn't know existed. It really is true that some things you never really understand until it happens to you. For the first time in my life, I was GRIEVING. It wasn't until he passed it really sunk in how much of an impact he had made in my life, how many things I wanted to ask and how much I took for granted. There were so many things I could have said and done and now he is gone.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that the creative process behind Mt.Sealey Garden was like those montages you see in the movies where the mentee dramatically loses his/her mentor to a senseless act of violence and then vows to avenge said mentor by conquering his/her fears (yes I've seen a lot of movies with that plot).
He passed in October of 2015 and I went through the balance of the year numb. It was now 2016 and boy was it rough. I was in tears half the time and I constantly battled depression. Nothing I came up with seemed good enough to pay homage to a man who had done so much for me. I also felt pressured to come up with another collection a year after my first mini-collection, Alpha Pack. When the September- October 2016 period hit ( his birthday was in September and he passed in October) I was in shambles. It was after that low point I was really able to goad myself into believing that he wouldn't want me to mope around and not move on. He was always a man of action and very outspoken . I just knew, had he been around,my constant gloomy state would be met with a "Nah maaan Raquel! You try and cheer up okay sweetheart'!".
Obsession replaced my depression. I made patterns and toiles, sought out the perfect fabrics, sketched and colored until my fingertips ached and pinned hundreds of inspirational images on Pinterest. A whole year had passed and people were asking me what was next for Always Leid. I had no response for them, because I honestly didn't know. I wanted the launch of this collection to be perfect. It HAD to be perfect...for him.
Fast forward to December 2016, I was ready for the editorial shoot. I handpicked my team and the talent and the outcome was pure magic. (See for yourself HERE!)
In April of 2017, I launched the collection and the rest is history!
Mt. Sealey Garden is indeed almost sold out, but the lessons that have accompanied the entire collection and process will stay with me for the rest of my life:
1. Tell your loved ones how you feel about them. They may not be here tomorrow.
2. Take nothing for granted.
3. There is ALWAYS a bright side to a negative situation, it's just up to you to find it.
4. Your art is your therapy.
Continue to rest in peace, Dad Dad.
I love you.