The women’s T-shirt in this photo is one of the first fashions I created from using men’s 100% cotton t-shirts I purchased from Walmart for 2.00 each. The Lord has always asked me to go forward from a position of weakness and to trust Him to make a way for me when I could not see a way. This story is taken from my book Divorced Yet Not Forsaken. It hasn’t been easy, but the Lord has been faithful to help me every step of the way and He will help you to do whatever it is He is asking you to do.
Two years after my divorce, the Lord spoke to me about my dream of creating a women’s fashion line of clothing for charity, and I couldn’t have been poorer at that time.I had tried to start this dream 26 years earlier when my children were still toddlers. I could see then that this dream was going to require more time and money than I had to give if I was going to be the mom I needed to be. So, after praying about it, the Lord impressed upon me to put my dream on hold and that it would happen later in life. It seemed that time had arrived. I had a lot of time on my hands, and I needed a cause to live for now that my children were grown and on their own.
The earthquake in Haiti had happened around this time, and I remember wanting to give towards helping the victims in Haiti, but I had little money to give. While thinking about the little I did have to give, I was given a vision of a woman from Haiti asking me why I hadn’t cared enough about her to help her. When she asked me that question, I defensively thought about my own financial difficulties. Countering that defense, another thought came to my mind that made my defense seem wrong. The fact is that I lived in America where the possibilities of creating wealth were mine if I chose to go for it. The woman in my vision didn’t have that option. Feelings of shame overcame me for thinking only of my own needs and for not wanting to complicate my life with difficulties just so I could help her. In my heart, I knew I had to follow my dream, and I decided to go forward, trusting God to help me in this cause.
I have a background in fashion, as a print model in my early twenties, and later, as a fashion photographer. But it had been years since I had even looked at a fashion magazine, so I felt clueless as to what the current fashion trends were. I did know how to sew, but I had no formal training in clothing design. With the knowledge I did possess, I knew I would have to find fabric resources, learn how to make patterns, buy machines, connect with women to help me sew the clothing, and then find ways to sell it. The enormity of it all seemed overwhelming. Even so, all things are possible with God, and I went forward by faith, believing that each of these concerns would somehow be resolved
.Do Not Despise the Day of Small Beginnings
I started where I was. I needed to find affordable fabric to practice on, so I began by buying existing tees and redesigning them. Because I was unable to find the tees I wanted, I went to Walmart and bought men’s 100 percent cotton tees, re-cut them, and turned them into really cute women’s tees. I listed them on Etsy and they sold. Even though I was experiencing some success, I also experienced a host of other emotions, as I tried to figure out how to go forward without the needed experience that brings knowledge. It wasn’t long before I realized how hard it would be to birth this dream of mine. When I would get discouraged, the Lord would ask me, “Is there not a cause worth fighting for?”
If I had to describe these beginning years, it was like I had been put into a dark room, and to avoid being hurt, I had my hands reaching out in front of me searching for the light switch. I decided to go on a fast to seek God for wisdom, and afterward, the Lord shed some light upon my path. He told me that my fashions would be involved with the city of Chicago, and to keep my eyes open for such an opportunity.
Two weeks after this fast, I heard about a contest the city of Chicago was hosting and I entered it. I quickly designed a line of clothes that would be judged by a blind jury. I was chosen, along with twenty-six other designers, to participate in an education program, along with the opportunity to sell my fashions at a pop-up shop close to Magnificent Mile during the Christmas season. It was through this competition that I was able to make more needed connections in the fashion world. I talked to working designers and was able to find out how they found their customers, where they bought their fabrics, and many other questions I had were answered through these new connections. Soon I was spending thousands of dollars each year to produce my clothing line, hoping and praying that I would make my money back. Each year, with God’s help, I did just that.
33Carla Deel Gavilanez, Laura Bonner Wurst and 31 others30 CommentsLikeCommentShare