fbpx

Eyes Wide Open

Since launching her comfort-driven line of, primarily, short-sleeved tops, and long-sleeved, mock-neck T-shirts back in 2017, Donna Garzon has been a woman of her word. The Aventura-based designer has stayed true to her sustainable beliefs, creating garments with fabrics and fibers like natural rayon from bamboo, organic cottons and ultrasoft Tencel (made from the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees). She’s been consistent in creating simple, casual pieces that promote positive feelings.

And, perhaps most impressive, she’s pulled no punches with followers of her brand, Seventytwo. Garzon has been brutally candid about her early teenage struggles with anorexia and her later battles with anxiety, depression, and body image—and how all of it plays into her designs.

Her emphasis on uncensored feelings continues in Seventytwo’s third collection, called Awake, which speaks to mental health and silencing the negative voices. Born amid issues she confronted during the coronavirus pandemic, the pieces (in only black or white tones), express how the native of Venezuela “turned madness into my muse.”

Check out The Essentials section of the July issue to read more about Garzon’s backstory and her brand (seventytwobrand.com).

Can you put into words how fashion can accentuate the insecurities and struggles of someone with body image issues?

I know these body positivity movements have been trending in the past few years. When I started working on the Awake collection, it was mostly to focus on body neutrality. Your body doesn’t have to be anyone’s conversation. I shouldn’t be talking about your body. Do you notice how some people can’t even say, “Hi, how are you?” They’ll say, “Hi, you’re so skinny!”

For me, that was the inspiration. I haven’t encountered a brand that makes me feel comfortable in my skin—and in my soul. I wanted people to have that soothing sensation, not only in the clothing they wear but also when they read something about our brand. Comfort is not only about the outside, but it’s about the inside as well. People can identify with that.

If you go to any store, you can see the same garment in 14 different sizes. Even though I love that, you have to be conscious that every body type is different. You can’t just copy and paste a pattern. With Seventytwo, I like to work with the curves of a woman. So, a size small from Seventytwo can fit a person with a big chest or a bigger tummy. It’s not just about the size but also about the construction of the garment. And I think that’s missing a lot in the fashion industry.

How did your experiences during the pandemic influence the direction of Awake?

COVID, for me, was like the name of the collection. It was an awakening. I had to go through COVID alone in my house; my family is all back in Venezuela. And it was the first time in my life that I learned how to be with myself. And how to face all these demons, these anxieties, all the insecurities that were coming back.

One day, it just clicked. If I could gain some freedom by being in lockdown, then I could go through anything. That’s how Awake was born. When I started designing, I began to connect with my low feelings. I was trying to find a way to make them beautiful, and that’s how the garments started to come together.

Each top in this collection is inspired by a specific struggle. The Core top, with a ruch down the center, represents that feeling of anxiety in the chest. The Forza top, with a criss-cross design that looks like a straitjacket, is about the limitations we put on ourselves when we’re [not true to our innate spirit]. I’m trying to bring these shadows into the light. The dynamic that I had with those memories was very negative. It was important to me to make them positive.

I’m [hopeful] that people will feel curiosity about the shapes of the collection. Maybe, that curiosity is enough for them to read about Awake and everything that is behind it.

I just want people to feel safe, like a hug.

You May Also Like

Lifestyle Q&A: Ana ViegaMilton, Part 2

The wife of Cecil Milton—CEO of United Property Management, the firm launched in 1976 by his late father, José, that oversees some 9,000 residential units—may lead a life with its share of blessings, but rarely does a day go by where she isn’t actively paying it forward. Indeed, the quest to better people’s lives is

Lifestyle Q&A: Ana ViegaMilton, Part 1

The United Way of Miami had organized a bus tour of the city for a group of philanthropists who had donated $10,000 or more to the organization. Though it was a sightseeing trip of sorts, Ana ViegaMilton still couldn’t believe her eyes. “They showed us how I-95, instead of going straight, was designed to curve

Lifestyle Q&A: Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, Part 2

As CEO and president of the region’s philanthropic backbone—a community foundation that oversees an endowment with some $400 million in assets—Rebecca Fishman Lipsey works with 30 full-time staffers (and 20 board members) to identify issues important to Miami and to the foundation’s funding partners. But in a major metropolitan area with so many needs, it’s

Lifestyle Q&A: Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, Part 1

In another life, perhaps Rebecca Fishman Lipsey would have topped the Billboard charts by now as a singer/songwriter. After college, while living in New York City, she’d perform original material behind the piano at open mic nights in Greenwich Village. She describes the songs as “soulful, jazzy, and bluesy, with a touch of angry chick

Other Posts

The Undisputed Champion, Part 2

In the second part of this online version of the Lifestyle Q&A, Monica Skoko Rodríguez, executive director/program officer of Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, weighs in on everything from gender equity to COVID-related issues that have disproportionately affected women. For our full interview with the impressive 30-year-old, click on one of the digital editions of

The Undisputed Champion, Part 1

In another life, Monica Skoko Rodríguez might have been the head writer for a popular network series or late-night show by now. She fell in love with television writing while earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at New York University—and even worked as an intern and production assistant on The Colbert Report. But destiny

Lifestyle Q&A: Malena Mendez, Part 2

Since officially joining Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward in January, Malena Mendez, the nonprofit’s new president/CEO, has hit the ground running. She nearly doubled the size of the board, adding 18 community leaders. And an early initiative—the Broward Bigger Better Stronger fundraising campaign—already is nearing its goal of $1 million. It helped that Mendez

Lifestyle Q&A: Malena Mendez

The first time Ana Cedeno approached her about working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County, about 15 years ago, Malena Mendez was flattered. She nearly accepted the position of vice president of development, but ultimately Mendez decided to stay at Broward Center of the Performing Arts, where she would spend the better part