Forward from the designer, Rosemarie Macklin:
As an oldie but newbie in this world of fashion, I was informed that the world wants to know who is Rosemarie Macklin? Therefore, let me start by saying I am a proud Jamaican woman. I take pride in knowing that my humble start in life was from the busy city streets of Kingston; where fashion was an everyday aspiration. Back then, Jamaicans were always waiting for new styles to come from overseas. As a young girl, I cannot recall the names of any Jamaican fashion designers. Yet still, the Jamaican community from then until now is infatuated by fashion. I am the daughter of a Reggae legend by the name of Glenmore Brown and the first daughter of a Jamaican culinary chef - Tulice Wray. My mom and aunts were divas of the 70’s, and as a young girl, I looked forward to watching them get dressed up. I marveled in their feminine display as they organized their full ensemble for that evening. I can remember my mom saying, “you can recognize a real lady by the attention to detail she puts into making an appearance.” Although we were far from rich, my mother instilled in all her girls that before leaving home, look in the mirror as that’s how the world will view you. Her message to us was to dress and look your best always. I strive to design garments that can be worn by women who want to make statements, women who are not afraid to make changes. Later in life, I realized that’s the reason why most Caribbean homes have a mirror right at the front door. These are fashion tips and insight that a girl like me wouldn’t and will never forget.
Blessed with the genes of creativeness flowing through my veins, I found my own love in the world of fine art. Then, during my high school years in England, history classes became an obsession. I was fascinated with period pieces and Victorian stealth. I would often drift off in class, imagining the lives these people led and how they maneuvered everyday wearing such elaborate garments, all the while redesigning and updating their garments to suit the functioning world. I would say that these thoughts sparked my interest in how fashion played such an important role in my life. I’ve always admired the Renaissance era, where fashion and style were of the highest importance, and young men and women gleaned in fashion.
I arrived in NYC in 1990 and can clearly remember my first walk on the streets of Manhattan. Confident with my strong British accent, my own natural blonde; Pam Grier afro, hazel contact lens, white tank top and blue jeans so severely ripped that all that was covered was my derriere and private parts. I was gobstruck, (English word for cats got your tongue), as so many people were staring and wanted to know where I got my jeans from. I got my first taste of what the paparazzi meant. I Did not realize that the US had not caught up on that fashion trend from the UK. I left London that morning with not a songbird noticing me, but once I landed, all eyes were on me, thanks to my over ripped jeans and crazy blonde afro. That’s when I realized fashion has power, be it good or bad.
A few years later, I relocated from the city to the suburbs where my world changed. I started to realize that so many of my friends would always ask me to create outfits for them. I owned a beauty salon and spent many hours with an array of women and personalities. I could always identify the clients who were confident in who they were and what they wanted. These clients dressed and carried themselves different from others. As my mom said earlier, “you can tell a woman of class by the detail she puts into her appearance.” This remains true in my world. I found myself catering more and more to these clients who became more like mentors to me than clients.
Within a few years, I met my husband and he, my daughter and I moved to the Hamptons, NY. There I opened my own hair salon and catered to private clients.
While being a private hair stylist and personal shopper, I found that my love for fashion became more and more intense, which allowed me to transition out of the hair world and immerse myself completely into fashion.
Although the Hamptons is a great place to call home, we were hit with the devastation of 911 and that made us all wake up and take note. We then moved to Louisiana to start anew. We were fortunate enough to acquire an old historic home, that I renovated and transformed into an amazing Bed and Breakfast. We hosted large events with Governors and patrons from all walks of life. My biggest memory was from a Christmas party that I invited around 400 people from all professions to attend. I was approached by an elderly man who stated, “I don’t know who you are, but little lady you have created history here in Alexandria.”. I asked whether that was bad or good. His remarks were’ “blacks and whites have never celebrated anything in this home for over 100 years.” Although many may remember Katrina, his words brought me back to my childhood memories of different period times. I hold a fire in my heart daily, that this man saw a change in what I had accomplished and that I was able to make a positive change in history.
Now that the children are all in, and out of college, my amazing husband gave me the best birthday present an empty nester could dream of. The keys to my own boutique to do what I’ve always wanted to – pursue a full-time career as a fashion designer. After days and weeks of holding the keys, I finally came up with the name Si_Mee (pronounced See Me).
On my many trips overseas, I would seek out fabrics from local markets and shop in as many Avant guard stores for unique pieces for my clients. I simply loved this, as it fulfills my obsession to treasure hunt for ‘wow’ pieces. I find that there are so many hidden gem stores in many countries and I want my store to be just the same. A place where only real fashion hunters find what they are looking for. That’s why I am tucked away from the Vegas Strip and at the end of the Eastside, just before Lake Las Vegas.
Si-Mee is simply an extension of who we are. Worthy of being seen and appreciated. To be seen is to be recognized, and I aspire for the world to recognize Si_Mee_Collection as a brand for “women who make things happen.”