Once in a very long while, we are graced with the presence of someone whose beauty is entirely not of this world.
Audrey Hepburn shined her bright light on the silver screen throughout the 1950s-70s, wowing the entire world with her breathtaking beauty and impeccable grace in iconic pictures like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Audrey Hepburn is, for us, that irreplaceable, timeless female essence that spans across generations and teaches us a type of beauty that is so true and pure that it transcends time and space.
Photo via barble.harris37, Flickr.
Unlike beauty that is only skin deep, the poignancy of Audrey’s timeless beauty is heightened by her inner beauty, her style in the greatest sense of the word. This is the kind of beauty that inspires, and never expires. It is a beauty we can hold on to...it is beauty eternalized.
In some inexplicable, perhaps cosmically-determined way, she is the beginning inspiration and ongoing source of wisdom for the Utopiat journey, which has since expanded but is grounded in the beauty and ideals of Audrey Hepburn.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
In the summer of 2011. Jasmine watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the very first time. The glamour, beauty and charm embodied by Audrey as Holly Golightly was irresistibly intoxicating and Jasmine soon found herself undergoing a frantic internet search for all the fabulous things Audrey wore in the movie.To her astonishment, the only items to be found online were cheap, heartless replicates, made and sold on a commercial scale as Halloween costumes.
This was the first time in Jasmine’s life that she felt such an undeniable sense of determination to manifest her soul’s desires, so much so that when she embarked on her numerous business trips to China that summer, she hired a tailor and went to the fabric market each day between meetings and eventually re-created the iconic sleep mask, earplugs and black dress featured in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Although the journey began with the simple intent to create these items she wanted for herself, Jasmine felt compelled to put these items on Etsy, and the rest of the Utopiat story began to unfold from there.
The lost years, without Audrey
Photo by Utopiat. All rights reserved.
Jasmine spent the subsequent four years navigating a chaotic industry that was largely unknown to her, one ruled by trend-based consumption. In her attempt to realize her identity as a brand, she unwittingly got pulled into the depths of the fast fashion realm, which she deeply disconnected with. During this period, the brand carried over 1000 fast-fashion, mass-produced products. Sadly, the Audrey collection got buried beneath the glitz of the other product offerings and didn’t get the attention or nurture it deserved.
Audrey, the fairy godmother
See our version of this stunning hat, which took us 2 years and thousands of dollars to finally develop here. Also see our version of the earrings here.
The next chapter began in 2015, after an intense spiritual awakening during a healing journey to the Peruvian Amazon. Suddenly and without any foreseeable backup plan, Jasmine made the radical decision to stop the brand’s ever-worsening descent into the fast-fashion realm, just as the company finally entered a respectable profit point. She didn’t know how or when she was going to find a way to promote these beautiful and truthful products that resonated with her soul, that she believed would on some level add value to the human experience. What she did know was that she could no longer pretend to be okay with participating in the current system, dominated by mindless consumption and corporate greed.
The day we took down the fast-fashion items from our site, we decided to open another Etsy store dedicated to our Audrey products. Unlike all the other products we sold, these had endured as exclusively designed, ethical, and mostly handmade.
It was pleasantly surprising that this time around, our Audrey products soared on Etsy. We were featured in Buzzfeed and Refinery29 within the first three months of opening the store, and soon we had generated enough sales to sustain our tiny operation. Eventually we were able to expand our small Audrey collection with more products and its revenue grew to top what we had made with the previous product offerings.
With this Audrey Hepburn miracle, we were able to fund the manifestation of the current Utopiat product development process. We are now paving the road for a new way of designing and producing. These will be beautiful products that stand a chance to not only showcase a new concept for holistic Chinese manufacturing, but to challenge the unsustainable production processes that are currently utilized in all parts of the world. We hope to revolutionize, pioneer and inspire a movement for a more conscious consumer behavior.
Audrey + Utopiat, the present
As we navigate this magical journey and continue to realize our vision for presenting truth and beauty in a world dominated by consumerism, Audrey remains an eternal muse, a “fairy godmother” that drives and fuels us every day. As our only source of revenue until our yoga line and other products launch, the Audrey Collection serves as our livelihood. What’s perhaps more important is that it inspires generations of women to emulate a beauty that is so worthy of our celebration, that is not defined by trend; that is timeless and eternal.
The best part of the journey is this: every time a girl is faced with the choice to be like Audrey, or be a Kardashian for that costume party, she will be steered towards the beautifully-crafted and lovingly designed Utopiat products and support Audrey’s legacy (for the record, Kim supports it too!) We really do believe in the magic and power of Audrey Hepburn. We really do believe that she makes the world a better place with her grace and beauty, and that she serves as a divine inspiration for women of all ages.
Audrey + Utopiat: the next chapter
Photo via Raoul Luoar, Flickr.
We are now working to incorporate our Utopiat product design process with our Audrey products, which means we will use only natural, organic raw materials and artisanal production whenever possible. We will also produce more staple pieces for women that aspire to be as lovely as Audrey. These products can not only be used as costume pieces, but incorporated into any wardrobe. These clothes will cease to go out of style. They can be passed down to future generations of women, and they should be, as it is these women who will continue to celebrate the essential beauty eternalized by Audrey.
Currently we are updating our eye mask/ear plugs set, which has already been updated three times since the products’ inception. We literally can’t help but dissect these products based on our customer’s experiences as well as our own. With ongoing feedback from consumers we are constantly coming up with ways to make each piece just a little more magical. For the upcoming “collector’s edition,” we will be using natural lapis lazuli crystals as “eyeballs” on the mask. It is ancient Chinese tradition that these crystals provide healing properties when used in the mask. We will also be using natural freshwater pearls to accentuate the earplugs.
Jasmine and our production comrade Mr. Huang braves the ever-crowded fabric market in guangzhou during our latest production trip to look for golden trims for our eye mask 4.0 edition. We decided after seeing what was available that we’d customize our own versions of the trims using more natural and sustainable materials than the massively produced alternatives.
We will be developing new Audrey products for each season. We are already working on producing a chic Audrey-inspired sweaters and pants set. For these products we will be using only the finest cashmere and linen fiber. We are also developing a cashmere sock line inspired by this Audrey look. In addition to the white version, to honor the Audrey ensemble we will have hand-dyed socks, using exclusively plant-based dyes. This should make for what we believe to be the best socks on the planet.
We have also initiated a “I am an Audrey” campaign featuring women that embody the grace and beauty of Audrey Hepburn, because it is our mission that Audrey’s inspiration be celebrated forever and ever. check out our campaign here:
Utopiat + the Audrey’s legacy
Photo via Francesca Romana Correale Follow, Flickr.
Lastly, it is our goal that by January 2017, once we are more financially sustained, we will contribute 10% of all Audrey product sales to the Hepburn Children’s Fund so that we can help keep her legacy alive.
Because, in the end, our love for Audrey is eternal. She is the Utopiat muse, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
May we all be like Audrey, and be lovely.
SHOP OUR AUDREY COLLECTION
want to see a particular audrey style come to life? Email us your suggestions for the next audrey product we should develop. firstname.lastname@example.org