b'Kitty Nguyenand the Art ofForever FavoritesTwenty years from now, the Semifinalist designer will still be wearing the same shirtBY SARA COURTNEYW henKittyNguyenKitty Nguyen models the Spider Cotton and LinenThe Butterfly Silk Square is shown here with the launchedSemifinal-istfromthekitchen islandofherMaple-woodhomeinNo-vember 2019, she did so with the convictionRobert shirt.that less is more. Determined to offer her custom-ers a chance to reconsider their cluttered closets, if Square and Stue Mini Dot poplin shirt. She named only they would slow down and consider what theythe shirt after the mom of a close friend who loves accumulate, Nguyen explains that Ive always beenpeter pan collars.about buy less, buy better, use forever.AllofNguyensproductsfromsweatersand Inatimeofinfluencers,whenmanyareaccu- shirts to scarves and pursesare made with an in-mulating shoes, apps, and a more-is-more attitude,tention to last, or as she enthusiastically calls them, Nguyens pared down approach is a breath of freshturn to it each day.forever favorites. Emphasizing that items should air. Not that she does not understand accumulatingDiscovering favorites and discarding the rest res- be responsibly made, Nguyen envisions her custom-clothes. I worked in fashion for so long [that] I liter- onates now more than ever. When the country shuters handing down their well-loved favorites after de-ally have an embarrassing amount of clothing, shedown, people found themselves home all the time,cades of use, still in good condition. says. I have closets full of really beautiful clothes. Butsuddenly surrounded by an abundance of stuff theyForthenotoriouslywastefulfashionindustry, I find myself gravitating to the same five or six thingshad very little time to organize. It was not greatSemifinalist is rebelling against cyclical, cheap trends every day. I automatically reach for them because Itiming to launch a business, she says frankly, be-trends that no doubt play a part in why the average know I look good in them, I feel good, Im comfort- fore adding, but in a way, its simplified my visionUS citizen throws away approximately 70 pounds of able, and I can be presentable in thirty seconds. and its reaffirming [that] Im on the right track.clothing and textiles annually. Nguyen wants them Nguyens aimto simplify your lifeis borneHer creative vision has found an audience preppedto realize that change is about transforming ones out of a passion for creating go-to favorite items. Ianew to consider how we prioritize what we value.perspective: It doesnt have to be something thats always think in terms of favorites, says Nguyen. II think it coincided with this whole pandemic, inso revolutionary, like a new material, or biodegrad-say that a lot. My favorite shirt. My favorite spatula.that we realized we dont need that much, she ex- ability, or even recycling per se. And I feel that what makes something a favorite,plains. The things that give you comfort, and youInstead, Nguyen encourages people to think of and what makes something beloved, is that you re- feel comfortable and good about, [are] what matter. their style in the long term. Buying less, using it 42/ matters magazine / fall 2020'