If you hadn’t heard of Botter before, then you probably did latest last season, when they sent models down the runway with lawn chairs over their shoulders in a look that launched a thousand memes. Talk about effective communication and brand recognition. To founders Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter, whose family is from the Dominican Republic and who was born in Curaçao, respectively, it encapsulates the spirit of “Caribbean Couture,” their tagline. It is the islanders’ inventive and fun way to take what they have and make it fashun, a certain joie de mode, so to speak. The “Caribbean Couture” motif is now embroidered on t-shirts and jean pockets. This joy of fashion and joy of life goes hand in hand with their manifesto:
At Botter, we care. We care about fashion, as the golden daughter of all arts, and nature, as the golden mother of all arts. Without nature, no arts, nothing. Without the sea, no human, no us.
This care and dedication to the environment led to founding the Botter Coral Nursery, which is working to save the coral reef off of Curaçao. Furthermore, their target is to design 80% of the collection with recycled ocean waste plastic, working with the nonprofit environmental organization Parley for the Oceans, with the remaining from biological materials such as wool and cotton. Hence, the self-proclaimed “aquatic brand,” with dolphins and endangered fish, scuba gloves and accessories in the form of diving tanks, buoys, fins.
Which makes everything feel like a vacation, as with the beaded necklaces you are hawked on the beach. Not to mention the braids, now pushed forward to cover the face as a hood or veil. A logical consequence of masking, seen in different iterations across many houses. As they say, the devil is detail, and my new favorite accessory is the Afropick in its own very covetable case. Which is aligned with Botter’s Arte povera proclivities, just as the ice block and bag.
Not sure what the hand pods were. We were offered what looked like Tide pods upon arrival, and they were luckily filled with lemonade, not laundry detergent, but it picked up on the TikTok phenomenon where people actually ingested them because they are strangely delectable looking. (They were, by the way, disgusting. The wrapper felt gross in your mouth, like a deflated balloon.) On the models’ hands, though, they bounced with gravity as they walked, again strangely haptic and appealing. It made me totally curious to know how it would feel to wear them.
Sorry, so much to the message and the messaging. The tailoring, by the way, is also on point. Standouts are the blazers that zipped together with the shirt underneath. An interesting styling novelty was blazers tucked in, which might catch on like sweaters tucked into pants did a few years ago. The trench with cut away arms and looks with the preppy European sweater tied over the shoulders were cleverly deconstructed and reconstructed. This season, they applied their signature heart cutout dead and center, the ultimate open heart.
With such a big heart – the invitation was done by their baby – it was clear that Botter would get in on the democratization of Fashion Week.
They published the location of the show on Instagram and welcomed students to first come first serve. In fact, we were approached by bright eyed students in their own Caribbean couture and asked how to get in, we encouraged them to try and later saw them inside. Here’s to the future and the next generation!