In Her Clutches is a regular feature where we spotlight women who inspire us. In Her Clutches = In Her Bag. What is she in control of? What does she have on lock?
Mariette Antonio is a Vancouver-based creative entrepreneur who I'm fortunate to be friends with. We met in Vancouver years ago, and we've since linked up in New York and Toronto. Her mission is what inspires me most. Through her business, STUDIO 1A Collective, she empowers women to become their best selves and live their best lives.
Name: Mariette Antonio
Business name: STUDIO 1A Collective
Year founded: 2018
Title/Role: Founder, Creative Director, Designer
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
What inspired you to start STUDIO 1A Collective?
At the root of it, I've always felt called to pour my soul into something that I could leave as a legacy for my future family. I couldn't articulate what this meant at the time, but when I was 15 years old I knew it was going to be something that allowed me to express my creativity and ideas. I eventually put myself into fashion school and pursued a career in design for seven years. It was near the end of my corporate fashion career the name STUDIO 1A came to me. It was in my studio apartment in Brooklyn, Apt #1A. It was tiny, old, needed a lot of love and was less than glamorous. I'd say this was a reflection of how I was feeling at this point in my life. I was working on my portfolio and applying for the design job I spent years dreaming about. I got the job, moved back home to Vancouver and a year later my mom passed away after many years of a strenuous battle with lupus. Losing a parent will change you. Everything that I thought was important lost its value. I was grieving and looking for answers, for a purpose. During this time, I quit my job, changed careers, committed to my inner healing and focused on building the brand. The concept of STUDIO 1A has evolved over the years naturally because I've been evolving. It went from a clothing line, to a fitness and wellness collective, and present day it's evolving into its next iteration—something that encompasses all the lessons and blessings I've experienced over the years. Personally, this one feels like a homecoming (... stay tuned!).
The essence of STUDIO 1A has always been to empower women to become their best selves and live their best lives. We grow, we hit rock bottoms and through it all, we heal and eventually arrive at a place where we are more gentle with ourselves, in full acceptance of who we are mentally, physically and emotionally. As humans, we need a safe space to be our true selves, to express the spectrum of our humanness. STUDIO 1A has been that metaphorical space for me. My intention is that anyone that engages with the brand, they feel seen, heard and inspired to be their true selves.
Why is female empowerment important?
I love this question! It makes me emotional because I didn't have role models that embodied both healthy feminine and masculine energies. I come from a family of strong-willed Filipinxs who had a very different upbringing than I did. A history full of survival, sacrifice, competition, pain and sadness. Equally, it's a history full of celebration, joy, abundance, hope and love. My parents didn't have the willingness nor did they have the tools and resources that I have today, to work through emotional and energetic blocks. As a woman in today's world, it's my responsibility to look at my past, reflect on how it influences my choices. We need more people taking responsibility for themselves, their emotions, their actions, so that we can build up others and have the emotional resilience to raise a conscious and empowered generation after us.
What are the most important lessons you've learned while working in your previous career in fashion?
I've learned that I'm the only person who knows what's best for me. In the past, so much of my angst and indecision came from the internal struggle of knowing in my gut something wasn't for me but I stayed in it because on a very deep subconscious level, I didn't think I deserved better. Just because people have a fancy title, or have seniority, doesn't mean they know what's right for you. The best investment is the one we make in ourselves. Take the time to learn more about YOU. The you behind the highlight reel, the relationship, the friends, the career, the house, the car, the clothes, the body, or whatever else we latch on to to validate our self-worth. Ask yourself the difficult questions and answer them honestly. Strengthen your trust muscle by learning how your body responds to certain people, situations and opportunities. More importantly, learn how to decipher your gut feelings from fear and anxiety. When you can do that, ALWAYS go with your gut.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve had this year (2020)?
Firstly, I want to say that my heart and prayers go out to all the people and families affected by the pandemic and social injustice. To the person that feels lost, I'm right there with you and I'm praying that you're met with grace and strength to bounce back 10x better.
I think we can all agree 2020 has been a big WTF to say the least. My biggest challenge this year was getting REAL honest with myself. I had the time, no distractions, to take responsibility for all of my self-sabotaging patterns that got me to present day. I had to take responsibility in a way I've never done before. Uncomfortable as it was, I dedicated eight months to fully confront my ego and insecurities and do something about it.
What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?
On December 22, 2019 I curated a photoshoot with my sister and business partner, Tiffany. We asked our younger sisters, cousins and nieces to be our models. The theme was SISTERHOOD. It was super last minute, using clothes that we already had in our closets and we booked a venue earlier that week. Everything flowed effortlessly. There's something about working with my family and creating together. It was just a really fun day.
How can we practice self-care?
I used to think that self-care was only meditation, yoga, exercising, journaling, and things of the like. And these are all great practices but the overarching takeaway is, self-care is anything and everything that lights you up! Everyone is different. What nourishes me might feel draining for you. That's the beauty of having a self-care practice, you get to define it. And it will change depending on what you're going through at that season of your life. If it fulfills you and you're not harming yourself or anyone around you, keep doing it.
What is your favourite yoga pose? (And how do we do it?)
Currently my favourite is Dancer's Pose. Start by standing with feet together. Place the left hand on your heart. Draw the right arm straight forward with the thumb pointing up, rotate the arm up and towards the back. Take the inside of your right foot. Glue the knees together, grounding through your left foot. Breathe your right shoulder forward. Press the foot into your hand as you bow forward. Draw the foot up and back. Lift the chest up. Soften your jaw. Breathe the left arm forward. Gently come out of the pose and switch sides.
What do you currently have in your clutches?
This year has taught me that I'm not in control... at all...haha! If I had to pick one thing, I would say I'm in control of my happiness. I get to choose who and what I pour my energy into. I'm continuously letting go of the "my life should look like this by now" mentality. Somehow by doing this, life feels lighter and I'm met with less resistance.
What is the most important thing you want women to know?
YOU MATTER. And because you matter, make it a daily habit to get to know yourself intimately, emotionally/mentally/physically, and develop a strong relationship with your intuition. Evolve your self-worth into deservingness so that when you speak, you're heard not because of your tone, but because your words are anchored in your truth, a knowing that develops from within, and not from outside validation. Don't rush things. What's meant for you will ALWAYS find its way to you.
Who is the woman you admire most?
Beyonce! I admire her for her creativity, her unwavering trust in self, the fact that she does anything she sets her mind on. I admire that she cares about her craft and is involved in every detail of the creative process.