Meet Julie Bent. Founder of Tortuga.
I shop for a living, so I'm quite good at it. My attitude is:
My earliest fashion inspiration was Rudy Huxtable. Charlotte Flax played by Winona Ryder in the movie Mermaids. (Charlotte was a dose of 1950s fashion for me at a time when I was grappling with how I felt about grunge.) The vintage black ostrich feather hat I found and wore to my senior prom. My first pair of Joe's Jeans (circa 2001, bought on a visit to NYC). I’m still pained by the memory of saying goodbye to those, but we had some good years together.
"Edit the junk. Find the gems."
Fashion is not limited to the elite or the fringe. It’s for the bold, the outspoken, the conscious. Fashion is discovery, experimentation, emotion. It’s mathematical, it’s a reflection of culture, it’s influenced by the past and the future.
Fashion is an art form and your style is an expression of you. My personal style continues to evolve as I evolve.
Make good choices.
My best purchases are the items I buy with intention. I love to figure out where things are made, measure to make sure they fit into my space. Often a search is triggered by the need to fulfill a specific purpose in my home or to intentionally expand my wardrobe. These acquisitions are the ones that I feel good about. When they meet all my criteria they last longer and I enjoy them longer. No need to second guess the choice I made. No guilt that I compromised.
Still, I believe I can do better. I can push past the facade of the product industry as it exists today. I can change my habits.
The more I take stock of what I have, the more empowered I feel to make discerning decisions about what I add to my life and my space. We live in a world of abundance. I recognize that I have the privilege to buy things I want. The better I understand myself the easier it is to say yes to the right things.
"I choose to surround myself with reminders of the world I want to live in."
Use your power.
My mother always told me I could do whatever I want in life and be successful. I believe her. My father always said he trusted me to make good choices. I believe I do.
Let’s ask big questions!
What is beautiful?, What is smart?, What is worthy of our attention?
In art school, we posed questions like these. As a graphic designer, I tested how to visually support a message and make it compelling. As a video producer, I learned to share people’s stories. In fashion school, I discovered how to take things apart and put them back together. It’s here my eyes opened to the way the fashion industry works, who it celebrates and who it takes advantage of. How fibers become fabrics and how ideas become items on the shelves in a store. As a wardrobe stylist, I was exposed to the state of the industry as it is today, and I feel for the consumers who try to navigate this distorted reality.
Now as a boutique owner and curator, I use what I know to celebrate artists and innovators. I ask my questions again and again and am discerning about who I give my money too. I control my money and I choose where to spend it.
Today, I help other people make them too.
"Our money is an extension of our voice. Our choices alone will not change the world, but as a collective they will."