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Alumnx Spotlight

Bao Tranchi’s Recent Collection Honors the Women Who Have Supported Her

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“This collection was a celebration of our customers,” the fashion designer says of what prompted her to return to her most iconic designs.
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Left to right: Images from the Spring 2021 collection by Bao Tranchi

Left to right: Images from the Spring 2021 collection by Bao Tranchi

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Bao Tranchi, ’99 BFA Fashion Design

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Last March 2020 the whole world came to a screeching halt. I looked over at my husband and was just shocked, my whole being filled with anxiety and worry. Not only was I 33-weeks pregnant, we had a six-year-old daughter who was going to be home schooled full-time now. We had a fashion business to carry on to keep supporting our girls. But how do you sell dresses and bodysuits to go out in when the whole world is shutting down? All I kept thinking was, “Please just let us make it to the end of the year.” Being at the end of my pregnancy, I was already physically encumbered. I couldn’t work non-stop to do whatever it takes like I would normally have. Added to this was a tumultuous election year. 

My husband and I took a deep breath and dived headfirst into 2020, taking on every single wave that was pummeling towards us. Fast forward a year later and I am so proud to say that we are on the other side of the tunnel now, and going stronger than ever. If there’s anything that Otis College teaches you, it is to stay true to who you are and keep on persevering especially during the most difficult of times. Adversity is what makes you look within to who you really are, as an artist, what your voice is, what your vision is, and what you want to be remembered for. 

Through this year our loyal customers kept us going, they kept us breathing. I went back to the roots of how the brand started—making unique, timeless investment pieces that become heirlooms, the highest-quality made pieces I would pass on to my own daughters. This collection was a celebration of our customers. These were the iconic styles that our brand became known for, the pieces that our customers kept purchasing, that they wore and everyone knew it was a Bao Tranchi. For this collection, I selected the most requested custom gowns and dresses that had been made exclusively for celebrities, and made them available in a ready-to-wear version for our customers. 

I wanted to design a collection that wasn’t based on forecast trends and what was happening. What can be the trend when the world shuts down? The truth is, trends don’t matter. What is most important above all is a women’s personal style that she has honed and curated for herself. This is forever the most important trend. I create a piece of art from which my customers then create their own art. I love that philosophy so much. Our core customer and their personal style was the inspiration. The collection is an ode to the women who wear and make the brand. It is women celebrating women, and celebrating them to always “own their sexy.”

Tranchi was a 2018-2019 mentor to Otis College Fashion Design program junior and senior students, whose work was featured in the Fashion Show and Benefit Dinner on May 4, 2019. To see more of Tranchi’s collections, as well as a gallery of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Gigi Hadid, and Brittney Spears wearing her designs, and to purchase from her collection, please visit BaoTranchi.com, and follow her on Instagram, @BaoTranchi.