Closet Transformations: The Inspiring Journey Of A Spiritual Stylist - Skin Deep

Writer Michelle Pozon recounts how she went from fashionably dressed to spiritually styled in an effort to promote sustainability. 

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s May 2023 Issue. 

I was born in San Francisco and raised in four countries across the South China Sea. I’ve lived in eight cities across three continents, and met my husband in New York in 1998. We moved to Paris in 2003 and started a family. 17 years later, Lisbon became our home. 

Michelle Pozon

I’ve been designing clothes and playing in closets for as long as I can remember. At age four, I was picking out ties for my father to wear to work and at five years of age, I was designing dresses for my mom and I. At 23 years old, without any further schooling in fashion, I launched my first label in San Francisco on a dare, and I ended my fashion career at 43 in Paris, debilitated by the pandered misconception that we are not, or do not have enough. 

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Right now, our globe is warming, nations are feuding and those of us with plenty are subjected to the relentless critique of our looks and lifestyle. We buy into unending trends, distracted from the pollution and waste that our habits create, and the inhumanity suffered by many of those who make our clothes. 

What if there was a better way? 

Aesthetics after all, are personal and have no bearing on how beautiful we are. No matter our race, creed or color, we all want to live peaceful, happy lives, heal what ails us, and feel worthy of our blessings. For now, however, so much of what we hope for is stifled by peddled insecurity and manufactured self doubt. 

Self care however, is not an isolated act. Borders and oceans may separate us on a map, but we affect one another beyond the barriers that keep us apart. Self love and global citizenry therefore, are intertwined. By combining my design skills with my multi-cultural experiences, I’ve created a healing modality that uses clothing and thoughtful consumption as tools for our collective liberation and healing. 

There was a time that I felt useless because I couldn’t be a doctor or scientist and I was ashamed that I could not enjoy my success as a fashion designer. All I wanted to do was help people feel good about themselves, but I had so much trouble feeling good about being me. Luckily, with much therapy, meditation, and my willful desire to do good, I found my tribe and fell in love with my values and Intentions. 

My happiest moments as a child took place in my mother’s closets and designing dresses with our seamstress. Having been convinced that my joy was impractical, however, I tried my hand at Hotel Management and banking, with little reward. When my then boyfriend dared me to design a collection and show it at Fashion week in LA, I took a leap of faith. When the orders came in from boutiques in LA and San Francisco, I took it as permission from the heavens to follow my bliss.

Shortly after, I moved to New York. I designed private label dresses for Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendels and Bergdorf Goodman. I also sold “across the pond” in London’s Harvey Nichols. The more I sold, however, the more uncomfortable I became. I thought I was in fashion to celebrate women with my creations, but instead, felt like I was telling them that they weren’t enough, and had to buy more clothes. There was little talk of sustainability in the 90’s and early 2000’s, but I saw waste and entitlement everywhere. 

Unable to articulate my conflicting emotions, I thought that I was the problem. When my husband and I moved to Paris, I was hoping for some perspective. 

As luck would have it, I befriended a designer at Sonia Rykiel. We found ourselves pregnant at the same time and she proposed a children’s wear collaboration for our babies-to-be. Naively, I imagined that children’s fashion would be different, but the cycle of dread repeated itself and after 4 years, I sold my shares to her, vowing to myself that I would never design again. 

Having spent most of my formative years in Hong Kong, I remembered how Feng Shui was considered integral to its success and set myself to the task of clearing the clutter in my home. I emptied my spaces of everything that as Marie Kondo would later write, did not “spark joy”. I removed everything that represented someone else’s voice – tokens of success, things I felt obliged to keep but didn’t like. The more I cleared away, the lighter I felt. 

I discovered Oracle Cards during this time, as well. Intrigued by how the readings seemed to answer the questions in my heart, I shared my discovery with my friends and helped them Feng Shui their homes guided by card readings. 

When we worked in their closets, I was asked for styling advice. I shared with them that the act of dressing for me, is a spiritual affair, tantamount to a prayer. Rather than recommending ways to implement the latest trends, I helped my friends remove the clutter of convention by removing all the clothes that they thought they “should have” and in doing so, they came in touch with their hearts. I mirrored their beauty back to them with card readings and gratitude exercises, and helped them create habits that brought more of what they loved in the world, simply by dressing themselves. With me they discovered that they didn’t need to change the way they dressed, but change the way they saw themselves. When my practice was featured in the Paris Message Mother’s blog, my service was born. 

The act of dressing is my way of generating joy and connecting to the emotions that I desire for myself and hope to share with others. When the pandemic hit, rather than look to cards authored by others, I felt compelled to express the lessons that were channeling through me. I convinced Paris based Artist, Poonam Malpani to create the art for wisdom that I had penned. The Beauty Deck was published in 2021 and has since been making its way around the world. 

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia May 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader. 

Photos courtesy of Michelle Pozon. 

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