Some things happen for a reason—just ask designer Fe Noel and artist Cristina Martinez. This week the pair launched Fe Noel x Sew Trill, a dreamy, eight-piece capsule collection with an artsy sensibility. But before they were collaborators, Noel admired Martinez’s talents from afar. “I’ve been following Cristina from the sidelines for a long while, and I knew the day would come when we would collaborate,” she says. “Her art evokes so much emotion—it feels like she’s painting her heart out, and I love that. You can see that passion in her work [and] it resonates with me and probably with a lot of women right now.” Martinez’s abstract portraits brim with energy. The black and brown bodies depicted within them wear looks that seem culled from the runways. Her vigorous brushstrokes and enticing use of color is engrossing, and Noel was paying close attention to the artist’s progression.
The paintings were what initially caught Noel’s eye, but she didn’t feel compelled to reach out to Martinez until she started seeing her social media posts during quarantine. On her Sew Trill Instagram account, Martinez shares her life, work, and inspirations, all of which Noel felt connected to. “The way she was expressing herself, I felt, OK, this is the time,” she says. Upon sending off a quick email proposing the idea, she received a ‘yes’ almost immediately. “We sometimes laugh because I’m bad at checking my emails, and it normally takes me forever to respond because I’m always in creative mode,” says Martinez. “When Fe’s her email came through, it just stuck out to me right away. After I looked up her work and became familiar with her story, it brought me back to my love for fashion. The pieces she was making looked like art to me.”