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Meet Li: Our Pleated Powerhouse Pencil Skirt

Posted on March 15 2017

This week, I’m answering the question I hear all the time: “What’s the story behind the pencil skirt names in your collection?” I share the story of Li, our pleated powerhouse pencil skirt. WRITTEN Apparel is built on the premise that every woman has a story to tell and we create the clothing that allows her to look and feel good while doing it. Read on to learn more about Li.

Li was designed for the WRITTEN woman who has her eyes open to the world. Inspired by my travels to China as a young woman, I wanted to share a piece of my story with others and thus designed Li. The fabric was presented to me through one of the mills I work with; once I laid eyes on it, without question, I knew what I wanted to do. The bold red and black colors and the bamboo print immediately took me back to my time walking the streets of Tianjin and Shanghai experiencing a whole new side of life.

Below are a few key inspiration points that I took with me from my travels and incorporated into the Li Pleated Powerhouse pencil skirt (say that ten times fast)!

So much of the architecture involved clean angles and straight lines. Not only that, but I distinctly recall the roofs of many temples and structures having a ridged appearance. This texture was my inspiration for the pleated detail of Li.

Pleated Powerhouse Pencil Skirt

I had been studying Mandarin Chinese at the University of Iowa and had the opportunity to study abroad in China for the summer. This photo is of a temple we visited during on our our first days in Beijing.

Through daily exploration, I noted the abundance of the color red throughout the Chinese landscape. I quickly learned that this was very intentional. In Chinese culture, the color red symbolizes luck, happiness, and good fortune, as well as, fighting off evil spirits. The red and black reversible jacquard used for the Li Pleated Powerhouse pencil skirt is designed to do the same.

Pleated Powerhouse Pencil Skirt

Many of my days were spent exploring various streets and markets. It was life changing and eye opening to experience day-to-day life as the minority.

Maybe not in all parts, but certainly in the provinces I visited, there were so many varieties of plants, and plants I had never seen before, at that! Afterall…at the time I was in my twenties and thought I had seen it all. In particular in Shanghai I fell in love with the plant life as I walked through fields of lotus flowers. To this day, bamboo and lotus flowers are some of my favorite plant life and I have China to thank for that. When many think of plants, they think florals, so I loved the idea of using a bamboo printed fabric as the “floral print” for Li.

Pleated Powerhouse Pencil Skirt

Hey look, it’s me! This photo was taken outside an ancient tea house where we learned to properly serve and experience tea service, yet another important part of Chinese culture.

The name I was given throughout my studies was Kang Min Li. The surname to this, “Li”, was translated as meaning power, strength, and beauty. I couldn’t think of a more fitting name for this pleated powerhouse pencil skirt and the WRITTEN Woman to wear it!

So when it all comes together, this is what you have. Say hello to “Li”, or as we would say in China, Ni Hao.

Pleated Powerhouse Pencil Skirt

Pleated Powerhouse Pencil Skirt



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