“In 2013, I lived in Paris for a semester in college. I was studying at the Mod’Spe International School of Merchandising and the Paris College of Art (formerly Parson’s Paris). There was a point in the trip when I was starting to feel lonely – this particular night I had called my mom a bit homesick and hitting a bit of a rut at this point during my stay. The next day, my best friend Nick and I went for a walk down Rue Saint-Honoré probably around 3 or 4 PM in the afternoon and we both got hungry. None of the restaurants were serving food at this time so we stumbled into a pastry shop called Rotin’s Home.
I remember I had this delicious cheesecake and we both had tea. We both noticed that our server had those red high-top Margiela toe boots and we both gave each other a funny look. We finished our meal and went downstairs to thank the woman who seemed to be the owner. The man with the Margiela shoes came out again and asked us where we were from, as I imagined he heard our American accents. We told him we were fashion students studying abroad in Paris from New York. He than told us that he also worked in fashion and had a similar work experience where he was sent to New York to live for a few months and he loved it and learned so much during this time.
As we continue talking, we learn that he, his mother, and two brothers run Rotin’s Home. One brother does the pastries, one brother does the accounting, and he runs the boutique connected, to which he walks us over to and gives us a little tour. As we continue to talk to him, we learned that for years he was a sample maker for Chanel!!! We continue to chat about New York vs. Paris, issues of race within the industry (he was half black, half Chinese), and experiences he’s encountered along the way. Then at one point he says, “I don’t mean to impose on your religious beliefs – I’m not sure what your faith is, but one thing I’ve learned – you don’t ever need to feel like you’re alone because God is watching over you.” And I start HYSTERICALLY crying in this pastry shop because that particular phrase touched back to the conversation with my mother on the phone the night before.
The man was obviously taken aback by this sobbing American girl. But then even after that, he mentions something along the lines of, “not being afraid of who you are, your friends and family will love you regardless.” Nick then begins crying too because his parents were flying into Paris just a few days after this, and he was officially coming out to them. Once the man sees Nick starting to cry, he then starts crying, because he had no idea how much such few words could impact complete strangers.
It’s crazy how things work out – how we stumbled into this place by chance. Whenever people ask me if I believe in angels, I always say that I met one in a pastry shop in Paris.”
About Marrisa Wilson
Marrisa Wilson is the Founder and Creative Director of Marrisa Wilson NY – a higher contemporary womenswear brand founded in 2016 by the first generation Guyanese American born and raised in New Jersey. Wilson majored in Fashion Design with double minors in Fashion Merchandising and Product Development, receiving her BFA in May of 2015. In fall 2013, Wilson spent a semester abroad in Paris, honing her skills at both the Mod’Spe International School of Merchandising and Paris College of Art. As a two time Fashion Scholarship Fund Winner, Wilson has had an impressive resume with names such as J. Mendel, Oscar de la Renta, rag & bone, and Calvin Klein. Wilson set out to create a brand that celebrates the multifaceted aspects of a woman’s personality. Produced in the Garment District of NYC, MWNY is characterized by cool, relaxed styling blended with bold and funky textiles and print artwork developed in house.
Cover & Bio Images by Karston Tannis