Rachel Scott Launched Diotima to Center Caribbean Artisanal Techniques
On March 13, 2020, the day Covid-19 was declared a national emergency, Rachel Scott had been planning to travel from New York to Jamaica, where she was born and her parents still reside. Although Scott ended up canceling her trip, she found a way to connect more deeply with her homeland through the launch of Diotima, a ready-to-wear line that she had been formulating in her head for years while working in senior design roles, most recently with Rachel Comey. Named for the ancient Greek priestess who has been credited with inventing the Socratic method in Plato’s Symposium, Diotima centers Caribbean artisanal techniques and processes. “I’ve been building relationships with these incredible people who have important knowledge, and I wanted there to be an opportunity for more of a collaborative element,” Scott says. “I know how crazy it sounds to start something in the middle of a pandemic, but it just seemed like it was the moment to do it. I really felt it was time to speak for myself and do this project.”
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The debut collection’s hero piece is a spider-web top, handmade by Jamaican artisans using a traditional doily crochet technique, which also appears as a trim on a silk organza dress and midi skirt. “A lot of the process was trying to think about things that could be done from home by hand,” Scott explains. “So the ladies were doing crochet in Jamaica, and I was like, ‘Well, what can I do?’ I can macramé.” She cut strips at the bottom of printed jersey T-shirt sand knotted them together with glass beads for a modern take on D.I.Y. beach cover-ups. High-leg bikinis, cutout dresses, and a crisp white linen smoking jacket and pleated trousers inspired by ’90s dancehall star Shabba Ranks’s signature suits round out the summer-ready offerings.
This article originally appears in the May 2021 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, available on newsstands May 4.
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