“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”
Who I am?
I’m Brenda and this is my story……
I was born in Vietnam and immigrated to United States as an early teenager with my family in early 90s.
Even when I was in Vietnam, I already have a passion for fashion. In the picture below, the person in front of the bride, stylish in culotte pants in the 80s is me. Yes, that was fashionable at the time in Vietnam, and don’t judge me on smile. 😀
In 1991 when I arrived in Chicago, I was trying to adopt into the new environment and get myself settle with the new language and new culture. So, fashion and styles were on the back burner, but it wasn’t too long after that I was back on focusing on styles and fashion.
What I did in my past life?
After high school I dreamt of becoming a doctor, I enrolled in college and taking biology as a prep course; soon I came to realize that science and medicine did not excite me. Fortunately, I was taking business classes as backup plan. One of the classes was a financial option trading class. In this class, I learned that I could make a lot of money as financial instrument trader, and I viewed as making money is a steppingstone back to my passion for fashion.
So after college, I became a trader, and my days were very much fill with numbers, financial analysis, financial statements, and corporate finance instead of styles and fashion. But fashion and styles were not completely lost on me. Even though, I was the only woman at trading desk which did not require me to look good; but I still put to an effort to styling myself to look fashionable when I show up at work.
One day, I was paging thru local high fashion magazine, and I saw a photo of someone that I recognized. As I look at the picture, I thought well she has the advantage of money and a connection. I knew I could do better even though I don’t have a lot of money (I was still a rookie) or connections.
I decided to buy a ticket to local charity that focuses on fashion and glamour events to raise money for local grass-roots organizations, for their holiday event. After that, I started to attend more local events; and more importantly, I became active with the organization and its governance, which lead me the opportunity to model for local charities and other events which gave me some press. Here are some examples of my pictures were in the press.
By the way, I did not spend a lot of money in the dresses above. The first picture since I was modeling so I did not buy that outfit (… and stores did not give the whole outfit for free, but they may give you discounts), but the following three dresses, I did not spend over $500 including the alteration to fit my body.
The takeaway that I hope you all get from this is you don’t have to spend a lot of money on “high fashion” to be stylish.
I decided to do something about it
Then during the lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic everything came into perspective, as I was actively thinking about my passion for fashion and styles. I started putting my thoughts together and Brenda 2.0, Brenda Boutique, was born.
After couple years of running Brenda Boutique, and the brand is evolve. So in 2023, I decided to rebrand Brenda Boutique to BTK COLLECTION. At BTK COLLECTION, you can find a wide range of garments from affordable to luxury. The garments are meant to be easy to style, versatile, elegant, comfortable, and stylish. You can change shoes, add necklace, earrings, and lipstick and what was comfortable and easy for the office is ready for drinks and dinner. As the owner of the business, I put myself in your shoes. So, the garments’ styles that I select are easy, elegant, and great classic styles.