Donna Southwell's tribute to Peggy

Peggy and I were partners at Clothware, the store in Harvard Square where we designed, made and sold women's clothing. I'm wearing a Peggy Weber design today, circa 1975.

When I met Peggy in 1971 she was 18, just out of high school. I was 24 and had been making and selling clothes in the back room of a store on Mass. Ave. called Liberty House. The store was going out of business, so I advertised in the Real Paper for a partner to take it over with me. I was so lucky that Peggy saw that ad. She was the perfect partner: competent and mature beyond her years, a fantastic dress designer and artist, and really fun to work with. To call Peggy good natured is gross understatement. In many ways she was like a little sister to me. But she also taught me a lot, from how to sketch my designs to how to thread a machine super fast. I think we had a kind of mutual admiration society that lasted through the years.

Together Peggy and I found two more partners and, after many adventures, we opened Clothware in Harvard Square in 1972, decorating the walls with Peggy's paintings. I won't go into too much detail about the Clothware years. They were a lot of fun. We called ourselves a "women's clothing collective" and had a strong following.

I left Clothware in 1978 and Peggy left soon after, but we stayed in touch over the years. A few years ago Peggy started making the long trek from Sherborn to my house in Cambridge so we could watch Project Runway together. For anyone who doesn't know, Project Runway is a reality TV show where up and coming fashion designers compete for prizes. Peggy actually considered trying out for it, but I think decided that the show was looking for younger people. But together we loved watching it and fantasizing about how if they'd had it back in our day we could have won!

Peggy took a big piece of me with her when she died. There's no one else I can talk to about that time like I could to her. About a year ago she asked me if I'd consider writing a book with her - a memoir of our experiences with Clothware. I didn't say yes right away, but I thought maybe after I retire it would be a fun project. That won't be happening now, and my life is poorer for it.

I love you, Peggy.