Melissa Chow

She is an American-born, Chinese Seychellois. Like many immigrant families, her parents moved 8,500 miles to America to provide a better life for their children. From age 6, Melissa expressed an early interest in fashion, which was instilled in her by her mother, a self-made seamstress and business owner, operating out of the basement of their home. For years, Melissa and her mom crafted prom dresses, matching outfits and upcycled old clothing, which strengthened their close bond. After her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2010 and her ability to sew declined heavily, Melissa made her mother a promise that she would one day design her own line.

With this foundation, Melissa spent years traveling and working throughout Africa, where the beautiful, artistry work at markets always mesmerized her. Meeting artisans and speaking to women and men trying to make a living off their hidden talents hit home for Melissa, as she grew up watching her mother do the same in a new and foreign country.

With the desire to pay homage to her roots, Melissa merged this passion for artistry work with inspiration drawn from her home, Seychelles island. And with this, Base Isle was born.

Her vision is to not only support African artisans, but also found a company that focuses on sustainable practices that will be critical to the island’s survival.

Each collection will be named after the main islands within the archipelago, and each item is named after a member of her family. “Base” was taken from the fond memories of her mother working together in the basement of their home and “isle” in honor of the island. The overarching goal is to one day expand to support pan African work and give local artisans a global platform they deserve.