Brooklyn-based womenswear designer Christine Alcalay has been sewing since she was four years old. The Vietnam native emigrated to New York City as a toddler, where her mother found work in the city’s garment factories. Her mom — a self-taught tailor, sample-maker, and pattern-maker — often brought extra work home, and so young Christine picked up the tools of the trade as her mother labored away at the family sewing machine. A more formal education came when Alcalay entered Parsons School of Design, where she interned at Christian Lacroix during a year abroad in Paris and earned up the school’s renowned Golden Thimble award. In 2002, Alcalay opened her boutique KIWI in New York City, offering a collection of made-to-measure clothing, eventually expanding to a ready-to-wear line in 2011.