The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) announced that Rihanna is the recipient of the 2014 Fashion Icon of the Year award. Whether you agree with her choice of style or not there is no denying the impact she’s had on the fashion world over the course of her career, especially when she began to embrace and promote her bad girl image. In addition to being a front row fixture this past Paris Fashion Week, she is also the current face of Paris fashion house Balmain and has tried her hand at fashion design when she created two collections for River Island. Did I mention her highly coveted MAC collection this year? Let’s also get into the fact that she is on the cover of Vogue, for the third time.
I can’t help but see the eerie coincidence between the suicide of deigner L’Wren Scott on Monday and the fact that it was also the birthday of designer Alexander McQueen, who also committed suicide in 2010.
Artists have long been revered as tortured souls who suffer for their art. Their emotional distress adds to the mystique of their lives, making them all the more intriguing to onlookers. Many want to understand them, their inspiration, the source of their creativity. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.” This proves true in the self inflicted deaths of these two artists.
The illusion created by the fashion world that it’s all glamour, models, fashion shows, parties, and grandeur overshadows the reality of the harsh business side of it all. I witnessed this not too long ago when the fashion accessories designer had to meet with the sales team to decide which pieces of what she created for next season’s collection would actually be sold. It’s not an uncommon practice for pieces from the runway to be “dumbed down” for ready to wear production, but seeing the disappointment on the face of the designer makes it more real. It’s not just turning art into something realistically wearable, it’s altering an artist’s vision, which for them I’m sure is much more heart wrenching.
When fashion transitioned from being an elitist, one of a kind, haute couture entity to a mass market big business, the designers that survived are the ones that found a sweet spot between maintaining their design aesthetic and providing something that the masses will buy and wear. For the designers that were unable to achieve the Goldilocks just right formula, their fashion houses fell. It’s not surprising that in the face of over $6 million of debt, L’Wren felt “discouraged,” as longtime friend Cathy Horyn put it in her heart felt piece in the Times.
A well loved and respected stylist turned designer, L’Wren had a reputation as a hard worker with a level of clothing construction education reminiscent of those that come up in the French couture tradition. Many regarded her as very private, yet charming and warm to those around her, as evident by her relationship with singer Mick Jagger. While he added to her fame, she never wanted to be defined by her relationship, and was a star in her own right via her undeniable talent for creating clothes that women want to wear. Despite her financial woes, it is surprising to those closest to her that she chose suicide as a way out. “She’s not someone I would have ever said was a tortured artist or a tortured designer,” celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich told the New York Times.
When a person chooses to take their own life, particularly when there is no note left, the people they leave behind are left with unanswered questions. Hence, we can only speculate about what the true mental state and motivation behind Scott’s decision to take her life was, but I can’t help but wonder if being faced with having to close her business was just too much for her to bear.
The pressure is really on. Time is flying by and the job hunt is moving at a glacial pace. My fear is waking up and it’s May 22nd (the day of my commencement) and I still haven’t secured a position for after graduation. I have midterms coming up, the internship isn’t going as smoothly as it started, and I’m in full on financial survival mode (I’m waiting with bated breath for income tax check).
I made a commitment to myself to stay positive throughout all of this. When God blessed me with the money that I needed to come back to school I knew that there would be hard days. I knew that I was taking on a lot as a full time student, an intern, and a blogger. Working to help someone else pursue their goals while also working towards your own is exhausting, but I don’t feel like I have the right to complain. I always feel guilty when I get home and vent to my friends about the day’s struggles. This is what I prayed for so vehemently, so I don’t feel like it’s fair for me to take a swan dive into my emotions on the days when it gets rough, and I feel unsure.
I guess today I’m just feeling a little afraid. There are so many people rooting for me and supporting me and saying how proud they are of me and I’m afraid to let those people down. I’m afraid of letting myself down. I want so badly to succeed and to fulfill the vision I have for my life, especially when the people closest to me are doing so well. They’re in their careers and making money and buying houses and cars, and I’m just trying to figure it all out. When you choose the road less traveled the paths aren’t as defined, and it gets scary along the way. Sometimes you get lost and you and you look for guidance where there isn’t any; hence, I’m looking forward to this event on the 29th honoring black women in media. I’m sure it will be a good opportunity to see women that look like me and how they’ve achieved success in media, and of course I’m always here for a good networking opportunity.
Anyway, tomorrow’s anew and I’m determined to maintain my inner peace no matter what’s going on around me. God has a plan for me and for my life and it will be fulfilled. Can’t devote too much time to the negative.
On Friday night actress, DJ, and television personality LaLa Anthony hosted a pop up shop event on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The busy wife and mother is adding fashion designer to her long list of job titles. The evening began with a brief fashion presentation of the line, and LaLa’s mom actually appeared as a real life model as she attended the event sporting a bright red fitted long sleeved dress from the line.
The collection includes pencil skirts, shirts, jumpers, and dresses in black, royal blue, red, and white, and ranges from $35 for a t shirt to $250 for a jumper. 5th and Mercer is available for sale at www.shopbop.com.
Guests included model Shaun D. Ross (who I’m kind of obsessed with right now) Monica and Shannon Brown, Po and Dice from LaLa’s Full Court Life, Charlamagne Tha God, and a bevy of bloggers. There was an open bar and very tasty hors devours circulated the room as the DJ played all the latest rap hits. All in all it was a night of fun, food, drinks, and socializing. Glad I attended!
It was a beautiful day in New York. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, and there was the occasional slight breeze. It has been an unusually snowy, wet, cold winter here so everyone is waiting with bated breath for actual spring weather. Hence, why there were so many people inappropriately dressed people walking through the streets of Manhattan today. This is the season for transitional wear, not full on summer attire.
So yesterday was everything that nightmares and ill wishes are made of. My God sis and I have this weird thing where we always catch the clock at the same time everyday. We usually send each other a text when it happens, but I was feeling so down yesterday that I just told her I would have to talk to her later because I felt so beaten down by life. Her response was: tomorrow’s anew. I woke up today determined to make it better than yesterday. I said a prayer and made my declarations while getting dressed for my internship, and when I walked outside it was actually warm! Look at God! Won’t He do it?
I got to the office and detected a weird mood from my superiors but I was so determined to be great today that I just did my work and kept my inner light shining, and wouldn’t you know it, their mood seemed to improve as well. It’s funny how a bad day can get passed around like a disease. One person pisses off another, and they just pass that negativity around. It really only takes one person to maintain their inner peace to break that cycle. You would be surprised how telling someone they look nice can alter their whole mood. That’s my namaste moment for this post.
Anyway, my boss invited my intern partner and I to accompany her to a speaking engagement she was doing at our school and we accepted the invite of course. As we sat there listening to her tell about her career and how she got started I found myself in awe of her. To see a woman in a power position holding down a job, two children, and a husband, and doing so with style filled me with such inspiration. The highlight of her speech was when she acknowledged the qualities that my partner and I possess that make us such great assets to their team. I was so flattered and surprised, because it never occurred to me that she took notice of our personalities like that. We get so caught up in our various projects throughout the work day that it seems like no one really has time to notice anything about anyone aside from whether or not they look cute that day. Trust me in our office nine times out of ten they do.
The presentation concluded with the attendees coming up to my partner and I asking us questions like how we got the internship and if we really like it, and what they should do to get chosen to intern as well. We had a nice fifteen minutes of fame before departing and heading back to the office to get lunch. It was so nice out that we sat in Bryant Park and took in the sights of people in inappropriate attire, overly anxious for consistently warm weather.
I took quite a few things away from today. First off I have to remember that even when things get hard, there are so many people that would love to be where I am (financial struggles and all) so I have to remain humble and thankful. Second, people are always watching you, so be mindful of what you’re showing them. Third, don’t get so caught up in the everyday hustle that you forget to look up. After all I do live in New York.
In my best Ice Cube voice: today was a good day.
Most days I get this overwhelming feeling of joy and pride in knowing that I am well on my way to accomplishing my goals. It often hits me when I’m walking towards Times Square to catch the train to class that I am actually a fashion student and intern living in New York. That realization gives me the second wind to make it through class successfully after a long day of thankless, pay-less work. Today wasn’t one of those days. Today I had a case of the mean reds. If you are unfamiliar with Breakfast at Tiffany’s I’m sure that reference is lost on you. The mean reds are days that are worse than having the blues. It’s another way of saying: I’m really going through it today.
It is a thankless job with little to no pay, long hours and more experience than you could ever hope to gain in a classroom or retail job. Every semester fashion hopefuls scrounge to get some of the most highly coveted internships in the industry. We all do this with the hopes that adding those few lines to our résumés will mean an entry level position post graduation. An internship at a reputable company is an integral part of securing a real industry job, or so we’ve been told.
So we go in to these companies three days a week putting our best foot forward. You observe the women in the office. How they dress, how they carry themselves, how they speak, their work ethic, and you take notes, lots and lots of mental notes. You try to remember every little nugget of information that your superiors give you, because you just know that it will come in handy. “The fashion world is incredibly small, so don’t make any enemies.” “You can take all the marketing classes in the world, but attention to detail and efficiency are what help you to survive here.” “Ask questions. Better to ask questions than to screw up and have to explain later.” And you hang on to these words, because you’re ever hopeful that you will get the opportunity to put them to use sooner than later.
Never mind that you get overlooked when the account managers are introducing the team. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t get to eat what everyone else gets to eat of the catered meals. Ignore that your feet hurt from wearing heels to run errands all day. Don’t focus on the fact that you may or may not get credit for your contribution to the overall goal. Stay positive. Be teachable. Always be willing and available to help. Don’t take anything personally. Make a positive and lasting impression. Be a self starter. Take some initiative. Whatever you do dress well.
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