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Mythology & Fashion-An Introspective In Style and Imagination

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I am always looking for different ways to express myself , my vision of style and fashion. When I was a kid, mythology was a constant reminder how fascinating this world was. The tales and fables of past ancient civilizations fascinated me so much, till most of my early life, I wanted to become an archeologist. Wether through astrology, or looking at the stars, man has always wondered about a higher power man has always wanted to be more, do more , and understand more. In this small presentation, I have searched  around the world, through time, and discovered a few deities that have meant much to man. Some are ancient not so well known , some are well known, but at one place in time a human bent his knee to these inspired Gods/Goddesses.  Each presentation is of an original design, a small synopsis of that deity, as well as the deity drawn and rendered  in my signature fashion illustration style.  Enjoy this presentation of mythological history and fashion, it brought back so many boyhood memories for me.

 

Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the zero degree and the 29th degree of celestial longitude. According to the Tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which falls on 21 March each year, and remains in this sign until around 22 April. In Sidereal astrology, the sun currently transits the constellation of Aries from 15 April to 15 May (approximately). Individuals born during these dates, depending on which system of astrology they subscribe to, may be called Arians or Ariens.
In Hellenistic astrology, the sign of the ram was mythologically associated with the golden winged ram that rescued Phrixos and his sister Helle from the altar where they were to be offered as a sacrifice to Zeus. The golden ram carried them to the land of Colchis but on the way Helle fell into the sea and drowned. When Phrixos arrived at Colchis he sacrificed the ram to Zeus and presented the golden fleece to his father-in-law, the King of Colchis. The fleece was then hung upon a sacred oak and guarded by a dragon until rescued by Jason and the Argonauts. The myth recounts that Zeus was so moved by the ram’s fate that he gave it the greatest honour of being moved to the heavens.


The daughter of Leto and Zeus, and the twin of Apollo. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly in cities). She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and was sometimes identified with Selene (goddess of the moon). Artemis was one of the Olympians and a virgin goddess. Her main vocation was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated land with her nymphs in attendance hunting for lions, panthers, hinds and stags. Contradictory to the later, she helped in protecting and seeing to their well-being, also their safety and reproduction. She was armed with a bow and arrows which were made by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes. Artemis was worshiped in most Greek cities but only as a secondary deity. However, to the Greeks in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) she was a prominent deity. In Ephesus, a principal city of Asia Minor, a great temple was built in her honor, which became one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. But at Ephesus she was worshiped mainly as a fertility goddess, and was identified with Cybele the mother goddess of eastern lands. The cult statues of the Ephesian Artemis differ greatly from those of mainland Greece, whereas she is depicted as a huntress with her bow and arrows. I decided to design a suitwith short pants for this diety . All white silk wool suit, representing purity and chasity,what Artimis is known for.The inside lining is blood red, representing the hunteress, and goddess of war Artimis is sometimes portrayed as. I wanted an illustration of a female deity that was not too feminine,unrully hair, almost tom-boyish,but still very beautiful, as this deity is also a warrior.


Gemini is the third astrological sign in the zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 60th and 89th degree of celestial longitude. In the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between May 21st to June 20th each year. In sidereal astrology, the sun currently transits the constellation of Gemini from June 16th to July 15th (approximately). Individuals born during these dates, depending on which system of astrology they subscribe to, may be called geminians
The ancient Babylonians referred to the constellation as Mastabba Galgal, the ‘Great Twins’, and commemorated within it the mythical friendship of the demi-god Gilgamesh and his mortal friend Enkidu, who fought against the gods in twelve adventures. Stricken by grief at Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh pursued a quest to ensure his own immortality.
The ancient Greek tale of the egg-born brothers Castor and Pollux, born to their mother Leda after she was seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan. Their consummation, on the same night as Leda lay with her husband, Sparta’s King Tyndareus, resulted in the birth of immortal Pollux, who possessed great physical strength, and mortal Castor who possessed great ingenuity. Upon Castor’s death Pollux begged Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together and they were transformed into the Gemini constellation.



In the Ugaritic texts (before 1200 BCE) Athirat is almost always given her full title ‘Lady Athirat of the Sea’ or as more fully translated ‘She who treads on the sea’, This occurs 12 times in the Ba’al Epic alone. The name understood by various translators and commentators to be from the Ugaritic root ‘a/r ‘stride’ cognate with the Hebrew root of the same meaning.Her other main divine epithet was “qaniyatu / ilhm” which may be translated as “the creatrix of the gods (Elohim)”In those texts, Athirat is the consort of the god El; there is one reference to the 70 sons of Athirat, presumably the same as the 70 sons of El. She is clearly distinguished from / Ashtart (better known in English as Astarte or Ashtoreth in the Bible) in the Ugaritic documents although in non-Ugaritic sources from later periods the distinction between the two goddesses can be blurred; either as a result of scribal error or through possible syncretism. In any case, the two names begin with different consonants in the Semitic languages; Athirat/Asherah with an aleph or glottal stop consonant and `Ashtart/`Ashtoreth with an `ayin or voiced pharyngeal consonant ), indicating the lack of any plausible etymological connection between the names.She is also called Elat (“Goddess”, the feminine form of El; compare Allat) and Qodesh ‘Holiness’ . Athirat in Akkadian texts appears as Ashratum (Antu), the wife of Anu, the god of heaven. In contrast, Ashtart is believed to be linked to the Mesopotamian Goddess Ishtar who is sometimes portrayed as the daughter of Anu while in Ugaritic myth, Ashtart is one of the daughters of El, the West Semitic counterpart of Anu.In UgaritAsherah, the Shekinah, consort and beloved of Yahweh.God-the-Mother. Her sacred pillars or poles once stood right beside Yahweh’s altar, embracing it. Moses and Aaron both carried one of these Asherah “poles” as a sacred staff of power. The Children of Israel were once dramatically healed simply by gazing at the staff with serpents suspended from it. This symbol, the snakes and the staff, has become the modern universal symbol for doctors and healers.* Asherah was also widely known in the Middle Eastern ancient world as a Goddess of Healing. Then She was removed forcibly from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures around 400 or 500 B.C. Her priestesses & priests, known by the headbands they wore, worshiped on hill-tops, such as Zion, Mount of Olives, Har Megiddo, seasides and countless others. Daughter of Zion, a term found numerous times in the Old Testament, was perhaps a term for a priestess of Asherah. It later came to mean the “City of God,” or Jerusalem herself. As the “official” state worship became increasingly male oriented, and the establishment became hostile toward all forms of Asherah worship, a time of conflict and bloodshed lasting over a hundred years began. Those that still clung to Her worship paid the price with their lives at the hands of King Josiah and other rabid Yahwists. (Story in the 2nd Kings ). But She could not be torn from the hearts and souls of Her people.

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True Blood “Fashion Pinpoint-One Look/One Story” Subject: Eric Northman

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Eric Northman (born c. 870 AD, turned c. 900 AD) is the vampire sheriff of Area 5 in Louisiana which encompasses Bon Temps. He is over 1,100 years old as he was born somewhere,in Scandinavia during the Viking
age. As a child he played by the North Sea, which would mean that he grew up in Denmark or Norway (the two Scandinavian countries which border the North Sea). According to Pam, he has a farm in Öland (Sweden).
Eric speaks Swedish and refers to old Swedish music. He owns the vampire bar Fangtasia in Shreveport, Louisiana. Eric is 6’4″ tall, and has blond hair and blue eyes. Eric Northman in season is a vampire that is called an “Ancient”.
I decided to design Eric in styles that are elegant, basic black. Eric was a viking, prince of a providence. I designed accessories that were styled like the actual artifacts . The top was styled like a” kyrtill”, or outer tunic
The design for Eric’s shoulder plates mimiced the breastplates that would have been worn by Eric , will fighting as a warrior. Eric’s shoes are simple, designed after simple footwear that was popular during that time.
Shoes of that time were simple in construction, usually of made using the turnsole technique . Eric is a viking, a part of an ancient royal family, I found it curious that his character would not have tattoos, or skin markings
detailing his status , spiritual beliefs , as this was common of people during that time period and region . I decided to use the tatoos, but the only visible tattoo on Eric is the skin tattoo across his upper chest. The skin marking
I chose is very much like the skin markings of Eric’s “maker” , Godric.  Eric is what I call a “vampiric traditionalist”, or vampires that adhere to customs or ways of thinking prevalent during the time they were created.  Eric’s character is of great interest to anyone that enjoys ancient history, and how creatures such as vampires would interact with history. I know the project is one look,one story, but Eric is so interesting, I had to try a few versions of one look.

Chloe Papas” Chris Brown Saga”- A Exercise In Dis-functional Subjective Journalism

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Its Tuesday July 31, and I am having my coffee, and viewing my online newspapers, suddenly I get this phone call from a journalism  industry insider. The 5 minute phone call pertained to an article written my a freelance author by the name of Chloe Papas, for X-Press magazine. I opened my email of the article, and was disappointed to say the least. The article CAN be viewed as articulate journalism, if not for the annoying 95% “personally subjective  jargon”, that seems to drip from each sentence. I asked myself,……”Self,…how can this be considered journalism, or even an OBJECTIVE review of an artist’s work, done for the buying public, when it reads as if an 8th grader wrote it when Chris Brown did not send her an autographed pic for her bedroom wall. I decided not to take the article seriously, as writers like this are very prevalent in the journalism industry, especially now, since many of them grew up during the MTV age, saying and writing ANYTHING that comes across their uncensored, coca-colo infused brains.

Hours later, on Facebook, I am inundated with the review once again,…..this time its being lauded as a “Masterpiece of Honesty”,”Fearless and Onpoint”,…..and my favorite one, “Journalism in its most honest, all should be like this young lady”.  “Journalism in its most honest, all should be like this young lady”????,………..really? Scratching my head, I read through this literary masterpiece of freelance journalism, and I could not help but laugh. Is this journalism? What ever happened to journalist creating articles that skewed artist they did not like, but sensibly?

Regardless of whether Chris Brown has any musical talent (he doesn’t) or whether this album is any good (it isn’t), the man recently brutally assaulted a woman, and is still regularly invited back to award shows and worshipped by ‘Breezy’ fans worldwide. Which is, frankly, disgusting. And for those of you out there saying you need to separate the music and the man: screw you, don’t encourage his actions. Final words: don’t buy this album.”

“Screw you” don’t encourage his actions”, how about screw you Chloe Papas, I will not encourage your flippant abuse of your “journalistic podium” , (or lack thereof ) to spew your own personal and subjective views concerning another individual in the public eye. You have CLEARLY abused what little authority that has been  given to you, and if I was a hiring publication, you would NOT be employed by me, ( in fact I would have you escorted out of  the building, since reading your article, you seem to be a very socially imbalanced individual,..try therapy please).Please understand, I am NOT a Chris Brown fan, teambreezy,….what ever the young kids are calling themselves these days, but to place personal objectivity over a prime opportunity  to voice your opinion with clever wording, punctuation, and word usage is simply ,..well stupid and childish. Reading the article, I was instant taken aback to an episodes of “Mean Girls”, and Chloe is clearly a girl who feels “left-out”. I think, no I BELIVE what Chris Brown did to Rihanna, beating this young woman to a bloody mess, was despicable, disgusting, deplorable, and a certain part of hell should be reserved for such men. Growing up as a child, my own mother was a survivor of HORRIFIC domestic violence , that lapsed into my pre-bubescent , young life, so I speak from experience.

Fast forward 30 years later, and my mother and her abuser, my step-father are on “speaking terms”, share holidays and special events with others in my family, but most of all, they have BOTH healed from what was done. He,my stepfather, has healed from that abusive,alcoholic man that beat both of us, now a mild mannered  man that is actually pleasant to interact with. My mother has made great strides since her abuse, developing several successful business’s, and finally mentoring other young mothers that are abused, completing the “circle of healing”. That being said, why is it that you can not allow this man time to heal?, why is it that you can not allow rihanna, the abuse survivor, time to heal? Do you REALLY think re-hashing such a horrific event just to further your journalistic career , just to get more online “clicks” onto your article is honorable ? If you were REALLY concerned about Rihanna’s welfare, heck, if the international public was really concerned about this abuse survivor, they would leave well enough alone, allowing for this young woman to rebuild what was lost that disastrous night. The honest truth is this, NO ONE really cares about Chris or Rihanna, using what transpired that awful night to further what ever agenda they have, may it be to sell magazines, news papers, or in your case, gain notoriety as a freelance journalist. To say that you are not the only one that has used this incident for monetary gain, is like saying beaches have sand,…..its just a fact, no one can dispute it. But even that, Chloe Papas, does not get you off the hook because as a woman, I expected better from you.

I have seen Chris Brown in concert several times, ( the tickets were gifts, or industry events), and he is a very talented performer, albeit his personal life in the past has been disastrous. I was able to look at that stage, and not see Chris Brown the woman-beater, Chris Brown the megalomaniac,….but Chris Brown the performer. Once I was able to do that, I had a great time, and even found myself enjoying much of what was performed. Unfortunately, we all live in a society that loves to destroy its idols. Build them up high, worship them with status money,and prestige, but let them portray an ounce of mortality, we simply destroy them, and relish in the thought of doing so. I don’t know what this says about us, as the buying public, or even as human beings, but it does make one take a second look at our society and its issues.I say unto you , Chloe Papas, if my mother can forgive a man that beat her for over 15 years, knocked out several of her teeth,placed her in the hospital at least 5 times, then why cant you find it in your heart to understand that this is past history. It is rumored that even Rihanna is seeing Chris Brown romantically on the DL, so it appears that she has forgiven him completely,………why haven’t you? I know why, because the “Chris Brown and Rihanna saga” sells papers, it is a “hot issue”, that is sure to get the publics attention. The rest  of your review was based on your own personal opinion, and that is your right. But the personal and totally objective drivel,…..leave that for 12 year olds in junior high, not in your professional career.

True Blood – A Study In Character, Fashion,and Blood

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Like millions, I am a fan of True Blood. I love the story lines, the fantasy based characters, and the hot “eye candy” that graces my screen every week. From Eric Northman’s ice cold sex appeal, to Sookie’s “blonde but lovable” endearing habit of skirting death, True Blood is a great show. As a designer, and a native from Louisiana,could not help but think,” what if I could style of dress the characters of True Blood?”. Being a freelance designer, I have the freedom to do just that. I have styled and designed a few key looks for some of this show’s most memorable characters. This is going to be fun!  The mission concerning this project is to design and style each character based on his or her personality . 

Sookie Stackhouse is a human-fairy hybrid, introduced in the first season of True Blood. Sookie is the most prominent main character on the show and is played by Academy Award-winning Canadian Kiwi actress, Anna Paquin, in her Golden Globe-winning television role. Sookie also appears in the The Sookie Stackhouse Novels as the titular character and narrator of the stories. As a designer, I wanted to design looks that were sexy, but

playful”, just like Sookie’s personality.

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Tara Mae Thornton has been Sookie Stackhouse’s best friend since childhood. Tara is the daughter of Lettie Mae Thornton, the cousin of Lafayette Reynolds and the Progeny of Pam. Tara is a strong-willed person who has had to deal with a multitude of abuses in her life. She was made a vampire as a last resort to save her life after she took a bullet.

According to Alan Ball, Tara is the smartest person in Bon Temps, but her cynical nature, born of her abusive background, has made her extremely blunt and often confrontational with others. She is however, fiercely protective of her loved ones (including her best friend Sookie) to a fault, often hating those whom she sees could cause harm to them, including vampires. Since Tara is now a vampire, I thought I would invest in her new status as an immortal with looks that would be appropriate for her new job/home, Fangtasia.

Close up of board A. Screenshots of show, with Tara in a sequined half sleeve blazer and distressed leather skirt with chrome buckle trims. I designed these looks to reflect Tara’s new personage as a vampire, working at Fangtasia, and being Pam’s “child”. One detail, the chrome buckles are added, and I would make them to look like silver. Silver is poisonous to all vampires, and though the buckles are perfectly harmless, they would say a lot about Tara’s view of herself, as a vampire, as well as her other vampire brethren.

Eric Northman (born c. 870 AD, turned c. 900 AD) is the vampiresheriff of Area 5 in Louisiana which encompasses Bon Temps. He is over 1,100 years old as he was born somewhere in Scandinavia during the Viking age. As a child he played by the North Sea, which would mean that he grew up in Denmark or Norway (the two Scandinavian countries which border the North Sea). According to Pam, he has a farm in Öland (Sweden). Eric speaks Swedish and refers to old Swedish music. He owns the vampire bar Fangtasia in Shreveport, Louisiana. Eric is 6’4″ tall, and has blond hair and blue eyes.

For this nordic gorgeous undead stunner, I decided to stay within the frame of his personality. Very dark colors, usually back and greasy, colors that mimic Eric’s ancient, but cynical outlook of the world. I was liberal with fabrication, using luxurious,exotic skins such as crocodile leather, ostrich leather, cashmeres, silks and tropical wools. The end result is a collections that is dark in mood, but  with a very masculine sensuality.

I thought leather as a fabrication is perfect for Eric.So in keeping with the “ancient theme” of Eric’s age, I used distressed, aged fabrications as well. Some of the fabrications I utilized in this small collection are washed, and or distressed in some way, to give an “aged look”, and or hand feel, giving an “ancient theme” referring back to Eric’s extraordinary age.

Lafayette Reynolds is the short order cook at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, cousin of Tara Thornton, nephew of Lettie Mae Daniels,medium, and also a witch. In these looks, I wanted dress  Lafayette a tad conservatively, but still with a very “cross-over” flair that he is known for in the show. Utilizing eye-catching patterns, sumptuous velvets, corduroys, and wools. I still kept his signature head scarf style, this time in  beautiful patterns in raw silk. The styles are comfortable, very casual, but very chic.

 

Lafayette was a joy to design for, as his style is very much like my own, (though I am a tad “butch”),this aspect of the product line was really fun.

Jason Stackhouse is the older brother of Sookie Stackhouse. Now, I have to admit something,…I hate “jocks”. Individuals like this made my highshool years miserable, (till i discovered the wonderful use of nun-chucks and pepperspray), but Jason is a wonderful character on the show, and I had to include him. Jason Stackhouse is known for his beautiful body and sincere love for his sister and friends.While Jason did not inherit any powers as his sister did, he does carry the blood of his fae ancestors, which makes him more attractive to straight women and gay men. As a former football star Quarterback, Jason is very athletic and keeps up his fitness through an intense workout regimen.ason was born to Mr. andMrs. Stackhouse a few years earlier than his sisterfae ancestors, which makes him more attractive to straight women and gay men. As a former football star Quarterback, Jason is very athletic and keeps up his fitness through an intense workout regimen. The looks that I designed for Jason are a mix of casual and formal, a contemporary sportswear. Jason is a hunk in True Blood, and looks great in just about anything, though much of the time he is naked. Jason wears denim gear most of the time, with an assortment of casual knit and woven shirts. These looks are derived, but slightly more sophisticated, with of soft lambskin leather , accents and brass buckle trims.

I wanted to use techniques,graphics, and fabrications that I feel Jason would not wear normally,but because he is a “ladies man”, he could be convinced to explore.

I wanted Jason’s looks to be reminiscent of his personality, sexy, carefree, but confident. The graphic printed tux is a silk/wool pigment printed two piece tux. The graphic is of a orchid and blood splatter, appropriate for a night out at Fangtasia,…not that Jason would ever be caught dead ( pun intended ) in such an establishment , unless to rescue Sookie.

Overall, this was a fun project, and will be continued, as True Blood continues to add more and more interesting characters to this “visual cocktail of sex and fantasy”.
Stay Tuned

Introducing : “To Patrick Kelly with Love” A Blog / Design Memoirs of Love, Admiration, and Triumph

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I went ahead and FINALLY DID IT!!!

I created ANOTHER blog, but this one is special, its dedicated to my mentor and inspiration the late and great Patrick Kelly

In this blog, Patrick, to me, is not gone but in a design office right next to mine. We are design “partners in crime”, having fun and doing what we love, making women look beautiful. This is a sort of design memior to a man that helped me realize through pain and suffering, comes inspiration and beauty. I love you Patrick Kelly with all my “design heart”, lets “rock Paris till she topples over”!!!!

I created this blog, in honour of Patrick Kelly , to “get to know him”, in turn getting to know my own talent. My own design style is very much like Patrick’s, taking risk, colorful, and just over the top. Patrick Kelly transitioned long before I could meet him, But I am hoping through this blog, I can get to know some of his fans, and people that knew him personally. If you knew Patrick, feel free to share your moments, pictures, comments,etc. I see this blog not only as a platform for Patrick’s legacy, but a way to understand who I am as a designer in NYC and as a creative human being. And as always, I AM a freelance designer, so if you love my work, HIRE ME, get me closer to my dreams in Paris, hopefully one day I while have a legacy that is as loved as Mr Patrick Kelly’s. I too, want the universe to hear me roar.

Patrick Kelly was an iconic african american designer of the Mid 80’s . During a time when most designers of color were not taken seriously, Mr Kelly rose in fame. Mr Kelly was the first american fashion designer to be admitted into the French Federation Of Fashion and Ready to Wear of Couturiers and Fashion Designers. Patrick Kelly was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1954, and like me, he was a “country boy with city attitude” that garned him love and admiration from many.

Patrick Kelly has inspired MY life and career in so many ways. Growing up in Coloumbus,Tx and Baton Rouge, La, life was difficult at best for a little boy that loved to sew and draw. I discovered Parick Kelly, and from then on, I believed that I too could do ANYTHING that I set my mind to. Patrick Kelly transitioned on January 1, 1990, and sadly I never got to thank him for the inspiration that he has brought to my life and career, but in this blog, I would like to think somewhere out there in heaven, Patrick is giving me a smile. I will be sharing many of my designs, tidbits about Patrick Kelly, articles, events, and of’course fashion. I feel that in this online platform, I am FINALLY given the permission to portray my private thoughts about fashion , by struggle as a creative and professional. I think Patrick would expect nothing less.

Here is the link to the blog / personal journal and enjoy

https://topatrickkellywithlove.jux.com/

Hedi Slimane Refuses To Design Yves Saint Laurent In Paris, The Re-invention Of Fashion Corporate America

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Unlike most creative directors at French fashion houses, Yves Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane won’t work in Paris. Instead, he’ll design YSL from his current home base, Los Angeles.

YSL will keep its atelier and offices on Avenue George V in Paris open, and Slimane will do fittings for shows there. But the bulk of the creative work will be done in LA, where Slimane has lived since he left Dior Homme in 2007.

Slimane, who took over for former YSL creative director Stefano Pilati in March, isn’t the only designer who lives and works in two different places. Phoebe Philo designs the French labelCéline from London, and Pucci‘s Peter Dundas commutes from his apartment in Paris to his office in Florence, Italy, several times a week. The corporate world of fashion is starting to look more like a team of highly paid freelancers, creating beautiful collections with wonderful, work-enviroment  based freedom. I personally know of several designers here in NYC that REFUSE to work in the corporate arena for several reasons, many of them based on “stagnating work environments that foster hostility,mediocrity, and office politics”. The fashion industry is one of the few professions that allows many , (if you have the right contacts and connections), to live a rather lucrative lifestyle, will not having to hold a regular 9 to 5. Working as a freelancer is incredibly rewarding, and the freedom is unparalleled. I have been known to conduct trend reports, working on “teck packs”, while sipping on margaritas by the sea in Cancun. Many employers that are opting for freelancers assistance, simply  do not care where you work, as long as your work is ON TIME  and of  stellar quality. But now it has recently come to my attention that FULL TIME designers are opting for more corporate freedom, very much like their freelance brethren. I applaud high profile designers like Hedi Slimane for their audacity in formulating  a much needed “shot in the arm” stance, concerning their careers, and the international design industry as a whole. Being a designer is HARD WORK, as many of you in the industry can relate. Working 9-14 hour work days, end on end, no over time, (at least I never got overtime, as I often worked  past 40 hours ), grueling deadlines that usually change at the drop of a hat, are just a few of the professional dilemmas that corporate designers have to deal with. If you hold the title of “Design Director”, or “Head Designer”, simply square the above by 1000, and say good bye to your personal life for good. The design industry is a “personal lifestyle eater”, gobbling up any personal time that you may have for family, love interest, and or personal life pursuits. Many designers, when it comes time for vacation, instead of traveling to some mind-blowing exotic local, instead opt for a much more humble location, in the  vicinity of mattress,pillows, and sheets, sleeping much of their vacation time away. Yes, the design industry can be rough, but we, as design professionals, LOVE what we do like a kid in cake shop and would NOT do anything else. This is the way it has been in the industry for, decades at least until one is lucky enough to foster your own label.

I have freelanced for about 10 years in the international apparel industry, having design clients as far as Fiji,and never have I come across an article that sheds a ray of light for my long suffering design colleagues, and may have me rethinking my stance on corporate employment. I hope more apparel employers ‘take a page out of YSL’s book’, and began to allow more environmental work freedom for their executive design staff. Hedi Slimane and his other  ‘corporate rebels ‘ are right, who says that I have to pick up my life, find a new home away from  many connections family and friends, just to work for my dream company? Now, many of you reading this blog are probably ready to click the red X with a deep dish of side eye, especially you employers, but I want you to think about this, what are you willing to do in order to get your moneys worth from your executive design staff? And for you design professionals, before you start salivating all over your keyboard and planning that “work and relax” trip to Paris, I have a question for you, would you be able to highly perform outside of the corporate environment? It’s NOT as easy as it sounds, trust me. In order for this new corporate platform to work, corporate design executives would need to establish a foundation of trust with their companies, and apparel employers would need to rethink their corporate structure, including policies that governed this new creative and work freedom.   Now I know a few of employers  are thinking, “Why would I do this? , I can just hire freelancers, and there are more than enough designers that will appreciate for my company  just as is”. Very true, but what many of you fail to realize is that when you work with your design staff, creating an environment that sponsors freedom of all types, your bottom line improves DRAMATICALLY.  Design companies that handle their design staff with an “iron fist”, and or having a high turn over within their design departments, often create product that is “commercially in-cohesive, very disjointed, and unable to hold the interest of ANY  target demographic and or building brand loyalty for very long. That simply translates as this, you build loyalty within your design staff= constant design directions from season to season= Brand loyalty, as the buying public begins to take notice. Building loyalty within your design staff would mean investigating different corporate structures that allowed the designer (s) “room to breathe and create”. In an online world where multi-billion dollar meetings  are conducted on Skype® and Goggle Hangout®,  desktops can be shared via Splashtop®, while cruising 20,000 feet in the air, is it mandatory to have  design executives in office seven days week? I say no, and it seems that many premier design labels feel the same way.

Career Branding / Standing Out From The “Corporate Fashion Herd” When Job Hunting Part 2

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Creating a Successful Portfolio 101#

Portfolios are MANDATORY  in starting, and maintaining careers in fashion. Even if you didn’t make one while you were still in design school, you can put one together now. Here are some tips for how to make a fabulous fashion design portfolio.

The first thing that you’ll need is something to contain the pieces you wish to have in your portfolio. This can be a binder, a folder, or a higher-quality, specifically formatted portfolio binder. This will contain samples of your best work and can be updated as your skills improve. My personal choice artistic portfolios, in black ofcourse.

  • Organize your pieces by collection and give some logical flow to the progression of what you show. Start strong, but definitely save the best for last. Now since the last 10 years, I have instructed my protegé’s to create what is “disjointed collections”, a series of collection, showing their particular skills. Show preliminary sketches, having the viewer understand your thought process and or creative protocol, but NEVER show finished collections. The reason why is artistic and creative thievery. I know of several individuals that shall remain nameless, (maybe one day Ill drop random blind items), that have “seasonal job searches” for  new design talent. Now any person observing this situation, would say the companies have a very high turn-over concerning designers, no, not all because they are not really hiring anyone. They hold these “talent searches” as a rather unscrupulous form of “trend forecasting”, stealing ideas and or complete design concepts from innocent, hopeful job seekers. Suddenly, you see YOUR unique design(s), theme and concepts in Macy’s the next season. This happens more often than I would care to admit, so I recommend that you create look-based  presentation boards, limited to 2 boards per concept. If they can’t see that your the next Coco Chanel after your shrewd, but delicious presentation, then you don’t need to work for them because they are idiots, and that creates a whole other cornucopia of problems and situations. Some may find this approach unorthodox, but TRUST me, creative thievery runs rampant in the NYC garment industry, duping potential job seekers out of potentially MILLIONS of annual dollars concerning their work. You make the choice, don’t say no one told you.
  • Your portfolio should include sketches of your designs. These will be the large, final sketches in color. Now being that I am a digital fashion illustrator, coupled with a mean “gauche hand”, I couple BOTH in my presentations. Potential employers will have wet dreams about a portfolio that is incredibly versatile, even with execution of  materials used to create the portfolio. This shows the employer that you are a talent “power-house”, you can do  detailed 5 minute sketches for  design meetings, as well as polished digital sketches for sales presentations,etc. Keep in mind, versatility is the key in landing ANY design position.
  • Include fabric swatches to show what fabrics were used, will be used, or which ones inspired you. This demonstrates texture and creative process.
  • Include finished photos of your designs. Every time you make something you should take a picture of someone wearing it and make sure the pictures are large enough to show detail of pattern and texture.
  • Make a digital version of your portfolio. You may need to scan images onto your computer; this is helpful to places that are far away and the only means of communication is via phone or email. I can NOT stress this enough, ESPECIALLY if you are a Freelance designer. High resolutions photos of your presentation boards  are wonderful for attracting jobs overseas, in other states, anywhere you can’t get to conveniently. As I said before, NEVER send whole collections,  just “bits and pieces” of your strongest work. Try to keep it cohesive , but protect your work at all cost. Speaking of portfolios, there are dozens of sites that offer design portfolio services for FREE. Sites like Coroflot , Styleportfolios,and Carbonmade offer  free templates, easy and diversified uploading formats, and a great way to network with others in your chosen industry. Many reputable companies have been known to recruit from these wonderful sites, so get onboard.  The drawbacks of being on these sites can be said in one word, Competition. After you have reached out to a certain job opportunity, and they think you’re the next best thing to a free sunday brunch at Balduccis, it would be unfortunate for them to find someone else more talented than you, after you have sent them your Coroflot  portfolio link. (I have had this happen to me,its heart breaking, and I needed therapy.) Instead, invest in several free site building websites, build an independent online portfolio, then send links till your hearts content. I prefer this method for two reasons, 1. no competition, the person is sent to YOUR site, about YOUR talent. 2. A great way  for your work to be “searchable” in search engines such as Goggle, Bing,Yahoo, to name a few. This can sometimes bring VERY unexpected, but highly lucrative opportunities from companies that simply “came across” your site online. Make sure you use highly searchable meta-tag words, for BOTH your site content and uploaded jpegs of your work. I obtained a japanese client this way,( or rather they obtained me), by just having a few of my presentation boards “searchable” in search engines.
  • Remember that a neat presentation is the best way to show professionalism. Classic colors to use as a portfolio cover are either black or neutral tones. This way the emphasis is on the actually design pieces themselves.
  • Include an introductory page that tells a little about who you are and can include a logo or a graphic if you have one. It is always a good idea to brand yourself even if you are just beginning- you want people to be able to recognize your work.
  • Last, but not least, include a “digital version” of your portfolio. Yes, I know you already have that  “black old stand-by” portfolio, and physical samples of your work is the norm, but incorporating your trusty macbook / Ipad into your presentation has garnered me a lot of job opportunities. Use your Macbook / Ipad to create slideshows of your designs, coupled with a rocking soundtrack, and you have a portfolio-based video. This will have the employer further understand your vision even more and its just dang cool! One of my protegés has an Ipad, and as he is flipping through his physical portfolio, he hands the Ipad over to the interviewer, as his video presentation is displayed with music, themes, along with his designs. Its gets the interviewer “engrossed” with what you are presenting, you have made your portfolio an “experience”, sure never to be forgotten.

Each of these portfolio tips is designed to help you make the most of your career. It is best to update your work as often as you make new designs, and it is ok to spend lots of time in how you put everything together- the stronger your portfolio, the better your chances of getting that dream job in the fashion industry. Remember, be creative, learn to think “out side the box”, don’t just depend on your talent to land that job, be innovative.

Since the topic is job hunting, here is MY online portfolio site, I am using BOTH sites for FREE (until they work out their “server kinks”), but about 95% of my work is searchable in all worldwide search engines and I am getting hits, literally from all over the world!!!      http://freelancefashiondesignernyc.moonfruit.com/

Career Branding / Standing Out From The “Corporate Fashion Herd” When Job Hunting Part 1

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Lets face it, job hunting in NYC is a full-time career in itself. Each glossy,new opportunity you have viewed, rest assured someone more talented and hungrier has seen the same opportunity, and is going to “pull out all stops” to be the first in line to get hired. Here are a few of my recommendations to not only get that “first phone call”, but ace the design interview, on your way to fashion corporate excellence.

1. Your Resume should be a short “Best Seller”, they can’t put it down.

re·sume (r-zm)

v. re·sumedre·sum·ingre·sumes
v.tr.

1. To begin or take up again after interruption: resumed our dinner.
2. To assume, take, or occupy again: The dog resumed its post by the door.
3. To take on or take back again: resumed my original name.
 Short and Concise is Preferable Please:
When you send in a resume’ you are attempting to assume, take, or occupy again, another bigger and brighter opportunity. One major rule with resume’s is that many think quantity means quality, and that is NOT true. Many HR department heads, design directors,etc. are viewing MANY resume’s for the same position, and many of them have the attention spans of butterflies. Keep your resume’ short (2 pages , cover letter, then main resume) should suffice. I don’t care if you have been in the industry since christ was turning water into wine, choose THE MOST important positions that make you look good, illustrating  your talents and versatility as a designer and artist.
2. Stop the “Me and I” factor:
Take a look at your current resume, it should NEVER have either me or I, but rather we. Companies LOVE, ( like a fat kid in a cake factory) to see applicants that are team players, working and integrating well with an all ready established design team. The apparel industry is an industry that requires hard work, and much of that will be done on your own, depending on your position, but employers want to see that you can play well with others.
3. Expand your world out side fashion:
Many job hunters do not know this, but employers like to know that you are a “caring part of society”. Try to involve yourself in a few volunteer “feel good” opportunities that revolve around the fashion industry. Volunteering  your time to a few worth will events looks great on your resume for many reasons, one it shows that your not a “raving , egotistical bitch”, but instead a talented designer that has a well-rounded life outside of fashion. This can also be an opportunity to make some BEAUTIFUL friendships and connections during these events.
4. Become a “Reference Nazi”:
This means include ONLY quality JOBS , PERSONS and or INDIVIDUALS that will make you look great. As a freelance fashion designer, I have many clients, and many are start-ups. As much as I love all of my clients and enjoy their faith in my talent, unfortunately, there are a few I would NEVER give as references. These individuals come across inarticulate and sometimes indecisive. Though that is an asset for me as their creative service provider, my potential employer will NOT look at this reference as a “quality reference”. Make sure your references are of individuals that are articulate and engaging, if possible,
5. Follow-Up means I Care:
I have been in hiring positions, and I ALWAYS consider heavily the individuals that understand the fine conversational art of “following up”. Believe it or not, many applicants DO NOT receive positions because of  they do understand that after initial contact with the employer, there is a need to continue to build a “relationship”. After a resume is sent, wait a few days, and send a follow-up letter or phone call, thanking them for their time, re-interating your talents and interest in that company. I have instructed a few of my proteges to even send flowers and a thank you card, if the interviewer was  a female, (oh hell, if he was a male, send flowers as well) I had this done once when I was design director of a company, and I was “gob-smacked”. I remember it was a hard, stressful day and SUDDENLY, a simple, but beautiful bouquet sitting on my desk.Needless to say, the applicant got the job within 5 minutes of me seeing my beautiful flowers! If you want the job, think of creative, thoughtful ways to say  “thank you for this wonderful opportunity”. It comes across as classy and shows that you have intuitive. Do understand, only do this once, or your come across as “stalker-ish and creepy”. This “tactic of kindness” works WELL head-hunters, as you will ALWAYS be the first on their list to contact for juicy positions.
These are only a few of the tips that I have acquired through the years in this industry. Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series, where I will discuss how to create a stellar, and innovative portfolio presentation. I will also be teaching a seminar at the Learning Annex, here in NYC in the near future, so stay tuned for more details.
Happy Job Hunting:)
Speaking of job hunting, here is a online presentation of my own work , thanks for viewing my portfolio : http://freelancefashiondesignernyc.moonfruit.com/

Red Carpet Fashion: Hits and Misses at Cannes Film Festival 2012 (SLIDESHOW)

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Red carpet arrivals at Cannes Film Festival are the most awaited moments of the week-long event. On day four and five, though the red carpet fashion was a little mellowed, singer Cheryl Cole managed to awe the crowd in a ravishing white full-length gown accessorized with a glittering red pouch that was perfectly complementing the red fur base of her dress.

The former X Factor judge stole the show in the sizzling hot Stéphane Rolland Couture costume. Other than her, there were several Hollywood celebrities who graced the red carpet on day four and five including Diane Kruger, Jessica Chastain, Berenice Marlohe, Berenice Bejo, Bianca Balti, Sarah Marshall and Lily Cole.

 

Why skinny models are bad for business; Women prefer to see what clothing looks like on bodies their size

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JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Underweight models might be bad for bad for business.Ben Barry, a modeling agent, found that women were more apt to buy a pricy dress if it was modeled on a figure that resembled their own and not a super-thin “aspirational” body.Barry, who wrote about his research in Elle Canada, found that designers are losing out on big bucks by only using one size model to represent their clothing on mannequins and in ads.In a study of 2,500 women of all ages and sizes, he found that more women were willing to shell out money for a Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress after seeing how great it looked on a woman whose figure resembled her own.That’s a lot of women walking away from the register that could be leaving with full shopping bags.“My study found that women increased their purchase intentions by more than 200 percent when the models in the mock ads were their size,” he said.The difference was even more pronounced in women larger than a size 6.“In [that] subgroup , women increased their purchase intentions by a dramatic 300 percent when they saw curvier models,” he said. It’s not just self-esteem, he found. It’s a practical matter.Women liked seeing models their own size to see how the garment hung and hugged different pars of the body.Using only white models is another sales error.African American women were 1.5 more times likely to make a purchase if they saw the dress on a black model.Women over the age of 35 were 200% more likely to buy the dress if it was shown on a more mature model. “Contrary to long-held marketing wisdom, fashion ads don’t need to lead women to aspire to an unattainable ideal to sell products,” he concluded.

Source

Take a look at some of the curvy beauties that are redefining beauty in high fashion:

                                            FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES

Wowza! Kate Upton walks the runway at the Beach Bunny Swimwear show during Merecdes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2012 at The Raleigh on July 15, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida.

JEAN BAPTISTE LACROIX/WIREIMAGE

Diet Pepsi, please! Bodacious Sofia Vergara is seen filming in Santa Monica on March 29, 2011 in Los Angeles.

SMEAL/BEIMAGES

Christina Hendricks has thrown the entire fashion world a curve. The ‘Mad Men’ star’s eye-popping physique has made her the darling of magazine editors, designers and everyone who appreciates a statuesque siren.

RENTZ/GETTY

She’s hardly a big girl but size 6 Lara Stone claims that she was constantly told she was too big for the modeling world. She’s got the last laugh now: Stone is the latest face of Calvin Klein.