Tag Archives: Freelance fashion designer

Moroccan Afternoon / A Study Of Casual Urban Elegance

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Summer – 1985 – Perry Ellis, One of my first fashion jobs, and I was on my way to my first overseas business destination, Morocco. To say I was excited is like saying the sun can cause a heat rash, its just a fact, and I was geared for fun! The trip was 3 days, and then on to China, but that was three days I will always remember fondly. The food, wonderful cheerful people, and the culture that left me wanting more. I have never been make, alas, but at least in this fashion expedition, I can return in my heart. In this expedition, I designed casual sophisticated men’s wear looks that are comfortable and very stylish.

View more of this presentation at my digital portfolio: http://tinyurl.com/bnwkzmy

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Harlem Style Redefined/ Candy Furs & Sexy Suits

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I have lived in many places on this earth during my career as a fashion designer. From the finding inspiration in the countrysides of Japan, to roaming aimlessly in the mysterious back alleys of China Town in NYC, looking for exotic fashion finds and ‘knick-knacks’ that most people never discover. When I travel to a city, I always ask around to find the more ‘fashionable’ sections of that city. From San Francisco to Los Angeles, I am always drawn to parts of these cities that inspire me as a designer. I have lived in NYC for over 23 years, seen much of what this city has to offer and find so much of her inspiring. One district of Manhattan inspires me the most, and that is Harlem. Harlem is a large neighborhood within the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. Harlem’s history has been defined by a series of economic boom-and-bust cycles, with significant population shifts accompanying each cycle.
Black residents began to arrive en masse in 1905, with numbers fed by the Great Migration. In the 1920s and 1930s, Central and West Harlem were the focus of the “Harlem Renaissance”, an outpouring of artistic work without precedent in the American black community. However, with job losses in the time of the Great Depression and the deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, rates of crime and poverty increased significantly. Since New York City’s revival in the late 20th century, Harlem has been experiencing social and economic gentrification. However, Harlem still suffers from many social problems. Though the percentage of residents who are black peaked in 1950, the area remains predominantly black. There is no where in the world where I can be in one location, maybe the Lennox Lounge having a beer, close my eyes, and imagine that 60 years before, maybe on the same day, Jazz great Billie Holiday was in the same place, singing with her velvet voice, to a gathering of fans. Harlem remains a steady inspiration for fashion ideas as well. When I worked corporate as a design director, if I was ever “dry” out of ideas, I would take that 1 train down to Harlem and simply walk around. After a few hours, I would head back to the office brimming with new ideas to sketch,hence my inspiration for these boards. My ‘Harem Muse’ would be a lovely black woman, daring and beautiful, dressed to the nines in a style that is all her own. In these looks, I wanted to explore candy colored faux furs (animal friendly ofcourse), beautiful,textured boucle’ jackets reminiscent of the iconic Chanel boucle’ jackets, and supremely cut suits. All would be accessorized with modern pocket books, clutches and shoes that were vivid in color and textures. The end look would be imaginative, statuesque, and stylish, fit for a daring woman that desires to make and entrance, uttering one word.

 

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Seaki Ashe’ / An Expose Into Casual Luxury Menswear

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As a designer, I am always researching styles  and aesthetics that allows my work as a designer more and more freedom. Womenswear is easily suited for such creative freedoms,not so much for menswear. For the last 120 years, menswear has maintained a very rigid aesthetic,and in the fellow looks, I hope to relax this ‘style structure’ a bit. The above style is a look meant for my upcoming 2013 Fall Collection. The leather blazer / jacket front and back yokes are draped, forming a very ‘layered’ texture and silhouette. Draping is usually considered a design technique used specifically for womenswear styles, so to utilize the technique for menswear is risky. I wanted a look that was soft, casual , but daring and edgy. The fabric that I will use for this style is soft lambskin. I would couple this style with flat front,pinstripe wool skinny slacks, and draped cowl neck  knit top.I feel the final look is daring,edgy and romantic. Below are other casual, luxury – based looks. In each look I want to use luxurious fabrics, with a wonderful illustrative presentation.

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 Another draped look utilizing leather and worsted wool. The blazer is a fashion forward silhouette, very cutting edge. The center front is a leather draped cowl neck accented with antique brass buckle trims. The cowl neck detail is further accented with a cashmere, draped right lower front yoke. The entire jacket is a simple leather blazer, with these unconventional details that resonate romance. The slacks of this ensemble are a soft, casual rayon / silk mix with a harem pant with a extremely low crotch. I got the idea for the pants when watching a docu about Ghandi, and felt he looked so regal and elegant. Coupled with a structured worsted silk wool blazer and a draped silk shirt with a mandarin collar.

ImageThis look is another romantic look, finely tailored suit layered with a dramatic shearling. What fascinates me about this look is the mixing of sport and highbrow tailoring. The shirt and tie are very in the style of what was popular in the early 1940’s . A stiff,starched collar, combined with a ascot styled necktie gives off a certain style. I combined this with a early 19th century styled vest. This precarious layering is accented with a smartly tailored blazer, and silk denim slacks. The final look is made even more casual with suede loafers.

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Madonna and Angelina Jolie-Pitt / Style Titans- Future Trends

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As a designer, there are no two celebs that influence trends, style and fashion like Madonna and Angelina Jolie-Pitt. As many in the world, I watch closely what these two ‘style titans’ wear, who their stylist are, and what designers they happen to favor. Now, let us float back down to reality, I am a freelance designer working out of NYC, I don’t have Angelina or Madge on speed dial to wear a few designed samples that I have created just for them, in a lavish fashion shoot  ofcourse shot by the incredibly imaginative David La Chapelle. I am just a little known designer with a HUGE imagination, so let’s have the next best thing,(at least in my opinion). I will create a series based on my designs, done in my distinct illustration style, to illustrate my views on upcoming trends dealing with fashion,hair,and makeup,…..all about these two beautiful ladies:)

The first board is all about Madge, wearing a color and fabric blocked well tailored pant suit. The jacket is well tailored, with wonderful shoulder treatments in the form of external self -contrast pleating, going down the mid sleeve. Each sleeve is color and fabric blocked with leather,wool,and satin, creating a very  interesting ‘visual texture’. I chose to use ‘hot colors’ that have been muted as this design is more geared to F/W. Limegreens become deep pea greens, Bubble gum pinks, become deep fushia, allowing wonderful color in a season of fashion  where stark color palettes are usually the norm. The bottoms are predominately leather , but fabric blocked with wool (5% stretch added with wool fabric to better combine with the soft leather). The bottom is color blocked at the knee, to go back to the jacket, merchandising very well in the future , if this was to become a full collection. A black ,stretch velvet button-up long sleeve blouse is added  for upper texture, combined with a pop silk ‘pencil’ tie. The look is finalized with a burnt rouge, patent leather, ultra high stiletto accented with self fabric fringe on front, keep in mind this style can be translated successfully into wonderful flats.  The final look is reminiscent of what makes S/S fashion so much fun,  with emphasis on fabrication,surface texture of fabric,and design.

Will this become and upcoming trend?

 

That I can’t answer.

As a designer I love to create what I feel will look great on women. I have noticed that designers, specifically american designers, are starting to ‘shy away’ from overly monotone color ways when it comes to the colder seasons. I think the reason why is that our world is becoming smaller and smaller via increasingly advanced technologies. Anyone can be in Cancun, at least in spirit, in a matter of minutes, and that is starting to effect how we see color, even during the F/W seasons in the northeast and midwest. I have also noticed that these same designers , during the colder seasons, are using holiday to introduce even more ‘color pops’ into their respective collections. So I guess designers ARE slowly introducing ‘inverted pop colors’ in their F/W collections.

 

 

Mrs. Joli-Pitt is wearing what I call a ‘coat-dress’. I took an overcoat silhouette, took a way the heavy fabrication, involving a lighter version, and coupled with fabulous leggings and even sexier sweater knit,sculpted boots. In the illustration ofcourse the garment is very short for ‘style reasons’, but if going out to production, I would add approx 4 inches to the hem of the dress. The dress , instead of a melton wool, I would use a Cashmere/ Alpaca wool mix. The garment is then combined with a waist enhancing wide leather belt, sexy knit leggings, and thigh high, sweater knit stiletto boots. Going into production, even though this was designed as a dress or a soft wool top , MOST women are going to  still wear this item as a jacket which means they will combine with a bottom. The look is finalized with sweater knit styled stiletto sculpted boots, that merchandise well back to the dress, as well as most sweater knit items the consumer may have in her wardrobe. Be on the look-out for a continuation of this series during this week. And as always, if you need design assistance in your product lines, feel free to drop a line.

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion In Technicolor / A Study Of Color , Design, and Luxury

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Since a little boy, like many of us that were artistically inclined, I loved color. No REALLY, I ADORED color, big gobs of bright and wonderful colors  that stimulated my young  imagination. Being a designer in NYC, color was always a “bad word”. You could use color for “pop” to accent garments,  and maybe as ground color for some designs concerning  the warmer seasons, but I was always told to be safe. “Never use bright colors, people don’t like bright colors”, is what I was often told by my career mentors. “Bright colors are cheap, it is a designer’s job to know when less is more”, another word of advice that I have built my design career on. As a freelancer, I design for many clients, and each client has  specific needs. This recession has hit my business, as well as many of my other freelance brethren hard, having me to redefine what I value as a designer, my views and thoughts on “design fundamentals” that I have been taught. This collection is for ME, in celebration of that little 7 year old boy that would look at his magic marker for hours, amazed at the rich hues that appeared on my paper. I will use color in abandon, wreaking havoc concerning the spectrum, and REALLY utilizing my Pantone book, not just for the socially accepted hues, but for colors that simply make me happy to look at. These looks are also experimenting with luxury based fabrics, skins, and precious metal trims, combining the absurd with the sublime. In this project, I am a child again, my magic markers have been replaced with my trusty mac, But I WILL find a joy that I have long lost. I hope viewing this collection has made you as happy as it has made me, cause this is DAMN FUN!

I would like to add that this project is dedicated to Patrick Kelly, a man that I never met, but his work and talent has always been a source of inspiration.
Check back as often as you like, this will be an on-going project for the next few months!

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/

Talent Spotlight / Seaki Creative Services

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Hello everyone, As many of you know, I m an international freelance fashion designer based in NYC. I have done this video to introduce myself to the online professional community, and those of you that need graphic and or Product design services Pls feel free to check out my online portfolio by clicking HERE

In the video, you will see just a few of the services that I offer as a Fashion design consultant. Some of these services include: Product design, Fashion Illustration, Product Branding, Graphic Design, Technical Design, Production Assistance, and Sourcing. Feel free to call me to discuss your creative needs.

Thanks

Seaki

Designer Spotlight – Seaki Ache, Designer/Consultant to Watch

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Having your blog is a blessing, and a curse. A curse because it becomes an “incessant responsibility” along with everything else. But a blog can be a blessing, as it can be a great way to get YOUR message about who you are, as well as others. I did an interview a while back with a fledgling magazine out of LA. The magazine is no longer online, but I still have the transcripts. So in an act of “self-induced nepotism” I am going to tell my story,and how I began as a designer, then design consultant. So here we go.

Interviewer: How did you start as a designer?

Seaki: When I was young, I wanted to be an archeologist. I would dig up chicken bones, try to find fossils around the neighborhood. It would horrify my mom, as she thought I was going to become a serial killer, cause of all the animal bones under my bed. (laugh) I have always had a talent for drawing, from a very early age, but being a fashion designer was decided by me and my dad.

Interviewer: You and your father, so it was a collaborative effort?

Seaki: Not really, I was making sunday dresses and suits for my mother to wear to morning service for for sometime. My father was from Sao Paulo, so his son sitting in front of a sewing machine, or hand sewing was too much for his machismo. I will never forget, we were all sitting at the breakfast table, it was a Sunday. The Louisiana Chronicle/ Houston Chronicle would have a huge fashion section, like “Life and Style”. I remember pointing out to dad that year Emmanuel Ungaro had made 235 Million dollars for his business because of licensees, fashion product,ect. I NEVER  heard an ill word from my dad about my sewing ever again, in fact he became even more supportive.

Interviewer: So after you father saw the potential for wealth, he changed his mind?

Seaki: He did a 360, even got me interested in Parson’s in New York.

Interviewer: Tell me about your time at Parson’s

Seaki: I originally wanted to go to Otis Parsons in Los Angeles, since I had family out there. My father got my an application and I completed the “home test” ( I believe it was a collage thing), and sent it in. I received and admission letter a few moths later telling me that I had gotten accepted into their foundation program. When I attended  Parson’s, I believe Marc Jacobs had just graduated, and it was a big deal cause Marc was causing a stir at Perry Ellis, he had hired this guy as Creative Director, RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE. It was a big deal. When I was going to college, Patrick Henry was causing a rukus in Paris, Steven Sprouse was redefining New York fashion in the East Village. It was a wonderful time to be a young designer. Parsons was so expensive, and I modeled with Boss Models to make end meet.

Interviewer: So you were a model in college ?

Seaki: Only in Europe, I got a great book going will making the rounds in Europe, but the States would not touch me, they did not know what to do with me. The only black models that were working, were ofcourse african american men that were brown skinned. I was a mutt, so they passed on me constantly.

Interviewer : Why did you stop modeling?

Seaki: I was unhappy, and did not want to live on lettuce, crackers and tuna fish for the rest of my life in order to be slender. Besides , as I gained experience, the novelty of being a model was wearing off. I got tired of creative directors telling me “your perfect but your ears are too big, or your thighs are too big, or your skin color is wrong,etc” It got to be bit much. I remember cursing one VERY FAMOUS  american photographer out caused he said I was a “back water bayou negro hybrid”, I will NEVER forget that (chuckle).

Interviewer : Wow , what is the photographer name?

Seaki: (chuckling) Its all water under the bridge now, thats been ages ago. But I will say his name starts with “S” and ends with “M”. I don’t think he meant to insult me, it was meant to be a joke, everyone was laughing, but me. I came back to the States that week, and never modeled again.

Interviewer : Who were some of the people that you knew during this time?

Seaki: As a black model, we all were very close knit. Me being gay, more so with the black female models. I remember Veronica Webb, Roshumba, Beverly Peele , Naomi was on the scene, but hung out with a different crowd. But we all knew of each other, sometimes partied together. Makeup artist Way Brandy was my very best friend.

Interviewer : So You came back to the States?,….

Seaki: Came back to the States, I had already graduated, so I sent out resume’s and got my first design job, with Pierro DiMitri on Fifth Avenue, he was such a big deal back in the day.

Interviewer: How long have you been in the industry?

Seaki: Almost 21 years, (chuckle) Good Black Don’t Crack huh (chuckle)

Interviewer: What was it like in the industry when you started?

Seaki: It was a different industry, so much talent, and fabulous people. I made many connections, but sadly AIDS took away so many of my friends and collegues. After the “AIDS Scare”, which lasted  many years, the industry changed, it became more about money, than artistry.It became VERY political. Office politics was the rule of the day. I often avoided politics by keeping my nose to the grind-stone, but it always hits you some how,some way. I was in the industry when all work done by the designer was hand done, none of these computer programs. Cads, sketches, fashion illustrations,mood /trend boards, all done by hand, and with love. I had to learn computer skills in order to compete.

Interviewer : So you had to evolve?

Seaki : Yes, or become unemployed, and that was not about to happen.

Interviewer : Fast forward, when did you start Seaki Creative Services Consulting?

Seaki: SCS was started out of frustration and unemployment. I had just resigned my last Design Director  position after my boss called me a “Fruity faggot”, jokingly. And back then, there was no such thing as or sexual orientation discrimination. And if I would have sued, I would have been “black-listed” in the industry, as he was a very powerful man in the New York City apparel industry, or so I thought he was. It was a known fact that I was unhappy, so I started my own consultant company, designing product lines for small businesses. A few large accounts that were behind me when I worked in corporate, then came onboard. There is a very large gap in the consulting market, concerning real fashion design / product consulting. Very few of the companies that I have come in contact with really understand apparel design as a business. I think that is my strength, I understand the creative, and business aspects of design. When I am designing a product line, in the back of my mind, I am viewing the line subjectively, piece-by-peice, I ask my self these questions, “would I buy this line”, “what is my demographic?”, “what is my competition?”, and most of all, “have I assessed my competition correctly , “filling in the gaps” where they have left off or neglected. Its a whole process, but it serves me and my clients well.

Interviewer: What are your strengths as a consultant, that maybe your competitors do not have?

Seaki: Plain and simple, talent and knowledge. Being a black designer and working in a few executive positions concerning the apparel industry, I would always have to work harder, be smarter,and more versatile concerning my white collegues. I know it sounds awful, but I come from the old school of fashion business, where there were simply not that many of us in the industry period. So the few of us that had climbed the corporate ladder in the apparel industry, had to learn how to out maneuver, out shine the rest. I rarely have to out-source projects, and that is because during my corporate years, or our bosses would usually pile so many responsibilities on our plate, till we HAD to “wear many hats” in the business in order to survive.

Interviewer: Was this experience unique only to Black fashion designers?

Seaki: Not only was it unique to black fashion designers, it was expected. I remember trend shopping in Europe for a few weeks. My white collegues had assistants to make their jobs easier. I had another black collegue with me, and it then dawned on us, after a few conversations with other white designers of our corporate level and experience, that their was a slight,but powerful bias in the industry. They were shocked. (chuckled) I remember one time I was in Italy, and ofcourse we have a company credit card in our name for the purchases for the company. I remember being chewed out for buying myself meals and drink, while one of my collegues, it was rumored that he hired 2 prostitutes and, and they said nothing to him. I later found out ,much later, that personal expenses ( to a certain degree) should be taken care of, as long as you provide RECEIPTS.

Interviewer : Were you angry after finding this out?

Seaki: For a few minutes, then you get back to work. I mean, I am in Europe, traveling on someones else’s dime. Shopping and  researching  trends. It was a fabulous lifestyle, hard work, but fabulous. So you get upset, look a round you, and count your blessings to be given the opportunity. It just made me work harder.

Interviewer : Do you think these biases still persist?

Seaki: No way, maybe in some environments, but many of the young designers that came after me, simply will not put up with the treatment, they don’t have to. The corporate atmosphere has changed, from what I hear, its more enveloping of all people. As long as your making the company money, your product lines are selling, you can be purple with polka dots, and the big bosses will still adore you.

Rihanna challenges British fashion newcomers to dress her up on new TV show

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LONDON — Rihanna has found a unique way of getting some new stage outfits.
The musical superstar from Barbados will be hunting for undiscovered design talent in Britain on a new TV show — as yet unnamed — in which she will be the executive producer and the star.Sky Living HD announced Thursday it has commissioned media company Twenty Twenty to make the series and say Rihanna will be working mainly behind the scenes.
Hosting duties will go to another pop name, Nicola Roberts from the U.K. group Girls Aloud.Together they will challenge fashion newcomers to create stage gear for musicians and celebrities — with the final task to dress Rihanna for her July 8 performance at the Wireless music festival in London’s Hyde Park.Stay tuned kiddies, as this is a great opportunity to get my skills out there. Rihanna wants new outfits,…then that is what she shall get,…courtesy of Seaki 🙂
This is going to be fun, I love a challenge !!!