Tag Archives: Seaki Ashe

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.