THE BLOG

Fashion Is No Longer So Black And White

11/28/2011 09:41 am ET | Updated Jan 28, 2012

The fashion business is not as black and white as it used to be. Gone are the days when black designers only focused on their own demographics, their own community, their "own people." The color and culture line has definitely been blurred, and thank goodness for that. Who has the right to tell a consumer what will best suit their body better than a designer?  If you were to interview designers from different cultural backgrounds, locations and regions around the world they would only have one thread in common: the human body as their inspiration. Not the color of skin.

Although skin tone inspires designers to pick the shade of fabric that will best suit a model, initially they are moved by something they saw either in the past: fashion, a plant, a tree, a flower, architecture, some object of some sort.  Often when a designer travels to different parts of the world they are influenced by the culture and the history of the location they are in.  I have become more and more fascinated by this to the point where traveling has become my obsession. 

Questions that come to mind when I look at a piece of garment are: Is it functional? Is it practical? Is it comfortable?  What's the history behind it?  Often what a garment is made of is often based on the climate of the location. Man and our ability to adapt to our environment have always fascinated me. That's why fashion is such a passion. While visiting museums in Egypt, one thing stuck out the most, the focus and detail of the human body. Corpses were not only identified by their bones, but the garment in which they were buried in, which showed their status in society.  In the Egyptian culture it also identifies them in the after life. Who ever said fashion is not to die for?  Egyptians wouldn't dream of being buried bare face.  The makeup tools were just as important as the clothing in which you were buried it.  

I can hear my mother tell me "Make sure you have on clean under wear and in case you pass out in the street and they have to save you. God forbid you're disheveled.  Don't embarrass me."  Now, after going to Egypt and reading up on the history, passing out isn't what I should be worried about, but dying in a disgraceful piece of garment should be my primary concern.  Thanks mom...  You were right... I guess what I wear really does matter.

It was my greatest pleasure to work with a woman I truly admire this past Bridal Market season; Mrs. Paulette Cleghorn of Designer Loft and now the Creative Director of Yumi Katsura. The collection was definitely brilliantly put together.  She not only used some of the most beautiful fabrics, but the bling, Swarovski crystals, eye capturing.  Each garment was brilliantly put together.  The architecture of the garment was not only mind blowing but in many cases formed to the model's body like a glove.  The skin tones of the models complimented the garments beautifully.

Then there is the aspect of beauty products. Hair in itself is an art form.  The ability to beautifully shape a structure with hundreds of strands of hair takes the mind of a genius. The ability to apply makeup to ones face and artistically tell a story, while enhancing the beauty of its canvas is by far an art form only a fellow artist can appreciate. But the eyes of the beholders can only translate what he/she perceives art to be, so the responses will definitely vary. None the less, all must agree that it is still an art form.

The ability to extend the colors of makeup, skin tone, and garment to the tip of ones fingers is another form of art that requires patience and skill. So no wonder on one's wedding day so much effort is put into that day, in every culture.  Some ceremonies take months, years, and a life time to plan and financially prepare.  But the impact can be either disastrous or brilliantly planned.  Either way it is always something to talk about.

The garment industry has become more then just a passive business that can be ignored.  But has an impact on our society as a whole and to our economy.  Lives depend on it across the globe.  Your cotton may come from the US, but it may be made in China, buttons in Italy, crystals from Russia, bead work done in India, and the list goes on.  So fashion is no longer black and white.  Local now means global.  The "mall" now represents the whole world. You may need to get a passport to shop.