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Fashion designer gives back in a big way

Fashion designer gives back in a big way
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Bethesda High School graduate Kaycee Marshall has been busy studying fashion design at Kent State University in Ohio, but came back to Indianapolis over the weekend to pay forward a cause close to her heart.

Marshall was born with a malformation of the spine and heart condition, spending her childhood in and out of Riley Hospital for Children and had the opportunity to work with the now medical director of pediatric rehabilitation at Riley, Dr. Chuck Dietzen.

Dr. Chuck, as his young patients call him, founded the Timmy Global Health Foundation in 1997 and as a former pro-wrestler, has sponsored an annual wrestling event for Riley patients for many years.

This year, with the help of Marshall, he decided to sponsor an event in the form of a fashion show.

"Fashion had always been my thing since the first grade," Marshall said. "I was sketching clothes back then. I love that fashion can be anything, it's a way to express yourself — moody, glam, edgy ... whatever you want to be."

The show wouldn't have been possible without the help of local businesses and talent.

With the donation of three designs by Marshall and a group of other local boutiques — Ella Mae's, Blush Boutique, Lil' Bloomers, The Watermelon Patch, Meme's, D's Cleaners and Sweet M's — nine models and current Riley patients had the opportunity to walk the runway at Indianapolis' Incrediplex facility.

Kristen Maloney from D-Zign Salon, Mackenzie Fair from Studio 603 and Mandy Roberts from The Place for Hair all donated their time and supplies to prepare the young models with hair and makeup.

Steven Dean with Soundwaves Entertainment served as emce and Matt Portwood with MP Films was the photographer.

The joy was apparent on the children's faces as they walked the runway and posed with audience members clapping and yelling support.

"The show is entitled 'Once Upon A Dream' because I want the kids to just feel beautiful," Marshall said. "I want them to know that they can do anything they put their mind to and to dream big.

"I'm following my dream and I hope to give back to the fashion industry with models of diversity. Just this year, the first model in a wheelchair went down the runway at New York's Fashion Week and I want to see more of that."

Marshall has plans to travel and study fashion this school year with study abroad programs in Florence, Italy, and New York City.

She designed a pink, lighted tu-tu worn by Macie Bravo and a pink flowered dress worn by Grace Schraufnagel.

Other models included Hayden Cloud, Chad Keown, Emily Smith, Riley Smith, Caden Upchurch, Christin Gregory and Mallory Hackworth.

Marshall also designed a black dress worn by guest vocalist and Danville graduate Brianna Patrick.Read more at:cheap formal dresses

04:07 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Exhibition explores legacy of black fashion designers

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As a girl, Tracy Reese thought she might be an architect. Then she caught the fashion bug. She knew, of course, that designers who are black like her existed. She used to snap up Willi Smith at The Limited growing up in Detroit. She headed to New York with high hopes. “When I first came to New York my eyes were really opened to the breadth of the industry, but I was looking for our place in it,” recalled Reese, who has dressed first lady Michelle Obama.

Reese, along with other noted designers of color, Jeffrey Banks and Laura Smalls among them, spoke at the opening of a new exhibition, “Black Fashion Designers,” at The Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology. The show offers a glimpse into exactly how impactful designers of color have been through the decades, including Reese, Banks and Smalls. Smalls has seen her dresses worn seven times by the departing Obama.

They also know the challenges of striving for beauty in design while attempting to break through in an industry still dominated by whites. “Designers of color don’t get a lot of publicity and so many of the businesses are not sizable. It’s tough to get recognition,” Reese said, standing amid rows of mannequins spanning decades of diverse black voices in fashion.

Business training

Reese’s father provided initial startup money when she first went into business for herself. “I had to go out and get loans. I did a lot of paper writing. A lot of business planning. I had to have a lot of assistance because I didn’t have business training,” she said. “That’s usually what a banker wants to see, or a financial person. It’s a kind of closed industry. And as difficult as it is for a person of color, you really have to rise through the ranks high enough to grab the attention of the people who are holding the purse strings.”

Smalls, who grew up in Queens, knew at 8 or 9 that she wanted to be a fashion designer. She went to the High School of Art and Design, followed by Parsons School of Design. “When I graduated Parsons, being African-American, it was not easy for me to get a job. It was just not easy. I couldn’t fathom that I would be able to support myself with my own collection. They don’t say anything. I mean, you know. It’s just you don’t get the job. I could tell you a horrible story, but I won’t,” said Smalls, who worked in relative obscurity until 2012, when Obama first wore some of her pieces.

Banks, at 63 the oldest of the three, has focused on menswear over his decades in the business, adding home decor and childrenswear in more recent years selling on HSN. “I was very lucky in that I met Ralph Lauren when I was 16. I started working for him when I was 17, three weeks out of high school and two months before I started college.” Even so, it wasn’t easy.

“I remember when I was 10 years old and talking to a former nursery school teacher and telling her that I wanted to be a fashion designer and she said, ‘Well whoever heard of a black fashion designer,’ and she was black,” said Banks, who was raised in Washington, DC. “I was so angry, even at 10 years old, to think why would someone say something like that? Why should that be an impediment to anything? I think it made me even more determined to become a designer,” he said.


Banks looked to those who came before him, but his eye was on the beauty of their creations, not necessarily their skin color. “Growing up, Stephen Burrows, when I was in high school, he was just starting to design and I thought his designs were extraordinary, and that was way before I knew he was black,” Banks said. “I just thought they were great looking clothes. At the end of the day that’s really what counts.”

Jacqueline Bouvier must have thought so, too. In 1953, she wore an ivory silk taffeta gown to marry the young Sen. John F. Kennedy. It was designed by Ann Lowe, already a noted dressmaker for high society patrons in New York. Lowe was also the great-granddaughter of an enslaved woman and an Alabama plantation owner. She learned to sew at the knees of her mother and grandmother. “Yet she embraced all of the beauty of European couture,” said Andre Leon Talley, the former editor-at-large for Vogue who remains a fashion pundit and served on the show’s advisory committee.

The exhibition is intended as a sampling, not an all-consuming account of black contributions to fashion, but it does offer a wide range, from a modest ivory wedding gown by Lowe (not Jackie’s) to a risque royal blue satin Playboy bunny uniform by Zelda Wynn Valdes. Among others represented: Pyer Moss, Duro Olowu, Kevan Hall, Andre Walker, Lawrence Steele and Patrick Kelly.

And the legacy?

“The legacy is perseverance, and of struggling through many decades of culture,” Talley said. “Struggling black individualism. Struggling in a country that perhaps did not recognize black people as designers. You have a rainbow of success based on innate quality and innate technique. They had dreams, and they put their dreams into fashion.”Read more at:formal dresses

04:10 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Designers put ethical twist on local fashion

With Myanmar emerging as a manufacturing hub for mass-produced clothes, a crop of young designers are using home-grown fashion to preserve the country's sartorial heritage and reshape the sweatshop model.

Inside her boutique in downtown Yangon, Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw crafts her own designs using traditional patterns and fabrics, many from ethnic minority groups, to make A-line skirts, dresses and tops.

On another she adds the high-collared neckline of the inngyi - a tight top usually worn by Myanmar women along with a fitted, sarong-like skirt - to a flirty pleated dress.

"We Burmese really care about our own ethnic and traditional clothes," she said in the shop, over the whir of ­sewing machines.

"When you modernize the traditional patterned clothes you have to be careful they're not too flashy - or too ­modern."

Myanmar is fiercely proud of its traditional garb, which was largely protected from the influx of homogenous Western fashion now ubiquitous across Southeast Asia by the former military junta.

For 50 years they shut the country off to foreign influences and tightly controlled what was worn in all official media.

Designer Ma Pont said she was not allowed to show even a flash of shoulder or armpit when she used to make clothes for military-controlled TV channels in the 1990s.

"We were not really free," she said.

Impoverished but emerging Myanmar is swiftly becoming a new hub for massive garment factories making cheap clothes as quickly as possible for fashion giants like H&M and Primark.

Exports more than doubled to $1.65 billion last financial year, according to official data, and are expected to surge after the US ended sanctions in October.

But while the sector is helping to drive rapid economic growth, critics say few benefits are trickling down to workers who earn some of the lowest wages in Asia.

A report by multinational watchdog SOMO warned of "significant risks of labor rights violations being committed in Myanmar's garment industry that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency."

Other local designers, like Mo Hom, are working to save Myanmar's centuries-old traditional fabric industry from the influx of cheap imported clothes from Thailand and China.

Her boutique in Yangon is filled with colorful designs in cotton and silks sourced from Chin and Shan states, where they can take months to weave by hand using traditional wooden looms.

Many are dyed with natural substances like green tea to give subtle colors, which she mixes with traditional ethnic patterns and silhouettes.

"Local mills are actually dying because there is no market demand anymore," said Mo Hom, who trained and worked as a designer in New York before moving back to Myanmar in 2012.

"A lot of the mills are actually closing down."Read more at:short formal dresses | formal dress shops

05:17 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)