Great advice is hard to come by. Great advice from an icon and a legend like say, the amazing Ms. Carolina Herrera-well, talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! The thing about getting great advice is, since it’s not such a common occurrence, I like to take every opportunity I can, to share it. That’s why I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share such grand advice, on such a grand scale.
One of the hardest truths many of us have had to come to terms with this semester, is that fashion is a very an insanely an outrageously- dare I say, horrendously (you get the picture) competitive business. In this way, the fashion show serves as a mirror of this business, and another tool that the school makes use of to prepare us for, “the real world”. What sucks most (obviously) about this, is that even some of the most talented people out there aren’t being recognized. For no reason other than there just aren’t enough spots in the show job market (see what I did there!) That being said, I’d like to take this last opportunity to pay tribute to a few of these people: my classmates. Each one of these people, is a creative genius in her own right-and I have every confidence, that one way or another, they’ll be making a name for themselves. Here’s to you!
What’s next on the horizon for me, you wonder? Well, aside from having just blown my fabulous Cotton Inc. check on Muse tickets, (Yay, money!) I’m pleased to reveal this exclusive bit of exciting news: I’ve contributed two new styles to a popular clothing company (original info removed at company’s request 8.12.10). It’s something a little different… but the buyers coming in seem pretty pleased. (so am I! Yay, I’m a designer!) I’m looking forward to walking into a store and seeing my work on the racks. (note to self: make small version for Li’l Humphrey!) (content removed 8.12.10)!
Now then. Don’t let her perfect appearance intimidate you. Along with being one of the most elegant and regal women in the world, she is hands down one of the nicest, warmest, most charming….the epitome of loveliness; and I had the very rare and outstanding honor indeed, of having her as my critic. As you continue to marvel at a few choice uh… fashion show “deleted scenes,” let Carolina’s wonderful words of wisdom (I love alliteration) for the world of fashion students and wannabe designers ring in your ears…. Oh! As for my epic last words…. It’s been an adventure, you guys. I think I’ll take a nap now.
embedded by Embedded Video
(originally published 4.30.10 @7:52 pm)
Dear Sportswear Trackers,
Where the f- did we go wrong?
…..”I rather not be in the show with the rest of you guys than to be in the show without you”, I overhear one friend of mine sharing with some others. That is loyalty. That is a friend. That is…complete and utter crap.
We’re all friends here, and we all recognize each others talents, which made Friday’s grand announcement doubly difficult to digest. For many of us, we have to get over both the shock and disappointment of our own rejection and that of our brilliant classmates. Indeed there were many exchanges of
“I thought for sure you were going to get in,”
“I don’t get it, your stuff is amazing,”
“You?! You didn’t?! No way, no way”
and the still lingering consensus of:
and my personal favorite:
Even Lil’ Humphrey still can’t believe his little monkey ears. He had his favorites like the rest of us. (Mine included, of course. Also, he did help out at some point so he’s taking this rather personally).
…I can’t help but take it personally. I understand that design is subjective but it’s not like there were only 3 judges. And people like those on our panel–professionals held in high regard in their prospective industries– well, wouldn’t I want to appeal to their tastes in the first place? So why feed me crap about how this decision has no reflection on how good I am as a designer? No, it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad one. I know that I’m not and not everyone can be in the show. In fact, many of the people that were cut, I thought to be brilliant, shining examples of what the “Future of Fashion” is really all about. So, no, not getting into the show doesn’t make me a bad designer– I happen to think I’m a very good one–but it tells me that I’m just not good enough. They only wanted the best. So I’m not the best….and isn’t that what we all want to be?
The readers have spoken…
and I have responded! Fasten your seat belts folks, it’s time for another installment of the juicy, the sexy, the riveting, the awe-inspiring, soon-to-be-bestseller-thanks-in-large-part-to-teenage-girls-everywhere…The Twilight Cape Saga! I’m sure you’ve all been waiting as eagerly as my new pal, Lil’ Humphrey. (more on him in a later post) so let me not keep you any longer.
Onward to the gut-wrenching epic tale of woman vs fabric.
Cutting the chiffon was just the beginning. I knew I was in for a ride-and what a wild ride it was! Let’s take a gander at some of the highlights:
1. Time for everyone’s favorite technique. Yes, that’s right: sewing to paper!
Now, some of you might be wondering, “is this really necessary? ” and to that I say, no. That’s right, you don’t have to do it at all….if you’re not worried about running the serious risk of having your fabric:
-sucked into a vast gaping vortex of death…kind of like this:
Observe, this oh-so-haunting photo with it’s poor focus artistic blur, and the eerie diffused ghost-like glow emanating from the dark depths of th- okay, you get it. This is what you don’t want. Jeeze, the things I do to make a point. Are we clear? Paper is your friend.
2. To quote the famed line from Hamlet, “to pearl or not to pearl…” Okay, that might’ve been slightly altered from the original and… not as profound but, work with me. I do think it can be a nice finish on things but I’ve just never thought of a pearl finish as, uh, “sportswear-y”. Know what I mean? Anyway, I figured I’d try it out and see if my mind changed.
My cape has two layers of chiffon so I tried to baby hem one (turn it up the tiniest bit to stitch), which looked amazing until….it didn’t. And then pearl the other. Then genius struck me. Dare I marry the two?!?!?! Muah, ha, ha! To my knowledge this is a sportswear first (I’m not that knowledgeable). What I’ve settled on doing is actually turning up up my pearled hem and stitching it that way. Take that, demon textile! And more, for I could not simply be satisfied with taming the mighty beast-oh no. I did not claim a true victory until I had beat, beat, beat it into a bloody submission. And so it was, the wheels of my ingenious mind kept turning and turning until at long last….Eureka!!
3. The original design of my cape had a front panel that was meant to be a rib. Alas:
-I couldn’t find what I needed ready-made and affordable ($59.99 a yard for a rib knit? Surely, you jest?), and,
-though I had planned on doing a lot of my own knitting (GASP!), I’ve recently moved but my machine-knitting tools didn’t come with. Also,
-It would take me FOR-EV-ER to do it by hand. Man, it’s a good thing I don’t even know how!
-Crochet, on the other hand, I can do; but where to find matching…. ::::eyes pile of fabric and light bulb goes on:::…..yarn….????
The fabric never saw me coming….
Prepare to witness a momentous occasion folks. At least it was for me anyway. It’s something I’ve only ever dreamed of doing, and here was my opportunity. Follow along and prepare to be amazed.
*Alternate titles for this post: “Say my Name, Chiffon. Say it!!!!,” and “How I Kicked Chiffon’s A- and Made it my B-” …just something to think about…
Now sing it with me guys, “follow the yellow silk road…”
I hate you.
Working with Chiffon is bittersweet.
Yes, it looks beautiful in a garment, all flowing, layered, ruffled, gathered, maybe even fluted… A+ on the finished product every time, but boy…little does the average person know how much actual work is involved when you’re working with the stuff. I mean, if you want it to look as nice as possible. Let me show what I mean….
1) For starters, I can’t simply lay my fabric out, lay my pattern over it and cut, the way I did with the pants in my first post. Yes, we’ve reached the groaning portion of the post. Welcome everyone’s favorite technique: Cutting to paper! YAY (Ugh)! What we’d normally do in this situation is lay a big sheet of pattern paper under the chiffon and lay the pattern on top, pin the crap out of it and THEN cut. Why? Because chiffon is a slippery little b– uh… thing. You’re not even supposed to cut multiple layers at a time-but I said to heck with that as you’ll soon see*.
Problem: Was working at home and forgot my pattern paper.
Solution: A little ingenuity, a lot of pins, and the sports section….
Ahhh, 0ne hour, 8 spreads, 30 pins and a few choice curse words later, I managed to prep my fabric and pattern for cutting.
And what a simple, yet ingenious piece of pattering marvel it is!!! Behold, the beginnings of what is to be a very elegant cape. What makes me so clever you ask? Well, not only have I *sandwiched my [news]paper between 4 (that’s right) layers of chiffon, but I’ve layed my pattern out and designed it so that the back is on the fold and the front on the selvage! Yes! Less seam finishes for me!
Side note: Capes: They’re great. In a future post I’ll be discussing the fact that all the cool kids are makin’ ‘em. (at least in my class anyway)
2)Enter: New Problem. Good design students and crafters alike have more than one pair of scissors. For the most part, everyone has about two: one for paper and one for fabric. Aaaah, you see where I’m going with this?
Presumably, majority might vote for the fabric scissors but…to sully my sexy sheers? Cripple my classy cutters? …F– up my fancy forbici (Italian for “scissors”)?!?!
What’s a girl to do? (Other than give away free advertising for ghinger?)
Note: In the industry, they’d lay this stuff out like 100-pile high, let it rest over night, then cut it with a laser. A friggin’ LASER. How do I get my hands on a laser?
Solution: Started with the paper scissors, then shunned them to the bottom of the toolbox after the shoddy job they did and regrettably switched to my fabric ones, which performed beautifully, only after I promised them they would be getting a top notch sharpening to make up for the abuse. (I wont even show you the horrible job the other pair did. It’s just vulgar)
Voila! Part one of the nightmare is finally over. Tune in for part II of “The Cape Saga.” When I go over having to sew this crap lovely, lovely fabric.
“Button, button, who’s got the button?” Ask around town (the industry) and most people will tell you, Tiger (not Woods) does. Here and now I’ve got the inside scoop on the ins and outs of button manufacturing from one of it’s finest leaders.
Kevin Greene and the other fine people at Tiger Button Co. –and when I say “fine”, I mean, incredibly, INCREDIBLY nice–embedded by Embedded Video
have granted me exclusive permission to film a private tour he gave to me and a few of my classmates (because I’m quite the fan of field trips, myself. I mean, seriously, you could tell me we were going on a filed trip to Starbucks and I’d be all over that! Besides, it happened to be St. Patrick’s Day. Who didn’t want to be out enjoying the beautiful weather and the rolling seas of green….and the one-too-many people who started the party a little early…???)
Fellow designers, let’s plan ahead. When you start up your companies, this will be the first place you want to look for all your closure needs. The range of styles is vast and growing each season, and the people are super friendly. For all of us interns, go ahead and ask your bosses-because chances are, they’re already doing business with TBC. (<—-kids these days, shortening everything. Shame on me!)
In fact, I’m currently interning at Michael Kors and we happen to be a regular customer!
The tour was not only informative, but inspiring; and a great reminder not to skimp on the details . Get wise people: buttons and trim can make or break your garment. For us 8th semester folk, it could very well mean the difference between getting into the show and not. And we do all want to be in the show, right?……right?!
So in an effort to catch up on my work, (and embarrassingly enough, I have a ton of work to catch up on) I decided to stay in my classroom till 2 (that’s AM, people!). After all, what better way for a twenty-something college student to spend her Saturday night, after having been “attacked” by a storm, because she just had to pick the worst looking day this month to go buy fabric? Low and behold after working diligently till 2, packing up my belongings and transferring the contents to my locker, I look down at my watch (check that: cell phone) and see that it is now in fact 3 am.
Damn you, daylight savings!
Alas, too late to travel, I was forced to retire to the FITSA lounge for the evening. Yes, my friends, I spent the night in school (not my first, mind you). Boy, there’s something about sleeping on a State University of New York-owned couch that makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something… so why aren’t I done?
Just so you can panic right along with me, (your empathy is much appreciated, by the way) here’s a schedule of due dates you can keep referring to, compliments of my professor (along with some delightful asides, compliments of moi!):
MONDAY MARCH 15, 2010: COME TO CLASS WITH FIRST OUTFIT COMPLETED , HEMS ARE THE ONLY THING LEFT, TO FIT YOUR MODEL. START DRAPING OR DRAFTING YOUR SECOND OUT FIT. (For the record, I’ve actually chosen to work on my two looks simultaneously, so even though I presented not one finished look but rather two half–let me give myself more credit here, 2/3rds–completed, I feel that I’m actually ahead of schedule. Cheers to that!)
MONDAY MARCH 24, 2010: SECOND OUTFIT SHOULD BE ON ITS WAY TO COMPLETION, 50% DONE (this is where I have an advantage (check that: cue maniacal laughter))
SPRING RECESS: MONDAY MARCH 29, 2010 – SUNDAY APRIL 4, 2010 (USE THIS TIME WISELY) (Rough translation: “YOU WILL BE SPENDING ALL YOUR FREE TIME IN CLASS”)
WEDNESDAY APRIL 5, 2010 AFTER YOUR SPRING RECESS, COME TO CLASS WITH MOST OF YOUR GARMENT COMPLETED
WEDNESDAY APRIL 7, 2010 SECOND OUTFIT DUE
MONDAY APRIL 12, 2010 CRITIC PICKS OR AWARD WINNER FOR THE CLASS/START WORKING ON YOUR THIRD OUTFIT
WEDNESDAY APRIL 14, 2010: BFA JUDGING DAY FOR ALL CLASSES
MODEL FITTING DATE: TO BE ANNOUNCED
THURSDAY APRIL 29, 2010 BFA FASHION SHOW
THIRD OUTFIT DUE MONDAY MAY 17, 2010 (This is where it gets interesting, I happen to be doing the Cotton Inc. Competition–which I’ll blog about in a future post—so that is what I count as my third outfit and thus will be due, say, April 12, with the other two. The pressure is way on.)
Here now is a [lame], random breakdown of a very basic cutting process that we all go through here. It’s what I’d been doing up until I had to check in to Motel FITSA. This is just to give you an idea of how I’ve spent a good chunk of my time these past few nights, aside from sewing, obviously. If you’re a fashion student (or an avid viewer fashion design reality shows) you’ve seen this before; but the workroom novice might find this interesting.
These will be the pants for my second look. The fabric is a beautiful stretch wool suiting. I’ll post a photo of the finished product soon.
(Check that: Here now are my [pointless] visual aids, for which a co-ed’s blog should never be without. Stay tuned for more!)