When did I fall in love with fashion? Before I knew what it was. I fell for it in stages and as I grew so did my respect, admiration and love for all things fashion. It all began when I was a young fashionista about six or seven. I was always surrounded by the women in my family who were always working on some sewing project, whether it be for themselves or for others. To keep me out of their hair, they would give me the scraps of their projects to use for my dolls. I started out just cutting out neck and arm holes in fabric so all I really made were long dresses. But, as I grew and the fear of me putting my eye out lessened, I began to learn to stitch. The only problem was that I made very tailored creations (meaning I sewed the clothes on the doll) so I would have to cut them off to change the outfits! I never really had anything to show for my hours of work. Those afternoons (that usually turned into nights trying to finish up something so it could be worn the next day) are some of my favorite memories.
The Facts of Life was my favorite show when I was about ten. What does this have to do with fashion you ask? I’m sure most of you remember Tootie that wise cracking teen on the roller skates. She was my favorite character on the show. Thanks to Tootie I had a rocking “mushroom” hairstyle and I discovered fashion could be a career. There was an episode where she designed an outfit for that snooty Blair to wear to an event. I saw the process of designing clothes and I was amazed! I had never thought of sketching or drawing as a part of clothing before. I immediately called my mother and asked that she bring home a sketchbook home for me. That summer I designed some of the worst clothing you will ever see in your life! But, it opened my mind to the possibility of fashion. I started learning that there was a whole world of people who did this for a living and it was then I decided that I was going to live in that world!
The next phase of my love affair with fashion began with my first Elle (until my first day of French I thought it was pronounced ell-ay.) magazine. Another door was opened to me! I learned about Chanel, Ysl and Balenciaga. I fell in love with Patrick Kelly and Jean Paul Gaultier. I also discovered the art of couture. I became obsessed! That first Elle lead to my first Vogue. Which lead to the purchase of European mags and it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand the wordsâ€¦. I could understand the fashion. I would begin steering my mom to do her shopping in the grocery stores where I could get the newest copies. No one was allowed to touch my magazines until I had looked at every single page. Especially my grubby handed little sister who still has the knack for tearing a page as soon as she touches it! I kept them all and they came in handy! Whenever I had a school project I would make sure I could tie fashion in. I was stretching with that biology project on the effect of different deodorants on fabric but thanks Mrs. Gentry for your support!
In college I began to rethink my devotion to fashion. Just like with a high school sweetheart, I didn’t know if we were meant to be together. I majored in fashion merchandising for my first year but when sophomore year rolled around I started cheating on fashion. I changed my major to history the first semester and anthropology the next. Still something didn’t seem right! I gave costume design a try for a semester but although I loved it, I wasn’t IN love with it. I returned to fashion and never left it again
I think fashion and I will grow old together. Sitting in rocking chairs looking at the young folk wearing things we created together many years before. Smiling at the memory of how it felt to wear something for the very first time.