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Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 45 or Day 1: The end of the wait, and the beginning of something new. Almost 1 yr to date from when I took my very first designs to reality, I’m having a real-life fashion show.

The dreams & hopes of a 17-yr old are being realized by a 34-yr old. God, they say, is never without a plan. He apparently wasn’t without one for me. As I prepare for the party I’m having this evening for my very first commercial collection, I asked myself what do I want?

The answer:
I’d like to leave behind a legacy. A legacy of a negative carbon footprint for myself & for a bunch of other folks. That is what I want most!

When I started this journey, I was still a talker. I have now become a doer. So - watch me do. Hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely yours,

Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 21: Being the person that I am, a tunnel-vision type of individual, I looked at this fashion show as an expression of my design. That is the center-piece of course, but I’m starting to realize that the ambiance I create is just as important!

My mentor thankfully helped me derive a theme. I now have to focus on presenting that theme. My show is an expression of who I am - my own super-hero. As such, it has to be a showcase of that.

The issues I’m battling with right now are my hair & make-up and music choices. Recently having been to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met reinforced how important it was to present with a vision. A few of his high holiness’ runway concepts were mind-blowing. It inspired me to pay more attention to this.

What McQueen did best was represent his crazy self. And I definitely have a crazy self to put out there, and it will show up in my music as well. My raver & rocker roots, combined with my unbelievable exposure to Electro House in Bangalore and SF are going to be the foundation.

Power beats that will flood the mind’s eye and create a wave that my audience can ride on long after they’ve left the building. Inspiring us all to be our own personal versions of the super-heroes we idealize. Just thinking about the experience is making me giddy.

Until next time - Sincerely yours, Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 19: I generally receive two very distinct reactions every time I tell someone my collection is modular. The word inspires visions of trekking pants that unzip to become shorts, or it inspires a concept of layering. My collection is neither.

I’d like to help define the word better to give some notion of what it means. When I first started learning construction, the most astonishing characteristic I had to come to terms with was the number of pieces that one garment consists of. Almost any article of clothing cannot be cut as one piece. Further, the pieces aren’t just limited to front/back or top/bottom.

The human body is extremely convoluted. Proper fit cannot be attained unless pieces are cut in 3-4 pieces. So what looks like a seamless dress bodice, usually starts off as 4 pieces linked together through sewing. The contours that this provides brings the true beauty of the human body to the forefront.

As I was grappling with the extra work this had me doing, the idea for my modular collection was born. I thought to myself, since it’s all in pieces already, why not switch the pieces around? What if I took what serves as a cowl neck and made it large enough to serve as a belt at the same time? What could I do to sleeves that would allow me to detach them and make them part of the bodice, and present a whole new look. What if pants could be made into a skirt and vice versa? What would that be worth?

The real battle wasn’t so much in the ideation, or even in the construction. The real battle was how to make this not seem gimmicky. To make it so it’s a new form of construction. To give the consumer the ability to take a seemingly complete form and play with it, to make other seemingly complete forms.

I’m sure a lot of this was defined by my own life patterns of spending time on two continents, and living out of suitcases for a number of years. I was constantly battling with reducing my luggage, yet staying squarely fashion forward. I wanted key pieces that could morph into other key pieces.

But it was more than styling too, which is an absurdly important aspect of fashion - in my opinion the true basis of fashion. There are those of us who buy an item off of a mannequin and can make it work in a single dimension. Then there are those of us who can see a piece, and envision it’s application to multiple pieces within our wardrobes. The latter are natural born stylists. They have the ability to look at something on a hanger, and realize it’s potential on the body in many dimensions.

As is the case with all gifts, this one is also not given to everyone. Thus, my second focus was to give my consumer a chance at their own styling with each complete set of my clothing. The ability to see deconstruction and reconstruction as it happens on their own bodies.

This is the thought process behind my collection. Make it versatile so it can translate to multiple scenarios. Make it compact, so my wardrobe takes up less space. Make it relevant, so it doesn’t fade as a fad. Finally, make it fashionable, so my fellow NYers, some of the most stylish people in the world, would nod in approval.

Whether I’ve accomplished that is going to be in the eye of the beholder. So come, behold, and openly express whether I attained my goal.

Until next time - sincerely yours, Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 18 - I sort of disappeared there for a bit. But I did come across my first wall. And it was entirely spatial!

The initial space that I had wanted for my show suddenly became entirely unavailable because of a “restructuring” issue. In NY that can mean anything. I choose to believe that August was the problem. See, Asia shuts down in May/June. Europe in July. NY, well our hottest month happens to be August! So NY chooses to shut down in August. Had I forgotten this for a while?

Having lived away for so long, I imagine I had forgotten this. So here I was, a month away from my show and no space. Manhattan, that island purchased for $16 all those moons ago, isn’t as conducive anymore to start up creative ventures as it used to be. So, finding another space that was as reasonable as my original space and yet central to all people from all boroughs became a real challenge.

My thoughts diverted to the boroughs and I thought perhaps Williamsburg, BK or LIC, Queens might be viable. But being 718 for most of my life, I wanted the 212 to christen my first steps. I love my borough - deeply. And I hope to have key aspects of my empire in my lovely borough. I just wanted my exhibitionism to be expressed in “the city”.

So what do I do? Well, if you live in NY long enough, you know everybody who does everything. So I reached out to my diverse circle, which includes everyone who does everything. And I hit on a pixie woman who I share a deep love of political activism with, and hit gold!

I found a central location maintained by two art lovers. We agreed on one thing - Manhattan was always going to be a haven for those expressing interesting ideas they want to share on the world stage!

Right in the heart of Chelsea is a gorgeous space called Theater Lab NYC. A stunning, all-purpose multi-level space that can manage any kind of performance. On Wednesday, August 10th, it will host my performance!

Again, the blessings I keep receiving astound me. These blessings also remind me to keep believing. Life’s challenges are just sent for our growth - and I’m ready to do some growing up.

Until next time - sincerely yours Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 8: Had a lovely two days completely off to celebrate July 4th! Totally worth it! This whole weekend really has been about frolicking. As a person working for myself, I sometimes skip out on time off - that is never a good idea.

Anywho, so what am I dealing with today. Well, Models! Sounds like fun right? Not really because my goal is to produce a line that is universally applicable. In essence, every color, shape and size represented.

Balancing that can be difficult, because the mantra in the industry is 5’ 9 - blonde, anorexic women should represent any brand on the runway. I find that troubling for a number of reasons.

The first of these of course is that I’m not a 5’9, blonde, anorexic individual. I’d like to see all kinds of women on the runway that are beautiful without being a stereotype.

Also, I figured since I’m already doing things differently, why not strut down the runway a collection with women representing sizes 0 thru 10.

As a researcher and project manager, my goal was always to create systems and solutions that can be replicated by others. So this runway show will be built on that foundation as well.

As it currently stands, my model collection ranges from a size zero to a size 10. And the multiple races that call NY home are also represented. I’m really proud of that fact.

I believe that this will lead to a gorgeous show - where my audience will not only enjoy my clothes, but they will each find a face, skin color and body type they can relate to directly!

Let’s see. May be if I build it, they will come. Like everything about my clothes, this show is also about experimentation. I won’t know until it’s over whether it was worth it, but I do know I’ll never find out if I don’t try!

Until tomorrow - sincerely yours, Ms. Courteous.

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 5: Yesterday was a fantabulous day! I took my sketches and fabric choices for approval to my mentor. His enthusiastic response and long hug at the end of our meeting gave me a boost I really needed!

See I have always had faith in my abilities. But having spent 75% of the last 7 years in a country where women are at a different level then in my own country, I didn’t realize how much confidence I had lost in my abilities. Finding my way back has been a slow, arduous process. So even though I know what I have may be good, I can’t always see it unless I see it from someone else’s eyes.

This industry is also a factor. Because of how subjective fashion can be, it can be hard to gauge whether or not I’m creating something worthwhile. But yesterday helped clear some of those doubts! He also helped me find a theme! Female superheroes! I didn’t even realize I was headed in that direction. Having him voice it out, and flesh it out really, really helped.

Superheroes have always been a major influence on me. All of sci-fi really. So the fact that it showed up in my fashion collection was just another endorsement that this is truly a creation from my heart. From that deep, honest place of who Priti really is. Fabulous darling!

Finally, my mentor agreed to be my stylist for me! Oh yeah!!!! Without the amazing make-up skills of Leslie, and the photography skills of Soraya, I know my clothes would just be clothes!

Now I’ve got a real stylist offering me his amazing skill to make it real! The more I do this, the more I realize I should be doing this! Thank you Lord for all your blessings.

I’ll be skipping the next two days to celebrate my country’s birthday! So have fun America! Because we really do live in the greatest country in the world, where if you have enough passion, motivation and willingness to slog - you can be anything!

Until Tuesday - sincerely yours, Ms. Courteous!

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 4: So I missed a day yesterday because of a hump day bender with a college pal! Totally worth it though. Reminiscing about our old dive bar haunt led to one too many knocked back. The brief respite was welcome - and the Lord says - we all need a day of rest! But, back to work.

I had the high aspirations that my entire first collection would be built on sustainable fabrics, and have a small carbon footprint. NY though has not cooperated. The garment district has little or no textiles of the sort. Furthermore, finding sustainable textiles manufactured in the good ol’ US of A, is like asking for a miracle.

I’ve had to do this entire process by mail-order. The couple of sustainable outfits I found in progressive Brooklyn, are essentially just storefronts for organic textiles sourced from the nations of China and India.

Whatever I may accomplish with my use of these to build my collection, is immediately negated by the carbon footprint they create because of their journey. And I know a thing or two about logistics, having spent a substantial portion of my life working in that field.

Thankfully though, I found two very reputable organizations, not located in NY, that provide a large array of sustainable textiles made in the US. For those of you interested these are: www.nearseanaturals.com and www.bamboosa.com.

With Near Sea Naturals, I can really branch out with all kinds of fun fabrics, whereas Bamboosa is great for cotton and viscose only. So I’m buying fabric online! In a hands-on industry, this can be a pretty dangerous undertaking. So far, so good though.

This process has also given me a few insights into the multitudes of markets that are seriously underdeveloped, right here in my hometown! Good notes for expansion :).

Soap Box Alert: Our need for fast, cheap and abundant has led us to a place where we’re only consuming, and no longer creating. Please support labels and brands that are locally produced, using local resources.

We have higher standards of quality of life than many of the countries that create 90% of our goods. A sustainable planet starts with sustainable communities built on dignity and opportunity.

Until tomorrow - when I hope my fabrics arrive!

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 2: Having made the clear choice to not construct my samples wasn’t easy, but I felt it was necessary.

Still harboring guilty doubts, I raised the topic yesterday with Wheylan Ford - costume designer extraordinaire - who has taken me on as his sewing assistant.

Wheylan’s background is Sculpture, and his talent in that translates to ethereal costumes for some very cool folks in New York. As such, Wheylan is a purist. When I raised the topic of outsourcing my pattern and sample making, his honest response “That’s kind of cheating”, was exactly what I expected.

His work is a clear inspiration for my own modular construction. And his willingness to share his construction knowledge with me, will definitely bring me to a place where I know I’ll be able to make my own patterns and samples for my unique ethos.

That day though isn’t today! Becoming a full-blown pattern and sample maker will take discipline and patience (this industry is great for those seeking to gain these two attributes). I will continue my skill development ceaselessly because of what Wheylan added to his advice - “It’ll make you a better designer to do all of it”. He’s absolutely right. I only grew as a designer when I focused on construction.

The battle I am fighting though, is trying to balance skill with business goals. I have a clear feeling that the time for my collection has come. The Great Recession, combined with the debilitating effects of climate change, create an environment where people are highly receptive to sustainable clothing that is anti-consumerist. Thus, I choose to pursue my business goals as well. And I think I’ve found a balance.

I will work with a sample maker hands on. For this, I will seek out some very special people that I have met along this journey. Folks who can see my vision, and build me a frame that I can expand on.

Fashion Design isn’t a whim for me. This is something I want to do for a lifetime. I have to start approaching it from that perspective. Thankfully I have met some amazing personalities that keep me grounded in that perspective.

Until tomorrow…

Suddenly I see…why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 1: There are 45 days to go to my very first fashion show ever! I will be chronicling my daily journey to this event.

A year ago, almost on a whim, I decided if I had to rebuild my professional life I’d rather do it doing something I love. A little more than a year later - I’m actually following through. I’m viewing this fashion show both as an end and beginning.

It’s an end to my tutorial phase, where I actually learned about the industry; and a beginning to what I hope will be the first of many collections I bring to the world. What a ride so far!

The first thing I decided to do when I chose to pursue this show is learn what part I want to play in it. I want to design, but prefer leaving the patternmaking and sample construction to the professionals.

Unlike the other industries I have worked in, Fashion is completely hands-on. You need to learn all the skills, but as one of mentors repeatedly says to me, you need master only one.

As much as I have enjoyed learning how to sew and make patterns from scratch - I like the design aspect more, because that comes to me intuitively. And that’s the key here - what you feel intuitively prepared for is what you should focus on doing. For some it’s patternmaking and for others it’s sewing. To each her own!

That said - learning patternmaking and sewing are really what gave me my design ethos. Understanding the human body and construction for it allowed the flights of fancy that have led to the most unique idea I have ever had in my whole life: modular clothing that is also high fashion! What that means can only be ascertained by you my reader if you show up to my show. Full details of the event will be made available as we get closer to the day - August 12th.

Plus, now I know how to make all of my own clothes, and may never need to shop for finished product again.

Well off to the garment district to meet my pattern/sample maker and then to my sewing assistant gig with the coolest costume designer I have met. More about the journey tomorrow.

Dr. Fashion Love: Or How Got into my first store

As some of you may know, I’m a researcher turned fashion designer.  Having been given a chance to be born-again - I decided I would do what I really love.  And fashion was my first love, so I decided to take a chance.

This required that I return to New York City after a 6-yr hiatus that took me to Asia, Europe and the West Coast.  The trip had been full of learning, but it was good to be home again among people that I didn’t have to be anyone but me with.

As I began reconnecting with my past, and sharing my future with these people, a friend, always keenly interested in my development, offered to introduce me to a lovely stylist Tynae Abdul, who worked with Jonathan Bodrick owner of a one-of-a kind boutique in Harlem.  The name of this Boutique is B.O.R.N located at 52 West 125th street (btw Lenox & 5th). A unique place where the travels of a New York stylist and videographer yielded beautiful pieces from many places. 

I first met these lovely gentlemen a little over a month ago.  They had simply offered to meet with me and assess whether I had potential for my newest career track, or I should just go back to sitting behind a computer doing research.  This first meeting was pointing to the latter. 

Having never done this before, and being woefully underprepared for the Fashion industry in general, I went there with some badly printed Kinko’s pictures.  Not taking seriously that most people don’t get second chances to make a first impression in this industry.  I figured my charismatic sweetness would do the trick.  It didn’t. 

Instead I was blown out of the water.  Had I been in the hands of lesser gentlemen though (the word is not misplaced) I may never have designed again.  Instead they chose to bolster me.  They said if you have the passion - than pursue it - don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  And they gave me a second chance.  This time, I sewed my fingers to the bone and carried about 20 lbs in two garment bags and headed up to Harlem with the help of a friend’s car. 

Once there what was unleashed was awesome!  Two more stylists joined the party, and we all had a mini-fashion show with my pieces, at the end of which 4 pieces were immediately picked up to be placed in the store!  I was a little shell-shocked during the whole event. 

Seeing the pieces in person really conveyed my design.  Furthermore, it allowed them to truly comment on my work and enhance it.  Having been in the industry for many years, the two men are a wealth of knowledge and they willingly shared that knowledge with me!  No holds-barred discussions, that inspired me and motivated me. 

I was a little shell-shocked (wait I said that already).  I wasn’t prepared for them just picking up 4 of my pieces.  I wasn’t prepared to be told I did have some talent, and that I should pursue it.  I definitely wasn’t prepared to be told that I was playing it safe with my newer work, and was much more edgy with my older work (my fashion career is currently 9 months old, so you can see how this industry functions).  The point that came through most clearly was that the pieces I was designing for me, using my inspiration and my motivation, were the best pieces in the group.  And lo and behold, there is nothing wrong with that! 

Actually that is the place I was told to design from.  From the place of my journey that, at the age of 34, brought me to a boutique in Harlem with two men who spent hours of their precious time to nurture me.  And all the things that had gone wrong up to that moment, most of them of my own doing, just turned right.  I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to New York Fashion Week (my dream), but I do know that with the help of these two gentlemen, on Friday, May 13th, 2011, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  I had gotten into my first store…………

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 45 or Day 1: The end of the wait, and the beginning of something new. Almost 1 yr to date from when I took my very first designs to reality, I’m having a real-life fashion show.

The dreams & hopes of a 17-yr old are being realized by a 34-yr old. God, they say, is never without a plan. He apparently wasn’t without one for me. As I prepare for the party I’m having this evening for my very first commercial collection, I asked myself what do I want?

The answer:
I’d like to leave behind a legacy. A legacy of a negative carbon footprint for myself & for a bunch of other folks. That is what I want most!

When I started this journey, I was still a talker. I have now become a doer. So - watch me do. Hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely yours,

Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 21: Being the person that I am, a tunnel-vision type of individual, I looked at this fashion show as an expression of my design. That is the center-piece of course, but I’m starting to realize that the ambiance I create is just as important!

My mentor thankfully helped me derive a theme. I now have to focus on presenting that theme. My show is an expression of who I am - my own super-hero. As such, it has to be a showcase of that.

The issues I’m battling with right now are my hair & make-up and music choices. Recently having been to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met reinforced how important it was to present with a vision. A few of his high holiness’ runway concepts were mind-blowing. It inspired me to pay more attention to this.

What McQueen did best was represent his crazy self. And I definitely have a crazy self to put out there, and it will show up in my music as well. My raver & rocker roots, combined with my unbelievable exposure to Electro House in Bangalore and SF are going to be the foundation.

Power beats that will flood the mind’s eye and create a wave that my audience can ride on long after they’ve left the building. Inspiring us all to be our own personal versions of the super-heroes we idealize. Just thinking about the experience is making me giddy.

Until next time - Sincerely yours, Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 19: I generally receive two very distinct reactions every time I tell someone my collection is modular. The word inspires visions of trekking pants that unzip to become shorts, or it inspires a concept of layering. My collection is neither.

I’d like to help define the word better to give some notion of what it means. When I first started learning construction, the most astonishing characteristic I had to come to terms with was the number of pieces that one garment consists of. Almost any article of clothing cannot be cut as one piece. Further, the pieces aren’t just limited to front/back or top/bottom.

The human body is extremely convoluted. Proper fit cannot be attained unless pieces are cut in 3-4 pieces. So what looks like a seamless dress bodice, usually starts off as 4 pieces linked together through sewing. The contours that this provides brings the true beauty of the human body to the forefront.

As I was grappling with the extra work this had me doing, the idea for my modular collection was born. I thought to myself, since it’s all in pieces already, why not switch the pieces around? What if I took what serves as a cowl neck and made it large enough to serve as a belt at the same time? What could I do to sleeves that would allow me to detach them and make them part of the bodice, and present a whole new look. What if pants could be made into a skirt and vice versa? What would that be worth?

The real battle wasn’t so much in the ideation, or even in the construction. The real battle was how to make this not seem gimmicky. To make it so it’s a new form of construction. To give the consumer the ability to take a seemingly complete form and play with it, to make other seemingly complete forms.

I’m sure a lot of this was defined by my own life patterns of spending time on two continents, and living out of suitcases for a number of years. I was constantly battling with reducing my luggage, yet staying squarely fashion forward. I wanted key pieces that could morph into other key pieces.

But it was more than styling too, which is an absurdly important aspect of fashion - in my opinion the true basis of fashion. There are those of us who buy an item off of a mannequin and can make it work in a single dimension. Then there are those of us who can see a piece, and envision it’s application to multiple pieces within our wardrobes. The latter are natural born stylists. They have the ability to look at something on a hanger, and realize it’s potential on the body in many dimensions.

As is the case with all gifts, this one is also not given to everyone. Thus, my second focus was to give my consumer a chance at their own styling with each complete set of my clothing. The ability to see deconstruction and reconstruction as it happens on their own bodies.

This is the thought process behind my collection. Make it versatile so it can translate to multiple scenarios. Make it compact, so my wardrobe takes up less space. Make it relevant, so it doesn’t fade as a fad. Finally, make it fashionable, so my fellow NYers, some of the most stylish people in the world, would nod in approval.

Whether I’ve accomplished that is going to be in the eye of the beholder. So come, behold, and openly express whether I attained my goal.

Until next time - sincerely yours, Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 18 - I sort of disappeared there for a bit. But I did come across my first wall. And it was entirely spatial!

The initial space that I had wanted for my show suddenly became entirely unavailable because of a “restructuring” issue. In NY that can mean anything. I choose to believe that August was the problem. See, Asia shuts down in May/June. Europe in July. NY, well our hottest month happens to be August! So NY chooses to shut down in August. Had I forgotten this for a while?

Having lived away for so long, I imagine I had forgotten this. So here I was, a month away from my show and no space. Manhattan, that island purchased for $16 all those moons ago, isn’t as conducive anymore to start up creative ventures as it used to be. So, finding another space that was as reasonable as my original space and yet central to all people from all boroughs became a real challenge.

My thoughts diverted to the boroughs and I thought perhaps Williamsburg, BK or LIC, Queens might be viable. But being 718 for most of my life, I wanted the 212 to christen my first steps. I love my borough - deeply. And I hope to have key aspects of my empire in my lovely borough. I just wanted my exhibitionism to be expressed in “the city”.

So what do I do? Well, if you live in NY long enough, you know everybody who does everything. So I reached out to my diverse circle, which includes everyone who does everything. And I hit on a pixie woman who I share a deep love of political activism with, and hit gold!

I found a central location maintained by two art lovers. We agreed on one thing - Manhattan was always going to be a haven for those expressing interesting ideas they want to share on the world stage!

Right in the heart of Chelsea is a gorgeous space called Theater Lab NYC. A stunning, all-purpose multi-level space that can manage any kind of performance. On Wednesday, August 10th, it will host my performance!

Again, the blessings I keep receiving astound me. These blessings also remind me to keep believing. Life’s challenges are just sent for our growth - and I’m ready to do some growing up.

Until next time - sincerely yours Ms. C

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 8: Had a lovely two days completely off to celebrate July 4th! Totally worth it! This whole weekend really has been about frolicking. As a person working for myself, I sometimes skip out on time off - that is never a good idea.

Anywho, so what am I dealing with today. Well, Models! Sounds like fun right? Not really because my goal is to produce a line that is universally applicable. In essence, every color, shape and size represented.

Balancing that can be difficult, because the mantra in the industry is 5’ 9 - blonde, anorexic women should represent any brand on the runway. I find that troubling for a number of reasons.

The first of these of course is that I’m not a 5’9, blonde, anorexic individual. I’d like to see all kinds of women on the runway that are beautiful without being a stereotype.

Also, I figured since I’m already doing things differently, why not strut down the runway a collection with women representing sizes 0 thru 10.

As a researcher and project manager, my goal was always to create systems and solutions that can be replicated by others. So this runway show will be built on that foundation as well.

As it currently stands, my model collection ranges from a size zero to a size 10. And the multiple races that call NY home are also represented. I’m really proud of that fact.

I believe that this will lead to a gorgeous show - where my audience will not only enjoy my clothes, but they will each find a face, skin color and body type they can relate to directly!

Let’s see. May be if I build it, they will come. Like everything about my clothes, this show is also about experimentation. I won’t know until it’s over whether it was worth it, but I do know I’ll never find out if I don’t try!

Until tomorrow - sincerely yours, Ms. Courteous.

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 5: Yesterday was a fantabulous day! I took my sketches and fabric choices for approval to my mentor. His enthusiastic response and long hug at the end of our meeting gave me a boost I really needed!

See I have always had faith in my abilities. But having spent 75% of the last 7 years in a country where women are at a different level then in my own country, I didn’t realize how much confidence I had lost in my abilities. Finding my way back has been a slow, arduous process. So even though I know what I have may be good, I can’t always see it unless I see it from someone else’s eyes.

This industry is also a factor. Because of how subjective fashion can be, it can be hard to gauge whether or not I’m creating something worthwhile. But yesterday helped clear some of those doubts! He also helped me find a theme! Female superheroes! I didn’t even realize I was headed in that direction. Having him voice it out, and flesh it out really, really helped.

Superheroes have always been a major influence on me. All of sci-fi really. So the fact that it showed up in my fashion collection was just another endorsement that this is truly a creation from my heart. From that deep, honest place of who Priti really is. Fabulous darling!

Finally, my mentor agreed to be my stylist for me! Oh yeah!!!! Without the amazing make-up skills of Leslie, and the photography skills of Soraya, I know my clothes would just be clothes!

Now I’ve got a real stylist offering me his amazing skill to make it real! The more I do this, the more I realize I should be doing this! Thank you Lord for all your blessings.

I’ll be skipping the next two days to celebrate my country’s birthday! So have fun America! Because we really do live in the greatest country in the world, where if you have enough passion, motivation and willingness to slog - you can be anything!

Until Tuesday - sincerely yours, Ms. Courteous!

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 4: So I missed a day yesterday because of a hump day bender with a college pal! Totally worth it though. Reminiscing about our old dive bar haunt led to one too many knocked back. The brief respite was welcome - and the Lord says - we all need a day of rest! But, back to work.

I had the high aspirations that my entire first collection would be built on sustainable fabrics, and have a small carbon footprint. NY though has not cooperated. The garment district has little or no textiles of the sort. Furthermore, finding sustainable textiles manufactured in the good ol’ US of A, is like asking for a miracle.

I’ve had to do this entire process by mail-order. The couple of sustainable outfits I found in progressive Brooklyn, are essentially just storefronts for organic textiles sourced from the nations of China and India.

Whatever I may accomplish with my use of these to build my collection, is immediately negated by the carbon footprint they create because of their journey. And I know a thing or two about logistics, having spent a substantial portion of my life working in that field.

Thankfully though, I found two very reputable organizations, not located in NY, that provide a large array of sustainable textiles made in the US. For those of you interested these are: www.nearseanaturals.com and www.bamboosa.com.

With Near Sea Naturals, I can really branch out with all kinds of fun fabrics, whereas Bamboosa is great for cotton and viscose only. So I’m buying fabric online! In a hands-on industry, this can be a pretty dangerous undertaking. So far, so good though.

This process has also given me a few insights into the multitudes of markets that are seriously underdeveloped, right here in my hometown! Good notes for expansion :).

Soap Box Alert: Our need for fast, cheap and abundant has led us to a place where we’re only consuming, and no longer creating. Please support labels and brands that are locally produced, using local resources.

We have higher standards of quality of life than many of the countries that create 90% of our goods. A sustainable planet starts with sustainable communities built on dignity and opportunity.

Until tomorrow - when I hope my fabrics arrive!

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 2: Having made the clear choice to not construct my samples wasn’t easy, but I felt it was necessary.

Still harboring guilty doubts, I raised the topic yesterday with Wheylan Ford - costume designer extraordinaire - who has taken me on as his sewing assistant.

Wheylan’s background is Sculpture, and his talent in that translates to ethereal costumes for some very cool folks in New York. As such, Wheylan is a purist. When I raised the topic of outsourcing my pattern and sample making, his honest response “That’s kind of cheating”, was exactly what I expected.

His work is a clear inspiration for my own modular construction. And his willingness to share his construction knowledge with me, will definitely bring me to a place where I know I’ll be able to make my own patterns and samples for my unique ethos.

That day though isn’t today! Becoming a full-blown pattern and sample maker will take discipline and patience (this industry is great for those seeking to gain these two attributes). I will continue my skill development ceaselessly because of what Wheylan added to his advice - “It’ll make you a better designer to do all of it”. He’s absolutely right. I only grew as a designer when I focused on construction.

The battle I am fighting though, is trying to balance skill with business goals. I have a clear feeling that the time for my collection has come. The Great Recession, combined with the debilitating effects of climate change, create an environment where people are highly receptive to sustainable clothing that is anti-consumerist. Thus, I choose to pursue my business goals as well. And I think I’ve found a balance.

I will work with a sample maker hands on. For this, I will seek out some very special people that I have met along this journey. Folks who can see my vision, and build me a frame that I can expand on.

Fashion Design isn’t a whim for me. This is something I want to do for a lifetime. I have to start approaching it from that perspective. Thankfully I have met some amazing personalities that keep me grounded in that perspective.

Until tomorrow…

Suddenly I see…why the h*** it means so much to me

Project Fashion Show

Day 1: There are 45 days to go to my very first fashion show ever! I will be chronicling my daily journey to this event.

A year ago, almost on a whim, I decided if I had to rebuild my professional life I’d rather do it doing something I love. A little more than a year later - I’m actually following through. I’m viewing this fashion show both as an end and beginning.

It’s an end to my tutorial phase, where I actually learned about the industry; and a beginning to what I hope will be the first of many collections I bring to the world. What a ride so far!

The first thing I decided to do when I chose to pursue this show is learn what part I want to play in it. I want to design, but prefer leaving the patternmaking and sample construction to the professionals.

Unlike the other industries I have worked in, Fashion is completely hands-on. You need to learn all the skills, but as one of mentors repeatedly says to me, you need master only one.

As much as I have enjoyed learning how to sew and make patterns from scratch - I like the design aspect more, because that comes to me intuitively. And that’s the key here - what you feel intuitively prepared for is what you should focus on doing. For some it’s patternmaking and for others it’s sewing. To each her own!

That said - learning patternmaking and sewing are really what gave me my design ethos. Understanding the human body and construction for it allowed the flights of fancy that have led to the most unique idea I have ever had in my whole life: modular clothing that is also high fashion! What that means can only be ascertained by you my reader if you show up to my show. Full details of the event will be made available as we get closer to the day - August 12th.

Plus, now I know how to make all of my own clothes, and may never need to shop for finished product again.

Well off to the garment district to meet my pattern/sample maker and then to my sewing assistant gig with the coolest costume designer I have met. More about the journey tomorrow.

Dr. Fashion Love: Or How Got into my first store

As some of you may know, I’m a researcher turned fashion designer.  Having been given a chance to be born-again - I decided I would do what I really love.  And fashion was my first love, so I decided to take a chance.

This required that I return to New York City after a 6-yr hiatus that took me to Asia, Europe and the West Coast.  The trip had been full of learning, but it was good to be home again among people that I didn’t have to be anyone but me with.

As I began reconnecting with my past, and sharing my future with these people, a friend, always keenly interested in my development, offered to introduce me to a lovely stylist Tynae Abdul, who worked with Jonathan Bodrick owner of a one-of-a kind boutique in Harlem.  The name of this Boutique is B.O.R.N located at 52 West 125th street (btw Lenox & 5th). A unique place where the travels of a New York stylist and videographer yielded beautiful pieces from many places. 

I first met these lovely gentlemen a little over a month ago.  They had simply offered to meet with me and assess whether I had potential for my newest career track, or I should just go back to sitting behind a computer doing research.  This first meeting was pointing to the latter. 

Having never done this before, and being woefully underprepared for the Fashion industry in general, I went there with some badly printed Kinko’s pictures.  Not taking seriously that most people don’t get second chances to make a first impression in this industry.  I figured my charismatic sweetness would do the trick.  It didn’t. 

Instead I was blown out of the water.  Had I been in the hands of lesser gentlemen though (the word is not misplaced) I may never have designed again.  Instead they chose to bolster me.  They said if you have the passion - than pursue it - don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  And they gave me a second chance.  This time, I sewed my fingers to the bone and carried about 20 lbs in two garment bags and headed up to Harlem with the help of a friend’s car. 

Once there what was unleashed was awesome!  Two more stylists joined the party, and we all had a mini-fashion show with my pieces, at the end of which 4 pieces were immediately picked up to be placed in the store!  I was a little shell-shocked during the whole event. 

Seeing the pieces in person really conveyed my design.  Furthermore, it allowed them to truly comment on my work and enhance it.  Having been in the industry for many years, the two men are a wealth of knowledge and they willingly shared that knowledge with me!  No holds-barred discussions, that inspired me and motivated me. 

I was a little shell-shocked (wait I said that already).  I wasn’t prepared for them just picking up 4 of my pieces.  I wasn’t prepared to be told I did have some talent, and that I should pursue it.  I definitely wasn’t prepared to be told that I was playing it safe with my newer work, and was much more edgy with my older work (my fashion career is currently 9 months old, so you can see how this industry functions).  The point that came through most clearly was that the pieces I was designing for me, using my inspiration and my motivation, were the best pieces in the group.  And lo and behold, there is nothing wrong with that! 

Actually that is the place I was told to design from.  From the place of my journey that, at the age of 34, brought me to a boutique in Harlem with two men who spent hours of their precious time to nurture me.  And all the things that had gone wrong up to that moment, most of them of my own doing, just turned right.  I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to New York Fashion Week (my dream), but I do know that with the help of these two gentlemen, on Friday, May 13th, 2011, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  I had gotten into my first store…………

Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…Why the h*** it means so much to me
Suddenly I see…why the h*** it means so much to me
Dr. Fashion Love: Or How Got into my first store

About:

This is an on-going blog of my experience, inspiration and creation as I pursue my entrepreneurial journey in the fashion industry. The name is inspired by my own first name, Priti - which is mispronounced constantly as Pretty; My personal focus on Style and the Sanskrit term Sutra - which means knowledge.

So it can be translated as: Pretty Style Knowledge :)

I hope you enjoy perusing through my designs; my thoughts and my ideas. Please share your own! Whatever "your own" may be.

Peace and Blessings

Priti

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