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This is the week of Marvel's Black Panther movie debut based on the comic book series and my immediate focus has been on the fantastic look and feel of the futuristic African warrior inspired costumes provided by Oscar and Emmy winning costume designer Ruth Carter.
September came and damn near went in a blink of an eye. My industry celebrates New York Fashion Week (NYFW) along with all the other international fashion weeks, but this is one fashion event I sit out. It just doesn't excite me anymore since it is no longer about the clothes- instead the coverage focuses on what Insta-models are walking for who, what flash in the pan celeb is sitting front row, weird locations, hair, makeup and other gimmicks that take the focus off the clothes. The only thing I check for are the September issues of the fashion magazines and even some of those were ho- hum this year smh... So what is a fashion and style loving young women to do? I created my own fashion week.
You may ask yourself, now how does one create their own Fashion Week by themselves in Cleveland, Ohio? It's simple- I planned a week around fashion events, and decided to call it Lady Silk's Fashion Week. Voila'- do what you want lol. From Saturday, September 10th, to Monday, September 19th, I made it happen and this is what I did...
Personal Style Workshop *Saturday*
My first event was my own. The awesome Renee Jones invited me to participate in the First Annual Collinwood Resource Fair, a wonderful event that had the People's Church of God in Christ's parking lot full of resources for the community. Local organizations participated and had information on empowerment programs, health screenings, face painting, and art stations. They had workshops on human sex trafficking, record expungement, financial empowerment and a Men of Purpose talk. Children who attended received book bags filled with school supplies and refurbished bikes! Inside Ms. Jones put together a series of workshops, both inspiring and useful. I arrived right in time to hear a presentation on Edwin's Leadership and Restaurant Institute, a place that gives formerly incarcerated adults a start in the hospitality industry and helping them regain entry back into society. I think we need more programs like this everywhere.... I sat through two empowering testimonies before my model Harmoni showed up right on time for our segment.
I asked Harmoni to bring several basics including a long sleeve white tee, a blazer, two scarves, leggings, a pair of flats, boots and heels. I spoke briefly about the difference between fashion and style (fashion is what you wear, style is how you wear it) and what a personal stylist does. Then I ran down closet essentials that every man and women should have before buying the fun "fashion" pieces and finally I told them where to shop: clearance racks, (not the stuff "on sale") consignment stores and thrift shops. In between the three segments Harmoni changed outfits as I added and took away scarves, jewelry and switched her pants and shoes. My model was bad y'all- she quickly changed in that small little back hallway and strutted out in a series of basic outfits like she was on a Parisian couture catwalk! I wanted to scream out Yaaaasssss bish repeatedly and throw purple roses and glitter bombs at her while she twisted, turned and posed as I described her outfit- but it was not the time and definitely not the place for all that lol.
The Best of the Best Fashion Face Off Team *Wednesday afternoon*
My model friend Dionne invited me to help her judge a team of Glenville High School students for a city wide Best of the Best Fashion Face Off Competition. It's a major fashion show in April where high school students from different schools compete with each other for the title. I agreed to meet up at Glenville, the first high school I attended for a year when I moved back to Cleveland in 1998. Of course everything looked different, newer, brighter, but still felt familiar you know? Especially sitting in that auditorium where the tryouts were held.
A group of about fifteen girls and boys shyly slid across the stage while Dionne and another model I have worked with named Deanna, gave them pointers. They were all nervous at first as we judged them on things like confidence, eye contact and their walk, but loosened up as they got more into it. I mistakenly thought it was a regular fashion show and was confused when I saw them swinging arms, dancing up and down the stage and requesting their own music lol! I was like hold up, they can't choose their own music?! But Dionne explained to me that it was more about their own modeling style and I instantly got it and had to go back and changed some of my marks and comments lol...
It was fun watching them cause they were having lots of fun and I could tell, hopefully I'll be able to attend the show in April. I left right after to go to my next event...
The Greater Cleveland Film Commission Fall Media Industry Mixer *Wednesday evening*
I rushed off to the GCFC Fall media mixer at the Music Box Supper Club in the Flats right after I left the high school. I wanted to attend because I'm thinking about expanding the costuming branch of my business and wanted to make contacts. I am a costumer for independent films and web series which means I help decide what the characters and extras will wear, lending a certain look to the production. There is no sketching, sewing or actual building of the costume as a costumer, those are the duties of a costume designer.
The words costume and wardrobe are used interchangeably, but costume/design deals with characters for television, movies and plays, while wardrobe is for an individual personality. So let's say if Rihanna was starring in the Hollywood remake of Catwoman (which I would be totally here for!), I would sketch, design and fit the costume for her Catwoman character to wear throughout the movie. If she were promoting the movie on talk shows and with personal appearances, including photo shoots and interviews then I would style her wardrobe using items I purchased or borrowed for her to wear that particular day.
Anyway, I attended not knowing what to expect but was surprised to see how crowded it was and how of course everybody already knew everybody else. Except me. Always forever the new girl lol. I attempted to sit and listen at a lecture, but it as too noisy to hear so I sat and ate my cheese and crackers and my sugared nuts and high price vodka and cranberry and then tried to network. My film friends Jasmine and Unity eventually joined me and I felt a little more comfortable but I only ended up talking to a handful of people. Regardless to my social skills, the event was really cool and I liked the resources they seem to have available for Cleveland's small (but growing) film industry. I will attend their next event, this time with a plan and a thirty second elevator pitch to the right people lol.
Fashion Week Cleveland, 'Fashion Up on the Roof Founder's Party' *Thursday*
When I got the email invite to Fashion Week Cleveland's rooftop party at Azure on the 9, I was excited to say the least. For years I have wanted to be on the planning committee, or at least involved with FWC, every since I attended fashion school in 2009. The email asked me to join models, designers, volunteers and the staff of FWC to have an input in the planning of Fashion Week 2017. Oh baby...
It just so happened that the evening of the party was also my son's first open house at his high school and of course I had to be there for that! I sat through four of his classes, learned about each of his subjects, how he was doing in them (my son is a talker lol) and enjoyed a celebration to kick off National Hispanic American Month with fresh chicken tacos and tortillas.
I barely swallowed my last chip before I dipped off and headed towards the Fashion Week Cleveland party, determined not to be too late. I arrived at about 7:30 pm and raced into the posh Metropolitan at the 9, a converted bank made into a hotel and a living space in downtown Cleveland. It is huge with a with a restaurant, a theater, a club, a gym and an indoor dog park. I collected myself just as the doors to the elevator opened and I made my way into club Azure. I looked around for a cluster of fashion folks, and walked around the small area before asking a bartender about the party. She had no clue what I was talking about. I walked around again and finally went over to a group of people standing off to the side and asked if they knew anything about the FWC party. I found out that they had arrived earlier than me and were looking for the same thing. No one made any announcements or let it be known that any representative from FWC was in attendance.
Upon further investigation, we found out from another bartender that the head of FWC had been there earlier, but that it looked more like a small family gathering of only like three or four people. I can't lie, I was pissed. I was more mad at myself for getting all pumped up for FWC when I should have known better smh... I got one good photo using those lovely mirrors though lol...
Fearless Runway Stars Extreme Model Bootcamp *Saturday*
I stayed up all night Friday finishing both an essay for my Saturday morning Lit Cleveland writing workshop and a fashion article for the upcoming Haute Ohio fashion magazine, a publication dedicated to showcasing the talents of Midwest fashion professionals. I perform better on deadlines but was cutting it close and did not finish everything until about 2 am Saturday morning. I got up and finished critiquing a story by one of my workshop peers, before leaving for the once a month class that meets at the library at 10:30 am.
It was pouring rain when I left for the class, but after 2 hours, the rain evaporated and left a thick, heavy blanket of humidity over the city. I went back home to briefly remove some clothes, eat and then was off to the Extreme Model Bootcamp offered by runway model Dionne @diva.dionne and her partner fashion blogger Evelyn aka @fashionevesta. The free event was held at Shameless Studios on St. Clair and was already in full session when I got there. It was a workshop for models ages 13 and up to learn about the industry, hear from industry vets and learn how to walk runway. I thought it was a fun, awesome, educational event and the ladies will do it again so follow them on Instagram for updates!
I stayed for about 45 minutes and then headed off to my next destination which would have been the epic Capture Ohio photoshoot event for the Haute Ohio publication debuting in October. I took an hour long bus ride to the wrong location with a dead phone battery before realizing my mistake. It had started raining again and I was a hot, wet, sweaty, late mess and decided to just go home.
On Sunday I woke up bright and early and took my son to get our CPR certification in an intense four hour class in Gordan Square. Yay!
Shopping for the Uprising '66 *Monday*
For the past month or so, I have been researching costume for a documentary on the anniversary of the Hough Riots. This year marks the 50th anniversary of riots that lasted from July 18 to July 23, 1966, in the Hough neighborhood where four African Americans were killed and 50 were injured while a whole community was destroyed and never really got back right. I was excited to do costume for this documentary of reenactments because it happened here in Cleveland and with everything going on today, the subject is totally relevant. Not to mention that I would be working directly for Ward 7 Councilman TJ Dow.
I went to work asap, reading the script, breaking down the characters and scenes, determining time and location and other things to wrap my head around the look of the film. Then I searched for images related to the riot and was extremely unhappy with Google search and even more pissed that there had been little to no official documentation- no books, movies, or other documentaries specifically on these Cleveland riots. I decided to go to the library to conduct a more formal search.
I spent a whole day browsing photo archives in the downtown Cleveland Public Library and then poured over the microfiche and microfilm machine looking through articles from the July 1966 issue of that week's Call and Post newspaper, The Plain Dealer, old issues of Ebony magazine and a few more resources form that era. It was the coolest thing and I learned a lot and received nice references for my costume lookbook.
So after weeks of preparation I was ready to shop for the period piece at my local Unique's Thrift Store early Monday morning. I had a very tight budget and an extensive list of characters and extras to shop for our two day shoot this upcoming Saturday and Sunday. I arrived early and had heaps of clothes in my cart before editing it down to enough mid '60s inspired garments to work. I spent a lot of time in there and recorded it on Snapchat (flygrlchroniclz) andFacebook Live (make sure to add me on both for fashion adventures and stories!). I made my purchases, dropped them off at the office headquarters and went on about my day.
I woke up the next morning to an email saying the shoot was cancelled until further notice. I am extremely disappointed, but hopefully it picks back up again because I feel like it is a very important piece and an awesome project for residents and the families closely related to the riots. Not to mention a very important part of not just Cleveland history, but Black history as well. And 20 years later when another black girl is looking for information on the Hough Riots, hopefully she won't come up empty handed.
There you have it! I finessed a whole week of fashion activities for my very own Lady Silk's Fashion Week and had a blast doing it. I networked with great people, met a few new faces and got lots of new ideas by osmosis lol. I have a few projects coming up in the near future so stay tuned!
Would you like for me to cover your next fashion and style event? Hit me up! Ladysilk@thehouseoffly.com
This past Sunday I attended Fashion Under the Big Top: the Greatest SEW on Earth produced by W. Vaughn Glover's Waki Wear Productions at the Embassy Suites at the Hilton in Independence, Ohio. There are fashion shows, and then there are fashion events- and this right here, this right here was a FASHION EVENT ok! A show within a show within a couple more shows lols. Guests arrived at 4:30 pm (most gloriously dressed in white with pops of color as requested on the invite) mingled with each other, browsed the vendors, enjoyed small bites and a cash bar before being ushered into their seats by Vaughn's dedicated staff.
Hosted by 2015's Plus Size People's Choice Model of the Year- the awesome Samantha Walker- who did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained and engaged in between the action packed and fast paced show. We were first treated to the Xalter Zaughn Collection, Vaughn's ready to wear line in his signature fabrics and distinct tailor made aesthetic. I live for Vaughn's shows cause he selects his male models carefully and believes in giving us women eye candy- very rare at fashion shows lol.
Fashion Under the Big Top was the perfect title for this production because there were a number of competitions and showcases under one roof. There was the "Three Ring Runway Competition" which featured the 19th annual Fashion Knockout Designer of the Year, the 1st annual "Queen of the Needle" crochet competition and the 1st annual "People's Choice" runway model competition. Not to mention a lit hair presentation by Sir Pooh, an encore showing of last year's Designer of the Year winner Gwen Hodges from Indianapolis, Indiana and special guest designer Fly Ty from Detroit, Michigan. I had to leave around the time for the little kids presentation, but I did manage to catch snippets and they were too cute!
The entertaining host and the crowd participation helped move the show- with the audience being able to vote for their favorite designers and models you could feel the crowd really getting into it. Usually for a show of this length and with an intermission, it can be too much for my short attention span to take, but there was never a dull moment and from the time the first model walked out, the runway was never empty- a pet peeve of mine.
I was so excited to attend this event. Not just because of the show itself, but because of what it means to our city. See Vaughn has been doing this for the past 26 years and he has helped bring recognition to independent designers from all over allowing them a place to showcase their talents. Cleveland, Akron, Indianapolis and Detroit designers and models represented in this show and they all received equal amounts of love from the crowd
"It is my purpose on earth to provide a venue for designers to showcase their gifts to the fashion world," Glover states. "I don't pursue my passion for the income, I pursue it for the outcome."
And that's so real...cause it seems like when it comes to fashion, the Midwest- Cleveland in particular is always passed over and not included in the dialogue. And it's even worse for urban/minority designers, but for close to three decades Waki Wear Productions has given talented designers a legitimate platform to showcase their work and win awesome awards, cash and prizes (he has had a deal with Baby Lock sewing machines and has awarded winning designers with pricey industrial sewing machines over the years).
For so much to be going on the production ran smoothly and even when I visited the models backstage there was a calm that is never usually present behind the scenes, which is how you know that the production itself was top notch. I mean yes there were last minute fittings and hair and makeup touch ups and small minute things, but there were no designers running around frantic trying to find out the order of the show, or trying to locate their clothes or models, no models looking for a misplaced high heel, or not understanding who they were walking for... no burning candles near highly flammable fabrics and weave lol.
After starting from the bottom as a show dresser, to styling scenes for my own runway shows and other's, and now gaining backstage access as a blogger, any Cleveland fashion show I attend is like a mini family reunion. I run into models I have worked with over the years, new faces that I've seen at other shows, hair stylists and makeup artists who make their rounds, as well as up and coming and established designers. Many fashion show guests become familiar faces too as they go from show to show supporting a model, designer or just the overall love of Cleveland fashion and style, and it's just a beautiful thing.
I ended up sitting close to Vaughn's family, including his sister and aunts who were clearly his biggest supporters and offered up hilarious commentary the whole time lol. One aunt told me that she has only missed one show in twenty something years and his sister made sure I was in a prime spot for taking my photos and videos lol, even bringing me back a plate of fruit after intermission as I chatted through the break. I had a blast and was amazed at the amount of talent in that room, everybody from the hair and makeup artists, to the models who WALKED that runway and especially the designers that dressed them. See for yourself in the video below and make sure to leave a comment!
*Designer of the Year Winner: Nelli Millard
*Model of the Year Winner: Martika Dabney
*Queen of the Needle Winner: Stephanie Morris Nunn
When we talk about those who put on for the city, you simply can't go too long before mentioning fashion show producer and self taught menswear designer W. Vaughn Glover- now in his 26th consecutive year of producing fashion shows through his Waki (pronounced Walkie, look at the logo!) Wear Productions in Cleveland, Ohio.
"Born a Steeler, raised a Brown!" Vaughn started out as a runway model and his love for the designer's original creations is what initially drew him into the actual production of the show and the rest is history. Read ahead to find out more about the man who has had Cleveland fashion shows on lock for close to three decades:
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT SO FAR?
My biggest accomplishment thus far has been relying on my faith to get me thru the past 26 years producing these events, even without my own residual income. I don't nor have I ever set out to produce these events just to make money. It is my purpose on earth to provide a venue for designers to showcase their gifts to the Fashion World. I don't pursue my passion for the income, I pursue it for the outcome. WWP is one of very few competitions held in the Midwest that has garnered the support of one of the industry's leading sewing machine manufacturers (Baby Lock) whom has donated over a 1/4 million dollars worth of machines to the winning designers.
WHO, IF ANYBODY, HAS REALLY HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
The support of my staff, particularly those who volunteer their time to allow the show to transition, from the greeters/registration to the host/hostesses that seat the guests, these events could/would never take place without them. More importantly, without the support of the fashion community, friends and family who purchase the tickets that covers the show budget, we could not continue on. To them I humbly say "THANK YOU!"
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Sewing/designing has become my new hobby/passion. I created a line of primarily men's sweaters and wearable accessories, that are creative in style, yet practical to wear; The Xalter Zaughn Collection.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OFF IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Stay true to who you are, as a producer of shows or a designer of clothing. Establish your vison and remain focused on it. Be consistent and persistent. Yet never be afraid of change that is needed for growth and or longevity.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
My personal style is jeans/shirt or sweater, shoes or boots. I love wearable, comfortable clothing. Not a suit and tie type of guy by no means, lol!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT GROWING UP?
Growing up I had a strong liking for sweat suits, yet particularly those that had style, detail and substance. Sweat suits are what started my fire for designing.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNER?
My favorite Designer is the local yet internationally known, Michael Wilson. (I) always liked his ability to create garments that were conservative yet daring. And let's not forget, well made with a high standard of quality fabrics.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
I don't shop a lot, yet when I do- I shop for sales ANYWHERE where quality jeans, sweaters, shirts are ON SALE, lol!
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?
Next up is starting my 2017 Xalter Zaughn Collection. I have found a new passion outside of producing shows, and that is showing my collection as a designer in other shows. I began sewing just to be able to understand and have a greater respect for the craft of the designers I featured in my events. I can now say, after entering 2 designer's competitions and showcasing several times, I now know what it is truly like to stand in the shoes of a designer. This alone has given me a totally new and well rounded respect for those whom place their gifts in the eyes of the critique with no fear.
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?
Facebook: W Vaughn Glover
Website : www.fashiontko.com
You can catch me blogging at the "Fashion Under the Big Top: the Greatest Sew On Earth" on Sunday, August 17, 2016 at 6pm at the Embassy Suites by Hilton. Time is running out, but you can still purchase tickets here to see this extravagant production featuring a "Queen of the Needle" crochet/knit competition and the first annual "People's Choice" runway model competition, not to mention designer presentations and a hair presentation too! I mean I'm super excited about it lol! Make sure you like The House of Fly by Lady Silk on Facebook and follow @alltheflythings on Instagram for live updates, behind the scenes action and sneak peaks of the show!
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Awards was held last night recognizing designers, journalists, creative visionaries and industry insiders for their contributions to fashion. The ceremony was founded in 1962, another creation of Eleanor Lambert, legendary fashion publicist and promoter of American fashion (see New York Fashion Week, the Battle of Versailles, the Best Dressed List, the Coty Awards and the original Met Gala).
The event is sort of like the Fashion Grammy's where nominees and winners are chosen by their peers that include an invitation only network consisting of the top retail stores, stylists, journalists, influencers and the 450+ member designers of the CFDA. This year Marc Jacobs walked away with Womenswear Designer of the Year, Thom Browne received Menswear Designer of the Year, Gucci's Alessandro Michele won the International Award and more (see the complete list here). But the most talked about award of the night- the Fashion Icon Award was given to none other than Beyonce' Knowles Carter!
There was a collective amount of shade being thrown Bey's way via Fashion Twitter and with good reason: how on Earth did she win this prestigious industry award whose past recipients have included last year's winner, Pharrell Williams, 2014's Rihanna, (who showed up and out clad in a Swarovski crystal embellished naked dress and head wrap) Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, and Sarah Jessica Parker among others?
Well the award is given to the person who has had the biggest impact on the fashion industry over the last year, and love her or hate her- you cannot deny Beyonce's impact! The visuals and immediate aftermath for the 2016 Lemonade album alone was enough to solidify her clean sweep as a winner. The outfits were distinctively in your face drama that served as a sartorial soundtrack to the emotional journey the pop singer took us on. We allowed Beyonce to pour us a deliciously chilled Mason jar of lemonade while taking in her perfect mix of RL situations, girl anthems and pure unadulterated fashion! Bey rocked every thing from a Cavalli gown and floral Gucci suit, to Yeezy Season 2 body suits and sports bras. Your fave has never and could neva eva...
Now mark my words when I say Kim Kardashian West is next in line to receive Style Icon of the Year; it was lightly whispered about earlier this year and because clearly- as stated on Twitter by commentor @fashionunfold - "She created a uniform for half the girls on IG!"
Do you think Beyonce's win was justified? Take the poll below and tell me how you really feel! Read Beyonce's full speech acceptance speech here...
Badgirl Riri and Dior are back at it again! The Bajan powerhouse and the French fashion house have collaborated for the second time- this time on a collection of futuristic sunglasses. Though the brand is still without a designer (Raf Simmons has not yet been replaced) Rihanna is the first ambassador ever to hold a design position and was entirely hands on with the process choosing materials, lenses and colors among other things. In a statement provided by Dior via WWD the singer admits to being inspired by La Forge from "Star Trek"
“I’ve always been obsessed with his eyewear, and when I got to Dior and saw all the materials I could play with, it all just came together,” she said.
The results are definitely Rihanna style- so much so that the collection has been named 'Rihanna'. Sold exclusively at Dior stores beginning in June, there is one frame available with six color variations: silver, green, pink and blue and will retail for $840 while the 24 karat gold plated version will go for $1,950...#bitchbettahavemymoney or I'll never afford a pair lol.
But if you find yourself trying to work work work work work so you can throw gold plated shade like Riri and come up short- no worries, maybe you can afford a pair of heels or boots from her Manolo Blahnik capsule- no no Manolo? Well there is her Fenty ready to wear collection and shoes, or spritz one of her fragrances on- oh and don't forget the socks collaboration with Stance, and the makeup line that is coming soon... I mean dang- can your favorite sell music, fashion, beauty, style aaand socks? Lol... Peep the slideshow below for a closer look at Rihanna's frames.
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