the dog and pony show.

i guess i just like the idea of public acknowledgement spritzed in friendly competition, draped in silk chiffon and sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of utter bullshit. why else would i be into watching the oscars? it’s certainly not because i saw all of the films and was so moved by certain ones that i just simply had to tune in to see if my favorites received praise. i saw the black swan and only the black swan. there were some good performances and some lovely costumes and it was interestingly shot. it was also incredibly annoying. after watching the awards last night, i would like to see, not the king’s speech, but the fighter.

let’s call a spade a spade here. we watch this shit for the dresses and to see if anyone falls in their dress and to see someone cry or curse or do both in their speech. if this were a sporting event for fashion voyeurism, the pre-game tailgate portion would be the red carpet. we watch the red carpet to see the dresses in all of their glory. full length shots with hair and makeup and jewelry and accessories. sometimes in slow motion and now in 360 degrees slow motion thanks to E! television. i feel like i suffer from some kind of fashion designer mental illness that requires me to watch the red carpet and somehow muster up the strength to care about what the stylists of the actresses got paid to pick out the jewelry that the actresses get paid to wear. i liked the oscars much better before i knew what actually went into appearing on a red carpet.

i went to the emmy awards one year when i was marginally relevant. it was certainly exciting, but something in me soured while standing in line to walk the red carpet. somewhere in between some actress who i can’t remember her name with a hairy face and portia di rossi in an open back yellow dress which exposed her spine, i had the realization that this didn’t feel the way it looked on tv. it didn’t help that i watched 2 of the 50 photographers in the pit taking photos mouth to each other “who is that”? when I was standing there…posing. i could feel my facial expression go from “wow this is pretty cool…there goes conan o’brien” to “i wish i were in lehman pennsylvania watching this on tv in sweatpants in a fetal position on the couch at my mothers house”.

as far as being excited by the dresses. i just feel like the spark is gone for me and i know why. why? its pretty simple really. no one has fun and no one takes risks. these women live in such fear of being on the “perceived” worst dressed list and having their image splashed across the rags at the check out aisle of the grocery store that they sacrifice looking different to look like (yawn) hollywood glamour barbie. it’s really sad to me as there are incredibly cool and unconventionally beautiful dresses out there that could really grab headlines for making an actress look, god forbid, interesting. here is who i blame. we the people who inherently want to criticize. the stylists and the publicists who think they work in the best interest of the actress. the media who feeds off of even a hair out of place and kelly osbourne who i guess now is a fashion spokesperson and critic and i’m sure soon to be fashion designer because that’s how it works.

i do understand that there are actresses out there that maybe are a little boring and need help but i think there are probably some freaks out there who probably want to look, well freaky. i am also sure that there is an actress or 2 or 3 who wants to wear sweatpants to these kind of things and i am totally in support of this. in fact…i welcome it. at least it would be interesting!

my favorite moment from the oscar red carpet was helena bonham-carter’s response to being asked about her red carpet fashion reputation. she said that she doesn’t concern herself with fashion. she works with her costume designer to make costumes because she’s an actress.

i salute the ladies who take risks on the red carpet. kudos to you for having the balls to do so! cher, bjork, tilda, helena, imogen and gaga in an egg. and for fun, kelly osbourne dressed as an egg.

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inspiration.

one of the questions i get asked most is “what inspires you”? it is totally valid to ask an artist or designer this question. people genuinely want to know. although a seemingly generic question, it isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly what inspires a creative person or any person for that matter. for me, it is a culmination of memories, experiences and situations i encounter both voluntarily and involuntarily. i know that i am inspired by something when i leave my house and realize i don’t have my camera on me and i proceed to curse for the rest of the day. if i do have my camera, i’m documenting the interesting and, at the time, not such interesting things that might make sense at a later time. i am drawn to many elements. generally, i love the sky. architecture. nature. deterioration. objects. color. food. people. i love these things either singularly or when these concepts intersect. if i am working on a specific project, i do a lot of research either from daily experience or through media. i will, for that time, have those ideas swirling around in my brain constantly and a more solidified concept usually come together in a sort of light bulb over my head moment while i am on the toilet or driving. seriously. inspiration rarely comes to me when i am just sitting around with a pen in hand and a stack of paper on a table in front of me.

greenwash.

i am mad at myself for not blogging today. i told myself i was going to do it every day aside from holidays and times when i am traveling or if i had my period. today i had to do an online interview which fried my brain compiled with convincing myself that i’m allergic to cleaning products because occasionally when i clean, even with natural products, i get aches and pains in my bones and a tension headache. i’m not a headache person so when i get one, i know something is up. oh please don’t let me be one of those people that goes on oprah and talks about how i need to wear rubber gloves to go to the bathroom or that i cant leave my house because the air makes me break out in hives. so i guess i’m blogging now so i can shut up that i’m not blogging. since natural cleaning products give me a headache, here are some green pictures to look at.

please seat yourself.

i remember watching mtv’s “house of style” when i was a teen. yes mtv, at one point in time, used to have good programming and actually play music videos. cindy crawford hosted the series for 6 years and other supermodels turned hostesses followed suit. my favorite segment of that show was “todd time” featuring todd oldham. for those of you who don’t know, todd oldham was a popular fashion designer in new york in the early 90’s and he is recently accredited with hosting bravo’s top design. on “house of style” he used to do fun projects and hang out with supermodels. “todd time” was, for the most part, a segment where todd refreshed old things to make them new and fun. essentially a shabby chic kind of thing. he would tape, glue and staple new fabrics and trims onto thrifted items or existing pieces or even junk he just found lying around and breathe new life into them. i was always fascinated by how he would take a gross old ottoman, work his magic and voila…a colorful and stylish graphic printed footrest with fuzzy ball trim for your eclectic home. i later met him at an event and told him he had big feet and then i delivered the “you know what they say about big feet” line. crickets. yes, im an idiot.

a week or so ago i did a launch party with my friends at spool for the release of my new line of fabric HABITAT, and in preparation for the event, we both came up with a bevy of really beautiful items to showcase the different ways the line could be utilized. there were 3 fabulous quilts, an array of apparel worn by the lovely ladies who work there, a bowl of change purses my sister janet made and some home decor in the form of pillows and chairs courtesy of yours truly.

earlier that week i decided i was going to reupholster a chair ala ” todd time”. so i went to this pretty skanky thrift shop in north philadelphia with my dear friend amber and i found a chair that would work for this endeavor. it was 7 bucks, which to some might seem like a steal but i am used to the amazing thrift shops and estate sales of northeastern pennsylvania where i could have easily got that chair for like 91 cents. i think the chair turned out super cool so i wanted to share the process of how i made it.

(please note that i am still familiarizing myself with the intricacies of this blog so i don’t quite know how to insert captions yet. i will tap in to the resources of my blogging friends and add them later. in the meantime, use your imaginations! ps: that handsome boy in the second picture is my cat “woody”. he really wasn’t into the idea of me playing todd oldham for the afternoon.)

a lesson in history and habitat.

so within the past few weeks, my new line of fabric, HABITAT, unearthed itself from a top secret printing factory in an undisclosed location. for the past few years i have found myself wearing the hat of textile designer. well, with some help of course. firstly from my fabric company freespirit and also from my friends emily goodwin-wong, alexis mcvicker and renee shortell. without their computer knowledge, i would probably be putting out misaligned prints that look like they were made with a potato. getting into the world of textiles has been really great. i must say, everyone is so dang friendly in this world. not that they aren’t friendly in the fashion world. who am i kidding, fashion people are freaking mean! but everyone from the shop owners to the people buying the fabric and everyone in between is just so excited about the fabric that it makes the experience so much more gratifying. sure its nice to see a bolt of fabric with my name on the selvedge edge, but more than that it is really exciting for me to see the amazing things people are making with my fabric.

i never really thought that i would be putting out fabric. i just always thought i would be buying it and by buying, i mean buying tons of it. hoarding it. not even cutting into some of it for decades at a time. i have a certifiable addiction to fabric. i love it. i am ultimately stimulated by it. i love the color, texture, feel and sometimes even the smell. i don’t know why, but certain fabrics i just like to rub on my face and take a whiff. is that weird? perhaps i need to be on tlc’s “my strange addiction”. well maybe not quite yet. my earliest memories include my childhood blanket which i believe i called “my feeling thing”. it was your run of the mill baby blanket with a satin trim edge. powder blue. by the time i was done with it, it was a gross shade of blue grey brown. i would rub that satin trim until it was ragged. i’m sure this is common with children. i don’t have any, so i don’t really know, but i am looking into adopting a few of them in the next week or so. i will let you know how they react to the blankets i have purchased for them. i also remember playing in my parents hall closet which my mother housed all sorts of crafting and textile goodies. yarn, fabric, buttons and trims. she even had some deerskin that my father got from somewhere. he might have even hunted it himself. gross. but i used to draw hieroglyphics in sharpie marker on it and i think make mini teepee’s out of it. i also had 4 sisters so there was plenty of fabric and color surrounding me. some of it not so pretty as it was the 80’s. my sisters were all in the high school band, as was i, and my mother was the uniform lady. she outfitted all of the band members in the uniforms every year and i remember the distinct smell of polyester and hard work ie; sweat. as i got older and unabashedly assumed the role of band geek, i became enamoured with how fabric was such a visual medium. i mean have you ever seen a colorguard performing with a marching band? spandex, velvet, velour, sequins, feathers? it was like a pre-teen gay boys wet dream!

i was a fat kid and my waist/inseam ratio wasn’t well, ratio-ized, so my mother would have to hem my pants. eventually, with my penchant for shopping, the pile of sears husky corduroy trousers began to pile up next to the sewing machine in my parents bedroom. out of desperation, at around 10 years old, i learned to sew. from there, it was as if the flood gates of possibility opened up and i began to collect fabric and sew myself costumes and weird clothes that i would be bullied for in the halls of junior and senior high school. i guess shirts with pineapples and red velvet trousers, sometimes worn together, weren’t socially acceptable in a time where acid washed denim jean jackets with bon jovi decals on the back reigned supreme. while the other boys were doing god knows what, i assume something that required playboy magazine and touch football, i was shopping for crazy print interlock knits, lame and batiks at jo-ann fabrics, the piece goods shop, which was a-maz-ing and my local favorite, missy k. the queerest name for a fabric shop on planet earth.

since i couldn’t track down a college that offered a degree in fabric hoarding, and i sewed my own clothes, i decided to attend philadelphia college of textiles and science and pursue a degree in fashion design. in retrospect, i probably should have studied textile design as i would pass the print and weaving and knitting departments and dream of the things that i could design. hindsight people, hindsight. from there i learned a lot about fabric and garment construction. i studied and lived abroad and won a competitive reality fashion show. now here i am. 36 years old. blogging.

check this great little video for my new fabric line HABITAT i made with my friends at junkdrawer media….

also check out these other links pertaining to this post…

http://freespiritfabric.com/core-pages/gallery.php?gal_id=359

http://www.freespiritfabric.blogspot.com

http://www.goodwinwong.com

http://www.junkdrawermedia.com

now is the time.

i have finally succumbed to the peer pressure! i throw my arms up in surrender to the blog gods. this is for my friends, family, business acquaintances and fans who have been nagging me, at times incessantly, about joining the blogosphere. it really isn’t as dramatic as i paint it out to be. i like blogs. i really do. i have blogged for elle magazine and, i think, glamour magazine. i read about 7000 other blogs on a weekly basis. by the time i have looked at what everyone else seems to be doing with their lives, i am exhausted and the last thing that i really want to think about is starting a blog. well, i saw lady gaga in atlantic city this past weekend and i watched her pouring her soul out in front of 15,000 people/fans/guidos/monsters and i decided…now is the time to start letting people in again. i almost think the real reason for not wanting to share is that after project runway, i became a public figure and i just gave and gave and gave. one day i felt like i was sharing way too much information with the world and that it was time for me to just fade away into the ether. i wanted to hold onto as much anonymity as i could. i wanted my private life to be private. i finally feel like i am at a place in life where its time to share again. i always have lots of interesting projects going on and i have lots of people who want to know, and possibly live vicariously through my experiences and thoughts and projects. now is the time.