Coco Chanel, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and more—explore who has influenced the world of fashion the most, and who might be the next big name.
The (Small) Business of Fashion
I began thinking about making clothes in 2018, though who knows how long I’d been thinking about it or visiting it in my mind before then.
“Let’s start at the very beginning…” It is 1998 and I am ten years old. The school system I grew up in is consists of two suburbs on the East side of Cleveland, Ohio; South Euclid and Lyndhurst. In the fifth grade, six elementary schools merged together at Greenview Upper Elementary. Perfect time to make more friends! This is where I met Emily. She was on the playground one day playing with string and I asked what she was doing. I loved making friendship bracelets and was really into lanyard at the time; so, her actions interested me. Emily taught me the art of macramé (square and spiral stitch) right there on that playground. I felt like this was an inherent gift that she merely brought back to my memory. It came naturally to me. Emily did not become an everlasting friend in my life but she will forever have a place in my heart for introducing me to this art form. Over the years I have come up with a way to use these techniques in wearable art! I began my journey making bracelets and now I make shawls, sarongs, and dresses.
Creativity as Home
Curiosity runs my world. I am nearly always asking a question, even more to myself than anyone else. For a long time, I felt as burdened as I did excited by my questions. There is a large void in not knowing, which can feel dark and pressurized when in search of all the answers at once. But there is an alternative to the fear that can mount throughout our unsolved mysteries, and I discovered it through making clothes.
Stepping out in elegance
The beauty of a man is said to be incomplete when fashion is missing. The beauty of fashion in a man's life cannot be overrated. Fashion brings out the best in everything, and most times it doesn't really have anything to do with a man's look or color. We all have that one type of clothing that fits us all. Fashion brings out creativity, the designer creates an abstract piece of design, as lifeless as the design is on paper, once it's created and sewed everything changes.
Upcycling For Life
I would love to share my story of how I fell in love with fashion, how it changed my life, and now, the way it makes me look at gender and the environment.
Life as a Fashion Stylist on Set
Start writing... hey all you creative out there. My name is Nailah and I live in Brooklyn New York which is one of the best places to be as an artist because you are constantly stimulated with creativity and inspiration. I began designing things as a little girl, which led to styling an interest in styling because I loved seeing the before and after while on set at phooshoots. I was just amazed to see how someone could transform a person and their surroundings with imagination and a few tools. Every Stylist has their own niche and mine is customizing on set. Often clients have a vision that they want executed but all the items to complete their Vision are not always tangible or available to be purchased, therefore this falls on the stylist to challenge themselves as an artist to create whatever is needed to develop the vision that the client wants. These are my favorite photoshoot to work on because they constantly put me to the test so I don't become complacent or repetitive with my styling ability. I was recently contacted for a Denim and swimsuits themed photoshoot. The client expressed that they wanted the swimsuits to be the focus but with an edgy twist of denim incorporated to show a more Street Savvy way to style and wear swimsuits. I was very excited about this concept because I automatically thought this would be an opportunity to customize pieces on set which I'm very passionate about. Denim is one of my favorite fabrics to work with because I can use scissors and a blade to completely transform the look without damaging it. I actually have FISKARS scissors in my kit and they always come in handy especially because there are multiple different sizes so they are perfect for all the behind the scenes jobs that take place at a photoshoot. For example the makeup artist used the mini scissors to cut false eyelashes for the models, while I used the larger scissor to cut and customize the denim jacket and knee-high boots. I personally find that people are fascinated to see how someone can transform a garment and make it even more beautiful. For this photoshoot there were two models and once their outfits were chosen I began cutting and distressing the denim items they were going to wear. They were very excited to see how I was going to transform each piece they would be modeling which made the photo shoot even more exciting and made them feel like they were wearing a one-of-a-kind piece specifically made for them. It started with a few snips and then evolvd into different size cuts and tears in order to really showcase the swimsuits. Of all the days we ended up shooting on the hottest day that's far what is 93 degree temperature so it was a bit challenging because it was so hot. The models were absolute Troopers with constant visits to get powdered to avoid any shine in the images and of course some water breaks. The photographer was absolutely amazing and have some great tips and suggestions because she is an artist herself and she also models. We decided to shoot in the park which definitely drew some attention but was also a great advertisement for the client and the denim collection because it was definitely a crowd favorite. We decided to shoot some solo shots and some shots where the models were grouped together in order to show versatility with the collection. It's always great shooting in a park because it gives you the freedom to roam around as the models are dressed to find the perfect backdrop for a stunning image. To have nature as your backdrop will always produce amazing imagery because it's something that you can't put a price tag on. As we toured the park searching for the perfect locations to shoot, it presented a great opportunity for the models to network and get to know each other which always lends to better pictures because they feel more familiar with each other and therefore more relaxed in front of the camera. Although it was super hot that day we had a blast because everybody was professional and had an amazing personalities. After reviewing the images from the photo shoot and examining the stylized looks I was very happy to hear that the client was pleased with the end result and they mentioned how it was the exact Street savvy Look that they wanted
The Pursuit of Happiness.
Snip and rip. It is the most satisfying sound to my ears. There is nothing more permanent than the commitment to cut into cloth when making garments. It is a decisive act. Measure twice. No, three times. Cut once.
Creation Starts With Love
One of my favorite creative projects to date didn't just start with a pair of scissors but also with the brazen (but well-intended) decision to get married during a pandemic as well as make my own wedding dress. This wasn’t something I intended when we initially got engaged, however halfway through the planning process, I felt inspired to just make my gown myself. Although I had never before constructed a wedding dress, I did have experience designing custom dresses and gowns for proms, maternity, and varying galas & military balls (my husband is in the Army.) I first fell in love with sewing and creating custom clothing as a child, hand sewing dresses for my Barbie dolls, learning from both my mother and my Godmother. With time, I graduated from sewing by hand with a needle and thread to sewing on a machine and making clothing for myself, followed by friends and family. Soon there after, I began receiving design inquiries from potential customers. As a freelance seamstress & designer, I quickly learned that it didnt matter whether I was creating something original for myself or being commissioned to bring someone else’s creative vision to life, inspiration marries exceptionally well (pun intended) with the excitement and anticipation of the occasion. As an artist, the ability to use my creativity in such a way that adds to the magic of the moment is extremely fulfilling, and I am significantly inspired by the act of bringing both creative work projects and passion projects to life by use of skill and imagination.
Butterfly on the Wall
In order to fly, a butterfly has to break its cocoon. In similar ways, I have broken out of the expectations I once held for myself as an artist to truly flourish in my craft, sewing. As a young adult, breaking out of my “cocoon” of expectations had proven to be difficult, but like a butterfly I feel like I have gone through a mental and emotional metamorphosis through my work. The metamorphosis of a butterfly is how I know best to describe my work, passion, and responsibility to the craft, treating every piece like a flower that should be handled with care and hope of flourishment as it blooms. With fabric as my medium, I’ve always known that clothing can make a difference in my life. Wearable stories that help reflect identities that can speak without words and create such a significant impact on the way we view fashion as whole.
SewTherapy: Creates My Happiness
SewTherapy: Creates My Happiness. SewTherapy. That is what sewing has become to me over the years. First, as a six-year-old, bored, and excited at the same time, I found deep fun in creating things, especially with fabrics.
Crafting happiness is something that brings me joy and peace, both internally and especially when shared with others. My passion for creating wearable art, lives at once in the moment and sporadically throughout the history of personal experiences and family traditions. Creating wearable art for me, is creating the experience and joy of being seen, of being appreciated, while also sparking a connection wherever you go. It opens doors to new friendships, collaborations, connections, and allies at any given turn.
Happiness through healing.
"I want my gown to be feminine, delicate, airy and full of movement", Isabella told me during her consultation for her custom bridal gown in early May. I grinned as I pulled out some fabric swatches and took down notes, all the while picturing my new client in a gown that embodies the very essence of who she is.