Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fashion Week

From the time I was thirteen until I got out of high school, my dream was to become a fashion designer. I had learned to sew in Girls Scouts. I went every Tuesday after school to my leader Kathy's house, where I would sew new outfits in her attic sewing space and afterwards we would make dinner together. This was a pretty heady experience for a young girl. I got undivided attention of an adult, and I got new clothes. Not only was I happy to be wearing new clothes, but the pride of ownership was magnified by the fact that I had made the clothes. I did not grow up in an income bracket to match my classmates' designer jeans. The few pairs I owned were courtesy of an older neighbor who outgrew them. So after I had sewed for awhile, I started to forgo the patterns. I did have designer clothes--designed by me.
I think that my desire to become a designer signified a greater need: to create my own reality outside the influence of parents and even my peers. I didn't want to imprinted with the stamp of anyone else. Obviously, I didn't become a fashion designer. The goal was to get a fine arts degree with a concentration in fibers, and then get my master's in fashion design. Along the way, I got caught up in the intellectualism and purity of the arts, but there is still a part of me that wants to create movable, wearable (fun!) sculpture in fabulous colors and textures. A portable landscape. A disguise. A veiling (or unveiling) of truth and/or beauty. I don't look at fashion magazines now or check out runway shows. I won't even watch Project Runway because it would probably make my mind go into overdrive as my repressed teenaged ambitions become uncaged. I have enough on my plate, and to be honest, I pretty much hate to sew. But sometimes I throw a fabulous scarf on my neck, look in the mirror, and see the girl who wanted to swaddle her aura and own her boundaries.

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