Saturday, March 31, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars Final Episode - The Results Are In!

I was in front of the TV on Monday to watch the much awaited final episode of Project Runway All-Stars and had every intention of writing it up the next day while it was fresh, but was waylaid by 102 fever.  Now that I am slowly getting back on my feet, the first thing I wanted to do was finish this series.

I knew the final 3 collections would be totally different and that each of those designers would earn that win in their own way.  So I wondered what criteria the judges would use to choose only 1.  My first impression was they got it right.  At the time I wondered if that impression would still hold true after a few days of reflection and have found I still feel happy with the outcome. As all 3 did such an amazing job, I want to give an overview of the show in a slightly different way this time.


Judges -
Georgina Chapman of Marchesa
Isaac Mizrahi
Tommy Hilfiger
Ken Downing - Fashion Director at Neiman Marcus


Mondo - The Winner

I have always been a Mondo fan and am happy to say he consistently produced good work all through the show.  In this designer's original time on Project Runway, I never really felt his final collection quit came together. It was hard to put my finger on what was missing because I was rooting so hard for him.  This time he nailed it on the head.

I remember when he was having his snit, Michael commented that from that dark place Mondo often produced his best work.  I have come to think so too. Perhaps with more time he over thinks things.  I've noticed that in other Project Runway designers in the past as well. Working under fire takes away that problem with over thinking and hones their skills in a way having more time does not.  I also saw a maturing in his work - still Mondo but a level up. On  the positive side is his artistic vision - on the negative side is the way he deals with stress.  Here are the 6 looks he showcased.

1 - 2 - 3
4 - 5 - 6
Inspiration - Therapy

Favourite Quote - "It was really hard for me to find inspiration.  And really struggling through these last few challenges I needed some therapy, so I put all my passion into my; work.  I hope you enjoy it."

Favourite Look - #5, the Ink Blot dress with the red cuff.  Also a favourite of judge Ken Downing from Neiman Marcus.  I would buy this dress in a minute if I had the body for it!

Least Favourite Look - The judges and I agreed on this one, #4.  I just don't think the 3 pieces worked well together.

Look Created from Remnants - #3

Judges Quotes -

Mizrahi - "What he does with fabric really is smart and shows wit in the craft of making clothes."
Chapman - "He is a monster at mixing fabrics and ideas.  He can take a bunch of fabric and create his own textile.

Notes - Last dress almost didn't tie into the collection, but in true Mondo style somehow it worked.  The ink blot dress before brought in the note of red and the theme of dots found in all other pieces was here as well.  Mondo is so known for mixing colours as well as prints that the largely black/white theme was a surprise, but I think might be one of the reasons he won.  As the judges and mentors have said during so many shows - it's about editing. The designer offered enough ideas without adding the element of colour to the mix.


Michael

How can anyone not like Michael.  He is a heart on the sleeve sort of person, both honest and kind.  His passion for design comes from his very soul and it's easy to see how much he loves what he does.    I think the week that Diane Von Furstenberg was a judge was a sure sign of what's to come.  After reviewing his garment she told him to look her up after the show.  The way he handles knits and draping will absolutely be an asset should he chose to work with her and with a mentor of that caliber behind him, his career is surely on the rise. On the positive side is the calm with which he approaches a challenge - on the negative side is perhaps his tender nature.  Fashion is a tough business.  Here are Michael's 6 looks.

1 - 2 - 3
4 - 5 - 6
Inspiration - The Serengeti

Favourite Quote - "You feel so blessed to be in there.  Those last few minutes - it's not adrenaline, it's fear.  You're working in fear."

Favourite Look - I love #4 which is a shorts set.  The fabric and design work really well together.

Least Favourite Look - #6. Although Michael is known most for draping and the judges liked this one, I just thought it didn't fit in and was not the best example of how truly great he is making this type of silhouette.

Look Created from Remnants - #6.  Okay now you know why.  An afterthought.

Judges Quotes -

Hilfager - "I think it was more commercial but it was very cohesive.  When you looked at the collection you got it...You could put these in the stores tomorrow and sell them."
Chapman - "Michael is a masterful draper!"

Notes - There was a big surprise for me with this collection.  While Michael again used his go to fabric - Jersey - which he works with so well, he didn't do a lot of draped gowns. Most were more fitted day looks.  I was shocked.  In fact, the draped gown he did do was the #6 remnant challenge and it didn't fit in with the collection.  I think this was also a surprise to the judges.  Tommy Hilfager said Michael's collection was the most cohesive and suggested it as a possible winner.  All judges agreed it was more commercial.  There was one huge disagreement.  Joanna Coles said back stage she loved the prints but Isaac Mizrahi said he only liked one.  See even those in fashion don't agree!


Austin

Austin is larger than life in so many ways.  I don't find him as approachable as the other two, but cannot help admiring him as an artist.  He is full of so many ideas I think it would take him a lifetime to realize them all.  His gift is undeniable. I think his future is in gowns, both bridal and red carpet.  Fantasy is what he loves and he gives it in spades.  The fact he won the light challenge is absolutely no surprise.   Hollywood, be prepared to take notice as sooner or later a top star is sure to come calling.  On the positive side is the sheer amount of creativity this designer has - on the negative side, I think the number ideas that flood in can be overwhelming.  He wants to realize them all and gets way too caught up in trying too incorporate too many at one time. Here are Austin's 6 looks.

1 - 2 - 3
4 - 5 - 6

Inspiration - See Quote (sorry, but his explanation of his inspiration is so totally what's great about Austin and at the same time, what's not).

Favourite Quote - "This is the story of a vampire from the 18th century who has lived many hundreds of years and now resides in Williamsburg and occasionally borrows clothes from her Hasidic dandy friend."

Favourite Look - #6,  Everyone agreed that this dress didn't fit in with theme of the collection, but it honestly was pure Austin at his best.  All judges knew it would be a hit with customers as well as a sure seller.  Bridal gowns are hands down a strength for him. For the judges, many felt #2 - the Laquered Lace Dress - was the best in the whole show.

Least Favourite Look - Several judges felt the proportions of the #4 gown was unattractive.  I personally did not like look #1.  What woman would want those huge pleats on the hips?  It makes her torso and head look small and her bottom big!

Look Created from Remnants - #5 - the leatherette jumpsuit.

Judges Quotes -
Mizrahi - "One of the more talented designers in that he can think big, epic thoughts."
Chapman - "I think he is probably the most artistic and that is what makes him wonderful.  He is an ideas machine.  You get carried away in him dream."

Notes - What lost Austin this competition based on the judges overall comments is that he did not present a cohesive collection.  There was the rock and roll influence, the period pieces and then  came a wedding dress at the end that didn't tie in with either.  Based on that criteria, he was out of the competition before he even showed his first look.  I do have one thought on this. Perhaps in the long run he doesn't have to offer cohesive collections.  Maybe this can be his strength.  I know at least one very successful Montreal designer who is known for ignoring cohesion and creates garments that inspire him each season.  His loyal clients couldn't care less, they just love what he does.





So there you have it - the season is finished.  I think each of these very talented designers will find the future bright.  The show has brought them new media attention which can only move their careers forward in this very challenging field.  April and May have castings running for the regular season of Project Runway season 10, so now all we will have to do for our design fix is wait.

In Canada, episodes 11 and 12 can be viewed at http://www.slice.ca/Slice/Watch/Default.aspx?ID=v.
In the U.S., missed episodes can be viewed at http://www.mylifetime.com/video.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Random Acts - Brownies, Macaroons and Mini Cinnamon Rolls - OH MY!

This last week I had the privilege of watching the shows at Vancouver Fashion Week.  Committing to being at all shows over the course of 5 days is always a stretch, but in the end I find it the best way to support what all those involved are trying to do.  It is also impossible to tell in advance which designer you have never heard of will be the one to catch your eye.  Every season there is always at least one surprise.

One thing not everyone appreciates is the sheer man hours that go into any event whether just an evening or over the course of several days.  And the backbone of any fashion event is the enormous number of volunteers that make it all happen.  From checking you in, to seating, to back stage - the list of jobs they do is endless.


Somewhere last season I began to realize how simple it would be to thank them by bringing something small to eat.  It didn't take a lot of effort to drop by the store and pick up some cookies, so one night I brought a bag and shared them with all the people who had been treating me so kindly.  The smile on their face said it was the right move.



Vancouver Fashion Week F/F 2012 was going to take up most of my time for several days so provided the perfect opportunity for a Random Act of Kindness by thanking those around me all week with small treats.  I think I only managed 3 days of the 5 days but it was worth it.  One day the offering was chocolate chip cookies from the Safeway bakery.  The next day I actually broke out the old baking skills and made Snicker Bar Brownies.  For my final offering I put together a tray with 3 flavours of macaroons and some mini-cinnamon buns all purchased from Costco.  See - not hard!


I cannot thank all the volunteers enough for the way they took care of me this last week.  I was not well the first few days and was seated before the doors open and had several people make sure I had a bottle of water for the evening.  My Random Act of Kindness was very small in comparison.  But as I said it's not about size.   While not all Random Acts of Kindness give you the chance to see the results, this one did.  I have to admit it gave me pleasure to see the smile on their face and to share a hug.


Everyone should take a moment at the next event they attend to either thank or do something kind for one the many volunteers helping to make that evening special.  Until then, just keep your eyes open for whatever opportunity arises.

Quotes on Volunteering! -


And of course a cartoon!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars - Finale Part 1 (Episode 11)

Talk about a pressure cooker.  Last night Project Runway host - Angela Lidvall - let the 3 finalists know they had 4 days to create 5 looks for a runway show.  Normally they get at least 1 day per look, sometimes 2 if it's a complicated challenge.  But in true reality TV fashion they gave them 4 days and this included sketching, model casting and those pesky people determined to give them pep talks - Isaac Mizrahi, Joanna Coles and  Georgina Chapman.  Michael and Austin seemed to take it in stride - Mondo went to a very dark place.


I have always loved Mondo's artistry whether I like what he produced or not.  He is unique, one of a kind and has proved his range by winning challenges such as designing for a Broadway production of Godspell where he smoked the competition.  On the other hand is his dark side. Seems there is a dark Mondo world he goes to where he can't really deal with anyone else.  He has been showing signs of wear these past few episodes - "I feel dead inside" - and it came home this week.  He turned into a bit of a brat this episode. Austin was offended.  Michael blew it off and commented that from this dark place, Mondo often produces his best work.  We will see as he ended up not doing any work his first day leaving only 3 days for all 5 looks.  In the end he decided he needed therapy after being on this show and started on a collection called "Therapy," even creating a Rorschach inkblot pattern on one fabric.


Michael decided to do an African Safari inspired collection which their mentor, Joanna Coles, applauded as it had the look of resort wear.  She commented that resort wear is now 30% of the market - a fact I did not know.  I am always drawn to Michael for who he is as what you see is what you get. He always comes across as very honest and open. When faced with this incredible deadline he just smiled and got to work.  No drama, just a lot of excitement to be in the finale and show what he can do.  He is absolutely the quickest worker in this competition who is always able to pull out a plan B or plan C when things go wrong. So perhaps there is a good reason for his self-assurance.  What little glimpse one could see of his garments was mostly hanging in a row on the rack and from that vantage point, the fabrics looks cohesive.


Austin is drama with a capital D, but not in a negative way.  Larger than life and uber expressive, I always find him the hardest of the 3 to warm up to because he is so over the top,  He is also a very talented artist who can do amazing things as seen in the light challenge.  Being in the finale is particularly special because this opportunity was not to be during the regular season. He was the last eliminated before the finale. His inspiration was confusing - "Fragonard meets Madame de Pompadour meets Williamsburg Hasidic rock star ."  HUH????  What he began to design was extremely ambitious given the short time available.  Risky to say the least but totally Austin.  Go big or go home.  I can't wait to see if he is able to finish it all including the final piece which is a elaborate wedding dress.


Of course there was a twist.  They were challenged to create a 6th look out of fabric left over from old challenges.  It had to be cohesive with their current 5 looks.  Each chose 1 former contestant to help them for 24 hours.  Mondo picked Mila, Austin picked Anthony and Michael picked April.  I thought each of those strong matches.  The challenge was going through remnants of former fabrics to find something that would mix with their current designs.  Each was heartbroken when their help left.  4 days is just not enough time to produce runway ready work (3 for Mondo because of his snit) and they were all feeling the pressure.


Next Monday it all comes to a head.  Did they each manage to finish their full collection the way they envisioned it?  With 3 such diverse designers, if they all complete the collection they envisioned, it may come down to what the judges like the best.  What angle will they look for - marketability, uniqueness or ?????????

For Canadian Viewers - Videos of episodes 10 and 11 are available for viewing at http://www.slice.ca/Slice/Watch/Default.aspx?ID=v
For U.S. Viewers - Videos are available at http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway-all-stars/video.  


Monday, March 19, 2012

Random Acts - Small Change

It's been over a week since I came down with this latest virus.  For the most, part my random act of kindness has been limited to me not passing it on to others by cancelling all meetings.  Yesterday finally offered me an opportunity - small but still there.

A week with no groceries finally forced me out of the house. This was a pretty quick trip with a short list of needed items and a chance to get out of the house for some fresh air.  The self checks where I usually go were all taken with a line of waiting customers.  In scanning the regular check-outs, one seemed pretty empty.  It took only a few seconds to put my few purchases on the counter and then I turned to look at the elderly man in front of me.

Hearing goes at you get older and so does the speed your mind comprehends things.  When the cashier asked if he had 3 pennies, he was lost.  My heart broke as I knew what was happening.  In the blink of an eye I had those coins out of my purse and in the checkers hands.  That's the moment he finally understood what was going on.

It took a bit to get him over his embarrassment at the mix-up and to convince him I didn't want any money back.  My comment to him?  Just save them for someone else who needs them and do your own random act of kindness!

So a very small chance to do something nice for someone, but the size does not matter.  It's just making sure I have my eyes open every day to ways I can make someone's life better.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars - Episode 10

Episode 10 is where we find out who the final 3 will be.  I said several weeks ago I wish it could have been between Mondo, Rami and Kenley.  I can't imagine 3 more diverse designers to throw in the mix and each is known for their strong construction skills.  Several times I have asked others who they wish were in the final from the original list and so far haven't received any answers. Too bad.  It would be interesting to hear the who and why as others see it.

This week Mondo, Austin, Michael and Kenley are taken to Nanette Lepore's space in NYC's garment district.  There they are challenged to design a look within a well defined budget to be manufactured locally.  The winner's garment will be sold in Lepore's stores with 100% of the profits going to support Save the Garment Center Organization. I found this episode extremely interesting.  Despite the amount of interviewing I have done with designers, the actual dollar and cents of how it all works has never really been this clear.  If you want to understand the dynamics - this episode is an eye-opener.


Lepore and her coster (person who calculates how much the garment would sell for and how much can be spent on fabric) reviewed each designer's efforts.  Here they would point out construction details that increased production costs and give them the selling price versus fabric allowance for the challenge.  It shocked me to hear Austin's coat would sell for around $500 and he could only spend I think it was $62 on fabric.  Mondo actually was given the least amount of money - about $32.  WHY?  It had to do with the price it could sell for (obviously less for a short dress) balanced with the fact he was cutting and assembling 4 different fabrics.  That said, they were only horizontal strips so I felt they perhaps overestimated the additional construction costs. What I took out of this was the surprising relationship between fabric costs and final sales price. For the garment to be profitable, fabric roughly had to cost around 12% of the final sales price. Wow!


Mondo again came out of the challenge in first place.  I was intrigued.  The garment was 100% funky Mondo through and through and although I always enjoy his unique aesthetic, I wasn't sure Lepore would think it marketable in her stores. But winner it was. Even he was surprised. What is interesting as well is that the garment was VERY boxy.  He liked it that way and actually chose not to belt it.  All the judges commented on how it would have been better with a bit of a hint at the waist.  It is now online for purchase and surprise, surprise - they actually adjusted it slightly to give it more shape.  Not sure if they angled in the waistline a bit or just used the newly added small back ties to pull in the shape, but the look is definitely more refined.  Here are both the runway garment and the look shown at the online store.  To order your own Mondo original at $298 U.S. go to http://www.nanettelepore.com/the-mystery-dress.html.


Austin had a VERY good chance of winning this one.  I haven't cared for most of his work this season until the light challenge last week which he totally nailed it.  This week he again hit the mark by creating a Swing Coat. There were a few issues with the fabric not being quite the right choice, but I thought the design would fit well in Lepore's boutiques.  The coat had a bit too much fabric for me when belted.  Only a super thin model could carry it off that much volume around the waist. But once the belt came off and the garment could swing freely, it was very wear-able.  I loved the effect when the model turned at the end of the runway.  The collar was  a shaped ruffle - a great detail without being overly fussy.  Another plus is that because of the volume, this coat could be worn over almost any garment, and the lightweight fabric makes it wearable in more seasons.


I love Michael.  His garments are always sexy and feminine and his draping is beautiful, but if Kenley had not dropped the ball this week, he would have gone home.  Several times he was told they could not sell a garment that dipped to the waist in the front and the back and yet he gave them just that. Even the model was concerned about her breasts popping out so he added a tie across the very top of her shoulders in back to keep it from slipping off.  I wasn't big on the print he chose, but it actually looked good walking the runway.  The large necklace he chose helped to fill in the deep dip in the front. It all came together well, but Lepore was never going to chose a garment she told him point blank would not sell.  If he had been smart, he would have closed it up at least a bit.  Sorry I don't have a pic of him showing it to the judges, they caught him with the model half turned.


Last is Kenley who was unfortunately sent home.  I have to agree with the judges.  Why she would drop the ball here? I don't know as it was a print that was the problem - very strange as she usually has a knack for choosing prints.  The sketch she drew was similar to what she created but with a piping trimmed key hole cut-out in front.  Then she saw this peacock print and fell in love and had to take it out of her design.  Right away Lepore mentioned the loss of the detail and was not amused.  Mondo was the one who pointed out that the way the prints matched at seams wasn't that great and he was right - especially on the back view. I think the print used was just too large for the darts and shaping.  What Kenley designs works best with much smaller prints that blend well with darts and seams and a different fabric would allow her to have kept the small design detail.  She has won several challenges and been in the top many times as well, so it was unfortunate this one big mistake was her last.


The finale will run over 2 episodes as usual, but I think will be much higher pressure than the regular Project Runway.  I'm looking forward to watching Monday so see what they have dreamt up for these 3. I know for Austin and Michael it is especially sweet as they were both cut right near the end in their regular season.


For Canadian Viewers - Videos of episodes 9 and 10are available for viewing at http://www.slice.ca/Slice/Watch/Default.aspx?ID=v
For U.S. Viewers - Videos are available at http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway-all-stars/video. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cold Season Is Upon Us!

2 years ago I caught the H1N1 virus.  I was determined not to end up another statistic in the hospital like so many others.  While it still took me 3 weeks to beat the bug, I never had it settle in my lungs which was the number 1 concern.  As a writer I work from home so could take frequent naps, but I also listened to all the advice I could and tried to sift it down into what was most important.  The following is just an overview of the information I've collected.

1.  Don't cough!  I know that sounds harsh, but the truth is where most people end up in trouble is secondary infections.  Coughing irritates the throat and lungs.  There are so many choices from prescription cough syrup to honey concoctions to deal with this problem.  It may not be the best for your teeth, but when all else fails, sucking on a cough drop all day slows or stops the cough. Just be sure and check the label for those that have a daily maximum.


2.  Up your vitamin C.  This can come from many sources including my recipe for a hot lemon/ginger/honey beverage below.  I also drink Orange Juice, but dilute it with water so that I can keep adding that small amount constantly over the course of the day.  I usually mix it about 1/3 OJ with 2/3 water with a few ice cubes thrown in, but you can adjust it to you taste.

3.  Slow down.  You don't want to become a slug, but at the same time you don't want to expose everyone you know and it's definitely time to cut back on the hard core exercise.  My husband insisted on riding his bike to work while having the H1N1 and it wasn't pretty.  Take care of yourself.


4. Hot Bath.  One important thing is to keep your sinuses as clear as possible.  A super hot steamy bath helps everything loosen up.  While you're soaking, take deep breaths of the moist fog. I found a more effective way to make this fog recently.  I sit in the plugged tub with the shower curtain drawn and the shower option turned on to fill the bath.  I can lean forward and actually let the spray hit the back of my neck and breath in the steam.  This form of filling the tub creates twice as much steam as using the spout and the closed shower curtain turns the bath into your own personal sauna.  My significant other swears that sipping a dram of quality scotch while soaking in a hot bath helps.  I have no idea as I'm not a scotch drinker, but he certainly seems happy afterwards.

5.  Decongestant!  Alright, I know we're all in the age of avoiding things like this but decongestant can make a difference.  The less of a drip going down that throat the better and keeping your sinuses as empty as possible avoids a secondary infection.  I keep my dose at the minimum suggested and try and stretch it out to 3 doses a day - one in the morning, one late afternoon and one at bedtime.  Of the 3, the bedtime one is the most important because ugly things happen over night when you're laying down.  Take it as late as possible.  If you only take one dose, do it at bedtime.

Now for some naturopathic things people have shared with me.  Some I have tried, some I am trying starting today as I am determined this cold will have a short shelf life while upping my immunity for the next year.


Home Brew - I love this as it warms me and soothes my throat.
Fill pot with water.
Wash 1 lemon and cut into thin slices with rind included
Peel 1/2" fresh ginger and cut into thin slices.
Add both to pot of water
Let simmer on stove for at least an hour, then keep warm and sip throughout day.
Add Honey to your home brew to taste after pouring in a cup.  If you add it to the pot earlier, the simmering can destroy it's medicinal value.


New recipe - I just received this one and am going to try it starting today -
Take 1 tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days.  This process will cut most chronic cough and colds and clear the sinuses.

Oil of Oregano
I cannot tell you how many people have shared this with me, but they all swear by it.  The problem I've run into is that it leaves a strong taste in your mouth.  Some put it under their tongues or mix it in drinks, but I've found myself tasting it for hours.  I finally found what works for me and that is tipping my head back and putting the drops at the very back of my throat - way past the taste buds.  It still is strong, but the taste passes much more quickly.


Zinc Throat Lozenges.  This one came to me from the cashiers at my local Safeway.  Every time they got a scratchy throat this was their go to way to stop it in it's tracks.  You don't want zinc tablets, you want the kind you suck on.  They look a little bit like a fruity flavoured Tums.  The brand the cashier gave me is by Sunkist and has mixed fruit flavours.  I just started taking them so have no comment at this time as to whether they help or not.

If all else fails it's important to remember each time we get sick we build up immunity for the next time around.  After having the H1N1 virus, I was the iron maiden for 2-1/2 years. Nothing could touch me. So we do need to have our immune system challenged occasionally.  Just make sure that it lasts only as long as needed to help your body fight future viruses.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Random Acts of Kindess - Start Today!

I was wandering through a variety of blogs the other day and was inspired by one called 366 Random Acts of Kindness (it's leap year remember), so decided to give it a try.  Most likely I won't come up with something every day, but hopefully posting the ones I do will keep me motivated.

1.  I am going to try and keep it simple.  It doesn't have to be big, I just need to do something nice whether a kind word or gesture.

2.  I don't need recognition.  It counts even if done secretly.

3.  The ultimate goal can be one of many - putting a smile on someone's face, making their life easier or even just something done just for the sheer fun of it.

4.  Money for the most part should not be involved.  This is about really looking around me to figure out how to make the world a nicer place.

Yesterday this blog came to mind as I was curling.  Pretty much the day is done after the game is over.  So all I could think of was the curling rocks.  As I was waiting my turn I sidled quietly over to the lane next to mine and while no one was looking, arranged their rocks in order for them.  I know, not a big deal.  But sometimes we need to think small.


Remember all those little pebbles rolling can turn into a big slide, it just takes the first one starting the process. Wonder if I can come up with something unique today where I'm working from home.  I already cook dinner, etc., so where can that small and unique gesture come from today.

To see the blog that inspired me go to http://www.366randomacts.org/.

The Ethics of the Comp Ticket

The Comp Ticket!   It's a subject I've touched on several times and one I am intimately familiar with from the receiving and giving end.  It can be a useful tool.  It can also be the ruin of many of an event.  I care deeply for the community I have been fortunate to be a part of, so wanted to offer my thoughts.

Unfortunately we seem to live in an era of entitlement.  People expect to be "On The List" as a status symbol.  Celebrities who make scads of money no longer feel the need to support and mentor rising talent.  They want to be paid to wear a designer's gown or to attend a function.  All I can say is SAD!  One of the privileges of being a public person of any sort is the chance to give rising talent that helping hand and when you are well-to-do you do not need to be paid to wear someone's clothing.  You can afford to buy it.  Can you imagine if each high power star found 5 new and talented artists and bought one garment from each of them to wear.   What a difference they could make in the fashion industry.  For my part - I have always purchased the clothing you see me in.  There are a couple of exceptions - a few shawls that came in swag bags and a knitted vest that was one of 500 samples a large brand was getting rid of.  I'm proud of this fact.  Borrowing clothing would not give me this same feeling of satisfaction.

Now on to how this affects the local scene.  I've told many people I never wanted to be "Someone".  My dad was a minister and I hated having a spotlight on me every moment of the day.  Any transgression was dutifully reported back to my parents via the gossip train. I reveled in my obscurity once I left home.  When I stepped up as editor of Fame'd, I realized that it wasn't possible or desirable to stay anonymous if I was going to promote the local industry.  That same spotlight also had positives - it offered the ability to mentor new talent, to give them their first media and to really make a difference in their lives.  It also opened the door for me to raise money for charity far beyond what I could do as an unknown.

So I did my best to embrace the notoriety and became a regular at events on the comp ticket - no way I could have afforded to go to all of them otherwise.  But I made promise to myself that I would never take it for granted.  I tried to only attend events on comp where I could offer something of value in return.  Usually that meant being able to do a fashion write-up in the magazine, finding new talent we could feature or selling the magazine to add to the charity fundraising aspect.  There were several charity events I missed because I couldn't afford the high ticket price and that was just life.


My advice to those who run events has always been clear.  Do not offer comp tickets unless they are in exchange for something. Everyone always wants higher end, more elaborate events, but don't want to pay the ticket price necessary to fund them.  Money doesn't appear by magic.  A few also seem to have a need to feel like a somebody - and the comp ticket somehow strokes that need.  It's time for a reality check as ticket sales fuel the event budget. We just don't have huge sponsorship support here at this time.  For designers, comp tickets could include industry artists that pull your clothes for magazine shoots, clients who buy them and media who promise you a write-up of some kind (who needs media there if they aren't going to provide any coverage). For other events the planner needs to carefully think through where the benefit lies, but the current established pattern of the comp list needs to be excised.  People pay for concerts, for fancy coffee, for plays and more.  Why is it they think they should be entering fashion events at no cost?

When it came to running the 2 launches for Fame'd I drew the line in the sand.  Pretty much the only comp tickets were our advertisers - without their help we couldn't have gone to print - and maybe 2-3 media.  I think the second year I added 5 people I was honouring for their contributions.  The rest had to pay to come as I couldn't afford to run it otherwise.  Each comp ticket was less money to work with and I had virtually no budget.  BUT I gave bang for buck.  Everyone received a swag bag with a $10 copy of the new print collectible and I gave a portion of all ticket sales to Dress for Success. The second year we raised enough to put 10 women through their entire program.  This meant the evening was short and simple, but that was fine with everyone. I am so grateful to all who stepped up to the plate and bought tickets - making the evening and the charity fund raising a success.

Again, these are just my thoughts.  I'm not much of a celebrity worshiper and wouldn't buy a garment or attend a function because of one.  I realize that isn't true for many others so there is a dollar value to be had at times from putting a celebrity on the list.  But it's become too wide spread to be supportable.  We just don't have the sponsorship dollars to make it here without ticket sales.  Easy answers?  No.  This really is just food for thought and hopefully a wake-up call to the community.