Friday, July 31, 2009

What If?

Last night while on my way home from the plantation, I read an article in The New York Times that caused me to reflect on my odyssey. How Do You Like Me Now? is the account of a very talented and somewhat accomplished black fashion designer (Eric Gaskins) who, after 22 years in the business, is forced to shut down his line. Last year he started writing a blog called The Emperor's Old Clothes and seems to be having more notoriety and success with that than with the quietly elegant frocks he has up until now been known for. The noticeably similar parallels in our lives are startling even if I have yet to reach the same level of success as Mr. Gaskins. After all, his dresses hung in many stores including the very posh Bergdorf Goodman here in New York City. I have yet to see my confections on the racks of those kinds of stores. And I am not sure if my online journal is as widely read as Mr. Gaskins's is either. Nonetheless, the newspaper item did give rise to a moment where I questioned the validity of my existence in fashion design. What if my success in the fashion design sector is only moderate like Mr. Gaskins? Am I prepared to humbly accept those terms and be grateful for just the opportunity to have chased my dreams? And will I be happy knowing that after so many years, if nothing else, at least I gave it the old college try? The jury is still out on that as I believe that no one pursues their goals as doggedly as I have just to get an honorable mention badge. But right now I've still got to believe that the apex of fashion success is still within my reach. Interestingly, I visited the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) this week where the work of Isabel Toledo is on display. Ms. Toledo is another astonishingly talented designer who seemed to be destined only to enjoy a moderate level of success. That is until first lady Michelle Obama chose Ms. Toledo as her designer of choice for her Inauguration day ensemble. Catapulted to the world stage by one event, Ms. Toledo's fashion star is now shining brightly. It just speaks to the possibilities and how important it is to perservere. Since anything is possible, the what if question persists.
Peace & Fashion!


  1. I think Langston Hughes said it best...

    "Hold fast to dreams
    for if dreams die
    life is a broken-winged bird
    that cannot fly."


  2. I agree with Elisabeth!

    And, I love how you often mention "on the way home from the plantation" - very witty and, for those of us who have to work for other people while we work towards what we really love, so true!