Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good Bye, 2011!

Wilbur and his goddaughter
at Rockefeller Center 2011

2011 was quite an eventful year.  It began with me wondering whether or not I wanted to continue pursuing a career in fashion design.  My greatest love seemed to be turning her back on me.   It was one of the darkest periods of my life.  Trying to let go of my one true love proved to be a heartwrenching ordeal.  And because fashion is like the air I breathe, I felt like I was gasping to catch my breath.  But I was only swallowing more disappointment.

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and had to have surgery, I asked God for mercy and healing.  And I asked Him to change the dynamic of my relationship with fashion.  I was convinced it was not time for my mother to make her way to heaven; He already had the company of my maternal grandmother and my father and a host of other family members who succumbed to cancer.  And I wanted to believe that fashion and I still belonged together, too.  My mother recovered from the surgery.  She has a scar down the center of her chest.  But she is alive and she is cancer free.

Wilbur & his goddaughter on Christmas Day 2011
I decided to step out on faith and press forward in the name of fashion.  That is when I began to see glimmers of hope.  Finally.  I was featured in an issue of JET magazine.  And that led to many plus size women around the country reaching out to me.  Fashion was starting to show me love.  Then I was cast for a new reality show that will be airing on Lifetime called 24 Hour Catwalk.  And then I showed my Spring 2012 collection during NY Fashion Week which received positive reviews in the trade publication Women's Wear Daily and on  In an effort to capitalize on all the great PR, my business partners and I set up a Pop-UP Shop on our website to pre-sell our Spring 2012 line.

Things seem to be turning around and I can see the light of day.  But it is only through perseverance that I am able to see how resilient I truly am.  And that resilience is my birthright.  I get it honest from my mother.

Here is to health, happiness, and prosperity in 2012!

Peace & Fashion!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yuletide Blahs

Okay, so I was going to upload photos of some of New York City's most fabulous Christmas windows.  Festive, right?  Then I spotted The NY Times coverage of holiday windows.  I had been scooped!  So that idea bit the dust.  Then I wondered what I would put in this space.  I grappled with different ideas, but the truth of the matter is that for the past couple of days I've been plagued with the Yuletide Blahs.  With my pockets quite empty and my phone number on heavy rotation among bill collectors, the spirit of Christmas was passing me over and the Grinch's spirit was hovering like a dark cloud.  When I groaned to my zipper guy, Rory, the owner of  Archer Zippers, he revealed that he is going through a financially challenging moment, too.  "Wilbur, we're all going through it," he bellowed from behind his desk surrounded by heaps and mounds of #5 metal teeth zippers.  This revelation was only mildly comforting.  But then as I began to go through my daily grind, I started to adjust my perspective.  And it helped, too, that when I tweeted my beleaguered gift-buying status, I received an outpouring of empathy from followers and friends who have found themselves in similar situations.

So that gold bracelet I was eyeing for my honey and those diamond earrings I'd love to purchase for my mother are going to have to wait until my salad days are over.  As my pastor says, "This is only a temporary situation."  So I have bid adieu to my Yuletide Blahs and I am embracing the JOY of the season.  It's just not worth the stress.  Besides, 2012 is going to be a monetarily rewarding year.  I can just feel it!

Peace & Fashion!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reality Show Update!

Yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers, Alissa Wilson of Stylish Curves, tagged me in a post on Twitter.  Of course I had to check out what my curvy friend was saying because it's not every day that I receive Twitter love.  To my surprise, she had spotted the new teaser for the reality show I taped this past summer.

The Judges & Host
24 Hour Catwalk is set to start airing next month on Lifetime on January 10, 2012 at 10 p.m.  Get ready to park yourselves in front of the television or set your DVRs because I don't want you to miss any of the fashion drama unfold.  And I want to get lots of feedback.  It's going to be INSANE!

Just in case you are not on Facebook or don't follow me on Twitter, click on the link below to get a sneak peek at my reality show debut.  Enjoy!

Peace & Fashion!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Tis the Season

I have had my butt in the streets after work every night this week.  Maybe I am making up for my grueling, vacation-less summer.  But I am just going to blame it on the holidays and enjoy it while I can.

Playwright & Poet VINCENT TORO
On this Monday past,  I was invited by my longtime friend, Grisel, to a reading of her husband's play at Repertorio Espanol.  21, by Vincent Toro, is a slice of modern American life from the Puerto Rican perspective.  It tells the story of Blackjack, a very earnest recent college graduate who feels alienated by his colorful family so he makes plans to  accept a journalism job in Turkey.  This four character play is well crafted and well developed sprinkled with plenty of laughs and some poignant moments as well.  Vincent, whose play is one of seven chosen for the Metlife Nuestras Voces Playwriting competition, writes in a clear voice.  While 21 has a definitive Hispanic point of view, its themes of family, career, and forgiveness speak to all of us no matter our ethnicity.  Be on the lookout for Vincent's rising star.

Marc Morial
head of the Nat'l Urban League
Michelle Miller
CBS News Correspondent
Jacque Reid
Last night, I was invited by my very dear friend, Sheila Rule, to join her for a reception hosted by her friends Michelle Miller, the CBS News correspondent, and her husband Marc Morial, president of The National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans.  Held at new haute spot, Gravy, it soon became packed with a long list of New York City's Black Glitterati.  The liquor flowed and scrumptious treats were passed around all night long.  When I came face-to-face with Jacque Reid at the bar, I pointed and yelled, "Are you Jacque?!"  I mostly remember her as the lead anchor on BET Nightly News, but she has been suggested as someone I should friend on Facebook as well.  Since I did not know her personally, I never did.  This was my chance to make an impression.  And I guess I did because we laughed raucously over my approach.  I guess now we really can start up a virtual friendship.

After two late nights in the city, I am happy to be home early watching a little mindless television.  But I've got more celebrating to do before 2012 comes roaring in.  'Tis the season.

Peace & Fashion!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Date With Style

For me, the cogs of the fashion wheel are always turning. It's not long after I present one collection that I am working on the next. For budgeting reasons, it just makes more financial sense for my partners and I to do it that way. My collection for Fall 2012 called EYE CANDY has already been conceptualized and sketched. I will begin the intense process of having the samples produced in the next week or so. We've already set the date to photograph the collection - March 31. And I have already begun casting. In order to really refine our image and have a definitive point of view, we've decided to bring accessible luxury to the curvy woman via our website Coming September 2012, our website will have a brand new look and feel. I'm SO thrilled with the changes that Ashanti, Serosh and I have decided on and I am sure my curvy coterie of lovelies will be, too. So please be patient with us and stay tuned.

On this Saturday past, I met with the dynamic and effervescent Sarah Conley, founder and writer of the blog StyleIT. It has always been important to me to feature a couple of full-figured women in our photo campaigns who are NOT models, but just fabulous & stylish in their own right. Sarah just seems like the perfect choice. (The other non-model is my eternally stylish mother - now a seasoned veteran in the SK WiLBUR cavalcade of photographed beauties.)

Over brunch at Le Pain Quotidian near Union Square, we discussed design, inspiration, and concepts. She was pleased with the care and detail I put into her design and we're both psyched to start the fitting process in the coming weeks.

After brunch, we decided to do a little window shopping. Fish's Eddy was a tight maze of breakable dishes that left me feeling confined and claustrophobic. I couldn't wait to get out of there! At Gap Kids, they were all out of the sparkly gold bubble skirt I'd like to buy for my niece. Shucks! We were nearly mobbed by the eager salespeople at Sephora who instantly recognized Sarah from her blog. With that kind of reception, I half expected the paparazzi to jump from behind the nail polish display with cameras at the ready.  Afterwards, we headed over to the Ted Gibson Salon where Sassy Sarah had an appointment with her "hair strategist", Eric, and Greg, her colorist. Everyone was lovely and it brought back memories of my long gone days as a hairstylist. After awhile, though, I was ready to head home to peacefulness and Christmas movies on Lifetime, so I gave Sarah B. a kiss and hit the streets making my way to Penn Station to catch my train.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of her dress. Less than a year from now, you'll be able to buy your very own version, too. So keep up. The wheels of fashion are constantly spinning.

Peace & Fashion!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The 4-1-1 On Lysistrata Jones

This Friday past I had the pleasure of seeing the new Broadway musical Lysistrata Jones.  Based on the Aristophanes-penned comedy "Lysistrata" first performed in 411 B.C., it is a modern and very contemporary retelling of how a group of young women, led by Lysistrata, decide to withhold sexual favors from their men in an effort to end the Peloponnesian war.  But in this version, there are cheerleaders, a losing basketball team, and a very funny joke about Herman Cain - the beleauguered GOP presidential hopeful.  Of course, in musical comedy land, nothing ever goes according to plan.  And that is where the fun and the fabulosity begin.

LaQuet Sharnell is SANGIN'!
Comprised mostly of Broadway newbies, the talented cast brings their A-game as they sing and dance with such fervor and freshness the audience has no chance but to root for happy endings for all the show's characters.  I was especially blown away by LaQuet Sharnell who plays Myrrhine and sings the showstopping "Don't Judge A Book" in the second act.  Also of note is the handsome Josh Segarra who brings the heat as Mick.  Initially, he is just the typical dumb jock, but the audience learns that there is a lot more there.  And when he sings the heartbreakingly sweet "When She Smiles" with such affection, you can feel the audience swoon.  And then there is the infectious energy of Jason Tam who portrays Xander.  He is such a cutie & serious eye candy.

Jason Tam - the talented HOTTIE

The show is cleverly written  by Douglas Carter Beane who is also responsible for one of my most favorite Broadway shows "The Little Dog Laughed".  He is accompanied by his real life partner Lewis Flinn who did the music and lyrics.  Together they have delivered a show that makes you laugh.  And you're still singing hours after leaving the theatre.

If you're like me and need a worthwhile diversion from work and the holiday season crush, you should race to get tickets.  It was a packed house the night I went.  I'm just saying. . .

Now it's time for me to get back to fashion.  But I can still see Jason Tam dancing in my head. . .

Peace & Fashion!