Friday, October 26, 2012

Coming Out in the Wash

Cynde Watson at NY Fashion Week
Last night I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the launch event for a new cosmetics line called RICH STUDIO.  Conceived and created by master celebrity makeup artist and former executive director of global makeup artistry/education for Bobbi Brown, Cynde Watson has developed a line that truly is rich in color and texture. I caught up with Cynde for a brief moment as she was busy overseeing the festivities.  She divulged that the new line is a personal and professional triumph that was a year and a half in the making.  And it shows!  Women of different hues had flocked to Honey Salon in Harlem to be beautified by the skilled makeup artists on hand.  Each woman was camera ready fabulous after her turn in the make up chair.

While sipping on delicious watermelon martinis, Ashanti and I met a bevvy of lovely people who are movers and shakers.  Some I'd met previously and others who I've wanted to come face-to-face with.  Audrey Smaltz, the founder of The Ground Crew, was in attendance.  Although she never remembers me, I always love seeing her.  She has a long, rich history in fashion from the early days of the Ebony Fashion Showcase that traveled all over the U.S. to the fantasy fashion show she presented on The Oprah Winfrey Show many years ago. Audrey is an authority on the industry.  And she gives it to you straight - no chaser.  So when she advised me to forego my line of accessible luxury pieces for the curvy woman and, instead, focus on cheaper fashions, it made me take pause.  She said,  "Wilbur, the client you dream of dressing is always trying to lose weight and she is not going to spend the money on the kind of quality you are offering.  Go CHEAP!"  That was difficult to hear, but it is something that I am definitely going to ponder.

There were others, too, like Bevy Smith, Leonard Bridges, Lamarr Nanton, Lloyd Boston, and Deborah Gregory, of course.  Way too many stories to bore you with at this time.  But if you keep up with me, I am sure they'll eventually come out.  After all, doesn't it always come out in the wash.

Peace & Fashion!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Don't Dismiss Me

A tense moment for me on "24 Hour Catwalk"
Early this morning on facebook, one of my supporters who happens to be a curvy girl, make up artist, and fellow entrepreneuer, posted something that made me stop and take pause.  She wrote, "I love being overlooked.  It makes me work harder."  I thought to myself, "Kelly Brown, you must be crazy!!"  After many years, 15 to be exact, of toiling in virtual obscurity, I am tired of being overlooked.  Truth be told, I'm tired of working harder.  I want my gifts and talents recognized by somebody who is in a position of affluence and influence so that my load can be lessened.  I want financial success to stop being so darn elusive.  So, of course, I had to comment.  After carefully weighing my words, I typed, "I intensely dislike being overlooked.  Ignored.  Sends a message that I have little or no value." I thought that would be the end of it.  I thought I could get on with the rest of my day basking in my glum.  Boy was I wrong!  Kelly B quickly responded, "Wilbur Pack, Jr. it has the opposite effect on me.  I don't take it as me having little or no value, I take it as someone not having the clarity to see the great value I know I have! take it in stride and go harder - it usually ends up in those who overlooked you regretting that they did!"

Kelly Brown
The universe has a way of sending just the right message at just the right time.  Kelly Brown delivered that message because I needed it.  Although I continue to move forward, there are moments when I falter and I just want to feel sorry for myself.  Yet, I know it is an emotion that is too heavy to bear on this path.  If I am going to reach my pinnacle, I cannot let these kinds of feelings weigh me down.  Now, I am refocused and re-energized.  Look out world because I am coming through.  And all of you who dare to dismiss me, you may want to give it a second thought!  My name is VICTORY.  If you want to check out my girl Kelly Brown, check her out at MASQUEmag.

Peace & Fashion!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Doin' It!

I just didn't have the financial resources to go full out for NY Fashion Week last month.  You know the saying, "Go Big or Go Home!"  But there is always next season.  In fact, I've already got a few plans in the works.  But it's too early to speak on.  As soon as they start taking shape, I promise to share the exciting news with you.

Last week, I was one of seven or eight fashion designers who lent their names and their designs to a charity benefit for an organization called The Color of Teal which helps in the fight against ovarian cancer.  There was a day long expo followed by a fashion show that featured yours truly.  It is always important, I feel, to give back.  This disease has personally touched my life because a few years ago, my neighbor, who used to babysit me, succumbed to this awful disease.  I was honored to be asked to participate.  It also gave me a spotlight to debut one of my pieces for spring 2013.  My collection entitled CLANDESTINED is a soupcon of color, print, and texture. 

A Sneak Peek of SK WiLBUR Spring 2013 - CLANDESTINED
Also on my plate, I am sketching Fall 2013, sourcing fabrics, and coming up with the narrative for the collection.  There is no rest for the weary.  But I fully embrace my schedule and I know that I am very fortunate to be in a position to pursue my dreams.

P.S.  Don't forget to tell all your curvy friends that is live and they should shop, Shop, SHOP!

Peace & Fashion!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Going Live

Thursday of last week, the revamped premiered.  I wanted it to look a lot more polished.  Sophisticated.  I wanted it to have an aesthetic akin to - a shopping site with an editorial feel.  But the fabulous shopping experience offering "accessible luxury" that I had in mind would cater exclusively to plus size women who are still marginalized and underserved.

The company website has never truly represented what the SK WiLBUR brand is about.  At least, that's how I feel.  I just don't think my business partners and I were able to truly convey to the previous web designers what BOLD, MODERN, & CLASSIC style looked like to us.  I think Frantz, our latest and most thoughtful designer to date, has finally got it right.

About a month and a half ago, I was sitting in Starbucks in Penn Station reading a book while waiting for my train home.  A gentleman walked up to me and asked if he could sit in the empty seat next to mine.  I must have looked at him strangely because that's when he said, "I know New Yorkers are very particular about their personal space."  Honestly, whenever I am anywhere and I see an available seat, I sit in it - no questions asked.  "Oh you must not be from New York," I responded, "because New Yorkers don't care how uncomfortably tight it might be, we are going to sit down."  We chuckled and ended up having a brief and engaging conversation.  As it turned out, Alain (that's his name) was a Floridian until the age of nine when his family moved to New York.

When I noticed it was just about time for my train to be announced, I bid farewell to Alain and made my way to the correct track.  At Jamaica Station, where I needed to switch to another train, I saw Alan on the platform.  He didn't see me and I just laughed to myself.  When I boarded my connecting train, I saw my new acquaintance already seated.  "You're stalking me," I roared hysterically.  As the train cruised along the tracks, Alain confided that he is in construction, but has a background in film.  I showed him photos of my designs and disclosed some of what I had been working on.

"Well if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know," Alain offered.

"I could really use a web designer who won't charge me an arm and a leg."

"I just happen to have a friend who designs websites.  I will text his info to you."  I handed Alain my business card before getting off the train at my stop.

By the time, I was home I had received a text from Alain with Frantz's contact information.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Some people might call it destiny or kismet.  But I'd like to think that the universe was creating a pathway for me to connect with Frantz.  I am very pleased with the work that Frantz has done so far and I believe that Sorta Kinda Enterprises finally has a clear web identity on which we can confidently build from.  If you haven't done so, check us out.

Peace & Fashion!