Pages

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jet-Setting with Iman via Essence Magazine

As you know, February is Black History Month--but in New York City, it's also Fashion Week month. God knows we've made sufficient noise about the lack of black models on the runway, so instead, I'd like to celebrate Black designers!


Stephen Burrows, Tracy Reese and B. Michael have defined our times and weathered the storm that is the fashion industry (these days, everyone is a critic, aren't they?) Here, I chatted with all three of these fashion visionaries.


STEPHEN BURROWS

www.stephenburrows.com

When I arrived in New York in 1975, there were few African American designers and certainly none who had achieved any kind of stature--with, of course, the exception being Stephen Burrows!

IMAN: What was the inspiration behind your Fall 2010 collection?

STEPHEN BURROWS: My biggest inspirations were the colors of artist Gustave Klimt,

Tiffany Lamps and the interbellum period between World Wars 1 and 2, when the artistic community was most needed, embraced and celebrated.

IMAN: What is the biggest obstacle you have come across in the past five years, and how have you dealt with it?

STEPHEN BURROWS: Retailer recognition has been a struggle for me. Just getting them to come see my product has been very frustrating, but you have to keep pursuing until you get them, or run out of financing and have to close the doors.

IMAN: What do you think the future of fashion is during these hard economic times?

STEPHEN BURROWS: Fashion has no future. Fashion is dying because retailers are ruining the business by being lazy and not searching out new resources. They concentrate only on the big, trend-following companies and leave the small fashion companies out. Hence, everything looks alike and the customer is bored and reticent to buy new clothes.
Sometimes in the near future, we'll likely see the death of the 'department store' as we know it. It'll be killed off by lazy and computerized buying habits of that sector. The profit-margin driven syndrome is dealing a death blow to what once was a thriving and exciting industry in America.

B. MICHAEL


www.bmichaelamerica.com

This fantastic designer launched his first couture collection in 1999 and, similar to his approach to millinery, his design exudes a glamourous, clean aesthetic. He heightens his couture vision by infusing emotions such as joy, adding a discern-able feeling and festive mood to his creations.

IMAN: What was the inspiration behind your Fall 2010 collection?

B. MICHAEL: I am building a collection of sharp but feminine suits and dresses for day time. Important clothes that will work in the board room or for lunch. Cocktail dresses that are very politely sexy and gowns that are modern glam. Overall, it's about blending what is classic with what is modern.

For me it's about global culture... which is how we now live and what we are now exposed to. Mixing the cultural elements. This is a couture collection, and in June, I'll present it in New York to an invited audience just before the Fall/Winter couture shows in Paris.


IMAN: What is the biggest obstacle you have come across in the past five years, and how have you dealt with it?

B. MICHAEL: I would say the biggest challenge is choosing the right managers and business partners who understand the delicate balance of business, branding and the nuances of the fashion industry.
With the help of new partners and a strategic PR campaign, the objective is to make B. Michael America
a life-style brand.

IMAN: What do you think the future of fashion is during these hard economic times?

B. MICHAEL: I think that fashion will play a role in the recovery of our economy.

It is important that products give both value and a definite point of view. There has to be a reason to buy another dress.... Resonating both value and romance.

No comments:

Post a Comment