Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pantone Announces The Color of 2015: Proving Drinking Is Part Of The Selection Process

Pantone, the company, whose job it is to tell the world what colors will be cool in 2015 and what an idiot you are to hold on to the color they told you was cool in 2014, has done it again. They have announced the color for 2015 to be Marsala

Marsala is a wine produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala, Sicily and is of the red variety. But as much as I love both wine and food from Italy with great abandon, we will leave that conversation for another time and place.

As someone who spent the better part of his career as a fashion designer, I had the privilege to participate in all aspects of fashion, good and bad. Many of us would attend, twice a year, what was the show of shows for designers, Premièr Vision Paris. This was where many of us would view and select the tools of our trade for each upcoming design season, in particular fabrics and accessories. It was always a big deal and in as much as they do now have competition such as Milano Unica from the Italians, this was a big affair.

One of the "tools" we could get was found at the area where the "colors of the season" would be displayed. This was no mere afterthought, no, this was a very large, and to many, an important display. From the very beginning, as a designer of neckwear (ties) to start and later to shirts, knits, sweater and outerwear I combined my fabrics from those I personally or my team designed with those that were offered by the very best mills in the world. Early on I made a choice of going with my gut, to be different, to have a vision instead of being given one. This was risky of course, but what is fashion without risk? Don't get me wrong, on my very first show I did go to the color display, and I did inquired about buying the book they were selling with all the colors of the season in it. But the price tag for a young designer as I was then would take me beyond my means, so I did the next best thing. 

Observing and therefore learning, from those around me I began to take notes. Pictures were prohibited and very strongly enforced. It was also before smart phones, so even trying to take a pic was not going to be a choice, they would literally take the camera from you. I noticed that many would write down the colors, but how would a description on a piece of paper going to show me, once back in my studio, what the colors were. Still, I did as others were doing. Once I was back at my studio I realized that this system just would not do. The following season I was in the same predicament, but this time I noticed something else. The colors they were showing, still encompassed the rainbow of colors available on earth. You see, although as it is stated that Marsala is THE COLOR for 2015, they show many, many other colors. Yes what was different this season from last season were the shades, but the colors were the same. Yellows were available, as were greens, and reds, and blues, and so on. I decided to go it alone. One other factor though, the mills had already been in on this game, so the colors they were offering were THE COLORS of the season. So, in reality what I needed was my good eyes, my good taste and lots and lots of intestinal fortitude: guts.

Designers, those that are successful have an inner sense, they also are creating from season to season so there's an evolution that is practically natural from season to season. There are also other ways one can get around the very expensive cost of the color book that is on sale every season, but that tidbit of information, might have to wait for another time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2000, 2006, 2014 And How GQ Magazine Made These Years Matter To Me.

"Be the first and be the loudest".
This is the advice I give all budding fashion designers as they often seek my advice. Rightly so designers want to protect their work, but how can they? Patent attorneys will take your money to do the paperwork and filing, but it's worthless, it is simply to easy to alter the design minimally enough to render the patent null and void.

In my career as a fashion designer and manufacturer I have had several designs copied by the best in the business, and I along with all others who design have been influenced by someone or something…it's an inevitability.

I have also played the game, over one too many bottles of fine wine, of trying to come up with a word, a term, that would become everyday jargon. Am I and my friends the only ones that have done this? I don't know, but in the past I have made up words to describe one of my designs, to create another category of garment or as we say, to create a new classification.

Somewhere between 1999 and 2001 I created some items that I wanted to be able to have identified by name and worn in a certain way. Although the design itself was not particularly unique, the fabrics used were and more importantly the name for them was. At the time I was living in the Hollywood Hills and the weather particularly lent itself to this garment. It was a cross between a jacket and a shirt, you could wear it alone or over a shirt or knit, easy, what else could it be but a SHACKET?

Five days ago I read on GQ MAgazine about a shacket, as they stated, "Shirt + Jacket = Shacket, but together they're worth more to your fall wardrobe than the sum of their parts." This created mixed emotions, the adage about imitation being the greatest form of flattery only goes so far, after that you want to see your name attached to it, hey, I never claimed modesty. So, I thought I would go searching through some external drives long ago put away. I quickly found two documents, the first is in Italian in a letter to the factory discussing deliveries where it is mentioned to be delivered by February 28, 2001. While in the second document it is mentioned in descriptive terms for what was going to be part of a line book. I've blurred some parts to not mention companies or individuals that may want to remain unnamed at this moment. At the bottom of each document you can see the dates of April 5, 2007 and December 27, 2000 respectively, representing the dates when these documents were last created or modified prior to me using them in this blog, proving two things: one, they were created before GQ used the term, and two, that someone with as many assigned tasks as I had, simply didn't take time off because it was the Holiday week between Christmas and New Year.

besides digging these documents up, I also was curious to do the proverbial Google search to see what I'd find. A listing for shacket, appeared in the Urban Dictionary as you see here, showing the term, the description and the date it was first entered.

The last shacket I designed and manufactured was for Vluxe in a cotton/linen blend as you see it here in a washed & crunched charcoal gray and bright royal blue inside.

There, I got it off my chest, or perhaps I should say, off my shoulders for it to be worn by new designers and customers.