Our beautiful face - Steph Rai - at our last shoot for #Fall2013. To see all the beautiful looks from #Fall2013 - check out our site: www.pritibydesign.com
Me being interviewed by Amber Creighton of NBC’s “Business Affairs” at #fall2013 showing @ SBFW 2013 - Metropolitan Pavilion.
#pritibydesign Fall 2013 Runway @ SBFW 2013 - Metropolitan pavilion. Me in a real fun Betsy Johnson dress, topped off with my own renaissance inspired vest from #spring2013. With @mpajakreynolds, jewelry designer who collaborated with Priti By Design for #Fall2013
Amera Faraj of Faraj Couture & Oksana Kisleva, one of our favorite models, pose with Amera’s assistant designer Tisha & Model Kelly @ Priti By Design’s Fall 2013 Runway with SBFW 2013 - Metropolitan Pavilion. #NYFW #SBFW2013 #FW2013 @pritibali @farajcouture @mpajakreynolds jewelry.
Today was an essentially non-creative day. But I find in this profession, even the non-creative days are creative.
I started my day at my normal time. Which for me lately is early. If I’m up and at ‘em at 6 am, I’ll generally have a productive day. I’ve been missing a few of those this month, so I feel good when I hit them.
The day started off well-enough. With an early arrival at the Observer, I was able to do an early departure. I needed that time. I had to work on my textile dyeing, which is very important to getting my collection completed for the runway.
Dyeing my own textiles, allows me greater control of the sustainability of my brand. Purchasing whole rolls of textile in either white or black is cost-effecitve, and I can control the environmentally injurious process of dyeing.
I feel lucky to have found a local dyer that still uses natural dyes. Actually Daniel, My husband, a realtor in commercial office space, had met him, and felt we should connect. I immediately adored Costas. For his amazing work as much as his values. He’s convinced sustainability is the way to do it, because that’s how his father did it in Italy. A generational dyer.
Costas’ company Colibri has been dyeing fabric for 40 years in manhattan. He has worked with quite a few designers in that period. Daniel met Costas because he needed a new space. Finding space as a textile dyer in Manhattan is apparently very difficult. All the chemical processes of dyeing, make landlords wary of taking on such tenants.
Costas couldn’t get over the irony though. Because his process, which is so much more friendly, couldn’t help him acquire space. This has caused some of the process to be delayed, at both our ends. But being that this industry is what it is, there’s always some solution to be had. And we’ve worked one out that allows for the mighty Runway to not be affected. Right now that’s the focus. Because I can’t compromise on my values to produce a local, sustainable label. This is just one more step in the right direction.
The coming together of everyone involved to make it happen for the collection is the best part. This creation that wouldn’t exist without each of us playing our part to the best of our ability. More importantly, instead of getting frustrated, I find myself creatively solving the issue. Because everyone around me is inspiring me to do it. Costas doesn’t get frayed, and neither does my fashion director. “It’ll be fine.” And the truth is, I believe them.
As I finish this from a friend’s housewarming gathering, I repeatedly feel how lucky I am to have this life. Finally, a profession that is teaching me the value of not getting frustrated, and just finding a creative solution. And still leaves me enough energy to bring home-made chocolate Flan and Chicken Parm to the housewarming.
Yeah - I’m doing it what I love.
Until Next Time,
[Photo: Elle Italy]
Design requires that there be a balance between physical & intellectual work, otherwise the end result is more frustrating than both together.
I had a model fitting today for the male model who works with me. Tom is currently completing a residency for a psychiatry position, and he also happens to be a uniquely handsome man with lovely manners. That inspired him to work as a model on special occasions, perhaps turning it into a second career.
This fitting took place at one of my favorite places in Manhattan for thrift and vintage items, BORN Vintage. BORN is run by , Jonathan Broderick. Jonathan owns, and personally curates, this beautiful retail space in Harlem. Jonathan & Tynae often provide me with guidance I need; and sometimes with pieces I need. I don’t design men’s clothes, so they help me outfit my men for photoshoots and such.
BORN is always full of beautiful, unexpected things. Today I almost purchased a hat for a brunch I have to attend, but thought better of it. What I love most about BORN though is the first-time experience of the person I bring there. Everyone absolutely adores this place. BORN is run like a proper LA Boutique. All the folks involved are deeply entrenched into style. They love it. They live it. The create it moment by moment.
When Jonathan curates, he does it with a flair that’s almost spiritual. At least it is to me. As I watched him wow Tom into a perfect piece for my shoot, the process was lyrical. He understood Tom; he understood me. And all decisions made for a seamless process that all could feel satisfied from. I love this part of my job. I love working with incredible stylists. The dance that we conduct around our subject is sheer enjoyment.
I managed to take a few pictures, but I stopped pretty early on, because Jonathan started showing me some other pieces that I had to touch. I realize now how beautiful those pieces were, and how I would’ve loved to have pictures to share. But I was too busy enjoying my work to think it through. May be next week when I go back to complete the fitting, I’ll take some - you deserve to enjoy them as well.
Until next time,
So, my recently acquired, and supremely fabulous mentor informed me that I have to write. I have to write every day about my experiences with launching my fashion label. Because there should be a record, as I’d want this record one day for myself, come what may. Of course, as I tend to do often, I put his advice on the back burner, because I’m just so exhausted every day. Having to sit at the end of my day to write felt overwhelming. Except today. Today, I wanted to take a minute and write about my day.
I went to meet with Global Kids. This amazing little gem of an organization, based in New York City, and recently expanded to Washington, DC, is going to be one of the groups I partner with over the course of the next year as a receiving organization; as my brand grows so does my gift. I chose Global Kids because, well, I was once a Global Kid!
Back when I was in high-school, and Global Kids was a very young organization, one of their more intensive programs happened to be at my high school. The two years I spent as a Global Kid, I remember very, very distinctly. Actually, when I walked into their shiny offices, I met with Carole Artigiani. Carole was around when I was! Her & I interacted on multiple levels when I was a teenager, and here I was standing shaking her hand as a full-grown woman.
Carole and I chatted about my stupendous experiences with meeting students from more trying backgrounds than my own; we talked about how at a leadership summit that they took us on, we had to solve some real interpersonal issues amongst ourselves. But mostly we talked about how being a Global Kid gave me confidence; made me think for myself; and helped me solve tough issues. How it made me really see that people lived differently than I had the opportunity to do. As a New Yorker, being exposed to multi-ethnic, multi-cultural societies is a given, but true interaction with those societies requires finesse and work. Global Kids positioned me to do that work. I didn’t know it than, but, apparently, it’s roots in me are still very strong.
At one point in our reminiscing, Carole said to me, you’ve really turned into a Global Kid. I have traveled, and lived, half way across the world. I learned today that the value of home can only be realized when we take what it teaches us, and go make our way in the world. After all the detours, and all the adventures, here I was back home again, having the greatest adventure of my life. This time around I get to give back, and build up the very organization that gave me and built me up. If this isn’t the greatest joy of life, then I don’t know what it is.
I battle exhaustion every day. I battle nay sayers every day. But when I walked into that office, and got my warm hug from Carole, all the exhaustion and pain just melted away. I was home again, and I was always safe at home. It was and always will be my spring board for every other adventure. Here I go, once again, as a Global Kid!
So I had an amazing escape for Memorial Day weekend at a country home in Woodstock. Nearly a 100 people came out from the bums of NYC to join this amazing event. Each of these folks was an highly accomplished individual doing some very interesting things. One person I connected with was a tech/logistics textile person. She was a wealth of knowledge, and of course as soon as I see wealth of knowledge, I start picking brains.
I asked her point blank questions about textile manufacturing & the logistics of it all. Our conversation led me to learn that nearly 75% of the textiles currently found in the United States are manufactured in…you guessed it…China. She was pretty categorical that there were good manufacturers (mostly the companies in costal China) and bad manufacturers (the inland fellows). But the end result being that China, and Asia in general, were going to provide the world with 95% of it’s textile needs in the future, no matter what.
This bothered me to no end. I wanted her to tell me that if we took in the Carbon footprint & dignity of labor costs, combined them with human resources costs, we’d suddenly come up with an equation that would indicate manufacturing textiles in the US could once again be a thriving industry. There are only 3 mills left in the country, she informed me. This was largely because the cost to company (CTC) of a single employee in the US was so large, that it made no sense to manufacture here because margins within the textile industry are very low - this is also the case for fashion retail. This CTC cannot be reduced because of our existing basic fundamentals (minimum wage, health insurance — you know, the pesky details).
She really did want to give me good news, I could see it in her eyes. But the cost of living in the United States made it impossible to compete in this field with the likes of Asia. I’ve lived in Asia, and it’s true, there is a huge difference in our standard of living and theirs. Our water supply, relatively good road infrastructure and our safety nets all make us a nation with one of the highest standards of living. While healthcare may be a sore point for us, it is still one of the best in the world in terms of quality.
So what did we come up with as a win-win to this situation? Well, how about not manufacturing textiles in the nation, the process of rebuilding mill towns like we’d done in past generations was just not feasible. That said, designers everywhere should outsource textiles, but maintain final product construction right here. Setting up those systems would be relatively easy as there is plenty of skilled labor available in the US to make that a reality. The auto and tech industries have been successfully applying this model for a number of decades now. Why can’t fashion? Nanette Lepore, beautiful woman & designer, has successfully created this very system right here in the Garment District of NYC.
She’s taken it a step further, and is leading the fight for local manufacturing. She’s even inspired the city by heading up a Fashion Incubator that Bloomberg is providing city funds for. This combined with organizations like OS Fashion and Nolcha that truly exist to serve the independent designer, we can totally revive the apparel manufacturing industry in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami & a ton of other coastal towns. Costal towns are easier because most textiles travel by sea. Even New Jersey can be added to the mix. This combined with another lovely piece of information I learned from this young woman about environmental textile standards created by the Germans, Oeko Tek, can definitely give us the high-quality manufacturing that we need in this country.
The US may have lost the battle of cheap manufacturing of textiles, but we are innovators, and have always been. We can revolutionize how clothing is manufactured by adhering to our sense of high-quailty & high standard of living. Now the consumer is responsible for supporting this movement. We don’t need a disposable culture anymore. What we need is cost-effective & efficient way of manufacturing. I think that battle has been won by many industries in this nation, and I know it can be won by the Fashion industry as well. We just need to make a conscious decision & move forward with it.
Until next time,
Your neighborhood chatterbox, Ms. C