“Make it work!”
Ever since Project Runway aired in 2004, interest in the lost art of sewing has skyrocketed. But don’t get me wrong- this isn’t your grandmothers sewing. With the call to action from Tim Gunn still fresh in their minds, millions of people have taken up sewing and thus adopted the do-it-yourself (or diy) attitude. According to the Census Bureau, the number of sewing machines imported to the U.S. doubled to 2.8 million in 2005 from 1999, and a collection from the pattern-maker Simplicity increased by 25 percent in one quarter.
Project Runway has also inspired people to not only make their own clothes, but consumers are steering more towards quality and uniqueness when it comes to clothing. For example, a website called Blank Label allows buyers to customize their own dress shirts. The diy movement goes further though, expanding into worldwide websites like Etsy, which provides a global marketplace for all sorts of artists, whether they be into handmade clothes or homemade snickerdoodles. The movement continues with websites such as where girls can design their clothes, where women can design purses, and for custom jewelry design. As you can see, the diy lifestyle has taken a firm hold on consumers.
I got an A-.
This next article is about my favorite designer, Marc Jacobs.
If you saw this man on the street, you wouldn’t even be inclined to do a double-take. Sure, he’s obviously gay, but he doesn’t have that outrageous Lady Gaga-look-at-me going on. In fact, if you didn’t know who he was, he would appear to be a normal New Yorker. You wouldn’t know he’s been creative director of Luis Vuitton since 1997, after creating the company’s first ready to wear line. You wouldn’t know he is the youngest designer to ever be awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Perry Ellis award, and most recently, in April 2010, he was named as one of Time 100 most influential people in the world. You wouldn’t know he launched his very own self-named fashion label in 1986 and since then created himself as an idol, a man in the position many set as their ultimate goal when they decide they want to be in the fashion industry. You wouldn’t know his work experience is phenomenal- this man would not need a resume if he went to a job interview. "[He] has got a young yet sophisticated side to his work and appeals to a varied market," says Scottish designer Jamie Bruski Tetsill. "He is a very well-established brand and therefore has the resources and funding to produce some pretty outstanding pieces each season. He has amazing eye for detail and composition. The way he creates a clear picture in the viewer's head of a certain era is remarkable. He's also very forward-thinking and bold in his designs." On anyone else, the skin covered in tattoos of animated chocolate M&Ms, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the words “Bros Before Hos” and “Perfect” would look childish and lame- but this is Marc Jacobs, this man could make eating a lollipop no longer look immature, but stylish. In fact, I believe if this man sent models down the runway sucking on lollipops, lollipops would become a trend. That is how powerful this man is. His tattoos that could be labeled as “childish” do have a sort of hidden meaning- the lingering desire he holds to be a child. “I think that children are very lucky because they don’t have any rules. With children it’s as simple as ‘yuk’ or ‘yay’ and they are not frightened to ask a million questions. I think that it’s nice to retain that childish naivety.”
Another admirable quality found within him is that he refuses to show shame. “I am going to get a ‘Shameless’ tattoo next. That’s what I think everyone should aspire to in life — being shameless.” And what an admirable quality that would be. Can you imagine if everyone prescribed to be accountable for their actions, take full responsibility, and be proud of the choices they decided to make? “I basically broke the rules. I was told point-blank that I couldn't change the canvas or do anything to it. And I got fed up with doing what I thought would please the head of communications. I got tired of playing by the rules. And I thought, The only time I've ever made a difference, and the only time anything ever changes, is really when you're respectful and disrespectful at the same time. Just as I'd been fired for the grunge collection I did at Perry Ellis, I thought, Whoa, you know, this is what I think we should be doing, and we're going to send it out anyway . . . There was a different president here at Vuitton, and a different head of communications. But the press responded so well, and there was such fervor for these bags. They were knocked off immediately. So I forced the company into getting behind something that they didn't want me to do in the beginning. It was the public that really said, ‘This is what we wanna see. This is what makes an old thing that our mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers and great-grandparents carried into something that we actually want now.’ And so, there was a lesson in this for me. Not that I really needed to learn it, because it was doing what I instinctively wanted to do.” If only we could all be like Marc Jacobs, what a very different world this would be.
Let’s not let him lose all his human qualities though. I know it can be easy to forget someone so famous and glorified is just like us, that is, they experience the same emotions, the same anxieties, the same fears. It might even be worse for someone of his caliber, constantly being under a microscope. “Sometimes I am overrun with fear and then other times I think, ‘F*** it’.” Well aren’t those words to live by.
So what can we learn from Marc Jacobs? The easier question is what can’t we learn from this amazing human form of carpe diem, a shameless man who isn’t afraid to break rules? Essentially, we need to be accountable for our actions. We need to live up to our potential and achieve what we want while we still have the ability to dream. Marc Jacobs is a truly innovative and “cool” designer- oh if only we could all be like him.
So these are two of the articles I've written. Questions, comments, concerns, gratification always appreciated.