Thanksgiving is tomorrow here in the States. I love this holiday because it reminds everyone to be grateful for what they have. Writing and maintain this blog keeps me in a permanent state of gratitude. This post is a special THANK YOU to the many wonderful people, places, and organizations that are very close to my heart:
- My readers. Every single time I get a comment, like, or new follower I am just tickled pink! It’s so humbling to know that people not only read my writing, but like it. Thank you so very much for reading. And please know that I love your comments and questions. Feel free to contact me anytime!
- My family & friends. These are the people behind the scenes that allow the magic to really happen. They let me ask them questions. They encourage me. They let me blog about them. They support me through the ups and downs that come with the creative process. I don’t know what I would do without them!
- Other bloggers. The blog-o-sphere is a huge place. It can seem overwhelming when you first start your own blog. At first, I considered other blogs competition. Over time, I realized that bloggers have such a tight knit community and are very supportive. I’ve developed great relationships with other bloggers. We write guest posts for one another, we chat of the phone – we even shop together. I learn so much from other bloggers. They each bring a unique perspective to the subjects of fashion, art, design, and other creative disciplines. I’m so grateful for each and everyone one of you that shows up to your computer to share your passions with the world. Be sure to check out my blog roll and visit some of my favorites!
- IFB. Also known as Independent Fashion Bloggers. This is a fantastic community. Their site offers so many unbelievable tips and information for creating and growing a successful blog. Even though the site caters to those of us on the fashion side, their resources are valuable for anyone developing a website or blog. I attended the conference in SoHo this year, and it was extremely inspiring. A very special thank you to Jennie Tamm for starting IFB!
- The Baum School of Art. The Baum School of Art is a community art school that offers a variety of courses to children, teens, and adults. They are a non-profit institution, and work tirelessly to bring the arts to underprivileged children and to communities where arts education has been denied. In addition, they have a fashion program in collaboration with the Lehigh Carbon Community College. Director Shannon S. Fugate saw the importance of having a study collection for the fashion students, and secured The Stieg Collection for the fashion curriculum.
As if providing arts education was not enough, The Baum School of Art has now preserved a historically significant collection of American couture.
- Worn Through. Working with other fashion scholars is inspiring. I love contributing to Worn Through. There perspective on fashion as an academic discipline is always enlightening. I’m so thankful for the Worn Through team and all of the wonderful resources on the site.
- My teachers & my students. Learning is a lifelong process. I’m grateful for all of the wonderful teachers in my life, past and present. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would be a teacher, too. Leading a classroom has actually taught me quite a bit. There are things I’ve learned about myself, like how to be a better public speaker, how to be an approachable authority, and how to manage expectations. And of course, I’m always learning from my students.
- Things that quiet my mind. Obviously, I do a lot of thinking. Ideas come and go in my mind very quickly. Sometimes this is great. It gives me a lot of content to write about. But sometimes, it is very difficult for me to let go, to stop thinking. Taking breaks and getting distance from your work helps your overall creativity. So I am grateful for all of the things that help me quiet my mind. Yoga is one the best things that help me to detach and stay quiet. I’m especially appreciative for Yogaglo, a website from which you can stream classes.
- My “editor”. Pets just make life better. My dog makes me so happy, especially when he likes to act as editor. :)
Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!
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- From left: Blue dress illustration by Tatiana Aldaco, grey dress illustration by Katherine Chinn, and brown dress by Charles James, 1951. Illustrations courtesy of the artists. Photo courtesy of metmuseum.org
Dearest readers, I’ve not forgotten about you! When my personal schedule becomes chaotic, I don’t have much time to write. Recently, I started teaching 2 new courses: fashion forecasting and textiles. As you can imagine, I’ve been quite busy. But I have written some new material for Worn Through that I’d love to share.
If you’ve visited my blog before, you know how much I love fashion as a language. (New to my site? Please take a moment to see How to Speak Fashion, Part I & How to Speak Fashion, Part II. Part III is in the making!) Before I had considered pursuing fashion, I dreamed of becoming an Italian professor. Aside from the language sounding so beautiful, I was fascinated by learning vocabulary. I was particularly taken with how Italian words and concepts varied so greatly from English. One language may have a precise word for a phrase or group of words that exists in another. (For example, qualunquismo is a word to describe someone who is apathetic about politics.) Semantics, the study of meaning and interpretation of meaning, adds another layer of interest. The meaning of words are solidified in the brain by experiences and memories. This is what can make communication tricky; word meaning can vary slightly from person to person.
Curiously enough, once I started teaching fashion, semantics reappeared. I was introduced to the work of Roland Barthes (1915-1980) during my first year teaching. Barthes was a French philosopher that pioneered the study of semiotics, semantics, and also how these linguistic disciplines are replicated in fashion. The Fashion System is Barthes attempt to “read” clothing and determine its system of meaning.
When I taught in LA, I used semantics to stimulate creativity in my students. Want to know how? Please read my posts over at Worn Through:
On Teaching Fashion: The Semantics of Creating Fashion
On Teaching Fashion: More on Semantics
I bet you’re dying to know about the dresses above. You’ll find out in my posts.
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Image courtesy of disaboom.com
Some of my most popular posts include images of nudes. I don’t use them to be controversial – I am genuinely interested in how garments, accessories, and makeup are used to “create” or re-create the body.
Feeling Blue, a post I recently wrote about the artist Yves Klein, explored how an artist used nude females as live paintbrushes. Aside from appreciating the artistic statement (and sensuality of seeing the works of art being created), the article reminded me so much of how clothing is an artistic medium used to create identity.
Anthropometry, Untitled Characteristics: Dry pigment in synthetic resin on paper 102 x 73 cm. Image courtesy of guggenheim-bilbao.org
I pushed this idea further in another post, Role Reversal. Sometimes, the image we see in the mirror is not an accurate representation of how we feel about ourselves. This disparity can have many different degrees. We are each born with one body, but experience change continually. At one point or another, clothing helps you transition to a new identity – a new phase of life. But sometimes, your gender may not match with your biological sex.
Gia Carangi and unknown model in YSL Rive Gauche, 1979. Photo by Helmut Newtown. Image courtesy of imtheitgirl.com
Clothing helps us to construct multiple identities. Therefore it’s virtually impossible to teach fashion without exploring how fashion constructs and deconstructs gender identities. Read more about how I discuss this topic with my students on Worn Through:
On Teaching Fashion: Gender Identities
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Image courtesy of optikoeyewear.blogspot.com
There comes a point in the semester when I discuss design philosophy with my students. I particularly like this quote by Epictetus to start a discussion. Philosophy can be a dirty, intangible word to many. There are countless misconceptions about philosophy, particularly when I talk to fashion designers early in their careers. . .
Read the rest of my post on Worn Through
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Create Moments in Teaching. Cartoon courtesy of brownsharpie.courtneygibbons.org
There comes a moment in your teaching career when you are assigned a new course. It may be your very first time leading a classroom, or you may be a seasoned professional tackling a special topics class.
Please read my post, On Teaching Fashion: Do They Hear What I Hear? for Worn Through. I share some of my hard-earned tips for gauging what your students are retaining from your lectures. Teaching a course for the first time is challenging, but not impossible. Learn how to balance everything and still get the students to remember the course content.
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