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Been gone for a minute now I’m back with the JUMPSUIT

17 Mar

Its been over a MONTH since my last post and I know  I’ve been gone for a while but I committed in my post Style & Error to finally submit my law school applications and to  make a jumpsuit. I don’t think  I had any idea how difficult both would be. Lets start with the law school applications: remember when you were applying to undergrad and you just put everything they wanted in a large manila envelope postmarked by the date and sent it off? Well that’s not quite the case for law school. You have to turn in all your transcripts and letters of recommendation to the Law School Admission Council who then turns them into your schools of choice. Then you turn in the actual application, your resume, and personal statement online. In essence this process is not that difficult but it is very tedious. Going back to your alma mater to request forms, and ship this and ship that, and upload this and upload that, and then wait…

I’ll be honest the most difficult part of this process was the personal statement. Writing in 2-3 pages your life story and why you want to be an attorney has got to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.I can blog to the universe about myself everyday , and tweet my most random thoughts, but to write eloquently and concisely about my WHOLE life? Now that’s a doozy. It took me about a MONTH to realize that the reason why it was so hard for me to write was I couldn’t quite put into words why I wanted to be an attorney. I started writing something about justice and jurisprudence and all that shit and it just didn’t sound natural. Then I started to write the truth…I have been out of school for two years and I don’t know what else to do while I am working on my clothing line. I can’t quite sit on my ass all day while I build a brand so I’ll just get a law degree from your school. Quickly I thwarted that option because no school in their right mind would pick a candidate like that.

For the past 30 days I have been having nightmares about this law school thing My anxiety was on high and I actually started drinking coffee (Starbucks tall white mocha hold the whip cream to be exact).So finally I dug deep and came up with a good personal statement. It was actually a lot more personal than I thought it would be. And yes, it actually took over a month for me to write. I came up with the notion that why I want to go to law school is not quite important. Whats important is what I would like to do as an attorney. It dawned on me that I will become a successful designer anyway so as an attorney I would like to be a public defender. Yes that’s right, a public defender. When it comes to that lawyer money; public defenders make the least of it. But I don’t care. I’m going to eventually make beaucoup dollars doing what I love so to serve the public will be its own reward.

Think about it; law school would actually be doing me a service. While I am in school I will be working on building my line part-time. Being in school gives you the flexibility to live of your student loan/scholarships/grants/fellowships while you pursue a degree. I rather do tat than work a job I hate ALL day and work on my line part-time. In the three/four years it will take me to graduate; I would’ve made so much progress in the development of my line. In turn, I will give back to the field of law by serving the public.

In my head this plan makes sense.

I turned in all my apps last  Monday and now all a girl can do is wait and pray. Now I bet you’re wondering if it really took me over a month to make a jumpsuit. YES IT DID! I went to my least favorite fabric store (which shall remain nameless) and bought this beautiful silk that was on sale. I thought a silk jumpsuit a la Studio 54 would be so cute for the summer. Now that it’s practically done I hate it. I bet you’re thinking “Man she’s really hard on herself, didn’t she hate that gown she made in her post ‘What Extraordinary Looks Like too? She hates everything“. Well you’re right I am hard on myself. But the main reason I dont like the suit is it’s a little too much Baby Phat and not enough me.

Thats the difficulty in picking fabric. Things look and feel nice on the roll but when you make the actual piece; it’s not always what you imagined. I do like the fact that I made an open back and I’ve decided to make the bottom cute little bubble shorts. I just can’t quite figure out how I want to finish the sleeves. I was thinking a puff sleeve to go with the bubble shorts or a flutter sleeve to go with the Studio 54 disco theme. I’m going to finish the jumpsuit this weekend. I hope you all like the finished product!

Either way I’m back! I know I’ve been gone for a minute but I’m back with the jumpsuit!

Jumpsuit FRONT: Unfinished sleeves and the makings of a bubble short

Jumpsuit BACK: open back

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What Extraordinary Looks Like

1 Feb

Tonight the BET Honors Airs on BET at 9pm est. The award show celebrates those who have been contributors to the Black community at large in some capacity. They are celebrated with video packages that highlight their achievements and musical tributes by some of the music industry’s best. I had the opportunity to attend the awards which were filmed here in DC at the Warner Theatre last month. One of my friends form college, Brent is an Associate Producer at BET and he hooked up the tickets. As long as I’ve known Brent, he was a producer. In college while I was hanging out with friends and going to classes, Brent was also going to classes but he skipped the hanging out part for an internship at BET Networks in DC.  By the time he graduated, he had production credits on some of the networks major programs. Now he is in New York promoted from a lowly Production Assistant to an Associate Producer of a new show.

When I heard the show was going to be right here in town, I asked if I could go and he procured tickets like magic. When Brent, who knew this year my goal was to make all my own clothes, called me to let me know he had secured the tickets asked me “You know this thing is black-tie; what are you going to wear”. I thought about it but I said “A gown; and I am going to make it myself”. Brent laughed and said ok and hung up. With the dial tone still ringing in my ears I thought to myself… can I really make a gown?

The theme of this year’s BET Honors is “What Extraordinary Looks Like”. I knew the toast of the town would be at the theatre in their finery competing with the Hollywood celebrities in the audience. So I headed to the fabric store and bought 3 yards of aubergine silk charmeuse, matching thread and lining. I cancelled all my social engagements and locked myself in my apartment with my sewing machine and shears. I had three days to produce a red carpet worthy gown. By 5 am the morning of the show I had completed my gown and was satisfied. Like when the Lord created the oceans the Bible says “…and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”. I looked at that sea of silk fashioned into a gown and I saw that it was good.

I took a nap and grabbed a bite to eat and waited for my date Brent to escort me to the awards. Brent arrived in his black 2009 BMW coupe in a black evening suit with black shirt and black tie looking good. He looked red carpet ready. I looked down at my gown and it wasn’t so good anymore. I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t so good anymore. Where I had once saw perfection I now saw a puckered neckline and less than smooth seam finishes and I didn’t want to wear my dress anymore. So I made him wait a little bit while I chucked my creation into a corner, walked into my closet and pulled out a sequined evening dress, threw it on and headed out the door.

I was pretty silent for most of the car ride. In my mind I didn’t know if I had made the right decision. Seated in the fifth row right behind NAACP Award winning actress Tichina Arnold and right in front of GRAMMY Award winning vocalist Mya I was the picture of what extraordinary did not look like. In my store-bought dress I just didn’t feel authentic. I began to feel so enraged. I was so upset with myself for not wearing my creation. Sitting next to my friend who was young and on the fast track in his career I was so upset that I had doubted myself. While my footing is still a little shaky; I too am on track for my career.

As the show began and they  paid tribute to the honorees I felt rejuvenated. The honorees were Sean “Diddy” Combs, Queen Latifah, neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black, president of Brown University Ruth J. Simmons, and Whitney Houston.

For weeks friends have asked to see the dress and I’ve made excuse after excuse until today. I finally pulled out my gown from its discarded corner and it looked good. A bit wrinkled; but good. I let my insecurity about this new found career path undermine my creativity and my craftmanship. I am really proud of this gown and even though I didn’t wear it I am proud to showcase it. I plan to redo the bodice and make the skirt more form-fitting. I want to take it from a black-tie award show gown to an avant-garde evening gown and add it to the collection I am working on.

Check out my first evening gown because this is what extraordinary looks like. Make sure you watch the BET Honors tonight and allow yourself to be rejuvenated in your dreams too.

BET Honors Gown

Closet Klepto

5 Jan

Supermodel Chanel Iman on the Runway in Ankara

Since I didn’t have sewing class today I finally decided to unpack after visiting my family in Toronto for the holidays. Whenever I’m in the Great White North I make sure that I let my mom fatten me up with Nigerian goodies, indulge in the French Canadian delicacy “Poutine” (french fries topped with cheese and gravy), and I raid the family closets. Mom’s closet, linen closet, bathroom closet; you name it. Hello my name is Nichole and I am a Closet Klepto (And the support group says “Hi Nichole”).

I can’t help it. I’ve been doing it since my first summer home from college. First it started with towels. My mom had gotten new ones while I was away at school and they were way better than the ones she sent me to school with; so I upgraded. I didn’t ask, I just stashed those plush towels in my luggage and headed back to school. In the past few years it’s almost become a game. I go home and see what bounty my family had acquired since my last raid and I stock up. Over the year I’ve acquired everything from lotions to linens.

This holiday season I hit the jackpot. In true Nigerian fashion, my mom loves to adorn herself in colorful African garb. My mom has everything from damask, to raw silk, to lace. Her armoire is filled with thousands of dollars of material custom-made into tradiational wear. While I was in her closet snooping around i found two 6 yard bolts of Ankara fabric. J-A-C-K-P-O-T!

Mommy dearest has been very supportive of my budding design career so I broke habit and asked her if I could have the fabric to work with. After she finished laughing hysterically; she said no. So…I took them. I’m not proud of myself but I had to! I just had to! Ankara is a fabric worn casually by West African women, however many designers have brought the style to the runway. Originally called “Dutch Wax Cloth”, the material was produced in Holland and exported to West African. Eventually Turkish entrepreneurs started producing and exporting it for much cheaper and the fabric was nicknamed Ankara after the middle eastern nation’s capital city.

So here I am with two bolts of Ankara and one sewing class under my belt. Lets see what unfolds…

My Stolen Ankara

Sew I learned to Knit…

3 Jan

Jillian Lewis Knitwear: Project Runway Season 3 Finale

Project Runway Season 4 was the most intense season ever. I caught a marathon the other day on Bravo and ended up watching the whole season. That was the season where Rami Kashou, Jullian Lewis, and Christian Siriano went head-to-head in the finale. That was the first season ever where I didn’t care who won, they were all excellent. But what stood out to me the most was Jillian’s knitwear. It was the first time a Project Runway contestant showcased their knit skills. Her pieces were so intricate and inspiring.

Irina Shabayeva Knitwear: Project Runway Finale

I recently caught the current season of Project Runway (now that its on Lifetime its not as exciting) and the winner Irina Shabayeva also showcased knitwear. One of the things she said that really stuck out to me was that all her pieces were hand knitted and not piece knitted. So…I learned to knit.

My First Scarf

Knitting seems like a really good skill for a designer to have . So here is my first scarf. Its of acrylic yarn and I am using number 6 needles. I learned how to “cast-off” and then continue with a garter stitch. Its not perfect just yet but I’m really proud of it. Hey you never know… you may catch me on the next season of Project Runway..

Check out Jillian Lewis’ collection at jillianlewisny.com and Irinia Shabayeva’s collection at irinashabayeva.com