Tag Archives: fashionista

Teachable Moments Woven Into Fashion – Part 2

Lights…camera…fashionand teachable moments. Rip The Runway Detroit Style took place last Thursday at The Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan. It was modeled off of the hit fashion show that airs yearly on BET, also called Rip The Runway. The organizer spent two years putting together the event, and she made a commendable effort.  However, she missed some small, yet very key elements to keep her event from being viewed as unprofessional by many of the veterans  in fashion who attended with expectations of something grand. The will call list vanished. This is never good. People who pay money may not want the hassle of keeping up with their tickets and prefer will call because they expect to be able to enter the event without issues. This was not the case. Many seats in front of the stage were empty, yet the back of the theater was full. Whenever you have empty chairs towards the front, it’s customary to invite people sitting towards the back to fill those empty seats. This is particularly important for televised or video recorded events because it gives the illusion of a full house, even if there isn’t one. The NBA does this all the time for basketball games that don’t sell out but are being televised. It’s a free upgrade that is mutually benefiting to the organizer and the patron.

There were too many lags between designers being presented. The Rip The Runway fashion show that is held by BET is edited after the live event to accommodate for commercials. However, the live event is a steady and consistent stream of performers and models. In between, the hosts should fill the time until they are prompted for the next segment to begin. Although veteran DJ Gary Chandler played music during the lag times, it was annoying to people who came to see a fashion show, not a DJ. There were times when you had no idea who the designers or performers were because the monitors weren’t displaying the information and they weren’t properly introduced. This created a lot of “who IS that?” conversation among the audience. Comedian Coolaide and Horace H.B. Sanders hosted the event and were pretty funny, which kept people entertained, however was still annoying to those who came to see a fashion show, not a comedy show.

I heard a lot of complaints about the design of the set. The set was a huge brick wall that resembled a rooftop, with graffiti that wasn’t very artistically done, and two doors for the entertainers to walk out of. There were trash cans on the set, with simulated “garbage” on the floors, which were marked to resemble streets, and street signs posted on poles on both sides of the stage. The street signs didn’t seem to be an issue with anyone because they had the names of the designers and stores on them (clever). However, the trash cans, brick wall and simulated “garbage” came across as offensive because it saidSo, this is what you think Detroit looks like?”  It was one of those concepts that required more due diligence prior to execution. Much like the owners of Biggby Coffee calling themselves Beaners when they first opened, or the JS Roundhouse Mids from Adidas that had chains around the ankles. Everything that we think is new hotness at the time, could be offensive to others if we’re not careful. I also heard a lot of quips about the clothes themselves. The complaint was that most of the clothes were too plain and were clothes that people either already own and were wearing. Sound familiar? People attending the show were more fashionably dressed than the models were. When you produce a fashion show, it’s not always about what you like; you have to consider your audience and what they may like as well.  

Some of the rappers who performed passed out their cds to the crowd before or after their performances. Instead, it would’ve been a better idea to have the performers provide their cds to the event organizer by a specified date so they could be included in the VIP gift bags, since the gifts bags were empty. Yes, I said empty. Large, gold, sparkly gift bags with two fliers inside were passed out to VIP attendees. VIP attendees were also given beverages in fast food cups with lids and straws. Yet, if you bought a drink from the bar, you received a more tasteful cup to drink it from. What’s the point in being a VIP if you have to drink from a fast food cup?

One of the better performances of the night took place by John Brown. Having been blessed to have heard John Brown sing a capella, I can attest to his vocal talent. John seemed in his element on the stage, without over shadowing what was taking place around him. John put on a show. It would’ve been nice if some of the other performers had put on a show during their time on stage as well. It’s what we’ve grown to expect from Rip The Runway.  

This may seem to some as me being critical. Those of you who know me, know that I don’t get paid for my opinion therefore I’m not obligated to lie. This review includes actual feedback that I received from veterans in the fashion industry that were in the room, not just my opinion. It is constructive criticism which is necessary, and should be welcomed, when you are attaching your name to something that is synonymous with style. Although a good attempt was made, it could’ve been better. This wasn’t the worst fashion show I’ve seen. There were two others that come to mind that were worse than Rip The Runway Detroit Style. I will also commend this event for taking place at an indoor theater, with air conditioning, that had kind, professional and considerate staff. The Fillmore is a very nice facility and their staff should be commended for the work they did to assist with the event overall.

Again, you are welcome to formulate your own opinions when it comes to fashion shows in Detroit. I truly believe that in all of our business ventures and creative productions, we need to raise our standards and our personal expectations, and stop being afraid of doing something different. New is not a bad word. We also have to know our strengths and develop our teams based on who possesses the qualities and abilities that we may lack.  Just because you have been a model, it doesn’t mean you can produce a fashion show or design the clothes. Sometimes we have to stop being too proud and ask people who have more experience with the production aspect to become involved. There are a lot of people in the fashion industry in Detroit, who are subject matter experts. They have made or witnessed mistakes so that you don’t have to. Hire them. Ask them to consult on your event. If you’re putting on any kind of show, hold a dress rehearsal and video record it so that you can watch and see what people attending will also see. This will give you the opportunity to make adjustments and improvements to protect your brand. In the end you’re likely to have a better production that you will be proud to have viewed by the entire world.

~ When you know better, you do better.

Click here to watch a clip of John Brown’s performance and the Rip The Runway Detroit Style Show

Haters, Haters, Everywhere Haters

I recently read Amy DuBois Barnett’s (Editor-in-Chief of Ebony Magazine) Editor’s Letter in the July 2011 issue. For the ladies, it’s the one with Tyrese Gibson on the cover; or for the men, it’s the one with Taraji P. Henson on the cover – both of whom are perfectly clad in white attire, looking fabulous. Yes, I said Taraji P. Henson looks fabulous. In Amy’s article, which she aptly titled “I Hate Haters“, she recounted an unpleasant encounter she had with a female associate of hers who overly scrutinized and criticized the beautiful women in attendance at an upscale event she attended. This immediately made me think of a slogan I have, which I will not include in this blog because I haven’t copyrighted it yet. Amy said the following “The thing is, the more negativity you spew, the worse you look. Not only is meanness an unattractive and unsexy trait, but it’s an obvious sign of insecurity. If you feel good about yourself, there’s just no need to tear anyone else down.” That is VERY true. Every word of it.

I don’t have any friends like the woman who Amy referred to in her article, but I have encountered many women like that. In the workplace, at the store, at the gas station, at the hair salon, on vacation… HATERS are everywhere. You can’t avoid them no matter what you do. That’s the reality of their existence –  they are unavoidable.  However, unlike Amy, I love haters. This is why. If someone isn’t hating on me, I’m doing something wrong, and I’m pleasing too many people the wrong way. No one can please everyone all of the time. It’s impossible. If everyone you meet loves you, you might need to closely evaluate why. It may be all love in your face, and backstabbing when you aren’t looking.

The job of a hater is to hate. That’s the first thing you should always remember. They are the people who often don’t have anything else to do. The second thing to remember is that haters are unhappy with themselves. The only joy they can experience is the brief moment it takes to attempt to tear someone else down. Thirdly, they are usually cowards. They talk a lot, but rarely say what they have to say directly to the person that they are hating on. Lastly, they are fickle, superficial and materialistic. Haters often try to make themselves feel better by acquiringmaterial possessions to stay on or ahead of the lastest trend. This is their feable attempt to replace their nonexistent self esteem. Then they hate on others who don’t have the same lavish and decadent accoutrements that they falsely believe makes a person. Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion. There is nothing wrong with being fashionable or with setting trends. How a person spends their money is completely up to them.  However, haters are not trendsetters, fashion icons or leaders, in any other sense of the word. They are followers, copycats and imitators, because that is what they believe it takes for them to be noticed by others and feel superior to others.

I imagine that it must be a very sad existence. One where your entire self worth is based on how much you can try to make someone else seem less fabulous than what they really are. But it’s a haters job and someone has to do it. The next time someone hates on you, [You already know when those time are. You look fabulous, flawless, dressed emaculately, exhibiting intelligence, talent and know-how.] smile at the hater. I’m serious. Smile directly at them. If you’re having a drink, raise your glass to them. Then remind yourself of this – haters reaffirm your greatness.