Tag Archives: NBA

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

Public Appearances

This weekend I visited a local mall for the first time in my life. I’ve been a West-Sider all of my life until I moved downtown. Being territorial, as many people are, we don’t often go too far from home to do things like “shop”. And when we do, it’s often because we know of a mall or stores that have really great deals, like Great Lakes Crossing; which for many years was the “day trip” for me and my son at least twice a year. Once for school clothes and once for Christmas Shopping. So in almost 37 years of living I had never stepped foot into this one particular mall. So I had absolutely no idea what I was in for when I arrived at Eastland Mall.

Eastland Mall has all the major stores I have grown to love of the years. They even had some stores I had never heard of before. But it wasn’t the shopping that got my attention. It wasn’t the sales, it wasn’t the customer service, it wasn’t anything that you would immediately think a fabulous female with a shoe fetish would notice. What I noticed most was the people…and their horrible public appearances. There were many young women who had decided to leave the house with head scarves on, and what appeared to be the same clothes they had worn to bed. There were several young men that literally had their pants sagging so low their underwear was fully exposed, with house shoes on. One young man literally was wearing his pajamas. I’m not kidding. I’m not exaggerating. I have a witness if you need one.

I was actually shocked. I had never see so many people in one place at one time look such a hot mess. It’s almost as if it were the newest trend captured in one central location. As I looked down at my own sundress and comfortable sandals, I began to wonder if I had missed the memo. Did someone forget to tell me that looking like I had just gotten out of bed was the new style? The only time I’ve ever worn a head scarf in public was after getting my hair done to keep it nice for later that day or evening. And even then, it’s not the scarf I wore to bed. Usually I cover that scarf with a fabulous, fashionable one, add a pair of sunglasses, earrings and put on a cute outfit. Everything coordinates and everyone who sees me doesn’t think I’m a lazy slob of a woman. 

When it comes to the way young men wear their underwear exposed, I blame Lil Wayne. I’m kidding. He’s not at fault. Everyone has a mind of their own whether they choose to use it or not. There are a lot of young men that will not wear their pants around their thighs or knees regardless of what’s fashionable. There were in fact a handful of young men at the mall that didn’t have their pants “sagging”. However, one of them was in desperate need of a re-braid to his cornrows. But I could overlook that a lot easier than if I was walking behind him and could see the imprint of his butt crack. I know, I know – I don’t have to look. But in this case, this is being forced in my face against my will because it is so prevalent that it’s completely unavoidable. It’s kind of like a pigeon flying into your closed window and dying. It’s not your fault the pigeon did it, but you’re stuck with the clean up anyway.

What I’d like to see happen is that parents and schools start making more of a demand that our young people dress more appropriately at a younger age regardless of where they are. If we give them an alternative from following “the crowd” or “the trend” and encourage them to be more individual while remaining appropriate, we’d see more “trendsetters” instead of followers. We’d see more leaders, we’d see more scholars, we’d see more young people prepared to go into any environment and make a more presentable public appearance. Young women need to have improved self esteem. They need to be made aware that wearing your bed clothes and head scarves in public is not cute. My grandmother always told me to look my best when I leave the house because I never know who I might meet. I’ve lived by that my entire life and I’ve met some very influential people who wouldn’t have spoken a single word to me if I had been wearing my pajamas. Some of these same young men and women may have spent a lot of money on their clothes and shoes. However, it’s not about how much your clothes cost or the designer label inside them. It’s more about if you wear those clothes well, or not. Can you go from the boardroom to the after work networking event? Or are you always dressed to go to the nightclub? Are your only “good clothes” worn to church on Sundays? Or can you dress up with a few minutes notice so you can shake the hand of the President?

I commend young people who know how to wear their clothes so that they can be taken seriously and not viewed as thugs all the time. I’m also glad that some colleges and universities have a dress code, including many HBCUs. The dress code implemented by colleges and universities often isn’t strict. Instead they clearly prohibit wearing pajamas, house shoes, head scarves and pants sagging, including during campus visits prior to enrollment. The truth is a dress code wouldn’t be necessary on college campuses if we as a society gave our children guidance and taught them that they aren’t extras in someone else’s rap video or a sharecropper’s wife when they leave the house. A dress code wouldn’t be necessary if we taught our children that the only time wearing your pajamas in public is acceptable is if your house was on fire when you awoke that morning.

Eventually, as parents, we hope our children will transition into the workplace. If they continue to maintain the public appearances they currently have, many will not ever surpass the first interview. It may have just been a mall on a Saturday afternoon, but those same young people left that mall and went somewhere else, or came from somewhere else to that mall. For many of them, that is how they dress the majority of the time. They believe it to be common practice because they don’t know better. They believe that they are representative of society as a whole because they don’t know better. They believe they will be able to transition into collegiate life and the workforce without any problems because they don’t know better.

Of course there are some young people that will argue they don’t need to be concerned about how they dress because they have plans of becoming a professional athlete. Reality check: the NBA has a dress code. So does the NFL. Therefore, attire and how it is worn isn’t just a concern in corporate America or on college campuses anymore. So I can’t be completely wrong when I say that young men and women need to present a much better public appearance than they currently do.  

When you know better, you do better.