This past Saturday, Baltimore Fashion Week held their Fashion Symposium “Meet The Minds Behind The Ideas”. The panel of guest speakers included so many talented professionals. The discussion covered all aspects of the fashion industry experience from different personal and business view points. One question that I zoned in on was “What Does Fashion Mean To You”? I had to really sit and think for a moment. What does it really mean to me? Why do I love fashion? What experiences have I had to enforce this love of fashion? Emore’J Couture, the fashion specialist, had this to say:
Fashion is how I found my sexuality, my spirituality and my business reality. It was all through fashion. People may find that so strange but I totally explored everything about myself through fashion. From what I don’t like, who I want to portray myself as, who I want to be, how I speak and how I carry myself. Just being a walking a piece of art you get so much flak from people who are afraid to be themselves and do what it is that you are doing. When someone walks down the street like me, you get the name calling, slander, people throw things and point. To be yourself in the midst of it all and love who you are, that is a work in itself. With fashion, I want to be able to help someone else develop that same confidence that I have. We are in a time now where gay is over-saturated especially in the media, TV and music. It wasn’t like that growing up for me. I was tormented and teased because of my voice, my walk, and how I dressed. There were times my mother had to come to school with me to try and put an end to the issues I was dealing with. All of this just because my voice was soft or just because I was not drawn to females… as a play thang. I didn’t know anything about fashion; I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals, they were my only friends. Once I got out of that phase and I got into fashion it was like an explosion. I wore whatever I wanted to wear and that’s how I developed myself. There are a lot of people who won’t get to the point of self-awareness. They won’t get to understand the power they possess because they allow other people to take that power away from them. Mainly because that other person, is in fear of who they are. I want to be that person who is totally known for being their self, business minded, goal oriented, traveled the world and lived his dreams. That’s what fashion means to me and it’s a very serious thing. I may laugh and joke with my characters on YouTube but fashion really did change my life.
Can fashion or the next venture make you pick up and leave everything you know? Sharon Nixon, Baltimore Fashion Week CEO, asked that very question, ” I know you live in Maryland but if they called you to do what you love here, would you be willing to transfer to some place like LA doing the same thing and forgetting everything in Maryland?” Joseph “Joe” Brandli, architect, had this to say:
It would be tough. I really love what I do. Part of what I do is working with people and I really enjoy those relationships. I don’t do what I do just to build my image. I mean, I am working on my brand but at the same time I really focus on building my clients. If you look at my work and my architecture website, you would see that I am not representing just one taste. My point is, I really enjoy helping other people express themselves through these design projects. The whole network of friends and family here in Maryland would be hard to lose. It is a tough decision.
For me, Fashion is a life decision. What does it mean to you?
If you were not able to attend this event, you really missed some great conversations, delicious lunch, drinks by IZZE and a gift bag filled with CHIC items from Milani and other sponsors of Baltimore Fashion Week.
To read more about the Fashion Symposium panelist, visit the Baltimore Fashion Week site.