The obvious allure of a career in fashion design - beauty, expression and it’s transformative powers, are there, but the decision to pursue such a competitive and stressful future was not solely, or even largely, based on an aesthetic appreciation. As with most, it may have began with the natural, formative experience of defining one’s character and ideals in an outward way; using clothing and style to portray a present and a future manifesto of self. It was at once a declaration of a state of mind and the plotting of a cultural trajectory: who I am now, and who I aim to be. This sense of self was fluid and always fluctuating and updating.
At first, I was only decorating the surface of clothing. Appliquéing scraps of fabric taken from old clothing, painting with brush and stencil, and deconstructing garments found at flea markets and thrift stores. An obsession for control and mastery began to grow as I experimented more. I found myself working backwards from a finished garment to its individual steps and components. I borrowed my mothers sewing machine and bought a pattern for a jacket and a few meters of fabric and began to create the most important disaster of my journey. My lack of technical skill and knowledge was painfully apparent in the final product. What was also strikingly evident was the sense of an inescapable obsession for demystifying the process of creating a garment. I needed a look behind the curtain; I needed to know.
Unable to afford the prohibitive costs of pursuing a formal education in Fashion, I had contacted professors and students at universities I could only dream of attending and reached out to designers whose work I had admired, in an effort to find a starting point of studying as an autodidact. I purchased the textbooks used at these universities, and received advice on what it would take to work under the designers I had contacted. The support and encouragement I received from these individuals, most of whom I had never met, gave me the courage to pursue my dream in the small, damp basement of my father’s apartment.
Following years of experimentation, I contacted the designer whose sculptural work and biting wit I had admired most. I convinced him of my tenacious desire to learn and was offered an apprenticeship within his small atelier in Reykjavik. I sold everything that I had- the vintage sports car I had rebuilt, the musical instruments I had accumulated since early childhood, and the archive of vintage clothing I had amassed by scouring through flea markets and military surplus lots. I had enough money to rent an illegally converted closet under the roof of an apartment building, whose rusted skylight window would let in snow and ice that would cover my sleeping bag during the frequent storms. I worked seven days a week for 6 months without break. The island was cold, but I was burning.
I returned to Los Angeles broke and homeless. I found a job in retail and a room in a mortuary with a dilapidated barn in the backyard. I rebuilt the roof and the walls with materials I had found in the surrounding industrial complex. Luckily, the barn already had working electricity. I began working in this makeshift atelier in the time before and after my job selling and fitting high-end clothing. Every early morning, late night and weekend was spent building upon what I learned during my apprenticeship with Sruli Recht until my endless failures and frustration began to produce something to show to my fellow obsessives on the fashion forums I had belonged to.
This posting on STYLEZEITGEIST.com led to an alarming amount of requests for custom pieces as well as an offer within the atelier of Leon Emanuel Blanck. Once again, I sold all of my belongings, industrial sewing machines, fabrics, and forms and flew to southern Germany 3 weeks later. Leon and I shared the same love of Science Fiction and sculptural avant-garde fashion, but it was my tempered work ethic and multifaceted skill set that led to becoming his “right and left hand,” as he would often introduce me. My experience and expertise was crucial in growing the existing non-seasonal collection 3-fold as the Head Pattern Maker and Designer.
Following my departure from the LEB atelier, I spent time doing freelance work and studio visits throughout Europe with ateliers like Deepti Barth, Lost & Found, and Maurizio Amadei, and others, before settling for a position in Paris with Isaac Sellam as, effectively, his temporary replacement as designer and pattern maker for his eponymous artisanal label.
An old acquaintance heard of my wish to leave Paris for a sunnier climate and asked if I would be interested in helping to lift the profile of his shoe label by building out a new facility with state of the art machinery and to produce a n artisanal luxury accessory collection with a special material created in partnership with an old employer of mine, Sruli Recht. I spent the last 12 months in Porto, Portugal building this facility and producing the APEX collection.
And now, it seems, I have sought your attention.
I hope to offer the same level of commitment and devotion to your product and enterprise as I would if it were my own name hand-tacked to the collar. If given the opportunity, my work-ethic and experience will prove to be a valuable addition to your team.