Purposed To Inspire

As a young aspiring designer living in Chicago my mother decided I needed a glimpse of inspiration. She sent me an article from Essence Magazine featuring African American Designer Tracy Reese. As a board member of the CFDA and one of the few (or only) female faces that resembled mine that showed under the tents at Bryant Park I realized this was a big deal. I quickly ran to the computer to research her company and with a simple click of a send button I applied for an internship at just the right time. After a phone interview with her feisty Associate Designer Eva I was on my way to New York.

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I was impressed by how hands on she was in every process of her products development. She even created her own textile prints. It was there that I learned what a repeat was and the difference between a paisley and similar floral prints. She explained to me that her design inspiration was the women of generations before her. If my memory serves correctly, she referenced her grandmother and the elders of her church growing up. How they took the time to dress up with their stylish hats, gloves and dresses. In those days, every time you went out fashion was a proper event not an after thought. At the end of the internship she allowed me to take home fabric left over from her in-house garment samples. Excited about my new treasure I decided to create a Tracy Reese inspired dress.

Do you simply have a job or do you have purpose?

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