It’s finally the end of Fashion Week in New York. That frantic, fashiony, see and be seen, make it or break or just fake it time for designers- known and unknown to convince us what we should be wearing in the spring. Which inevitably will be the exact opposite of what we are wearing now.
Not all designers get the chance to show. It’s a big deal. You need a lot of money behind you, good luck, hard work, the right people finding their way to your atelier – even if that atelier is an apartment in Bushwick. Which I don’t think happens much.
But there are a lot of designers out there, who like many artists just want that one break, one introduction that will take them to the place where they get to do what they love and hopefully make a success of it.
As many of you know, because I repeat frequently, my philosophy is “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.”
So I tend to respond when people reach out to me. It sometimes surprises them and I unfortunately can’t always do what they want. But I do respond. And sometimes I really respond.
One day a few months ago I was in a store with Lucy. While on Fifth Avenue this was not a clothing store. In fact it is the furthest thing from it.
A very nice young man was helping us. After we finished he looked at me and said, “I like your style. You are very chic.”
Now he had me at “I like your style.” The icing on the cake was that he found me chic. Call me chic and I am yours. But he didn’t know that. He was just responding to whatever I was wearing. He asked me if I minded if he showed me something.
I didn’t question what he wanted to show me. But like I said he had me at “style.”
He then brought up a website full of ball gowns, fancy, frilly, sexy and fun. Despite the fact he was/is working in a place miles away from the world of design and clothing, he spends much of his time following his dream of becoming a fashion designer.
His name is J. Daniel. He has a very definite sense of what he wants and likes. I think he has talent. In fact I am having him design a dress for me.
I asked him a few questions about himself, because like I said, where I discovered him is not quite the place you think you will find a burgeoning designer.
J. Daniel has been designing for as long as he can remember.
” I started really young using what ever fabrics and trimmings I could find around the house, whether it was my mother’s brand new stockings that I would sneak and take or clothing from my dad or from one of my seven siblings. Even in kindergarten while the other children were drawing and doing their finger painting I was designing clothing. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t design.
In the 1st grade, my eldest sister who was moving into her first apartment purchased the most exquisite white comforter with the most beautiful Chantilly lace that bordered the perimeter. I fell in love with this comforter and made up in my mind that it would be better used to create a gown. So I waited until no one was watching and I took my safety scissors and cut off about half of the lace and placed the comforter back in the bag. I guess because I was so young I didn’t consider the consequences I just thought about how good the lace would look once I was done. Long story short I learned never to do it again. But in doing so I also gained the attention of my family. To prevent me from shredding up the rest of our clothing my mom began taking me to our local fabric store, it was called Fabric Bonanza. There she introduced me to fabrics, Silks, chiffons, crepe, velvet you name it they had it. She taught me how to feel the fabric and how to mix and match color and textures. This place was like an oasis for me, although it was all very new to me I felt right at home.”
J.’s first favorite designer was Christian Dior.
“I love how he pioneered beauty after WWII with the carol Line better known as the new look. Dior’s Story shows me that it’s ok to be different. I have great respect and admiration for Ralph Lauren. He is the originator of what we now know as the lifestyle brand. I love how confidant he is and how he is so in tuned with his customer. Buying from a Ralph Lauren shop or even Ralph Lauren section in a department store is an experience the wood grain and the subtle fabrics, its sometimes hard to believe that this was all brought to life by a man who began by selling ties out of the back of his trunk. And Mr.Valentino. Hands down this man knows what women want, the way he designs is absolutely amazing. Its as if he’s one with the female form. I have a great deal of respect for this man.”
I think J. Daniel will do well. I hope he does. I think he has talent. He haS taste and drive, and he is brave. I like to see people’s dreams come true. I hope to be invited to your first fashion show when you show at Fashion Week J.
In the meantime you can find his clothes online at http://www.jdaniel.co/home.html