The Future of Fashion

The future of fashion is with Une Belle Revolution so, if our future is held within our youth, then I can firmly say that with the talent coming from UBR, the future will most certainly be stylish. UBR is lead by Ms. V. Kottavei Williams who works tirelessly and passionately harnessing the creative spirit of her young and ambitious students. This unique fashion design program was created eighteen years ago by fashionado’s E. Vincent Martinez and taken over by Ms. Williams in 2012.

So exactly what is Une Bell Revolution and what makes it so special? UBR is Grady High School’s fashion design program - yes, high school. Grady High School is a gem, the shining star within its school district, excelling in the arts: visual, music, photography and fashion.

With Ms. Williams at the helm of the fashion program, her students are operating at a college level. They are learning garment construction, pattern making, special sewing techniques and illustration. By their senior year, UBR students are designing, creating and producing cohesive capsule collections. The annual runway show is a awe-inspiring and energetic celebration of the vision, talent and creativity of our youth.

Since the beginning of the fashion program, graduating designers have gone off to notable fashion schools like the Art Institute of Atlanta, Scad and FIT to name a few.

DOTC -  Doggies on the Catwalk  founder, E. Vincent Martinez presented Ms. Williams with a donation for her program. DOTC was created by Martinez in his Grady High School classroom 12 years ago and in alignment with the DOTC Foundation’s mission of supporting arts programs and fashion schools, the SEAM Grant has been created. Une Belle Revolution is its first recipient.  SEAM - Supporting Education in Apparel Mastery .

DOTC - Doggies on the Catwalk founder, E. Vincent Martinez presented Ms. Williams with a donation for her program. DOTC was created by Martinez in his Grady High School classroom 12 years ago and in alignment with the DOTC Foundation’s mission of supporting arts programs and fashion schools, the SEAM Grant has been created. Une Belle Revolution is its first recipient. SEAM - Supporting Education in Apparel Mastery.


Inside the Life of a Fashion Illustrator

fashion illustration

CNN reported on the life of British spy and artist Brian Stonehouse, who was trained as a secret clandestine radio operator. Living a double life, he posed as a French art student while carrying a paint box with a transmitter in it. He later survived multiple concentration camps. After the war, he became a fashion illustrator for the likes of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. The path to fashion illustrator isn’t usually as daring and adrenaline-pumping as Stonehouse's story, but then again, no two careers are alike in the fashion world. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a fashion illustrator, here's a glimpse into a few aspects of life as a fashion illustrator. 

Promoting Yourself

Many renowned fashion illustrators like Stephen Stipelman graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and went on to illustrate for Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily. However, a New York City education and credentials are not required to make it in this industry. Because fashion illustrators are generally freelancers, many spend a large majority of their time marketing their skills. This includes developing a following, creating promotional newsletters, working on social media campaigns, and uploading completed work to Shutterstock to gather exposure while earning some income on royalties.

Working illustrator Veronica Marche found commercial success with her "Fabulous Brown Girls" holiday card collection sold in Marshall's and T.J.Maxx department stores nationwide, which discovered her through her online presence and social media promotions. Meanwhile, Katie Rodgers promoted her site PaperFashion through Instagram and found a loyal following that lead to new commissions.

Attending Runway Shows

Whether you’re working on assignment or just trying to gain inspiration, it’s the norm to see fashion illustrators lining the rows of Fashion Week. Fashion sketches embody a certain fantasy and emotion of the event and can be done quickly by hand or on an iPad. Some illustrators also work on sketches of what's happening beyond the runway. They can simultaneously capture what’s happening at the event with photographers, designers, and makeup artists while making new connections. 

A Variety of Work

Most fashion illustrators will tell you their day-to-day varies drastically. Some illustrators may work on commission projects for corporate or publisher clients, while others illustrate to build up their own collection of work to sell directly to consumers. 

Fashion illustrator Katie Rodgers spends time gathering information through fashion shows and trend reports, and anything else she can find that relates to fashion. She maintains her blog Paper Fashion as a means to promote her work and keep up with the demand of commission work.

Finding a Niche

It takes more than just self-promotion, but also endurance to thrive as a fashion illustrator.

Danielle Meder works on sketches at runway shows, contemporary fashion paper dolls with a complete wardrobe, along with teaching and figure drawings. Because many fashion illustrators have an apparel or design background of some kind, it's natural to veer into areas where previous expertise may assist with instructional drawings and sewing patterns. As an illustrator's work and career progresses, it's natural to find a particular area of specialization. Once a niche has been established, an illustrator can then market that niche to the right target audience.


Planning a NYC Fashion Tour

NYFW fashionado

New York's fashion industry is home to 13,800 fashion establishments with 900 fashion companies calling the city home, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation. New York also hosts 75 major fashion trade shows and houses thousands of showrooms scattered throughout the boroughs. As a thriving fashion capital, the city is home to Fashion Week, couture museum exhibits and trend-setting boutiques.

New York City’s Fall Fashion Week kicks off September 10. Traditionally held at Bryant Park and Lincoln Center, Fashion Week moves to Soho and West Midtown in two locations called Skylight at Moynihan Station and Skylight Clarkson Square. While tickets to Fashion Week are difficult to score unless you’re an insider or a celebrity; there are other exhibitions, fashion landmarks and tours to enjoy. You can also check in with Time Out New York for updated lists of sample sales to score designer duds at a discount throughout the city.

FIT Museum

Stop by the famed Fashion Institute of Technology's museum for a look at fashion's long history and unique style icons. Upcoming exhibits starting in December 2015 include Denim: Fashion's Frontier. The exhibit Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch directly follows Fashion Weekand opens September 18 through December 5. The exhibit looks at the socialite behind the extreme fashion and makeup who took New York City nightlife by storm in the 1980s and continues to do so in the present.

Free Garment District Tours

Mike's NYC Tours hosts Garment District Walking Tours with a look at the apparel industry and its winding history from the development of dress sizes to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Mike offers free walking tours throughout the year and shares his insider knowledge about the industry, including the best places to shop. The tour stops at boutiques and fashion landmarks around the city such as the Fashion Walk of Fame.

City Opera Thrift Shop

Head to the City Opera Thrift Shop at 222 E. 23rd Street near Third Avenue to shop while helping support its namesake opera. Explore two floors of carefully curated clothing and furniture from major designers, such as Christian Dior. Proceeds help fund the costumes for the New York City Opera, making this a unique fashion stop for those looking to support a good cause while finding quality clothes at a discount.

Fashion Walk of Fame

A fashion walk through Manhattan isn't complete without a stop at the Fashion Walk of Fame on 7th Avenue. See nearly 30 plaques commemorating some of the industry's great designers including Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Rucci. The walk was established in 1999 and is currently the only monument in the world dedicated to American fashion.

Couture Fashion Week

You may not be able to score access to Fashion Week, but tickets to Couture Fashion Week are as low as $50. From September 11 to the 13th, designers from around the world show off their couture and luxury designs. Events take place in the heart of the city at the Crowne Plaza Times Square in Manhattan. Stop by the TKTS Booth for a discount on same-day Broadway show tickets, suggests The Dig, to see the costumes and set design of Tony award-winning shows.