I tell stories in thread. Generally about people I know. Even better when it’s someone I like. The greatest story I know happening right now in America is trying to decide if we are victims or heroes of the politics of our age. I don’t really feel I know the answer to that question. Even after a year of looking and talking, I still feel like my millennial superpower decoder ring got lost in the mail. But I also see my Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Z friends looking for their rings, too. Perhaps it is the fate of all of us that we eventually reach the point of realizing the imperfection of humanity and how small most of us are as a part of it. And that makes us human. So I decided that this year on the runway that was the story I would tell. Not the story of having figured it all out. But the real story, that perhaps within all of us there exists two faces: professional success vs. private reality that many times those moments of achievement are fleeting and imperfect. The story of my generation that grew up with participation trophies, who were told we could do anything and be anything we wanted, and yet in private with close friends and family, most of us admit to a more interesting life, one that is a constant balancing act in which perfection is often elusive and rarely if ever realized behind the scenes. I have no Barbie Doll friends. They are richer souls than that. In some ways I hope in playing with the masks we wear, this collection will allow us to reach across the great divide so many of us have within ourselves, between how we see ourselves and how others see us.
This idea was inspired by the Hero Project, a podcast I host with local designers and artists in the Triangle area–which is some of the most fun I know of to be had in the Triangle. The thing Nash and I found most fascinating in all our interviews is how every artist we talked to had a long list of things they needed to accomplish to be an actual hero by their own standards. Yet often I heard from their friends and colleagues NONE of that self-criticism or doubt. We see our flaws so closely that we miss the awards and amazement the people in our circle hold for our creations.
I struggle with this myself. I’ve won the professional awards I so craved, designed for major brands, and walked through major department stores and seen my patterns turned into clothes on hangers (which 16-year-old me could not imagine). Personally, I’ve scrapped together this wonderful life with my husband, opening our own shop with a brand featuring our own designs. But the dishes still have to be done, the trash has to be taken out, and there is real work behind the scenes that balances the sense of wonder with the everyday I love yous. So this collection is a mix, an expression of my craft. Nash and I sat down with eight of the women we most admire and respect and asked them what heroes inspired them as children. Then we reimagined them as adults those heroes’ qualities. Our collection is entitled: Women Are Heroes. Our own personal heroes, in our ordinary lives. The garments are art-to-wear pieces that represent the best we see in our friends. They will take us hundreds of hours to make, but they will become, after the show, a gift for them to take home. Something that shows how awesome we think their souls are, something that honors the part of them that is so rarely visible. For the times, perhaps, when they don’t feel that way, this collection will remind them that others see them differently. These will be museum-quality pieces. Thank you, guys. ~D. S. Page
Sept 7th: 6-7 pm: Meet the Artists and Models Behind The Scenes at lgbt+ Raleigh Center
Sep 14th: 7-9 pm: fashionSPARK Runway Show