It’s a sunny day as I write this newsletter, and of course I feel refreshed (because the sun makes you feel that way) enough to remind you of the importance of maintaining relationships -- especially during this long pandemic season. I appreciate those who have stopped by the store concerned about our welfare -- those who wish to see us stay and thrive by bringing in garments for alterations/repairs, taking sewing classes, and buying sewing tools. After re-opening in June to welcome regular and new customers, I realized how much I missed interacting with people, even though I can no longer see the smiles on faces due to wearing masks. But the loyalty shown in patronizing our business is highly valued!
Speaking of the importance of relationships, I want to give you two quick stories that relate to the adage that humans are only six degrees or less of separation -- or six social connections away -- from one another. I think my stories have a twist like you might find in a Charles Dickens novel, though maybe not as intriguing (LOL).
Still Interested? Here goes… “Two Tales in One City!”
First True Tale. Last year a young lady named Kamry Brown, a Fashion Design graduate (2019) from Columbus College of Art & Design, was told by her mother who worked downtown and occasionally walked by SL during lunchtime to drop by the store. Kamry met me and felt that she could still learn more garment construction pointers from a “grey haired old lady” (she did not call me that, but Charles Dickens would have) who had been sewing for over 50 years. I felt honored and believed I could help her to improve her construction skills. I looked at her sketches and some of her garments and felt her fashion style was a combination of late 19th century women’s wear, steam punk costume and urban evening wear.
Over the next few weeks, my husband and I had a chance to talk with Kamry and learned that she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Then one day, Kenny was looking through her photos and spotted someone that was related to him, his great niece. Kamry said that his niece was her biological cousin! All this time we had been working with family! I felt more moved to help her. Kamry really has talent, and we often talked about her getting on Project Runway, a fashion design show that has been on cable TV for years. She eventually took a leap of faith and applied for the show earlier this year. Guess what? She received a call indicting that the show was interested in her BUT a few weeks later Covid-19 hit hard and she was then told that everything had been cancelled. How disappointed we all were. I told her not to give up and to continue perfecting her designs and holding on to her dreams. When SL re-opened in June, I asked Kamry to help us make masks to sell.
I am happy to introduce Kamry to you and share the garments she designed and constructed.
Second True Tale. Over the past four years since SL has been in operation, I have worked with five students who attended The University of Cincinnati and enrolled in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). My’keesia McCoy, a fourth year DAAP student majoring in Fashion with a minor in Marketing, was referred to me by TyAnn Amos, a former DAAP student who had completed an internship at SL. My’keesia heard that I could really help enhance her garment construction and design skills. I was happy to assist her due to her vivacious personality and love for learning. She said she wants to continue doing post-graduate work in Marketing. She also added that she loves different cultures and has traveled to Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Ecuador, Taiwan, and Korea. Ms. McCoy said she wants to become a world-traveler, design plus size clothes for the fashion industry, and thusly create a global reputation for herself!
During one of the times when she dropped by our store for a quick visit, she mentioned her boyfriend and how he was an amazing chef. I asked her what was his name? She casually mentioned his name and that his parents were from Haiti and New Orleans, LA. My mind stopped! I told her that I attended church with a family with that same last name and cultural background. This couple had two sons and I remember the time when the oldest son was sitting in my lap and I held him up when the church sang happy birthday to him. She gave me his name and age and my real teeth almost fell from my mouth. What! That very afternoon, her boyfriend dropped by and we had the best time catching up on long lost years. “Hello, I’m My’keesia McCoy” (her first and last names have this lyrical rhythm), is how she introduces herself to strangers and you cannot help but feel her genuine and contagious spirit. I am so excited to be working with her over the next few months! Below is a sketch of her work and photo of the final product. If you get an opportunity to visit SL and meet her. You never know that there could be a few degrees of separation between the two of you… and so the Tale continues!