In my second semester, I had the most amazing art professor. And a not-so-good sewing instructor. My sewing professor was helter-skelter (more on her), but I really looked forward to my art classes because of my art professor.
That was her last semester teaching FITNYC, but she was so impactful, her illustrating skills forever influenced mine. But I did remember how beautifully she illustrated dark skin tones, and I remembered saying to myself, if she can do it so can I.
My first project was a budget-friendly four-look collection we had to do. I was inspired by Vivienne Westwood and Black Veil Brides’ song, ‘Fallen Angels’. The song was about angels being cast out of heaven, but also being rejected in hell, and since I was talking about fashion, it was all about alternative clothes.
I named the project ‘The Refused’. Little did I know it was YAH guiding me through all of it. I mean, you just wouldn’t think God would be the one guiding you since Black Veil Brides is a heavy metal band and they aren’t religious (the opposite actually).
My next collection was supposed to be based on a well-known designer. I chose Schiaparelli. I also chose Jane’s Addiction’s album ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ as another sort of inspiration and I suddenly decided—after designing the collection—that I wanted it to be a commentary of female objectification. Hans Bellmer and Unica Zürn were also inspirations I’d found, and when it was time to present, I just figured it was all about sexuality, feminism, and the illusion of the body. I named the collection Nothing’s Shocking after Jane’s Addiction’s album and the shocking pink color Schiaparelli was famous for.
But, as I grew, I learned it was so much more than that.
God was making a commentary through me—a commentary about sexually objectifying women. There is so much to impart here. It wasn’t until my last four semesters when everything came full circle. I learned that Schiaparelli’s first fragrance, Shocking, caused quite the alarm when her perfume bottle was in the shape of a curvy woman. I learned this, two years AFTER creating the collection.
I learned that the phrase ‘nothing’s shocking’ comes from the song ‘Ted, Just Admit it’. At first, I thought Ted was some politician, but it wasn’t until several months ago (in the last year), I learned Ted Bundy was a serial killer known to fetishize his victims and put their dead bodies on display in his house where he would ‘play’ with them.
I leaned this, two years AFTER my Nothing’s Shocking collection.
The only thing I knew was that Hans Bellmer was a surrealist artist known for his doll sculptures where he would create different body parts for a doll and pose them in very sexually disturbing ways. He also worked with Unica Zürn, the model who he often tied up and photographed to create different illusions with her body. That was enough at the time to make me realize I wanted to make a commentary on how women’s bodies are often objectified in the media, in fashion, and just everywhere they go.
But at the time when I did my portfolio, that story wasn’t clear. And I wondered why I chose to tell that story. Maybe, it was prep work for something even deeper…
Someone Cares for You
In my second semester, I disliked my sewing professor. She wasn’t very organized, and she took up a lot of lab time lecturing, then expected us to complete the sewing projects on our own time, which wasn’t fair since for most of us, the only access we had to the labs were during class time. Most of us had other classes and so the only sewing we would get to do was in class and over the weekends.
But there lies the problem. To access a sewing lab, FIT requires that two people be there for the security to open the labs. My friend wasn’t a fashion student, so she couldn’t go with me. So, I made arrangements with a girl in my class.
On the day we were supposed to go, I couldn’t get a hold of her. I texted, I called, but I just couldn’t get a hold of her. I was really behind because the professor insisted on lecturing during class, and the due date was winding down. I remembered crying. I was in tears and shambles because how was I supposed to finish my assignment? I didn’t know anyone else.
But the Spirit sat me down and taught me the story of Abraham. God had asked him to give up his only son as a sacrifice. When he and Isaac were traveling to the site, Isaac asked his father where was the sheep or goat needed for the sacrifice an Abraham answered ‘the Lord will provide’. So, the Spirit said the same thing, “Go ahead to the school. The Lord will provide’.
It was as clear as day the instructions. The very instructions that made me realize that God was presenting himself to me. It was also hopeless instruction, I felt. Because I also spent that time arguing with God. If I go, the security will turn me back. But God insisted, “the Lord will provide”. So, in tears I went to the school, to the security desk and explained to them my situation. They just shrugged, saying they felt sorry, but there had to be two people.
Just when I was about to turn back and head to the dorm, there I saw my friend’s old roommate (who was in Fashion Design). I knew her so I told her my situation. And she said ‘oh, I could sign for you’. I asked her, “you could do that?” She nodded, “I do it all the time” and just signed for me.
After that encounter, I never saw her again until my sixth semester where she was in my computer class. Imagine, after that one encounter, I barely ever saw her again. She’d moved out after the first semester, and I’d never really encountered her after she moved out. So, seeing her surprised me the most, especially when I was in a desperate situation. And after that encounter, I didn’t even get to see her again until two years had passed.
The Lord literally provided.