It’s Instagram time :)

ccaneFor as long as I can remember I have felt a complete dichotomy. Thanks to this instagram, so much of my life makes sense to me now. Maybe I am a candy cane, too! Sweet AND twisted! That’s definitely me. Just don’t tell my kids. I’ll deny this post ever took place. @dylanscandybar

balzerelephantsJulie Fei-Fan Balzer is a designer and artist. She made these elephants out of rubber stamps that she carved. I’m not quite there yet, but maybe someday I will be able to produce rubber stamps by my own hand that look like what I set out to create to more than myself. I have hope. @balzerdesigns

jcrewI have not been having the best of luck with my attempts at a Christmas card photo of our family. Everybody has his or her own agenda. People don’t want to smile, or they don’t want to stand next to certain sibs. Maybe if I got us all matching Christmasy sweaters… Well, at least we would be coordinated. And warm. @jcrew



Pat McGrath

If you’ve picked up a fashion magazine in the past five years or so, chances are you’ve seen Pat McGrath’s work. She was born in 1970, raised in Northampton, England and credits her Jamaican mother with her love of fashion and makeup. With the exception of a foundation course at Northampton Art College, she has had no formal training, but her innovative use of color during the 1990s catapulted her to work for Jil Sander and John Galliano.

Today she is Global Cosmetics Creative Design Director for Procter and Gamble, a major force behind brands like Max Factor, CoverGirl, SK-II and Dolce and Gabanna. She attends four fashion seasons per year (including couture) and has done runway work (Miu Miu, Commes des Garcons and Prada) and campaign work (Calvin Klein, Clinique, Jil Sander, Elizabeth Arden). Among celebrities who seek her services are Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston. She also serves as Beauty Director for i-D Magazine and is known for her continually groundbreaking editorial work for publications such as American, English, French and Italian Vogue, W and Harper’s Bazaar.

Patrick Kelly

When I was a kid, I was extremely interested in becoming a fashion designer. I consumed every detail I could about clothes and fashion and the way things were put together and presented to women, not only in this country, but in London, Milan, Paris Tokyo, all of the fashion capitals. One of the arguments often presented to me was that black people could not do it, especially ones from the South. Imagine my delight upon my first interaction with the fun and vibrant designs put together by Patrick Kelly, born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in around 1954. He had his own obstacles on the way to his groundbreaking career. When he was six, his grandmother brought home a fashion magazine and Kelly noticed that there were not pictures of African American women in it. His grandmother explained that designers did not have time for African American women and Kelly became determined to change this.

After studying at Jackson State University and Parsons School of Design, he went to Paris (thanks to an anonymously mailed plane ticket), where he became the first American designer to gain admittance into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter (the governing body of the prestigious French ready-to-wear industry) in 1988. Cicely Tyson, Bette Davis, Grace Jones, and Jessye Norman were just a few of his celebrity clients.

Unfortunately,in 1990,  just as he was in the process of negotiating expansion of his business to include sunglasses and furs and a deal for an autobiographical film, he died from bone marrow disease (though some believe and have stated that it was a complication of AIDS). His designs are on display at the Black Fashion Museum in Washington, D.C.

Tracy Reese

Tracy Reese, one of the fashion industry’s most successful African American women, was born February 12, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan. She attended the famous Cass Technical High School and while she expressed interest in fashion design, she thought she would become an architect or interior designer. After a teacher encouraged her to apply for a Summer program at Parson’s School of Design, she went on to attend the school in New York City.

Her first job out of school was working for Martine Sitbon, a French designer in New York City. She would go on to create her own line, but due to an inability to maintain revenue, she had to shut it down. She later worked with classmate Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis. Her experience there and subsequent job working with Gordon Henderson, an African American designer who started his own line after working for Calvin Klein, gave her the experience and the confidence to make another attempt at her own brand.

A 1995 deal with The Limited provided her the funds to start up her own label, Tracy Reese Meridian, which later became Tracy Reese. A line for younger customers called plenty was started and by 2002 Tracy Reese had a corporate showroom. 2004 marked the beginning of plenty Home and a shoe and accessory line was launched in 2005. In 2006, a flagship store was opened in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Her three brands, Tracy Reese, plenty and frock! are sold there.