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judy smith May 2016
For the fifth year in a row, Kering and Parsons School of Fashion rolled out the ‘Empowering Imagination’ design initiative. The competition engaged twelve 2016 graduates of the Parsons BFA Fashion Design program, who "were selected for their excellence in vision, acute awareness in design identity, and mastery of technical competencies." The winners, Ya Jun Lin and Tiffany Huang, will be awarded a 2-week trip to Kering facilities in Italy in June 2016 and will have their thesis collections featured in Saks Fifth Avenue New York’s windows.

The Kering and Parsons competition, which is currently in its fifth year, is one of a growing number of design competitions, including but not limited to the LVMH Prize, the ANDAM Awards, the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund, and its British counterpart, the Woolmark Prize, the Ecco Domani fashion award, and the Hyères Festival. among others.

In the generations prior, designers were certainly nominated for awards, but it seems that there was not nearly as intense of a focus on design competitions as a means for designers to get their footing, for design houses to scout talent, or for these competitions to select the best of the best in a especially large pool of young talent. Fern Mallis, the former executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and an industry consultant, told the New York Times: “Take the Calvin [Kleins] and the Donna [Karans] and the Ralph [Laurens] of the world. Some of these people had money from a friend or a partner who worked with them, but they weren’t out spending their time doing competitions and winning awards to get their business going.” She sheds light on an essential element: The relatively drastic difference between the state of fashion then and fashion now. Fashion then was slower, less global, and (a lot) less dominated by the internet, and so, it made for quite different circumstances for the building of a fashion brand.

Nowadays, young designers are more or less going full speed ahead right off the bat. They show comprehensive collections, many of which consist of garments and an array of accessories. They are expected to be active on social media. They are expected to establish a strong industry presence (think: Go to events and parties). They are expected to cope with the fashion business that has become large-scale and international. They are expected to collaborate to expand their reach, and while it does, at times, feel excessive, this is the reality because the industry is moving at such a quick pace, one that some argue is unsustainably rapid. The result is designers and design houses consistently building their brands and very rarely starting small. Case in point: Young brands showing pre-collections within a few years of setting up shop (for a total of four collections per year, not counting any collaboration or capsule collections), and established brands showing roughly four womenswear collections, four menswear collections, two couture collections, and quite often, a few diffusion collections each year.

The current climate of 'more is more' (more collections, more collaborations, more social media, more international know-how, etc.) in fashion is what sets currently emerging brands apart from older brands, many of which started small. This reality also sheds light on the increasing frequency with which designers rely on competitions as a means of gaining funds, as well as a means of establishing their names and not uncommonly, gaining outside funding.

The Ralphs, Tommys, Calvins and Perrys started off a bit differently. Ralph Lauren, for instance, started a niche business. The empire builder, now 74, got his start working at a department store then worked for a private label tie manufacturer (which made ties for Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart). He eventually convinced them to let him make ties under the Polo label and work out of a drawer in their showroom. After gaining credibility thanks to the impeccable quality of his ties, he expanded into other things. Tommy Hilfiger similarly started with one key garment: Jeans. After making a name for himself by buying jeans, altering them into bellbottoms and reselling them at Brown’s in Manhattan, he opened a store catering to those that wanted a “rock star” aesthetic when he was 18-years old with $150. While the store went bankrupt by the time he was 25, it allowed him to get his foot in the door. He was offered design positions at Calvin Klein (who also got his start by focusing on a single garment: Coats. With $2,000 of his own money and $10,000 lent to him by a friend, he set up shop; in 1973, he got his big break when a major department store buyer accidentally walked into his showroom and placed an order for $50,000). Hilfiger was also offered a design position with Perry Ellis but turned them down to start his eponymous with help from the Murjani Group. Speaking of Perry Ellis, the NYU grad went to work at an upscale retail store in Virginia, where he was promoted to a buying/merchandising position in NYC, where he was eventually offered a chance to start his own label, a small operation. After several years of success, he spun it off as its own entity. Marc Jacobs, who falls into a bit of a younger generation, started out focusing on sweaters.

These few individuals, some of the biggest names in American fashion, obviously share a common technique. They intentionally started very small. They built slowly from there, and they had the luxury of being able to do so. Others, such as Hubert de Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and his successor Sarah Burton, Nicolas Ghesquière, Julien Macdonald, John Galliano and his successor Bill Gaytten, and others, spent time as apprentices, working up to design directors or creative directors, and maybe maintaining a small eponymous label on the side. As I mentioned, attempting to compare these great brand builders or notable creative directors to the young designers of today is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, as the nature of the market now is vastly different from what it looked like 20 years ago, let alone 30 or 40 years ago.

With this in mind, fashion competitions have begun to play an important role in helping designers to cope with the increasing need to establish a brand early on. It seems to me that winning (or nearly winning) a prestigious fashion competition results in several key rewards.

Primarily, it puts a designer's name and brand on the map. This is likely the least noteworthy of the rewards, as chances are, if you are selected to participate in a design competition, your name and brand are already out there to some extent as one of the most promising young designers of the moment.

Second are the actual prizes, which commonly include mentoring from industry insiders and monetary grants. We know that participation in competitions, such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Woolmark Prize, the Swarovski, Ecco Domani, the LVMH Prize, etc., gives emerging designers face time with and mentoring from some of the most successful names in the industry. Chris Peters, half of the label Creatures of the Wind (pictured above), whose brand has been nominated for half of the aforementioned awards says of such participation: “It feels like we’ve talked to possibly everyone in fashion that we can possibly talk to." The grants, which range anywhere from $25,o00 to $400,000 and beyond, are obviously important, as many emerging designers take this money and stage a runway show or launch pre-collections, which often affect the business' bottom line in a major and positive way.

The third benefit is, in my opinion, the most significant. It seems that competitions also provide brands with some reputability in terms of finding funding. At the moment, the sea of young brands which is terribly vast. Like law school graduates, there are a lot of design school graduates. With this in mind, these competitions are, for the most part, serving as a selection mechanism. Sure, the inevitable industry politics and alternate agendas exist (without which the finalists lists may look a bit different), but great talent is being scouted, nonetheless. Not only is it important to showcase the most promising young talent and provide them with mentoring and grant money, as a way of maintaining an industry, but these competitions also do a monumental service to young brands in terms of securing additional funding. One of the most challenging aspects of the business for young/emerging brands is producing and growing absent outside investors' funds, and often, the only way for brands' to have access to such funds is by showing a proven sales track record, something that is difficult to establish when you've already put all of your money into your business and it is just not enough. This is a frustrating cycle for young designers.

However, this is where design competitions are a saving grace. If we look to recent Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund winners and runners-up, for instance, it is not uncommon to see funding (distinct from the grants associated with winning) come on the heels of successful participation. Chrome Hearts, the cult L.A.-based accessories label, acquired a minority stake in The Elder Statesman, the brand established by Greg Chait, the 2012 winner, this past March. A minority stake in 2011 winner Joseph Altuzarra's eponymous label was purchased by luxury conglomerate Kering in September 2013. Creatures of the Wind, the NYC-based brand founded by Shane Gabier and Chris Peters, which took home a runner-up prize in the 2011 competition, welcomed an investment from The Dock Group, a Los Angeles-based fashion investment firm, last year, as well.

Across the pond, the British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund has awarded prizes to a handful of designers who have gone on to land noteworthy investments. In January 2013, Christopher Kane (pictured below), the 2011 winner, sold a majority stake in his brand to Kering. Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood was named the winner 2013 in May and by September, a majority stake in his company had been acquired by LVMH.

Thus, while the exposure that fashion design competition participants gain, and the mentoring and monetary grants that the winners enjoy, are certainly not to be discounted, the takeaway is much larger than that. These competitions are becoming the new way for investors and luxury conglomerates to source new talent, and for young brands to land the outside investments that they so desperately need to produce their collections, expand their studio space, build upon their existing collections, and even open brick and mortar stores.

While no one has scooped up inaugural LVMH winner Thomas Tait’s brand yet or fellow winner, Marques'Almeida, it is likely just be a matter of time.Read more |
George Anthony May 2017
I know that there is a table
in a Catholic high school in my local town
with an etch of the letter "G"
next to boredom-inspired vandal,
jagged lines, circles,
perhaps a few ******* shapes
as silly high school boys
are prone to draw.

An Advanced Maths textbook sits on a shelf
with a little doodle
of a peace sign next to an emo smiley
from a time where I was caught
between two phases,
tight black jeans and a flowing turquoise shirt.

Tobacco stains smeared
over the wood of a sealed off door
just outside my bedroom,
evidence of the first time
I tried a cigarette, seven years old,
and then panicked and tried to
flush it down the toilet,
only to have to fish it out and stuff it
in a little crevice, to be hidden and
remain there for seven years.

We leave all these little marks
and stains
in places we've been.
Spilled food, spilled ink, spilled drink,
tobacco stains and pools of blood.
"The marks humans leave are
too often scars."

I have scars.
Left forearm. Right calf. Right wrist bone. Both kneecaps.

A scar across my ribs and chest I was
so desperate to be rid of,
I bathed myself in oils and it was
the first scab I
never picked at; but a couple of weeks ago
I dreamt it was there again, fresh.
It tore open in front of everyone, bled out,
and I woke up gasping, drowning in my fear,
agonised, clutching at a wound that'd long since faded
convinced I could feel it splitting me apart again.

I have evidence all over my body
and more buried deep within the recesses of my mind,
scars so jagged they put knives to shame,
shining, pale, like diamonds in moonlight
not half as precious
but still invaluable.
Evidence of the marks humans leave behind.

I'm not innocent.
I don't pretend like I am.
I know there is a man out there
who gained another scar to add to his collection
when he was fourteen years old.
I know my hands carved it into his skin.
I know I used to use my fists
when others used their words to hurt me.

When I die, I know that I will leave
pieces of myself
I've ever been. Whether people know it
or not, whether they
remember me
or not. There are ink stains
and coffee spills. My blood
is still on the floor of his house.
The high school cafeteria
has a circle of red
from a nosebleed I didn't realise I was having.
There are parks wearing my graffiti
and children donning my old clothes, and people overseas
still alive because of me

(or that's what they'll tell me, but
all I did was talk.
Give yourself the credit you guys deserve,
you're the ones who chose to listen.
You're the ones who had the strength to
pick your head up and carry on)

There are exes who still think of me
and friends who will one day
come across some article of clothing
or a piece of technology
I left behind after a sleepover.
Teachers who will remember
that smart, sarcastic student
who had panic attacks in their classrooms
and drank coffee in the mentoring hub with Mrs. Hume
whilst buttering bagels and functioning on no sleep.

Maybe our place in the universe is
insignificant. Or maybe it's the
most significant thing
of all.
Maybe the Buddhists are right.
Maybe we are the universe, together
as one. I sure think it makes sense.

Streams of consciousness
and spirits that need healing.
We work the sun
without even realising we're doing it.
We destroy it, too,
which is perhaps why we
are so self destructive in turn.

Maybe we're
smaller than specs of dust
but that's okay.
You don't have anything
without the particles required
to make things up.
Everything is a collection of atoms:
the tiniest things of all
yet they're the centre of everything,
the beginning of everything.

So when the end comes and
we burst back into the sky,
stardust and souls and
blinking little lights,
we'll have left our marks on the earth
regardless of who remembers
and we'll still be there, twinkling,
a collection of atoms that came from a supernova
essential to the makeup of galaxies
and life itself.
What could be more beautiful than that?
I don't know. It was... some sort of stream of consciousness, perhaps? I blanked out halfway through writing it.
Victor D López Dec 2018
I stand alone in the dark Fulton Street subway station,
Breathing in the *****-scented air,
Breathing out clouds of steam,
A subway train rushes along,
Not stopping,
Biting at my eardrums,
With the painful percussion,
Of thousands of people,
Silently screaming,

I don’t want to see,
     I don’t want to see,
          I don’t want to see,

The air fanned by each subway car,
Rushes against me,
Pushes the ozone and the smell of burnt brake linings,
Into my nostrils,
Along with the air,
****** through the iron gratings,
Along miles of Brooklyn sidewalks,
Carrying the odor of a *******’s festering sores,
And the cries of a hungry, fatherless child in ***** diapers,
And the hoarse moaning of a city councilman mentoring a young intern,
And the cheap perfume of a fourteen year-old runaway,
Turning $20 tricks in an alley,
Smelling of stale Chinese food and wet dogs,
And . . .

I don’t want to see,
     I don’t want to see,
          I don’t want to see,

. . . the smell of spoiled cabbage soup,
And the rancid remains of a hotdog buried in sauerkraut,
And putrid lilies lying in a gutter,
All assaulting me, forcing me backwards,
Until my back presses against,
The grimy once-white tiles,
That coldly burn their graffiti on my spine:

God is dead,
Bake a ****,
Whitey *****,
**** the *******,

I don’t want to see,
     I don’t want to see,
          I don’t want to see,

The train finally passes,
Its red eyes receding into the dank,
Dark tunnel beyond the platform,
The screeches and screams slowly die out,
Their echoes ******* behind them,
The smell,
Of my,
From: Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems

You can hear all six of my Unsung Heroes poems read by me in my podcasts at (plus much more of my fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English and Spanish)
Frank Ruland Jul 2015
You'd be surprised just how easily some moments fade from memory, like the most luminescent star irreversibly imploding into a supermassive black hole. However, there are some that effortlessly pierce through the veil of obscurity; forever a testament of how the soul is either imprinted upon permanently, or unscathed whatsoever by the hands of man with no gray space to speak of.

Bernard, upon the barrenness of my naïveté you left a smoldering crater that over the years would undergo a transformation into Heart, Mind & Soul. The after effects of your collision onto me would be far-reaching; some ugly scars, but the vast majority purposeful obelisks that would stand tall and serve as proud reminders.

Thank you for all the good you did: watching out, mentoring, guiding, as well as providing me with a sense of brotherhood. In my teen years, you tirelessly walked beside me down the path of righteousness. There were detours in between: right and wrong, vengeance and justice, war and peace, do-right and despicable... all of them necessary in the enabling me to decide whether a path down the road was a dead end, or a boulevard leading to a better, brighter tomorrow.

The going was never easy, but it was always worthwhile. You showed me to always be wary, but never engaging. To let my heart speak before any fist had a turn to talk. That boldness of character warded off more nefarious ne'er-do-wells than the knife in my pocket. That Shadows, Valleys, and Death were certain, but they should never impede us from pursuing the Land of Milk & Honey. For this, I thank you, but this is not to say you were perfect, and later days would undoubtedly leave my idealization of you scarred...
Heather Mirassou Jun 2010
A father adoring eyes
Expressions of love
Kindness and compassion
A father mentoring
patience and understanding
strength and courage
A father who is fun
laughs and runs
plays with his son
A father who listens
meek and mild
open-minded and moral
Be proud father
Your son is a scholar
And an agile athlete
Be proud father
Your son is a vision of you
who will carry your traits
Be proud father
Your son shows your heart
soul and spirit
Be proud father
Your son an incredible young man
the world is in his hands
Be proud father
Your son has a dream
he is a miracle of you
Copyright, Heather Mirassou   June 30, 2010
My concept of the issue concerning Cemeteries has been maintained for many years under a remarkable process falls recoup credibility. Unknown worlds to which we do not know what to believe, are usually put into question.

Constantly let the silent fields were to lie the dead, but it is not, rather than me think so. Surely Quantum Theory indicates a basic unit of the whole universe, showing that it is possible to decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. This theory shows that the dynamic is in the matter in such a way that solid objects are constantly moving rasterizing relationships between different parts of a unified whole.
As we believe that matter is inherently sterile, we think the Cemetery is in the same condition, and therefore inert bodies are also just turned into a pile of bones scattered.
My conception of the world of subterranean acting aims to support the theory of Quantum, and at first glance, it seems that under these masses of cement no putrefaction and eternal solitude. Well, I do not think so, I think there is a tremendous activity, above all tends to seek fulfillment in a world of her competence, and also has the infinite grace of thanks from all lurking diseases that shake us. That is, each inhabitant of the subterranean acting receives as a Franciscan noblest worship existence, and not falter from the destructive effects of all known diseases.
Near the garden of heroes, they are the remains of those who died in this output. It was a legendary struggle for the libertarian revolution of 1821 in Greece, Messolonghi exact-mind. Markos Botsaris tomb and the statue of Lord Byron great Hellenophile found in this garden.

Once, I was looking for a book, and this trend was unavoidable East. I used to remind my teacher, the monk talking Virajánanda Given the processes of time, yesterday, today, and tomorrow; all at once was a pure unity. That physical death had to be spiritual satisfaction so that the spirit can not disconnect your disposable body. As a child, I saw my family go to leave my garden flowers home to their loved ones. But noticing that my grandparents were still alive, and then would leave, looking for ways to inhale the smell of the earth to prepare for the farewell, that someday would come from the dark beyond. It never was painful to see them go because I've always been with them. Besides always our body, which would be living in a merger with spirits vague, vague minds to not blame his interest in spirituality as a way of life, often making us climb through dark passages of ignorance.

Etréstles, the protagonist; It is staged one lineage that marks limits warriors of ancient Greece, since fighting with neighboring nations. Thus, generation after generation, he meddles in successive reincarnations that are to be transported in time to different spaces.  Its Vitabión and Regma Mother, father, and as Staktos and Esaedt, both from different eras. His company monogamous sentimental is linked by the presence of Drestnia; the woman he had to get out of her womb, better said from his rib, emulating the biblical account.

While it is noteworthy that the secondary characters are related to Greek mythology such as Eurydice, and real characters as Botsaris Markos, who was a great hero who drove the Turks. The famous Florentine sculptor and architect Lorenzo Ghiberti, is present in the action so that its image is immortalized in the eternal cemetery. Equally noteworthy is Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria (667-626 BC), the Auriga; Coachman, and the truck driver where he had his blacksmiths over time to release the Greek descent.

Other memorable as Aristotle and Hesiod Praxitle, which are knowledge to every reader of Greek literature. The judge presiding over the classroom in session from time to time, trying to relive the rituals and reject severe efforts of Lucifer, trying to have a place on earth, then God expelled him from heaven.

In the chapter of the onslaught of Lucifer, is he accompanied by his minions and Phosphoros Heosphoros; they are the ones who brought Lucifer from heaven to Messolonghi. Also appear hostile Mesopotamian demons of the world, were the Annunaki who were the guards of the dead in hell. The Etimmu were the ghosts of all those who had died unhappy. The Utukku lived in desolate places or cemeteries; they are all part of the presence in the malignancy as oppressive manner and form of presence to the exuberance of good all-encompassing.

Kanti Botsaris steed is not above his super consciousness, which leads as a link between different dimensions physical and dreamlike. It notes that Kanti is a Cretan horse and belongs to the fallen in battle, as Botsaris.

Eulalia and Zultina, both courtesans who spent their lives with Ghiberti and Botsaris.
And it could not ignore the Menopause, puerperal, and Inamorada, since they and female members alone your friend beyond earthly life that had consequences that affect the desolate silence of death camps.
And to top it, the arrival in Valplacci was with a world and an unusual man, a dimension Etréstles unknown. Then arriving at Patmos, where St. John the Theologian, to regain some of its lost soul by the intrusion of Lucifer. This achieves discover is not necessary to combat warriors who always speak of physical war, because many of them tend to succumb to the same battlefield. Discovering, so the mentoring Mind is the best ally to overcome any difficulty, wherever it is that the human race you are, or infrahuman.

Finally, Etréstles is discovered in a way that would inaugurate a new paragraph cycle to initiate a new era and a new physical space where the projection of Messolonghi would stand; nothing less than Nineveh, Ashurbanipal land where the winds blow, as a priest in his insufflation do to remove the demons that inhabit the world.
The "Zero" is the initiator of a new era, the basis of the only means available to the new life that awaits ruinous residents Messolonghi, after the invasion of Lucifer appears.

My concept of Cemeteries, they are seeking long an answer that I think I can approximate now that huge efforts are made to understand fully. The cemetery remains for me a scenario of hideousness and terror, seen from the observation point we all have of it, however, I think that in a strange world where you're not supposed to govern ethics, aesthetics, law, and the professional economic and social status; It is where more wealth is the multi stimulant vitality, "I think in any place inhabited earthly souls, will be able to find more life here in the cemetery of Messolonghi".

José Luis Carreño Troncoso.
Copyright all rights reserved
Vandana Raman Oct 2011
Towering over the rocky shore,
mentoring the intractable,discordant waves.
Rigid and stubborn,over which the eagles soar
"They" come here for absolution,the murderers,the soothsayers,the knaves.

Tweleve kilometers away from the tower,she watched,
living in sweet sardonic solace,in an ancestral cottage.
how "they" climbed the crumbling earth,body and soul parched,
desperate to be purged,freed from guilt-driven *******.

Ruminating over the storm swept silence,
she loathed man's dependence on belief.
Comatised, mentally enervated in its absence,
The belief commands discipline, our obedience.

Scrambling over the jagged rocks,
she climbed to the base of the dominating column,
A vulture sitting high above,looks down to mock.
the blinding circulating light,an eerie feeling she could not fathom.

Ascending the two hundred and forty eight iron spiral stairs,
as surreal force encompassed her, she instantly felt possessed, her mind awakened by last night's nightmare.
As she stood high above,adjacent to the vultures,
She acknowledged her mind grow vacous,empty , free.
There was something calming or demanding about this structure,
exterminating her inner thoughts and memories,reaching an ******* apogee.

— The End —