GSyndicates Black: Honoring Black Fashion History (Part II)

Black by Popular Demand

Excerpt from Part I of this series

The National Association of Fashion And Accessory Designers (NAFAD) was founded in America in 1949, to promote equal opportunities for Black fashion designers. Today (as with ever before – just that it is now not so much silenced), with the rising tide of Black talent, the fashion industry is facing its deficits and calling forth its hidden giants as Black lives demand more Black fashion designers.

GSyndicates Black honors the history of Black fashion designers. In my journey to discover my designer genes that inspired designer jeans – among other fashion plates, I came upon these great shoulders…


Stephen Burrows

Stephen Burrows (born in Newark, New Jersey on September 15, 1943 to parents Octavia Pennington and Gerald Burrows) is an American fashion designer based in New York City. Burrows was raised by his mother, and maternal grandmother, Beatrice Pennington Banks Simmons. Burrows learned to sew watching his grandmother at her zigzag sewing machine. At age eight, he made his first garment for a friend’s doll.

Burrows took dance lessons in high school. He loved the mambo. He danced on Sundays at the Manhattan Palladium night club. That led to sketching dresses he imagined for his dance partners. Burrows initially enrolled in the Philadelphia Museum College of Art when he graduated from Newark Arts High School. He intended to become an art teacher. During a tour of the college, he encountered and was inspired by some dress forms. He transferred to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). However, FIT professors taught draping rules that frustrated Burrows’s trademarks of asymmetrical cutting, off-grain edge stretching, and drape-as-you-go garment building. He graduated in 1966.

Burrows studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology before beginning work in New York City’s Garment Center. Burrows epitomized what many fashion designers do in their early years, working closely with established designers and also being self-employed as small business owners.

Burrows is known for breaking the international fashionpreneur ice as the first African-American fashion designers to sell internationally with a mainstream, high-fashion clientele. Burrows’ trademark of bright colors and “lettuce hem” curly-edges, became an integral part of the “Fun City” New York City disco-dancing scene of the 1970s.

Burrows started his working career with a job at Weber Originals, a blouse manufacturer. His work was slowly picked up by small shops. “Burrows’ clothes were described as the fashion embodiment of the electric sexuality of this era. The women who wore his clothes gave off an aura of frantically creative days and wild nights filled with disco music and glamorous people.”

In 1968, Burrows began working with Andy Warhol and his entourage, selling at Max’s Kansas City and the O Boutique across the street. Burrows had yet to be satisfied. As a former FIT student Burrows shared his classmates’ desires to sell their lines at the famous Fifth Avenue retailer Henri Bendel. Burrows was introduced to Bendel’s owner, Geraldine Stutz, in the summer of 1968. She loved the coat he wore to meet her. She immediately allowed him to open a boutique in Henri Bendel. In Fall of 1973, “Stevies”, Burrows’ first lingerie/sleepwear collection, debuted at Henri Bendel’s, Bonwit Teller, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdales, as well as stores in Chicago, San Francisco, and elsewhere.

Burrows was one of the five American fashion designers chosen to showcase their work at the historical fashion show billed as divertissement à Vèrsailles, held on November 28, 1973. This event is referred to as “The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show.” Burrows was the youngest of the American designers to feature a collection at the show.

Among other exciting fashionistas, First Lady Michelle Obama, the first African American First Lady of the United States, wore a Burrows Jersey pantsuit to an event in Washington, D.C. of which Vogue Magazine wrote, “It was a wonderful acknowledgement of Burrows, one of the great African-American designers and a Harlem resident known for his inventive cuts and bias technique.” Burrows opened his new showroom and design studio in 2010 in New York City’s Garment Center.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Stephen Burrows (designer).” Last modified 17 December 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Burrows_(designer).


Dapper Dan

Daniel Day (born August 8, 1944) is best known as Dapper Dan, an American fashion designer and haberdasher (a retailer of men’s clothing, including suits, shirts, and neckties) from Harlem, New York.

Day grew up with three brothers and three sisters on 129th and Lexington Avenue. His father, Robert, was a civil servant. His mother, Lily, was a homemaker. He recalls seeing horses and buggies on the streets of New York in his post-World War II early childhood days in Manhattan. By age 13, Day was a skilled gambler – the success of which helped him finance his first store.

In the 1960s, Dan worked for a Harlem newspaper called Forty Acres and a Mule. He eventually became a vegetarian and gave up drinking, smoking and drugs. In 1968–74, he toured Africa as part of a program from Columbia University and the Urban League.

His influential store, Dapper Dan’s Boutique, operated from 1982–92 and is most associated with introducing high fashion to the hip hop world. Over the years, his clients have included Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z. Dan likes to call his designs, “high-end, ghetto-fabulous clothing.”

Returning to New York in 1974, Dan decided to be a clothier. He started his business by selling shoplifted items out of his car. He opened Dapper Dan’s Boutique in 1982 on 125th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The store was sometimes open 24 – 7. Dan faced prejudice as he aspired to be a clothing wholesaler. Most companies in that era refused to do business with him because he was Black. He struggled to obtain the textiles and other supplies that he needed. This lack of access to ready-made products inspired him to learn how to create his own designs.

Dapper Dan developed a collection of brash knockoffs using bootlegged fabrics he designed himself after learning by himself to do textile printing. One of his most notable inventions was the a new creative process for screen printing onto leather. Later, Dan also designed jewelry and luxury automobile interiors. “Dan’s trademark was his bold usage of logos from high-end luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Fendi.”

Day’s illegal use of logos in his custom-made designs eventually led to counterfeiting raids and litigation, followed by his first store’s closing. For decades later, Dan continued to work “underground” as a designer, although he was shunned by the mainstream fashion world.

Dan launched a fashion line with Gucci in 2017, revitalizing his career and showing that there is room for second chances. The fame of this collaboration led to his opening a second store and atelier in 2018, Dapper Dan’s of Harlem. Dapper Dan is included in Time magazine ‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Dapper Dan (designer).” Last modified 16 January 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dapper_Dan_(designer).

Segran, E. (2019, January 15). How Dapper Dan, Harlem’s Tailor, MAINSTREAMED “Ghetto Couture”. Retrieved February 02, 2021, from https://www.fastcompany.com/40533205/how-dapper-dan-harlems-tailor-mainstreamed-ghetto-couture

Wikipedia. 2021. “Haberdasher.” Last modified 29 November 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haberdasher.


Willi Smith

Willi Donnell Smith (February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987) was an American fashion designer who pioneered the streetwear movement. By the time of his death from complications of the AIDS virus, he was regarded as one of the most successful young African American designers in the fashion industry. WilliWear, Smith’s fashion company, grossed over $25 million in sales since its inception in 1976.

WilliWear was the first clothing company to create both womenswear and menswear under the same design label. The accessibility and affordability of Smith’s clothing helped to democratize fashion.

Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to extremely clothes-conscious parents, Willie Lee Smith (an ironworker), and June Eileen Smith (a homemaker). Smith toiled for hours on the floor of his home as a child, and at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, sketching. Smith’s mother told him (so prophetically) that he would grow up to be an artist or designer. Following the divorce of his parents, Smith’s grandmother, Gladys Bush, ensured his matriculation into the fashion industry.

Smith studied commercial art at Mastbaum Technical High School and took a course in fashion illustration at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. Then, he moved to New York City to go to Parsons The New School for Design. In 1965, Smith’s grandmother (who was the housekeeper for a family that was close to couturier, Arnold Scaasi) helped him land an internship with Scaasi, where Smith helped with the design of clothing for Elizabeth Taylor. Smith began studying fashion design at Parsons in the fall while taking liberal arts classes at New York University.

After dropping out of Parsons, Smith began designing for Digits Sportswear, where he met Laurie Mallet. In 1976, Smith founded WilliWear, with Mallet. Smith was known for his reasonably priced designs that were called “… ones you would see everyone wearing on the street…” WilliWear mixed elements of relaxed fit sportswear with high-end tailoring before the melange was a fashion staple. WilliWear’s seasonal collections saw 11 years in his lifetime.

New York City was Smith’s inspiration. He is quoted as saying, “Being Black has a lot to do with my being a good designer…” and “Most of these designers who have to run to Paris for color and fabric combinations should go to church on Sunday in Harlem. It’s all right there.”

After his death, Mallet continued WilliWear. However, the brand never recovered from the loss of Smith. The company failed to meet financial benchmarks and ceased production in 1990.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Willi Smith.” Last modified 21 December 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willi_Smith.


Ciao for now!

GSyndicates Black: Honoring Black Fashion History (Part I)

Black by Popular Demand

The National Association of Fashion And Accessory Designers (NAFAD) was founded in America in 1949, to promote equal opportunities for Black fashion designers. Today (as with ever before – just that it is now not so much silenced), with the rising tide of Black talent, the fashion industry is facing its deficits and calling forth its hidden giants as Black lives demand more Black fashion designers.

GSyndicates Black honors the history of Black fashion designers. In my journey to discover my designer genes that inspired my designer jeans (among other fashion plates), I came upon these great shoulders…

My Designer Genes

“I have designer genes and designer jeans!

Shenica Graham

Celia Lucinda (Upshaw) Lane

First, since Black hair is certainly a topic on the fashion front lines, let me pay homage to my own maternal Great Grandmother (at left), Celia Lucinda (Upshaw) Lane (born c. 1909), who was the first Black woman to own a Velvatex College of Beauty Culture in Kansas. She was the twin daughter of her slave mother and their slave owner. Many of the women in my family would say that I inherited my great grandmothers’ gift for haircare.

The following is an excerpt about the founder of Velvatex: “In 1926, M. E. Patterson of Little Rock incorporated Velvatex College of Beauty Culture, then known as Velvatex Beauty College, which was the state’s only approved beauty school for people of color… Patterson dubbed the school “Velvatex” because she believed African-American hair emulated the feel of velvet.” « read more

Hayman, Syd. “Like Velvet.” Arkansas Times, February 2019. Online at https://arktimes.com/entertainment/ae-feature/2019/02/01/like-velvet-history-in-black-hairstyles-in-arkansas (accessed February 1, 2021).

Hayman, Syd. “Velvatex College of Beauty Culture.” Encyclopedia of Arkansas, August 2020. Online at https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/velvatex-college-of-beauty-culture-14491/ (accessed February 1, 2021).


Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans

Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans, Seamstress

Celia Lucinda’s daughter, my maternal Grandmother, Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans (September 15, 1931 – April 20, 2013) was one of the Lane owned Velvatex College’s first graduates. Lucinda was born on September 15, 1931 in North Little Rock, Arkansas to Mr. and Mrs. James (Lucinda) Lane. Annie was the oldest girl of nine children. Annie married Harrell K. Evans on May 14, 1950. They were married for 48 years, 9 months, and 28 days. Grandma Lucinda was also a prolific seamstress who was gifted to make fine apparel without patterns, simply from the ideas in her creative spirit – that entity shared by all designers.


Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris

Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris, Founder / CEO, House of Sherell

Annie Lucinda’s daughter, my mother, Mrs. Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris is the Founder and CEO of House of Sherell, a fashion design business. Deborah was born on February 21, 1956 in Wichita, Kansas. From the age of six, Mrs. Morris carried the dream of launching a fashion mogul. She is now capitalizing on the many skills gained from her leadership role as a Supply Sargent in the US Army.

In 2007, she founded Sherell Ra Sha Inc, a consignment and service company with a vision of helping families recover from poverty and natural disaster.

Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris, Supply Sargent, US Army

This leap secured the fact of faith in her vision. The business saw its first major progress when Mrs. Morris enrolled in a fashion design program at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in the fall of 2011, leading to development of the first fashion show, which was held in 2013. I debuted my first fashion line at that show.

Part of my heritage of fashionpreneurs, my mother has served veterans and civilian families for over fifty years with a variety of talents. She is a highly gifted seamstress and creative force who has inspired and empowered many others including myself (I am still writing my own fashion history).


Shenica Renee Graham

Shenica Renee Graham, Founder / CEO, GSyndicates

I (Shenica Renee Graham) was born on October 14, 1977 in Long Beach, California. I am the great-granddaughter of Celia Lucinda (Upshaw) Lane, the granddaughter of Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans, and a lifelong apprentice of my mother, Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris (Owner / Designer of Iowa’s premiere fashion house, House of Sherell).

I learned to sew as a child while sitting on the floor near mother’s chair as she whisked her Singer classic sewing machine through everything from hats to draperies. I have been designing doll clothes since age 6, sitting at the feet of her sewing mother. Her maternal grandmother was also a talented and influential seamstress. I began began designing clothes for myself at age nine. I like to say, “I have designer genes and designer jeans!

Though I naturally developed a love for fashion, my dreams were diverted by nagging health problems including severe depression. I battled low self-esteem and had a difficult time breaking free from a downward spiral that left me in a virtual hermitage.

In high school, I could from time to time be found sewing throughout the night, making clothes to wear the next day. As a Sophomore, I made the graduation dress for one of my Senior high school friends. This friend was my first paying client as a teenager. Furthering my fashionpreneure spirit, I made and sold plush bears dressed in my original designs. A high-school counselor bought my most-expensive item: a bear dressed in a red, couture gown with hand sewn embellishments. In college, Shenica continued to create wearable art including custom painted t-shirts.

In 2013, I founded fashion label, GSIA – one of the best decisions I ever made. I still recall the mélange of excitement and anxiety of stepping out of my comfort zone to launch a creative project beyond the borders of self-seclusion. After battling depression for several years, I was inspired by my mother to take up a lost art from my youth. Following a series of hospitalizations, I was once again at a crossroad. My mother, who had gone back to college to pursue a fashion design degree, was already well on her way to becoming a Senior in her program (class of 2018! Whoot! Whoot!). She offered me the chance of a lifetime…

My mother and I are traditional pageant watchers. Our favorite competitions are the evening gown, talent, and costume competition (as with the Miss Universe pageant). With the rise of reality television, we have become regulars in the home-front row, watching the likes of Project Runway and Making The Cut (we love Tim and Heidi!). When I accepted my mother’s offer to join in a fashion business as Chief Information Officer (CIO, based on my compu-tech savvy) and Senior Fashion designer, Mom was already planning to host a fashion show in November.

quote_left

It felt like I had stepped into a Cinderella story. The pumpkin bloomed and I had made it to fashion week!”

Mom and I even had a private competition. We sequestered ourselves to a sewing environment with our own one-to-one challenges in a mock Project Runway. I won that contest (to be fair, Mom did have some heart trouble the week before and had just been released from the hospital when we started the competition. Thank God she came out well).

I am so humbled and grateful for this opportunity. The power of someone else believing in you when you cannot see your value is priceless. Becoming a fashion designer is something I had dreamed of yet did not have the courage to pursue. It was too personal; and that made it too risky. My mother is my hero for giving me a gentle nudge, picking me up every time I fell, and supporting me whilst I learned to stand on faith. Helping her to build this business is something at which I work very diligently. I want her to know that she can count on me to be her best champion, the way she has always been for me.

Coming out of that shell to do something so public; putting all of me into a product and subjecting it to scrutiny, was an is frankly, terrifying. I had spent so much life force building walls to protect what was my fragile shell. It was difficult to see myself any other way.

In this whirlwind of new experiences, I finally found my niche beyond the written word – a hobby turned into several published articles and unfinished manuscripts. Thus, I joined Mom and one younger brother to officially launch the fashion business. This trio hosted a fashion show and banquet, which received rave reviews. As fate would have it, my finale look (which I entitled, “Marilyn”) was, “… the show maker,” according to Mom. The success of my first line preview sparked a new venture, Haute Midwest Magazine. The magazine allowed me to fulfill my love of journalism and creative writing, while staying informed in my new career field and advancing the goals of House of Sherell, our family’s premiere fashion house. The magazine is a testament to the constant flow of new ideas and talented energy in our entire family.

The second chapter in GSIA history has already begun. With the success of Haute Midwest magazine and finding a new creative voice, I am launching full-time into fashion. Yet a computer programming student, I plan to add fashion design to my educational portfolio, which includes two Bachelor of Arts degrees. To pay success forward, I am happy to sponsor future fashion moguls, which is part of my new design business including expertise in fashion and media, GSyndicates.

HM Model Sawanda in “Marilyn” by GSIA

My designs complement a variety of body shapes and sizes. My first full-sized (not just for dolls and bears) apparel and accessory collection, GSIA™ (GSyndicates Iowa, now part of GSyndicates™), was featured at the November 2013 House of Sherell Fashion Show & Banquet. The star of the collection was a pearl white suit dubbed, “Marilyn.” This show stopper (shown at left) was born in one of Shenica’s bursts of manic energy (a nod to her Bipolar battle – Shenica was diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression, and Schizoaffective Bipolar Disorder (following a near death experience). My condition is managed by medication, allowing me to thrive creatively (learn about my mental health activism).

Reprinted by permission from Haute Midwest Magazine.


Ann Lowe

Newlyweds, John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy. She is wearing Ann Lowe’s design. – Wikimedia Commons

Ann Cole Lowe (December 14, 1898 – February 25, 1981) was America’s first Black high-fashion designer, from rural Clayton Alabama. Lowe and I share an element of history (including our culture and designer genes: we are each the third generation out of slavery – the great granddaughters of an enslaved woman and a plantation owner. Lowe’s grandmother was raised as an enslaved dressmaker for her white owners. After the Civil War, she opened her own business. Ann, like myself, learned to sew from both her grandmother and her mother, and showed marked talent even from the early age of six.

Lowe’s designer genes came from her mother Janey and grandmother Georgia. These influences both worked as seamstresses for the first families of Montgomery and other members of high society. Lowe was just 16 when her mother passed. Lowe inherited her mother’s unfinished fashionable work including four ball gowns for the First Lady of Alabama, Elizabeth Kirkman O’Neal. Lowe finished the dresses.

Although Lowe was (perhaps unbeknownst to herself) married to her design work, she wed Lee Cohen in 1912, with whom she had a son, Arthur Lee. Cohen’s lack of admiration for Lowe’s design prowess likely led to their parting. He wanted her to give up working as a seamstress. While she complied for a time, the #fashioncall could not be put to rest. After being hired to design dresses for a Florida based tycoon, Lowe took her son and left (Arthur Lee later worked as Lowe’s business partner until his untimely death in 1958 from a car accident (a second marriage, to a man whom Lowe quoted as having said he, “…wanted a real wife, not one who was forever jumping out of bed to sketch dresses”, also ended)).

Lowe enrolled in a couture course at S.T. Design school in 1917, taking a sabbatical from her Florida job. The school was then segregated. Lowe’s classes hosted only one student – herself! Her white schoolmates refused to sit in the same room with her. In fact, the college head was shocked to learn that Lowe’s application was that of a Black woman. Despite the potentially lonely education, Lowe studied hard and graduated early in 1919. Lowe and her son returned to Tampa, Florida and opened her first dress salon. It successfully catered to Tampa’s high society. However, Lowe returned to New York City in 1928 and lived in New York for the rest of her life.

After working for a time under the auspices of various labels on commission – including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, Lowe grew weary of not being credited for her work. In 1950, Lowe and her son opened a second salon, Ann Lowe’s Gowns, on Lexington Avenue in New York City.

Lowe’s unmatched designs thrilled high society matrons from the 1920s to the 1960s. She became known as “society’s “best-kept secret” (Minutaglio). Ebony magazine called her the “Dean of Designers.” Much like my mother taught me, Lowe learned and practiced that the inside of the garment, however unseen, was as important as the outer appearance. The inside of her garments were beautifully finished with her trademark excellent technique.

Lowe is best known for her ivory silk taffeta wedding dress design worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953. However, Lowe was snubbed by Kennedy who when asked by reporters about her dressmaker, responded that she had wanted something French, but instead “a colored dressmaker” did it (Martin). Only one reporter, Nina Hyde of the Washington Post, actually followed up to discover Ann Lowe’s name (Martin). All of the numerous other stories ran without any mention of her. Understandably, Lowe was very disappointed.

While Lowe commanded high prices for her designs, she was often talked down and barely made a profit on what should have been lucrative sales.

This marked underprofitting plagued Lowe’s business years and left her at once bankrupt. She even had a loss of over $2,000 on the Kennedy dress that is one of the most iconic gowns of all time. Lowe charged only $500 for the ensemble that actually had to be made twice! The original gown was destroyed in a freak flood that ruined Lowe’s design studio and several of the Kennedy designs including the bride’s and some bridesmaids’ dresses. Lowe swallowed the cost, re-ordered fabric, and had her seamstresses working overtime to re-make the dresses. After all of the sacrifices Lowe made, she was still asked by guards at the wedding venue to use the service entrance because she was Black. Lowe refused, stating that the dresses would not be delivered at all if they had to be delivered under an umbrella of prejudice. She said, “If I have to use the backdoor, they’re not going to have the gowns!”

Lowe was challenged in later life with bad eyesight and completely lost one eye, with the other later being saved by surgery. She told the Saturday Evening Post that although she had to “work by feel”, people told her that she had “….done better feeling than others do seeing.”

A children’s book, “Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Ann Cole Lowe” written by Deborah Blumenthal. Published in 2017. – Amazon

Sadly, Lowe died at 82 on February 25, 1981, without achieving notoriety or financial success that equals her current renown.

Though she did not live to see it, a collection of five of Lowe’s designs are presently held at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Three of her designs are on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Several other of her designs were included in an exhibition on black fashion at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan in December 2016. A children’s book, Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Ann Cole Lowe written by Deborah Blumenthal was published in 2017. Author Piper Huguley wrote a historical fiction novel about Lowe’s life.

“1953 – Ann Lowe, Jacqueline Kennedy’s Wedding Dress.” Fashion History Timeline, 13 June 2020, fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1953-lowe-kennedy-wedding-dress/.

Laneri, Raquel. “Why Jackie Kennedy’s Wedding Dress Designer Was Fashion’s ‘Best Kept Secret’.” New York Post, New York Post, 16 Oct. 2016, nypost.com/2016/10/16/jackies-wedding-dress-designer-is-finally-recognized/.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Ann Lowe.” Last modified 16 January 2021.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Lowe.


Zelda Wynn Valdes

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes (June 28, 1905 – September 26, 2001) was an American fashion designer and costumer. She is credited as the original creator of the Playboy Bunny costume. Valdes is frequently quoted as having said of herself, “I just had a God-given talent for making people beautiful…”

Valdes was born Zelda Christian Barbour in Chambersburg, PA, but grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina where she trained as a classical pianist at the Catholic Conservatory of Music. In the early 1920s, Valdes worked in her uncle’s tailoring shop in White Plains, New York. Around the same time, Valdes began working in a high-end boutique as a stock girl. Eventually, she worked her way up to sales and making alterations. Valdes was the boutique’s first Black sales clerk and tailor. She knew how to design for any body type and could accentuate the best of every body.

She claimed to own the first Black owned business on broadway when she opened “Zelda Wynn” in 1948, her design and dressmaking studio in New York. Valdes dressed a host of celebrities and charged near $1,000 for a single gown in the 1950s (that would be about $10,000 US today). Wynn was one of the founders of the NAFAD. The clothing label featured at the top of this post is from a dress worn by Ella Fitzgerald (circa 1940s), designed by Zelda Valdes.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Zelda Wynn Valdes.” Last modified 23 January 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelda_Wynn_Valdes.


Mildred Blount

Mildred Blount (born 1907) was an American milliner (hat maker) noted for her creations for the production of Gone With The Wind, and for celebrities and other people in high society.

Blount’s worked at Madame Clair’s Dress and Hat Shop in New York City, where she developed an interest in millinery. She and her sister, who was a dressmaker, later opened their own dress and hat shop with target market of wealthy New Yorkers.

Blount’s career was energized after her designs were shown at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. She was asked to design hats for the films Gone with the Wind and Easter Parade, as well as for the cover of the August 1942 Ladies’ Home Journal. Later in the 1940s, Blount ran a hat shop in Beverly Hills, California. She catered to clients such as Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Vanderbilt, Marian Anderson, and others. Blount reportedly died in 1974 in Los Angeles, California.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Mildred Blount.” Last modified 25 September 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mildred_Blount.


« read Part II of this series

Ciao for now!

New branding for House of Sherell

Working on the fashion show has been so rewarding. Time is winding up, though. With just 8 days to go, there is still much to do. The excitement is at an all time high!

In the midst of new things rising, House of Sherell is getting a new look. This new branding distinguishes the fashion house from its parent company, while it is still an integral part of Sherell Ra Sha Inc.

This logo is the newest addition to my design portfolio and will become a staple in Midwest fashion. Introducing, House of Sherell – Made in the USA!

Get to know House of Sherell.

A Midwest Fashion Show!

HouseofSherell_fashionshow_datebanner2013

Join us for the first annual fashion show and banquet

by House of Sherell! GSHENICA Designs is a Platinum Sponsor of this unprecedented, must-see event. Seating is limited so do not delay. All tickets will be sold in advance (no ticket sales at the door). Sponsorship opportunities are available. Are you in business? Ad space is also available!

Share the excitement! Download the event flyer. Save it and pass it on!

This event is listed on the WHOTV (Des Moines News Channel 13) Community Events Calendar!

What: Fashion Show and Banquet
When: Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Where: The Iowa Culinary Institute™ (ici™) Bistro at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC)
Attire: Semi-Formal
Admission: Doors open at 6:00 PM
Admission Cost: $ 40 US per person – Tickets are available now!


More details at http://sherellrasha.com/events/