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Friday, April 10, 2009

Vision To Visuals: Focus On Fashion

In crisis, there is opportunity


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vision to visualsIn the more than four decades I’ve spent in New York, I’ve never seen the confidence of this city’s sanguine population shaken as profoundly as I have in the unfolding economic news of the past few months. The onslaught of negative news, the tumbling financial behemoths and unemployment figures have cast a gray pallor on this island’s most fearless members, the “Wall Streeters,” whose bullish energy has been lost in a pervasive sense of disappointment. But just 40 blocks away from the gloominess of Manhattan’s financial district, there’s still a sector, which, oblivious to the vagaries of economic turbulence, pulsates with creativity, celebration and entrepreneurialism. I’m talking about the fashion district, whose biannual Fashion Weeks con-tinue to bring a sense of renewal to the city. I believe fashion is one of the most powerful cultural symbols of regeneration and rejuvenation in our society, as it thrives on challenging the status quo. At unprecedented times like these, when people prefer to hide until the “dark clouds” pass over, fashion’s boldness and optimism remind us of the unwavering human spirit’s quest for beauty and perfection.

I’m someone who believes that crises represent an invaluable opportunity for change and rebirth. So I’m always drawn to optimists who apply themselves to deep introspection in times of crises and reconnect with their core human values to chart out a new future. Suma, a fashion designer I met two months ago, is an exceptional person who turned the gloom of the financial district into the optimism of the fashion district. An engineer by training who spent her entire career in executive positions on Wall Street, Suma was jolted out of her “comfort zone” earlier this year. She went into the depths of personal reflection and used this crisis in her favor by deciding to embark on her lifelong dream. Suma had a terrific talent for designing clothes, but her comfortable position on Wall Street had kept her from risking her career to become a fashion designer. Adopting the confidence and entrepreneurialism that runs through both fashion and finance in New York, Suma merged her “go-getter” Wall Street self with her creative ethos and designed and produced her first collection within three months of leaving the financial district.

Suma came to see me right after she created her collection. Although she was done with the most creative part of the process, she was clueless about how to introduce her work to the fashion world. My Focus on Fashion division at Duggal provides concept-to-creation services specifically tailored to the fashion industry, ranging from art direction, model casting and photo shoots to retouching, graphic design and printing the final work as look books and custom portfolios. Focus on Fashion serves as a convergent hub for professionals in fashion, as well as for new entrants like Suma.


 

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