A Note From The Publisher: Express Yourself

As a kid I was encouraged to express myself. I would mix tops and bottoms, put my belt a little too high or low and use found objects to make necklaces before confidently walking into the classroom at elementary school. My parents tell stories about me sitting in my room for hours talking to my imaginary friends using elaborate storylines. I frequently gave performances at dinner time, including a long, orchestrated marriage to a bowl of Spaghetti O’s. One evening while the rest of the family ate fried steak and green beans, I decided to prove my love to those little o’s. After the microwave timer went off, I pulled out the bowl and carefully walked down the aisle before giving a speech about our devotion to each other. My siblings rolled their eyes and my dad said, “There’s our little drama queen.” I was a pretty eccentric kid.

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In middle school I became aware that being expressive was being different, and in the suburbs of St. Louis, being different wasn’t the way to climb the social ladder. The summer of sixth grade I convinced my mom to go to Limited Too so I could be on trend like the popular girls. I straightened my wild curls and practiced the perfect combination of lip liner and gloss. By the time I entered high school my expressiveness was tamed and I had mastered being mysterious and charming with the boys.

Ten years ago I started my work with local designers through Saint Louis Fashion Week and it was in this work that I reclaimed my independent style and gained confidence to show up as a little more me. Behind the scenes of the runway, I witnessed the designers confidently sharing their points of view with the world. A couple of years ago I started only buying clothing from people I know, which helped me align how I spend my money with what I care about. Over the years I’ve experimented with wearing a dress made out of x-rays to a gala (thank you Michael Drummond) and a handbag made out of materials from a barn (courteous of SKIF) and I saw how much my clothes can actually inspire me in my work and creative life. Because I’ve had the opportunity to do this work and spend time with so many talented artists, I am happy to say that bold, imaginative, drama queen is not only alive and well—but 100% devoted to expressing herself.

 

Top photo by Alejandro Escamilla.

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