Last night, on Project Runway Allstars, I was eliminated for the work I did in the very first interactive challenge in the history of the show! For those of you who didn’t see it, we were challenged with the task of creating an outfit inspired by a selection of photos that were submitted by viewers.
I chose a photo by “Debra from Alabama”. It depicted her looking down to the left, and wearing accessories that I had a hunch she had made herself. Right away, I suspected a kindred spirit. Here was someone, like me, with creative aspirations, who saw this opportunity as a chance to get the word out about her work, with the hope that it might bring about a change. And guess, what? I was RIGHT! Meet Debra Butler, the creative soul behind Starfive Pieces, a label specializing in one-of-a-kind custom accessories.
Shortly after the show aired last night, we met through twitter, and exchanged contact information. This morning I spoke with her and found out that not only has she been a longtime viewer of the show, but the news I had chosen her photo, came during a severely difficult time in her life. Debra’s father, just weeks before, had succumbed to the throat cancer that the whole family had been fighting together, and the news that the show had used her photo came at a time just when Debra really needed to hear some good news. Can you imagine how pleased I was? Talk about turning elimination into elimination-ade!
I feel so small sometimes. As a fashion designer, it’s really easy to think that what you do is insignificant and frivolous. It is literally NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. And yet, this experience has made me overjoyed that maybe it’s possible to sew something that might function, at least metaphorically, like a rocket does! As a longtime fan of Project Runway, Debra has been pursuing her creative aspirations, and teaching herself to sew. It was, indeed, the fruits of her labors that caught my attention, amidst the scores of photos submitted for this challenge. She is living proof of the fact that creative endeavors are not a waste of time, and are indeed a vehicle through which we can make a difference in our own lives, and the lives of those around us! Will you indulge me if I’m corny enough to say, “No, fashion is not rocket science, but it can be a vehicle that transports you to new worlds of experience”?
So what next? Well, that’s a good question, and one that I pose to anyone reading this. Certainly the most immediate thing that you can do is donate to the American Cancer Society. Debra and her family were helped a great deal by the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. But we’re also talking about some kind of collaboration that might raise funds and awareness for this great organization. Of course, we welcome your suggestions in the comments below, so please, join the conversation!