Upon entering the open space called Danner Hall, which is normally filled with tables and chairs as overflow to the daily cafeteria crowd, my eyes were drawn to creamy white fabric elaborately draped from four corners that met at the center of the room. Leslie Asfour, Director of the Fashion Program, always is hostess to events that exhume exquisite design and attention to detail. Immediately I knew this would not be the average “meet and greet” with a business type setup. This was a FASHION event. And once you came inside, you could feel it!
Of course, I can’t leave out the decadent refreshments from the Artisan Bakers Club! My favs were a yummy tiramisu served in the cutest little chilled shot glasses and milk chocolate and white chocolate dipped strawberries. Amazingly delightful!
In regard to the actual event, we had a total of 50+ years of combined fashion experience in front of us! It was quite impressive listening to each insider’s story and seeing where they are today and where they are headed for the future. On stage were Ladybrille®’s own, Ms. Uduak Oduok our President and CEO, Michael Palladino, Fashion Professor at LIM College and former Director of Client & Studio Services at Henri Bendels from NY, Billy Hutchinson, Calligrapher/Stationer and Assistant Manager at GUMP’s from SF, and Cathy Lagorio owner of one of Stockton’s hippest boutiques – Wish List on the Miracle Mile.
Leslie led the main Q&A with the insiders and I’d like to give a quick recap of the advice given… Billy shared that if you’re seeking to be a buyer, you should become BFF with Excel! However, if you’re like me and don’t enjoy math, well, you can do what Cathy suggested and partner with someone who does! Uduak spoke of the need for confidence and I have to agree that if you are going to have anything to do with fashion, art or design, confidence in your work and yourself are a MUST! If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, why should anybody else?
Michael shared his 5 E’s — Eye, Ego, Eclectic, Edit & Empathy. He says that “These five words are powerful tools I have shared with my fashion stylist students but can apply to us all in any context. The presence and careful moderation of these 5 words can bring success or guarantee failure.” The following is an explanation of each:
- Have an EYE that can look beyond the world of your own physical horizon and see with your heart the many vistas that lay beyond.
- Curb your EGO, learn to be humble and not to overstep. Understand the needs of others and be willing to be second, allowing someone else to be first.
- Be ECLECTIC and let your choices count. Seek answers in places others fear to look and find new truths and different solutions.
- Be unafraid to EDIT and take away that which is unnecessary. Knowing what works and is enough is a sign of confidence and merits trust.
- Practice EMPATHY and understand the needs of those around you. In relating to what others need, we will fulfill our own desires and find the perfect balance.
And finally, with the continuous uprising of technology, true written and grammatically correct expression seems to be lost. Friends, COMMUNICATION is a must. This means written and verbal. This also means, we don’t “talk text” in professional e-mails or school assigmnents. If you want a chance at an awesome internship or career, you should practice your writing skills. Take a speech class. Use a dictionary. You’ll be amazed at how much you still have to learn!
Many thanks to Leslie, the Delta College fashion department and students for putting together this amazing event. Additionally, we are so very grateful for each of our insiders, Michael, Cathy, Billy and Uduak, thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to enlighten us with your knowledge and expertise!
~Article by Camille Wall
~Photos courtesy Leslie Asfour/Stan Rapada/San Joaquin Delta College
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.