Visiting Paris, France is as pleasurable as it is educational for a fashion designer. The shopping is plentiful and never disappoints, while the outdoor cafes between the stores provide a welcome, delicious break. The energy in the city is more sophisticated and romantic than the loud bustle of New York City. Walking along the street, you'll likely notice more women in dresses and heels than in sportswear and sneakers. The detailed architecture on the buildings and the balconies with flowers trailing down the rails complete the picture.
Shopping in the designer clothing stores always takes up a couple full days of my visit. I walk down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where one can find most of the top French design stores. On my second day, I'll seek out emerging brands to see new ideas and concepts. The clothing always feels more elegant and sophisticated than the more street-style friendly stores in New York City, which I love. I browse slowly, looking at every detail and design element until the attendants start to eye me suspiciously.
Touching and feeling the clothing is an important part of learning the elements of what makes designer clothing feel and look different than bridge or mass market clothing. While I was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology as a design student, my design professors stressed the importance of looking at the actual clothing instead of images online. Their advice was on point- I always pick up fascinating design and finishing details that I would miss by just looking at a photograph. In addition, feeling the hand of the textiles is an experience in itself.
By now, I can immediately tell the difference in a high quality garment, and if shortcuts have been taken to speed up the process. Seeing 1/8 French Seams on a silk chiffon blouse reminds me of the careful process of sewing, trimming and pressing that is taken for granted by individuals just looking at price tags. I gravitate towards hand beaded appliqués and hand finished garments, knowing how long it took to complete them. I rarely purchase something, since I personally am an emerging designer, and I'd rather funnel my finances into new collections. I don't shop to buy at this point in my career, I shop to learn.
Like any other industry, the fashion industry is always evolving. I will always be a student of the arts and of design. Finding other brands that are bringing ideas to the market that feel fresh but continue to carry the elegance that I feel during a trip to Paris always makes me feel happy and inspired.
XOXO, Kate Stoltz
Pictured: Kate Stoltz getting ready for a day in Paris at La Réserve in France.
To shop the pieces featured in the photos, click on the links below:
Who I am Today Posted on 4 May 14:03 , 0 comments
I am not who I was ten years ago, a year ago, or yesterday. None of us are. Before you make assumptions about my statement, read the explanation below.
The human existence is much more complex than one single factor... Imagine placing a flower on a white canvas. The flower is the entire picture. You then place a sheer piece of organza over the flower. You can still see the flower, but the organza captures the light and the thin layer is between your eye and the flower. The flower is no longer the entire picture. You keep adding layers of materials to the canvas, distorting the image of the flower. What you see is no longer a flower, but the result of everything you have added on top of it. The flower will be there no matter how many layers you add onto the canvas, but you wouldn't point to your canvas and say that the entire picture is defined by flower. At this point, the organza is as relevant as the flower is.
When you are born, you are like the flower. Everything you learn and experience is like having another piece of material layered on top, changed you and shaping you. We have the incredible human capability to learn from experience and example, allowing us to speak, learn new information and walk. People we have met, places we have visited, and things we have done throughout our lifetime have made us into the people we are today. Good or bad, every moment adds another layer to our existence.
I am more complex than the color of my skin, where I am from, my religious or personal beliefs, job title or any other factor that is easy to point out. We all are. Single factors like where we are from are all very important, but focusing on only one of the many factors of a human existence only limits us to an incomplete picture. Seeing other people for who they are today is the same, since they too change as time goes on. Even if there is no effort to change in an individual, it happens to everyone. No one has control over time.
Who we are today is everything we have been, but who we were is not everything we are today. The present is the only place in time where we have all the layers that are our existence. The person you were ten years ago is still there, but it's been transformed every single day since then by new experiences. Running from past experiences is not what I am suggesting, since it helped create who we are today. But being able to move past what was, and focus on what is right now allows us to embrace the present situation. It's up to us what the layers of our present and future will look like.XO- Kate Stoltz
Fashion Designer Kate Stoltz photographed by Lena Shkoda in New York City