As designers, we give creatively. We give physically. We give financially. And we give emotionally. We attach our identity to our collections, brands and businesses. And when our identity is in jeopardy, those of us “made of a softer clay” turn inward. We claim responsibility for it all. This is a heavy burden to shoulder, especially in an industry where perception is everything, and we know we are also responsible for keeping a glamorous curtain pulled as we struggle behind the scenes to stay afloat. The shiny facade is the reason few of us speak up and a major contributor to the feelings of isolation designers face backstage.
Those of us who are made of a softer clay, as Cathy Horyn put it in her dedication to the late L'Wren Scott, take great care to show those we work with appreciation and we feel a parental connection to that which we create. Like parents, we give without expecting in return, yet the fashion industry is built on financial return. As I flipped through the slideshow of celebrities who were (and still are) fans of L'Wren Scott, I could envision her taking great time, effort and care to see each gown was fitted perfectly and each woman felt unique and exquisite in the creation she borrowed for the evening's event. I can relate to the excitement and satisfaction Ms. Scott must have felt seeing one of “her children” come alive on the red carpet.
However, I can also imagine the day each L'Wren Scott gown was returned to the showroom when the excitement of seeing her gowns grace numerous Getty Images had died down. Following the thrill of countless “likes” and “RTs” on social media of said celebrities wearing L'Wren Scott, I understand the frustration that comes with knowing the number of “likes” on Facebook is certainly not an indicator of money in the bank for designers. Reality sets back in and it is back to the usual business of determining how to afford production for the next round of red carpet offspring.
Ms. Horyn, although I did not have the great pleasure of knowing Ms. Scott personally, with each tribute I read, I feel a sense of kinship, a common desire to make beautiful things and share them with the people I love, respect and admire. I share in Ms. Scott's desire to connect and to live gracefully and with purpose and to be a trusted confidant. I share her drive, her determination and her ability to “dig in” even when advised otherwise.
However, after reading your tribute to L'Wren Scott, I feel a renewed sense of pragmatism and perspective. Though I may still be at the “shoestring” stage of my business, I vow to honor Ms. Scott's life and legacy by seeking balance in my pursuit as a fashion designer. I pledge to value my energy and passion for connecting with others, as much as my ability to design and run a business in this sometimes all consuming world of fashion. I promise to take your words of advice, although I know they were meant for Ms. Scott. I will give myself a break, making sure to put my health first. My heart is heavy wishing L'Wren Scott was here to feel the outpouring of support and love following her death. My hope is that she will be eternally embraced by feelings of grace, glamor and respect – the same feelings she provided so many women during her celebrated career here on earth.
KARA LARICKS is a fashion designer, writer and inspirational speaker living in Manhattan's Lower East Side. As the winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Laricks designed signature masculine meets feminine capsule collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Laricks’ designs have been featured on NBC’s The Today Show and HBO’s True Blood, as well as on Style.com and in WWD. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.