Heart of Fashion This Weekend: Pride, Mourning Bill, and Becoming Woke

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt'd home


This past weekend I spent time catching up with old friends. I binged Netflix, cruised the Internet, and YouTube’d. Oh the joys of wifi. Outside of my home–centric activities it was a big weekend. There was mourning, celebrating, and for anyone still sleeping, we were asked to wake up.

Some of us mourned

The OG street style photographer Bill Cunningham passed away over the weekend. What a loss. Bill helped us see that you don’t need a runway to dress well. He taught us that one doesn’t need a special occasion, though that’s nice, to dress for. Do it for yourself in your everyday life. I like to think that the most accessible red carpet out there is out in the street.

If you followed his work for the New York Times or watched the Netflix documentary on him you know how he loved to capture everyday people. Most importantly he snapped and published all types of people. The criterion wasn’t dependent upon size, social status, or skin tone. You simply had to have style. Over his long career, people got to know who he was - although he always kept a quiet distance - and hoped to capture his discerning eye. The long time New Yorker and Vogue editor Anna Wintour famously said, “We all get dressed for Bill.” 

Many Celebrated

Pride NYC wrapped up the week with the annual Pride Parade this past Sunday. This year is bittersweet as we are still reeling from the shock of the Orlando hate crimes. To be clear, the Orlando Pulse club shooter deliberately attacked persons of the LGBTQ community. It’s hard to know what to say, think, or do after a tragedy. It is infuriating to learn the details and that it was preventable. What I believe is important is to be out, seen, and celebrated for whom each of us are. Don’t hide. Be proud. Love freely. Expressing that personal truth through clothing while partying is a fantastic way to celebrate.

Others Woke Up

Across the coast the BET Awards were held Sunday night celebrating the best in black entertainment. Again, it is so important to celebrate all people. Young need to see positive role models. They need to see adults in positive situations. A child’s admiration for others can fuel ambitions of their own.

Prince was remembered and honoured through performances from his collaborators, peers, and admirers. A style standout for me was the caped white suit dress that Jennifer Hudson wore while she paid tribute. It was dramatic and light all at once.

Of course Queen Bey hit all of my spots with the tassels that swayed and thrashed alongside her in that Freedom pool. But another person stole the show for me.

The humanitarian award went to Jesse Williams for his work with the Black Live Matter movement. His woke speech urged his peers in the audience and us at home to wake the f*ck up when it comes to race relations and social justice issues. He used his speech to advance thinking, to educate, and to urge action. One particular part of his woke speech stood out to me. He asked his peers in entertainment to consider what companies and brands they are aligning themselves with. He reminded us that whom we do business with matters. It took conscious consumerism from a phrase we use in fashion to a phrase one uses to consider life choices.

“The thing is though, all of us here are getting money, that alone isn’t going to stop this. Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back to put someone’s brand on our body -- when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies?

It was a weekend full of mixed emotions. What’s your heart full of?