Validating the Trend

by Alfredo A. Weeks VI

Model @egyptique, Photographer @mark.aghatise

It’s around the end of summer 2011 and I find myself hopping off of my bike arriving at an old 50’s style apartment in N.W. Washington D.C. It’s photoshoot day and all the models and photographers are crammed into the living room of the apartment waiting for instructions from a petite Fashion designer Matilda Nwoke.

She walks in, stares at the models as if she’s waiting to find something out of place. The models pose and Matilda waves them on as a gesture of approval. At that moment I realized I just might be a bit out of my element. The intriguing part was realizing how much fashion designers are so apart of our society, but too many of them have yet to tell their stories. Matilda has a history where cultures from east to west have influenced her journey in the fashion industry. Of Ghanaian decent Matilda thrived in creating a balance between her upbringing as well as displaying that old school American grit to get what she wants.

“Saying there is never anything new tells us as creatives to stop trying to find the one thought that sparks our genius.”

The struggle is real for fashion designers. When you hear stories of Tommy Hilfiger rising to the top by placing emphasis on every button, and children aspiring to fashion moguls, you find Matilda in the Middle. The up and coming fashion designer with a business-like demeanor to present her vision to the world as it’s meant to be told. On that day of the photo shoot, I realized an artists does not only work with paint brushes and canvases but also needles and threads. The admiration for fashion designers gave me a particular kind of infatuation with clothes, mainly because of the stories behind every look and the journey to perfect one’s craft is real.

The pure tenacity to look towards the fashion industry and take a thoughtful approach, with intentions to honor the women who have helped Matilda throughout her life’s journey is nothing less than admirable. By 2017 Matilda moved to New York and landed gigs at New York & Company as well as Calvin Klein. She loved the prestige of it all, while she was being pulled between her morals and career success, Matilda made sure to stay true to who she is.

The takeaway was, Matilda wanting to go against the grain. From time to time she speaks about how so many people she knew moved up in the industry by losing themselves and buying into someone else’s dreams. Success to Matilda is believing in your talent while taking the risk to try new things when necessary. As some may say, “there is never anything new under the sun”, tells us as creatives to stop trying to find the one thought that sparks our genius.

“Matilda Nwoke is the fashion designer who will be making clothes regardless of validation, success or encouragement.”

When it comes to these designers who take their different styles and looks and believe someone will wear their clothing takes a lot of guts. These designers may be cut from a different cloth (pun intended), compared to your cliche’ looking artists, but their hearts beat with creativity and adventure. You see them every day risking criticism to try and create new trends while evolving to become the creators of timeless styles for the future. How much do we owe to these fabric savages for our outer appearance, when at times these designers represent our inner thoughts with every stitch.

Matilda Nwoke is the fashion designer who would be designing her own looks and trends regardless of successes or failures. But, seeing a fashion designer finesse a room to get the right models paired with the perfect photographer is an experience that sticks. There is something that stares back at you when you look at a fashion designer on a mission. Is it confidence? Ambitions, or risk? Take time to notice how fashion designers put importance to minor details, from that we could possibly learn new ways to continue our own creative journeys.

Petite in stature, grand in vision Matilda Nwoke is the fashion designer who will be making clothes regardless of validation, success or encouragement. Making clothes is in Matilda’s blood. Hopefully, the future will tell more stories similar to Matilda’s, so long as authenticity leads the way.