Thursday, September 23, 2010
American Talent, neither Red nor Blue
Remember when Obama first captured America's attention with his inspirational point that there was neither a red America nor a blue America, but rather one America? I found myself thinking about this in another context as I viewed the Spring 2011 fashion collections of small American companies, companies where the clothing is designed by Americans and produced in small studios or homes, not factories. The fashion I saw yesterday was outside the mainstream, sometimes quirky and perhaps arty, and while not classic and buttoned-down, was nonetheless as American as apple pie.
As a left-leaning voter, it has seemed to me that American-made as a rallying cry, just like the American flag as a symbol, has often been co-opted by traditional, Republican-leaning politicians and voters. I remember that one of the positive after-effects of 9/11 was the return of the American flag as a symbol for ALL Americans, Democrats and Republicans, left and right, red and blue. We waved our flag together in our common grief and pride.
Similarly, I have noticed that American-made, when applied to art, craft, and fashion has no political connotations. I share a common love of American art with some Republican friends, and my personal tastes and preferences diverge with friends of my party. The commonality is the work, and the appreciation of creativity as an integral fiber in the cloth of our country and culture.
American fashion, when designed and produced in the United States, expresses so much that is great about us as a nation- creative, expressive, optimistic and ambitious. Models wrapped in unusual styles exhibited as much national pride as if they were wrapped in a flag!
Note: The black "Beth" dress is by Lynn Mizono, and you can see more of her work at artfulhome.com. Bottom photo is of sweater designer Amy Brill just having fun!