In November of 2019 I sent Kimberly Goldson a DM asking for feedback on my portfolio as a recent graduate of fashion school. I asked her if we could chat and if she had any tips about breaking into the industry as a young designer. I didn't hear from Kimberly until June of 2020, about 7 months of job applications and rejection emails later. By that time, I wasn't doing very well mentally, the pandemic had held us in its clutches for about 4 months, I felt lost in my work and my purpose and I had no idea how I was going to make a name for myself or what the future would hold.
I didn't care that she had responded so long after my message was sent, I just cared about the fact that I got a response. Kimberly responded to my message and asked how she could help. I simply asked her for some tips and if she had a moment to check out my website/portfolio. She immediately told me that she loved my voice and that my authentic point of view would be what defines me as an artist and designer. In the next message she asked me if I would like to collaborate with her on some pieces for her upcoming collection. I was absolutely stunned at what had gone down over the course of 5 DM’s on instagram.
We ended up talking on the phone and chatted about the upcoming collection and what she was looking for from me. I was to create 4 illustrations that were to be placed on sweatshirts and t-shirts. I had full artistic control over the illustrations which was one of the most exciting parts of the project (aside from the fact that I was COLLABORATING with a talented BLACK FEMALE DESIGNER). In the end of the illustration/design process we had 4 pieces that would be a part of Kimberly Goldson’s upcoming F/W collection. As it turns out, this collection was going to be presented during New York Fashion Week during Harlem Fashion Row’s Fashion Show and Style Awards on the CFDA RUNWAY360 platform on September 13 2020. So, not only was I going to be presenting my illustrations at fashion week, but I was also presented as an emerging designer and illustrator on the CFDA website. My name was on the hangtags and mentioned whenever Kimberly spoke about the pieces. It was absolutely amazing to see the reaction and the love that came after the pieces were presented. And to top it off the pieces were included in an article about the show on VOGUE.COM. Yes, VOGUE.COM. Still crazy.
Serena, Amara, Zuri and Naomi (my girls) were shown so much love by so many people. Everything was sold out. It was absolutely amazing to be a part of something so beautiful and impactful. After the amazing feedback that we received from releasing our first 4 girls, I was asked to add 2 more girls to the family for a holiday drop. For this particular drop, Kimberly asked me to come to NYC and model some of the garments from their latest collection with them. Again, I was amazed and so freaking thankful for the opportunity. It was my first real photoshoot and I had so much fun.
Through all of this, I actually began to realize and recognize my talent. I learned how to be excited about my achievements and lean into my excellence. I can now say (with my full chest) that I have had work in VOGUE and that I have worked with a well known BLACK designer. I never would have had this opportunity if it weren't for Kimberly and her finding my DM.
Moral of the story, what you think may be good timing and effort may simply be ingredients that are used to cook up the right moment. Don’t give up on yourself and your efforts.
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