The Seed is Planted
Father's Day dawned like any usual day this year. No sorrow or feelings of sadness. Maybe this was a sign. My father passed away four years ago and the first two Father's Days after his death were difficult. Not buying him a card, not calling or seeing him left noticeable voids. Perhaps I finally reconciled his absence and my loss.
But as I typically do Sunday mornings, I started this past Father's Day to read tweets. A Twitter friend tweeted about missing her father who had also passed. We tweeted about the missed dads, the feelings that somehow they are still with us and the "gifts" they send us. And it resurfaced: that missing piece of the Father's Day experience.
So I decided to celebrate my father on the blog. It's topical because my father is one of the reasons I am now a designer. (He is probably one of the reasons I was a lawyer first, but that's not worth discussing). My father worked in the apparel business. He started humbly as a shipping clerk in the New York City Garment Center. Boy, could he tie a knot. When I came on the scene, he covered the New York metropolitan area for a mens' sport shirt and knitwear company known as Dee Sportswear. Dee was a mom and pop business run successively by a family matriarch and then one of her sons. My dad was in sales, but also designed the line. Our kitchen was the studio. My dad's boss would often pop over unannounced, puffing his cigar and leaving ashes everywhere. Styles were discussed. Arguments ensued. My father usually won.
Design inspirations came from store owners who fed my father design ideas and from L'Uomo Vogue, the Italian menswear magazine he'd pick up from the newsstand. I was the beneficiary of his inspirations. Typically, if he found a shirt or sweater he wanted to copy, I'd get the original. Such bad precedent! I'd go with him to the menswear shows usually held in a hotel around New York's Penn Station. The cigar smoke in my dad's showroom made staying in the room unbearable, so I'd wander. My favorite thing to do was to look at how the rooms were trimmed. It amazed me how clever displays, props and lighting could make the merchandise look so appealing. It must be where I got my start.
So here's to you, Daddy. Thanks for igniting my passion for design.