April 21, 2020
Message from MassArt Alumna Shirley Willett
Fashion Design Class of 1955
Perspectives on a Future
Clothing designers must go back to being engineer, as I remember in the early and mid 20th century in Boston, when stitching in factories. They will enable to artfully bring quality clothing back into existence. Creative ideas will all come from consumers as to what they want to wear. Every human being has the ability to create. If we want to elevate taste, we must elevate consumer desires, through education, not through marketing. In fact, frivolous marketing of brands as known today will become extinct, following retail. Inner spirituality will dominate young consumer minds, and they will be drawn to understand their own inner selves, with clothing as their personal expression.
All consumers must learn through history the true purpose of clothing, to express their own inner feelings, not those of celebrity or any other designers. Personal inner desires will become more prevalent in the future. James Laver, famous costume historian at the Victoria and Albert Museum is known for: “Fashion is the mirror of the soul.” I would add, especially “a mirror of society’s soul”.
It is design engineers who must restart this new fashion industry. Beautiful, quality fashion clothing must be artfully engineered to enable many transformations and wearings, while maintaining its beauty for many consumers to wear. In so doing we avoid the “cheap throwaway culture”, that is ruining the earth.
“Mass custom” and “Soul expression” for everyone – but only a few will lead the evolution. Unfortunately words, as a social medium, are not the best expression of the individual inner soul – but fashion clothing can be.
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE: Fashion Memoir, 70 Years … by Shirley Willett
A most important fashion memoir of 70 years of Design, Education, Engineering, Manufacturing & Technology. Follow Shirley’s life from her first business at age 14 in 1947, through being named Boston’s No, 1 designer by WWD in 1960s to manufacturing & selling to top stores to designing future success for fashion entrepreneurs.