Going into the creative field can feel risky, since it is consistently overlooked due to its lack of practicality as a career. Very rarely do we creatives become the Picasso's and the Kahlo's, the Chanel's or the Nike's, or the Michael Jackson's or Beyonce's of our generation, of our lifetimes, or of any lifetime. But Sala White, a fashion design student of Central Michigan University displaying her clothing in the Threads Fashion show, realized soon after being acquainted with her school that a career in the fashion field is indeed plausible, and finds deeper purpose within this career: that, " art really answers the question of what we are here for."
Did it take a lot of time to build that conviction in yourself-- to be able to want to be in the field?
Not too long, honestly. Once I realized it was something I could do, I just told myself I could do it. I’m not really wishy washy-- when I decide on doing something, I’m committed.
How long did it take you to make the pieces you have in the Threads Fashion show?
Only a month, actually, because I started constructing them in the middle of March actually, but I started ideating in January.
What is the theme and inspiration around the pieces?
I had a visual and merchandising class, and my partner and I decided to create a window based on the Stella Jean, who is a Haitian and Italian designer. She likes to melt her identities and make artwork out of it. I was inspired by the window that we did, and I also decided to include a more geometric influence.
What do you feel like you creations contribute to the fashion world?
I think it contributes another perspective, especially as a young Black woman. There aren't enough of us in fashion.
Your pieces are culturally focused, and with you being a Black woman, do you feel like there is an extreme lack of that in the fashion industry?
I do feel like there’s an extreme lack. There is no reason why we have a million designers in fashion week and most of them are White. It doesn't make any sense. I think that fashion needs to be more accessible.
What do you think about the content that's in the fashion world right now?
Well I'm not as up to date as I need to be. I know that the content seems more distant from real life. I think fashion sometimes need to get back to being more accessible to people. The very highest realms of fashion dictate, which iscouture, and trickles down to ready-to-wear fashion which is what we wear off the rack. I think that trickle down doesn't lend itself enough to people being able to reach in from the outside, even though it is kind of changing with leisure wear recognized as being fashionable.
What is the theme or message that you try to go for when creating?
I just try to make clothing that I would wear or I really believe in. Last year, I made a line based off of police brutality, which I was really inspired by. This year I wanna get more in touch with fashion and style. I always find myself making things on the warm color spectrum: reds, oranges, and yellows are colors that I wanna get away from. I would like to go for more blues and pastels, so hopefully that’ll be next year.
How would you describe the concept of art?
Unfiltered expression-- that’s what it should be. I feel like art isn't really respected as much as it should be. Comparing art and science people are like “this is what it should be.” I can’t remember which of the characters said it, but one of my favorite quotes in relation to art and science is from the TV show, A Different World. One of them says, “I’m gonna be a doctor, that’s what’s important here,” and then the other person says, “What are people going to live for? You’re saving lives, but for what?” So I think art really answers the question of what we are here for.