Out is searching for the next great talent on the cutting edge of fashion. Earlier this year, we asked our readers, to submit their designs and sketches using #OUTFashionVanguard. Now, we have three eager finalists preparing their designs to show the world why they deserve the title of OUT Fashion Vanguard at the very first FVA event on March 30.
Here's a phase two update from finalist Marcel Coleman Jr., a St. Louis based designer who seeks to break visual barriers and celebrate the beauty of being an out man of color.
With the event just a week away, tell us how you are feeling?
I'm feeling really great with the amount of love I have received from people reading the last report and thankful for the friends reaching out to make sure I am doing well. Previously, I was feeling really overwhelmed and nervous, but now I'm excited- a number of emotions, but it's a great thing!
How do you remain calm and focused while working under pressure?
With the event just around the corner, the pressure is on. I listen to a lot of music or motivational speaking. I enjoy my spirits to be high and stay there.
The music I listen to changes depending on my mood- in the morning it starts off with contemporary gospel music, artists such as Jonathan McReynolds or Travis Green. Then the inspirational music moves on to Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker. I've been listening to him for a couple of years while I'm sewing or patterning. It's his voice, the messages within his tracks & the impact it has on reminding me why I do what I do.
When I'm designing really late, I slow it down with a lot of old school, fun 90s music; Mali Music, Solange, SZA, and Jhene Aiko. I feel the music that I listen to are representative of what my garments are about: really chill, positive, yet very powerful with a lot of faith.
What has been the most challenging part in bringing your design to life?
The challenge for me during this project was redoing the pattern I created for the pants. I thought the size I was doing would be great, but then I learned that the size was actually way too big.
It's funny because I had thrown out certain pieces I thought I didn't need any more, only to find out I needed them. I rushed home from work had to go through the trash and look for every piece. It took a while to find all of what I needed, but I got it!
How has your vision for this piece changed or developed over time?
My design has evolved over the course of these five weeks. I initially wanted to go with a sketch I did on a trip home a couple of weeks ago, but then I started to look at it again and felt something was missing. I remembered a dream I had about a jacket that was a certain color, I really wanted it--that's when I said to myself "make that one! That's it!"
That jacket is now a part of my design. I love the way that I hand dye my textiles. My fabric and I are a real relationship-we build together step by step. I've learned a lot during this process. Some things may not come out how I drew them or envisioned but that's why I love it.
How is your piece different or similar to what you have created before?
My pieces are true to who I am right now and I'm excited to showcase it. I was overthinking in the beginning about how my aesthetic would fit into a red carpet event because I don't like labels for clothing such as "red carpet" "evening wear," so I remained true to who I am.
I'm seizing the moment, in the moment of the opportunity. I'm making this look happen for a red carpet not letting "red carpet" bully me, it challenges me and I'm happy about that.
Do you have any expectations for the actual event?
My expectations for the event are nothing more than to have fun and meet people. I love that we're given an opportunity to showcase ourselves as designers. I'm really excited to gain friends of the other competitors and who knows what this opportunity can bring. I'm open! Arms wide open to everything that happens, I'm thankful!
Name a celebrity or fashion icon you hope to meet while in Hollywood, attending the OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards.
Honestly I'm more excited to witness myself. I love the opportunity to meet fashion icons and celebrities, but this competition has taught me so much about myself, and the tribe of people who've helped me get to this.
I'm excited to witness the REAL ME that has showed up in this competition, nothing held back. I've second-guessed so many times up until now; this has opened my eyes to what's been here all along. I'm excited-this is definitely the beginning of something great for me.
Check in on Out's other two Fashion Vanguard Finalists, Kim Mesches and Andrew Morrison, and how they're progressing in the competition. More updates to come this week!