ART INSTITUTE OF HOUSTON FASHION WEEK: CC by KEE "Refined Rebel" Fashion ShowFriday, November 07, 2014
As you know from my behind-the-scenes post here, I modeled in Keesha Craig's CC by Kee fashion show a few months ago! This was my second time modeling in my life time. I modeled once before at a National Society of Black Engineers Convention, but this was really my first runway modeling gig! I had lots of fun, though I was nervous about my walk! Keesha Craig was a Senior Fashion Design student at The Art Institute of Houston. I say was, because she has since graduated!! Keesha is one of the few designers in the world that focus on plus-size fashion, and I was honored to be asked to be a plus-size model in her show!! I asked Keesha few questions about her design aesthetic and choosing to design for the curvier woman!
When did you know that you wanted to be a designer?
At the age of 12, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. I wanted to walk into a store and find clothes that fit and flattered my body. I also wanted the clothes to be fashionable and timeless. Growing up, I was the young lady that bought clothes that I could wear more than once and for different occasions. Coming in to the woman I am now, I still go live by that rule.
Why did you choose to go to the Art Institute of Houston?
I chose to go to AI (Art Institute) because I wanted to be a part of building the foundation for the Fashion Design Program. When I first enrolled in 2012, it was a brand new program and it's under it's 10 yr mark. Coming into such a young program, I knew they'd still be making changes to the program and I wanted to be a part of it; be a part of it all. I wanted people to ask me, "How did it feel to apart of building the foundation for that program?" As we all know, people think Houston isn't that fashionable, but as a designer here in Houston I say they are wrong. One thing about Houston is that 'We do our own thang' here and once people see it, they fall in love with it! I love Houston and couldn't see myself going to a school that wasn't in Houston. We do have fashion here but we make it our own!
Why plus-size fashion?
The reason why I chose plus-size fashion is because I came from a family where I was surrounded by curvaceous, full-figure, plus size, women and I always thought my size was normal. Of course that changed when I walked into a clothing store and saw that they didn't have anything in my size, or wasn't proportioned for my “fuller” body, and/or looked like fabric off of my grandmother's furniture. It was a sad thing for me to go shopping as a kid and teenager when it was supposed to be FUN for a young girl. So I came to AI knowing that I would do plus-size clothing for my senior collection!
What was the inspiration for your Refined Rebel collection?
Most of the time when you hear designers talk about there “inspiration”, they normally have a great answer for it; like a specific time period, nature, or piece of art work and then they work on their collection from there. I’m totally different from them! My inspiration for the Refined Rebel collection came from two main sources; my fabric and the Fall/Winter season. My fabric choices for this collection were the black, red and white tweed wool, the metallic linen (I also used the reverse side of the fabric which was black), and the red and black ponteroma knits. When I looked at the wool and linen I instantly saw the capes and jackets I wanted in my collection. When I looked at the knits I saw all the blouses I could make out of it. The season just happens to be my favorite time of the year and I love how creative women get to be during that time! She's able to wear hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, capes, throws, boots and the list goes on! I added grommets to most of my pieces to revel a little skin but not too much since my woman was dressing for colder weather.
How did you come up with the name CC by Kee for your label and Refined Rebel for your debut collection?
CC by Kee is named after my beloved grandmothers, Emma Cooper (my Mom’s mother) and Cora Craig (my Dad’s mother). Cora (aka mom) passed away when I was in the 1st or 2nd grade so I don’t remember her that well but from the pictures and stories I've heard about her, she was all about fashion! She used to sew my uncles', aunts' and my dad’s clothes when they were babies. She also taught my Dad and his siblings (there are 10 of them by the way) how to dress for every occasion. Emma (aka granny) made the dresses for my sisters and I when we were kids. She also made my mom’s and uncles' clothing too when they were growing up. I remember she had to tailor her clothes to fit her because she had a 32” waist line and wore a 16 petite in women. My grandmothers are also the foundation to the overall ideal woman client of my company. The 'by Kee' part was something I added on to be different and Kee is my nickname. It's also to get rid of the false hope to people who see CC and think CoCo Chanel! Ha!
I came up with the title, Refined Rebel, for my Senior collection when I thought about the woman client of my company and the garments. She’s a very strong-minded and firm woman. She stands out from the rest of the crowd and gets a person to do a double check when she walks in the room. She's also very resourceful when she shops. She's always on the go and needs her outfits to do the same. That’s why she loves separates. She loves fashion but doesn't own pieces that may go out of style in a season or two. She buys the items that last. When I looked at the garments in my collection, I saw a very refined & polished look with fringe and grommets that gave it that sexy rebel, edge! I wanted the name, like my collection, to add a modern feel to plus size fashion. When I came up with the name, I knew I wanted it to stand out from the rest.
|Me with Fashion Designer, Keesha Craig and Runway Coach Thaddeus|