We recently caught up with Lesley Ware to chat standout style, confident kids and the endless fun to be found in fashion. Lesley is a writer, entrepreneur and fashion educator and author of How to Be a Fashion Designer.
Fun. Inclusive. Colourful. Inspiring. Expressive.
Earrings. Sunglasses. Houseplants.
Both! Especially in black and white.
The process for writing How to Be a Fashion Designer happened super fast! This past summer I was teaching teen fashion courses at The Metropolitan Museum and The Parsons School of Design, so my mornings, evenings and weekends were spent writing. I took lots of field trips with friends to find inspiration. For example, the “at the beach” section of the book was written at my friend Nomi’s beach house out on Long Island, and I wrote “dress like an Ancient Egyptian” while touring the Egyptian galleries at The MET on my lunch breaks.
The hardest part of writing How to Be a Fashion Designer was narrowing down the content. It was really a task of picking what would be most visual and lively for a young audience. Thank goodness for a wonderful editor!
Fashion is fun for kids because everything is fresh and new. They do not mind if something may be cringe-worthy, as long as they like it and it feels comfortable. Times have changed from when I was growing up, when everyone just wanted to blend in. Today, kids with style stand out and are admired for their ability to be bold and different. Plus, the stylescape is opening up and there are many cool new unisex brands for kids to wear. This is exciting too!
I have sew many projects in mind and most of them revolve around television. My purpose, as an author and fashion educator, is to create more content and opportunities that inspire young people to go into the field of fashion. I want them to feel empowered to change the system into something that is not so cliquish, is eco-friendly and is representative of all voices.
Yes! Here are a few:
Clothes should feel good: Notice which garments, colours and jewellery make you feel sparkly, protected or safe. What things affect your mood in a positive way? Style can be used to help you get through the day.
Figure out your thing: Kids who are looking to discover their personal style should determine what their “thing” is. My thing is my signature eyewear but maybe your aspiring stylist loves shoes, cutoff jeans or stripes. Whatever their thing is, incorporate it and wear it everyday. It is what makes fashion fun and memorable!
Style changes: Kids should know that their personal style changes as they grow, so they should have a blast and go with the flow.
I do! My favorite spread in How to Be a Fashion Designer is Outlines, because there is a visual rhythm to the colour-blocked clothes on the dolls. Also, silhouette is my favourite element of design to experiment with. I am always trying to change it up, so if you see me I might be wearing one, or all three, of these outlines at the same time.