I Just Can’t Keep It to Myself: A Lesson in the Art & Fashion of Collegiate Excellence

When was the last time you interacted with a bunch of “college kids”? How would you characterize that experience? Was it disheartening, or would you say it was exhilarating enough to shout it from the mountain top? Bear with me while I do my “shouting”, for in light of an abundance of criticisms of our young people, it is refreshing to have firsthand experience of good tidings!

On Saturday April 14, I visited Wellesley College where my creations were showcased in the 30th Annual Ethos Fashion Show. Thanks to my daughter who had shared with the group that her mother creates original textile designs and fashions that she felt would be a fit for the show. I was quite impressed by a group of young ladies who did not balk at entertaining the idea of dealing with a first year student’s mother at a time when most of their plans for the show were already in place. This spoke volumes to the self-assuredness and accommodating spirit that the co-directors of the fashion show committee and their team possessed. Consequently, I knew to expect a high level of integrity that could even mean my rejection as a participating designer if my creations were deemed unsuitable for the show. I braced myself accordingly, with full resolve that if that were to happen, I would not take it personally and would instead be accepting of the fact that effective leaders make decisions that would neither compromise their integrity nor interfere with their quest for excellence.

I say ‘kudos’ to this team which included a mother whose daughter was wise enough to solicit her expertise at event-planning. It was amazing how they managed 21 models and tons of garments from upscale boutiques with such ease. They conducted themselves in a manner that was unmistakably coming from the same source – a Wellesley College orientation perhaps! Tasks spanned from inspecting and documenting defects in garments to the diplomatic handling of my carefully toned-down idiosyncrasies! They even appeared to take my brief, but necessary, cultural enlightenment in good stead!

It was refreshing to witness a meeting of elegance and personality on the runway! If you have been to a fashion show of late, you know what I am not talking about. Models showcased garments and accessories in the best possible light, with dignity and confidence. They were truly society’s positive ‘models’ with “body parts” appropriately attired, and a “no boobs in your face” policy in action! As I wished more parents were present to see their daughters in action, I quickly took consolation by reminding myself of the obvious: Wellesley parents are already aware of the capabilities of their daughters, for after all, most of them have and do continue to play a significant role in the lives of their exceptional students!

With such a significant presence of warm personalities, diplomacy, and a host of leadership qualities, it was impossible for me to miss the message of hope for a bright global future; as long as institutions like Wellesley College continue to provide the tools for excellence, with the expectation of nothing short in return.

Please share your good or not-so-good tidings with us.

Let us celebrate and find solutions together!

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