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First published at www.beautyworlds.com May 2004

Globally Inspired Fashion by Laura-Ann

Global fashion inspired by Australian fabric, a sari type top from India, and beads and colours from Africa

Laura-Ann was born in Rockville Center, NY. While growing up her family moved from NY (Long Island) to Georgia and back, then to various locations on Long Island.

She was a religion / philosophy major at Susquehanna University (PA); however, she took quite a few computer courses during her 4 years. After graduating with a BA she started working in the computer field as a PC database programmer (a new concept in 1986). When PC networks were first introduced she created the first PC network her company ever had. Once that was completed she went to work at an independent software company and worked in software support. Working at a startup company she learned about product life cycles, product development, and how to meet the needs of customers (even if that means changing your product slightly).

In the years that followed she fostered her creative nature by creating new software systems, and designing computer systems. Although she was creating new programs she never felt 'complete', and always wanted more.

In 1997 she quit her job to stay home and raise her daughter. By the time her daughter was three they were spending hours designing and sketching clothes.

In an effort to answer her daughter's questions about clothing manufacturing she started researching the fashion industry. They often found themselves in the fabric store discussing fabric, and color. As they learned about various world cultures (past and present) they modified their sketches to include aspects of the clothing of these different cultures.

When her daughter started preschool Laura-Ann went back to school (via

Fashion design incorporating elements from China (colour and fabric), a sari type top from India, and beads and gold colour from Africa.

distance learning) and became certified to teach preschool. She created a cross-cultural curriculum and included the traditional and modern fashions of each country. She provided the children with outlines of paper dolls and clothing for them to color for each country they studied. This forced Laura-Ann to do even more research.

Every day, for years now, Laura-Ann has told her daughter and the children in her classes that they need to follow their dreams, that they need to be who they are - not who others want them to be. That in order to be successful at anything they need to take a chance.

About a year ago she heard herself saying the words and realized that she, too, needed to follow her dreams. She needed to be who she was, not who others wanted her to be. She needed to take a chance on her dreams. She decided to turn her sketches into clothing and start her own clothing line.

Each garment she creates incorporates various aspects of a 'unified global culture'. While Laura-Ann realizes that she never will be able to create a world free of prejudice, hate, and war; it is her hope that she can create a clothing line that integrates aspects from all cultures. She believes that once people embrace even one aspect of a different culture it helps to begin to reduce prejudice.

Each culture measures beauty differently, and by merging various cultures into one garment Laura-Ann hopes to make all people realize they are beautiful because of their ethnicity.

GeometricHer own personal belief is that each person is beautiful because of who they are, where they come from and where they are going. Laura-Ann thinks that we have each had been molded by our past yet have our future to sculpt who we are to become.

In the past year she has learned a lot about the unspoken culture of the fashion industry. When she attempted to contact various members of the 'fashion world' she was shut out because she did not have a big name to back her.

Years ago the designer who responded to the wants and needs of the public made the sale, Laura-Ann thinks that today it is the largest conglomerate that dictates the fashion.

When Laura-Ann wears her designs she is literally stopped on the street by strangers and told that her outfit is 'fantastic'. Yet stores will not carry it because she does not have a 'famous person's name' attached to it.

Today many designers who are well known would go undiscovered because they did not know the 'right people', they did not attend the 'right school', and because they did not have a 'famous person' to back their line.

Laura-Ann's dream and hope is to survive and succeed in spite of the current environment.

Laura-Ann would like you to look at each piece of clothing and think of the world and the people in it. Think of moving towards a world united by clothing, concepts, freedom, and peace.

If she is successful at starting her company she plans on donating 10% of profits to various charities for woman and children (if she starts a men's wear line she will expand the charities to include all people).

Laura-Ann can be contacted at designsbylauraann@comcast.net

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