The official blog of Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week. September 19-27, 2013. info(at)buffalofashionweek(dot)com
My name is Marquita L. Cole; I’m a very eclectic and eccentric person! I love listening to music, singing, dancing, writing poetry, and doing pretty much anything that allows me to express myself creatively.
Where are you from and where did you go to school?
I was born and raised here in Buffalo, NY, daughter of Marcus Cole and Maura A. Evans (high school sweethearts). I am the oldest of five children, and the grand-daughter of a designer and seamstress, Abbie Louise Strasner. I graduated from City Honors high school; Erie Community College and attended Buffalo State College.
What made you realize that you wanted to work in the fashion/beauty industry?
Playing in my grandmother’s basement, which doubled as her design studio, as a kid is what sparked my desire to design. The fabrics, patterns, buttons, ribbons, pearls and beads; everything in that basement made me smile. I would often get in trouble for not so secretly turning on the sewing machine. It would give me a thrill and of course, make the loudest noise ever, but it was always worth it! I loved the clothes my grandmother would make for me as well as styling the clothes my mom would buy for me from the thrift store (with five children splitting one income we didn’t have much money).
Tell us more about your work as a designer?
I started designing by “re-vamping” denim jeans, eventually, I began sewing with my grandmother’s guidance. After her passing in 2007, I didn’t touch a sewing machine for almost two years, but for the Canisius College “Candy Shop” Fashion Show on May 2, 2009, I sat at the sewing machine (on April 29th) crying and reading the manual on how to thread it. Once I got it, I created seven looks for that show and I haven’t stopped sewing since!
I design women’s, men’s, children’s and plus size clothing. Again, my design style is eclectic, but I do love to design with flair! My designs are my appreciation of life so, I love working with colors, patterns, textures, anything that seems to portray an emotion.
Recently (February 17, 2012 at “Ernie Bivins’ Comedy/Fashion Show), I began creating “B.A.D.” looks; Build A Dress. These are my live dress creations on stage. Right at the end of the runway, I take the basis of design – needle, thread, fabric – and I create a look on a model, affectionately known as “Barbies.” Most recently (August 12, 2012 at “Talk of the Town” Fashion Show), I added a “Ken” doll to the creation. “Ken” walks on down the runway in a collar shirt and I cut it off of him, piece by piece, to create a pantsuit for “Barbie.” It’s really fun and cool. I started doing this live creation in order to show audiences that I am a true designer/creator and I create/sew every piece myself (I don’t have other seamstresses working for me).
What is your favorite part of what you do?
My favorite part of design is being able to take what starts out as a simple idea/thought in my head/dreams, creating/draping it onto my dress form and then having someone actually incorporate that piece into their everyday life, whether it be their new favorite pair of jeans, their most fun cocktail dress, or even most memorable; their wedding gown. Just knowing that my little idea has become a part of someone else’s life puts a smile on my face. It feels so good.
What is your connection to Buffalo? Do you miss it?
I still live here in Buffalo. My family is here. Even after I spread my wings in fashion and move to a different city, I’ll always come back to Buffalo as often as I can; it’s home!
Where are some of your favorite places to stop at (eat/shop/etc) when you’re visiting Buffalo?
I like to eat at “Sakura Sushi Japanese Restaurant” out on Union Rd; I LOVE LOVE LOVE their spicy tuna rolls. I like to shop at any of our many consignment shops here in Buffalo; I have found some of my most important wardrobe pieces at the thrift store (thanks to my Mom!)
What advice would you give someone who wants to get involved in the fashion industry?
I’ve waited years to be asked this question!!! My advice would be: “Don’t Be Afraid To Make The First Cut.” I say this because I would often find myself hesitating on starting a design because I’d be too afraid to cut the fabric wrong; then I’d have to spend money that I didn’t have to buy more. I learned to say to myself, out loud, while designing to “just cut it” or “just go for it.” I’ve found that even if it’s the wrong cut for the original design, there will still be something good to come out of it if I continue to work towards it. This has helped me in design as well as life. I’m reminded of that saying: God can make Plan B better than Plan A ever would have been.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is VERY eclectic. I really love to try just about any style/trend there is, just to see what my interpretation of it will be. I find fashion to be so free and freeing so, I don’t like to limit it with frivolous rules and regulations. I break every rule that I can and take fashion how it’s meant to be taken; not so seriously and with a sense of humor.
What is your favorite accessory?
I never leave the house without a good ring! I feel a ring always perfectly compliments my “dream-makers” … my hands.