A year ago, I spent an entire day in bliss, writing answers to a survey about how I dress and why. I found the project because one of my favorite authors, Sheila Heti, was co-editing a book called “Women In Clothes.” I sent in my answers and over the course of a year, continued to receive updates via email from the editors. It felt really fun and magical to be involved in a project like this. The editors really valued the contributors, this was evident because they asked us our opinions on how we wanted to be portrayed in the book and online. I am also getting a copy of the book in the mail tomorrow, UPS just informed me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the book in time for the NYC book launch party at powerHouse Arena in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn. Dumbo is pretty much a gorgeous place and the book store was spacious; a great holder of events. The party was also a clothing swap. I brought a few items and was able to write a few lines about each item on a slip of paper and pin it on so that whomever choose my item would know a little bit about it. I brought my A-game with what I gave away, it was mostly stuff that was never worn, but I did not know that I would be awarded with such fabulous stuff in return. Maybe I should have known, since it was NYC and everyone there was fabulous. I made sure to grab an outfit that I normally wouldn’t wear. I chose a brightly colored tribal tank and a high waisted black and white plaid bubble skirt.
When the editors arrived, they donated some clothing to the swap too. Leanne Sharpton had an entire suitcase full of unique clothing that she busied herself hanging up as I creepily stood and watched. The editors were really nice and said, “Hi,” but I was being a weird shy person and didn’t chat them up like I wish I should have. It was a fun party-like atmosphere, which is hard to achieve for a book release event. The editors designed the event to get audience members up and talking to one another.
When the editors spoke, they made sure to ask the audience questions and I got the sense that they never stop being curious. Sheila, Leanne, and Heidi all looked gorgeous and it was revealed that they were all wearing clothing that Leanne had given to them. Heidi mentioned that the project was all done over Dropbox, Google chat, and technology that helped them collaborate on such a large project. She found the process to be freeing and it was nice to hear someone talk about finding positive ways to reach more people through technology. Their quest to include many voices was apparent. Sheila said that they didn’t have one single fight throughout the entire process.
I was too shy to talk to them, but if I had, I would have told them that they were great leaders. They included everyone in on the process and delivered a beautiful product in a fairly quick amount of time for the publishing world. I felt important. They provided a model for getting a project done in a collaborative and welcoming environment and I hope that I can start up my own project soon.