The fabric of hope evolves
When fashion designer Gillian Curry-Williams debuted the Fabric of Hope – a fabric print made up of colors associated with various types of cancer five years ago – she did so with the thought to bring joy and happiness to cancer fighters, survivors and their loved ones with a fabric exclusively made for them. But, as she debuted the fabric, she knew that she intended it to be fashioned into more than clothing.
Five years after the Fabric of Hope’s debut, Curry-Williams has realized a goal with the release of her Fabric of Hope Accessories line, which showcases the Fabric of Hope on a carry-on travel bag named the Noah; tote named Zemira; espadrilles named Junia; and a passport holder named Nuria in the fabric’s original white print, and the second evolution of the print in blue.
The evolution into accessories, she said, is an evolution she had always envisioned since the fabric’s launch.
“My whole idea was for it to evolve, and that’s exactly what it is doing – it’s evolving,” said the designer.
The accessories feature a print of the fabric on Napa leather in the case of the tote, and passport holder; the carry-on features a plastic overlay of the print on the front of the suitcase.
“The whole thought behind the Fabric of Hope Accessories is exciting in itself. I want them to be excited wearing something that has such meaning, and that’s beautiful, and that makes me happy,” said Curry-Williams.
“It’s a happy fabric – whether you get it in white, or you get it in blue.”
Over the years, she said she’s found that people who gravitate toward the Fabric of Hope have family members that have had cancer, and think of the fabric as a connection.
When the designer first envisioned the fabric, she thought about using it as clothing material, but also with the hope to having the print used for scrubs, cushions, chair covering, curtains and other hospital gear. While that has yet to come to fruition, she says the Fabric of Hope has become a much-requested fabric for face masks in the COVID-19 era.
“With the coronavirus, we’ve been making masks with the Fabric of Hope, and that’s our most requested fabric for masks, because of what it stands for and what it means, which is joy and happiness.”
Part proceeds from the sale of the accessories go to Curry-Williams’ Fabric of Hope Foundation through which the designer supports survivors whether it’s through assisting with purchasing groceries, paying rent, or assisting with medical bills.
Curry-Williams’ Fabric of Hope Accessories are currently made to order. She promises a one-week turnaround.
The Fabric of Hope has a personal meaning to Curry-Williams. In 2104, her father, the late Donald Curry, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. During his battle, she accompanied him to doctor’s visits and treatments, and witnessed firsthand the toll the disease took on him and others. She says she resolved to find a way to use her talent to try to assist other patients like her father who died in March 2016.
Curry-Williams first came up with the Fabric of Hope and followed that up with the idea of staging a fashion show to honor individuals who were going through treatment or had battled cancer. Her idea was to dress the cancer survivors/fighters in her original designs and give them a turn in the spotlight on the runway.
“Dress them up and make them feel good – make them feel special,” said Curry-Williams.
She said the fighters and survivors may not have ovaries, or breasts – having had them removed, or they may have had cancer in the lungs or the rectum, but she says she wants to make them realize and feel they’re still beautiful and still worthy.
She previously told The Nassau Guardian that she does what she does because she knows her father would be proud of what she’s doing, and that she has continued with the event, even though he’s passed.
“Cancer is no respecter of anyone – whether you’re rich … poor – it really doesn’t make a difference. And cancer, I’m sure has affected everyone – whether it’s your cousin, a friend, or whoever, so come out and support these people. Support what we’re doing,” she said.
The designer will once again host her Fashion for a Cause event under her Remilda Rose Designs brand. This year, it will be held virtually.
In the event’s fifth year, she will once again debut her spring/summer collection, the show will be scaled back, honoring five people – one for each year since the inception of the event.
Twelve models will still be a feature of the event with six wearing outfits made with the Fabric of Hope print and six outfitted in other fabric.
“I’m so proud of me,” said Curry-Williams. “I did not start out this way – I did some things that I’m not proud of, but thank God for Jesus, so I look at my past as a stepping stone to where I’m at.”