As iconic in the fashion world as the celebrities she dresses, Patricia Field is responsible for the countless trends spawned by Sex and the City and for the wardrobe behind a slew of other successful television shows and films including Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada. Never one to follow mainstream trends (she told us she considers Margiela to be the most wearable when it comes to shoes!) or to rely exclusively on luxury labels, Field is one of the industry’s true style innovators.
A 45 year industry vet, the stylist is now bringing her design sense to the masses by teaming up with U by Kotex to launch the Ban the Bland Design Challenge, a contest that invites girls to imprint on the future of feminine care by creating designs for new products. For every girl that creates a design at Ban the Bland money will go to Girls for a Change – a national organization that empowers young women to create and lead social change within their communities. The ultimate winner gets the chance to work alongside Patricia.
We spoke with Field about why she teamed-up with U by Kotex, which Sex and the City trends she’d like to see die already, her favorite up-and-coming designers, and more.
The Fashion Spot: What made you decide to partner with U by Kotex for this design project?
Patricia Field: I chose to join U by Kotex and this design challenge because it gives me the opportunity to reach and impact women all over the world and have them teach me in return. This motivates and excites me and is really why I got involved. I’m looking forward to communicating with design enthusiasts as well as the U by Kotex women. The Ban the Bland challenge is all about self expression, creativity, and what inspires you. U by Kotex is bringing color to the bland feminine care category, and color is such an integral part of style and design. We are using color to tell the story of the style and design of feminine care products, which up to now has been so bland. I invite everyone to join this challenge and possibly work with me on new product ideas and perhaps attend New York Fashion Week together.
Another reason for me to get involved was that U by Kotex is supporting Girls For A Change, an organization that is dedicated to inspiring and empowering women to motivate themselves to take a stand in their own lives and communities. This really positive idea has been gaining momentum and impacting women all over the world. I’m glad U by Kotex sees how important this is. For every design submitted to the challenge at Ban the Bland, $1 will be donated to Girls For A Change to support them on this important mission.
So I say, join the challenge! Have fun with it – it’s not about what’s on trend or what your friends are wearing. Express yourself and own it.
tFS: You have a very unique style, but are able to translate that into a very wearable way in the films and TV shows you work on. What are some tips on how women can show their personality through fashion on a day-to-day basis?
PF: I think the most important way for women to show their personalities in the way they dress themselves is to know your personality. Once you know who you are, the rest is like paint by numbers. For example, I want to look and feel powerful today – you have to see yourself in your day and what your needs are and project that in yourself. There’s a storytelling aspect in how you dress. It’s the story of who you are.
tFS: Do you follow trends? If so any all-time favorites?
PF: I feel that trends go against individualism and would not suggest following trends. Ban the trend!
tFS: Are there any trends that Sex and the City has spawned that you wish would die already?
PF: There are several trends that continue to live on and I’m happy for them. I’m not unhappy for any because I think they continue because people like them. They integrate with life. For example, a necklace with your name. They are classic and because of that, I think they endure.
tFS: Who are your go-to fashion, accessory, and shoe designers?
PF: There are some that are consistent with their signature, which is good because you can identify them. I’m watching Margiela, the most wearable and long-lasting shoes. I learned that through wearing his shoes. You’ll wear them for the rest of your life. Every project is different for me. First, I need to determine what the story I’m telling is and the next thing is what designers can help me tell that story.
tFS: Any up-and-coming designers we should keep an eye on?
PF: In my shop I have many young designers who bring their one-of-a-kind pieces to the store and my clients have the opportunity to have something that’s unique. One of those designers is The Blondes. Their clothes are very fun and theatrical and are a celebration, so I love them for their spirit.
tFS: Your boutiques have always been located in cutting edge areas that have gone on to see massive increases in popularity. For example, your current space on Bowery was opened before any of the current gentrification took place. How have you gone about scouting the areas for your stores?
PF: Through the years, I’ve always had great locations and when you ask me my formula, I don’t know. It’s part instinct and part formula and sometimes it’s part economics. There are different reasons for the shops to be in different places. My first store had to be something I could manage financially. My first store was on the NYU campus, small and affordable, but I had a captive audience so it was strong motivation to get me started.
tFS: What can we expect from you in the months to come?
PF: I hope as we go along that I will continue to enjoy my life, which my work is an integral part of. I’m hoping to make a movie or two, or a TV show. There are many projects out there that are floating around like balloons in the air and I’m watching them all. I’ve taken a little break from movies to make room for new experiences and time will tell the story. I prefer to get on my surfboard and ride.