Fashion - 12NOON
Rosemary E. Reed Miller author of THE THREADS OF TIME THE FABRIC OF HISTORY: Profiles of African American Dressmakers and Designers from 1860 to the Present

A book that has been needed for some time. It fills the gap that exists in the general publicís mind about what African American designers and dressmakers did before l960. Most people think that African American designers, such as Patrick Kelly, Stephen Burrows and Willi Smith sprung up totally out of the air in the l960ís and the 1970ís.THE THREADS OF TIME AND THE FABRIC OF HISTORY documents that fashion and talent were alive and well from the 1860ís and before. The Threads of Time, The Fabric of History fills in that information gap about the contributions of African American designers in the pre 1960ís. Rosemary E. Reed Miller, is a writer and the owner of the community-focused, and trendy store, Toast and Strawberries, which opened in 1968. It included accessories, fashions and community work all under one roof. The store featured the work of small-business designers of clothing and accessories. Luckily, Ms. Reed Miller, a history major graduate of Temple University, understood that the many people didnít have a sense of the struggles and accomplishments of early African American dressmakers and designers. She researched and highlighted the forgotten work of Elizabeth Keckley, who designed for Mrs. Lincoln and Ann Lowe who designed the wedding dress for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Also, she found Zelda Wynn, who designed for Marian Anderson, Josephine Baker, Gladys Knight, Dorothy Dandridge, and the singer Joyce Bryant. Ms.Wynn also designed the first Playboy costume.