Anyway, major congratulations to Dom, not just for winning, but for being the first black winner in the show’s 12-season history. The reason this is notable is because typically, the fashion world has a distinct problem recognizing black (and especially African-American) designers and styles. We’re gonna leave that there, though. Dom doesn’t deserve to be designated a standard-bearer by us or anyone else. It’s enough for us to note it, but the deeper congratulations are for a job well done....And — because, I guess "enough" is never enough:
... Dom’s origins and background have an influence on her work, but not in an overt way. She has a fantastic facility with prints and loves to use saturated colors in her designs. Again, not to make her a standard-bearer, but these are elements (along with shiny fabrics, also seen in her collection) that help define African-American fashion. Once again, it’s notable that the judges gave a win not just to a black designer, but a black designer with a distinct, if subtle, African-American sensibility in her work. The world of fashion is primed to wrinkle its nose at shiny, bright fabrics and wild prints, after all.... Dom did it her way and forced the judges to see the value in her work. Can’t argue with that.There was also a contestant this season who was deaf, and he continually referred to the fact that he was deaf. He chose to be a "standard-bearer," with a mission to teach the world that a deaf person can succeed in fashion. It was an unexamined premise that people had told him he can't, but who were those people? Viewers were rooting for him, not laboring under the notion that deaf people can't do visual design and manual handiwork. It seems to me that a deaf fashion designer almost has an advantage, like a blind musician.
(I say "almost," because I realize that interacting with people, explaining your work and understanding their response, is a big part of it. But I wish his explanation of his work wasn't so much about his being deaf. The winner, Dom, never used race to explain her designs or her character — never, at least, in the edited footage that made it to our TV screen.)
Now, show me a blind fashion designer, and I might get excited about what he'd do. Seriously. He'd have to concentrate on form and texture that could be perceived with the hands and in the mind. He might care about the subtle sounds and smells. I'd like to see that.
As for deaf musicians, you can begin and end the conversation with the name Beethoven, but here's an article about 6 modern-day deaf musicians. Watch Evelyn Glennie: