Today I went to clean out one of my storage facilities which I haven’t been to for many years. While there I found a number of interesting things from my past that I had almost entirely forgotten about. Somehow I had forgotten that at one time used to be a successful fashion designer, and that I used to live and breathe all of the things that went with that!

I loved my fashion and design work and had a whole career around all of that. But then I saw all the conflict and pain around the world and really felt my time would be better spent trying to figure out how to create a more sustainable planet rather than coming up with the newest fashion craze.
Anyway, while digging my through storage I found this big poster which was featured at all of the Wet Seal stores across the country back in the 1990’s. I believe it was at about 180 stores.

Some of you might know the story on this particular chapter of my life and some may not, but one day I decided to go into designing leather jackets and also my own line of designer Jeans. I also designed high end women’s dresses and high end purses and accessories. I had no experience at any of these things, but I have always believed in the power of simply stepping forward with confidence and then seeing what happens.
In any case, I made my very first silver decorated leather jacket after I bought an antique 1940’s Singer Power sewing machine at a garage sale. I didn’t know how to sew, but I just took my time and made a pattern out of newspaper and then I cut out the leather to match it. Then I ran the machine really slow and tried to make it as perfect as I could. After it was done, I got a friend of mine to let me sneak it into a famous fashion show which was being held in Las Vegas called Magic! I wasn’t a designer so I could’t even normally get in, but he took the jacket in, and I came in like I was just there to see the show.

There were 5,000 major designers there and in my wildest dreams I never expected much would happen. Then this guy with a ponytail came walking down the isle that I was on and he walked past me a bit. Then all of the sudden he turned back
around and came back to me and asked who had designed and made the jacket?
When I told him that I did, he seamed very taken back. Then he asked me how much it was, and I hadn’t considered a price as it hadn’t crossed my mind that I might actually sell one so I told him I had no idea? That took him back even more! Then he asked me how I got my jacket in and I told him the truth.
Long story short, the man was Lenny Wineglass, the world’s foremost fashion icon at the time. He had launched most of the world’s most famous designers. He shared that my jacket was one of the most beautiful pieces of design that he had ever seen and he immediately ordered eighty of my jackets on the spot at a super high price that he made up himself. Then he put the one that I had brought with me into the showcase window at Caesars Palace the next morning. It sold in less than an hour for $5,000. After that, all of the jackets that he bought from me sold out immediately when they arrived. All eighty! Now to fully understand this, a high end leather jacket made by a well known designer at the time went for around $500.00. And mine were being ripped from the shelves from between $2,500 to $10,000 each.

From that first launch, my jackets, vests, & jeans climbed quickly to the very top of the world’s fashion market and I found myself in the company of Armani and Versace and the like at parties and high-end fashion shows. Soon stores like Barney’s New York, Collette in Paris, and top retailers in London and even Moscow were all featuring my designs. Even Versace himself bought some to wear!
Anyway, the poster I found today was from the very first vest that I made which was for a young actor named Joey Lawerence who starred in a show named Blossom. He had wanted me to sign my vest for him in silver, so I told him that that would be an extra $1,000.00 thinking that it would discourage him … but as you can see in the poster, it didn’t. Instead it started a craze and all of the sudden movie stars and such all wanted me to add my signature on the jackets they bought too. It was a really good time in my life!
I have never regretted choosing to

Dedicate my life toward creating peace rather than creating fashion. I for one think it is a higher calling and one which really matters. But I will say that finding that poster today has made me reflect on the fact that we all have hidden talents deep inside that can manifest into
Amazing possibilities if we just find the courage to step up and pursue our dreams.
I’m including a photo of one of my later designs which has been hanging unfinished in my closet for over twenty years. It is a close fitting tailored long women’s jacket made of the world’s finest French Domestic leather. It’s soft as butter and looks like a million bucks on. It influenced the jacket that was made for the original Matrix film. Perhaps I take some time to finish it after all of these years in my spare time, huh?
Oh well, one can dream … Like I have time for that!
May you all step out and take a shot at your dreams, and if you do, may they take you to the Stars.

Peace & Blessings,
Patrick McCollum