Giorgio Armani once said,“Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered.”
As I stand in front of Washington Hall, I am reminded of this quote. You may have walked or driven past this central district building in Seattle a million times without thinking twice about its history. It’s rust-red brick exterior and white accentuated features don’t make it the most beautiful building in town. As you walk inside, though, the walls begin to speak to you.
At one point Washington Hall was the most popular place to perform in Seattle. It’s reputation drew the likes of such talent as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Mahalia Jackson, and Billie Holliday. Jimmie Hendrix even played his first show here years after the blues and jazz era had passed through town. As someone who has always inspired me, it is the fact that Billie Holiday performed here, that initially lead me to come see this historical gem for myself. Inside, the energy is palpable.
Standing in front of the stage, framed by globe lights, I can picture myself watching Billie as she plays. I can imagine a smoky ballroom filled with people dressed in black and white, monochromatic figures blending into the shadows and music. In this very room, people from another era danced until morning in their elegant gowns and smart suits. They mingled, they met their wives and husbands, and they lived it up!
Built in 1908 by the Dutch brotherhood, Washington Hall wasn’t just a gathering place for high society. Over the years it was a venue that supported local artists and performers as well. 108 years later and it is still a hub for events, gatherings and performances that bring the community together on 14th and Fir. The non-profit that runs the building now has an after-school program and a studio where children that live in the community can come make music. It’s amazing to think of all the music that has graced the walls of this place and I love knowing that its history isn’t finite but ongoing.
I often ask myself, what it is that I will be remembered for? What can I do in life to make the world better and leave a mark? As a fashion designer, I deal with these questions every time I design a piece or look. I am driven to find out how I can create fashion that is special and inspires people! My message to you is this: make sure that you are remembered for your true inner beauty and by what sparks your passion. Let it out and share it with people every day!
I have just begun to think through these questions for my next look and I am excited to pay homage to such a great building and all of the beautiful amazing acts that make up its history. Come find me next week as I start the process for my next look. Keep designing your world and singing your hearts out!