In Narcissa Balenciaga, Promo by Narcissa Balenciaga

So many people have asked me what got me into fashion design but no one asks the real question, what made me stick with it?

Her name was Carlene, a model who was as new to her industry as I was to mine.

Every movement of hers illustrated how nervous she was, I had her just sit and calm down.

I figured it was just a bit of rookie jitters, the same I had to deal with.

Once I asked her to undress so I could get proper measurements, I saw the clear reason for her anxiety.

As her hands trembled and lifted up her shirt, she exposed a pale canvas her partner illustrated with a brutal mix of blacks, blues, and yellows.

She started breaking down asking if people would even want to see her, she took this job as an escape from him but she was worried he took another good thing for her.

I told her of course they would and that not only would they like what they saw, she would too.

I let her stay with me the month before the show, one as a way to keep her safe and another to make the perfect design that made her happy.

Even if the crowd didn’t like it, I was going to make her feel beautiful.

Weeks in, I noticed scars on her wrist. I missed the white lines on her alabaster skin before.

She noticed me looking and casually mentioned “Yeah, I thought some days he was going to kill me and I thought I’d rather do it myself. After all, what’s the point of living like this? I’m better now.”

Said so nonchalantly, I was concerned but where there was concern was also inspiration.

Her dress was going to be a reflection of her journey.

A dress that would transition from black to blue to yellow to white with accents of red. Long dress with full sleeves would cover most of her outside of one key element, the wrists would be shown.

Yes, scars reveal past trauma but they remind us, all things heal. Even in the darkest of moments they heal.

It was the first dress that made me get noticed and since then, I don’t use outfits like an artist uses a canvas, I use them like a writer uses a page.

Burned man, you remind me a lot of her. Broken on the inside but more worried about the outside.

You wear your story, every bandage reads like a page from the worst chapter of your life but let’s expose you a bit.

I’m sure there’s some part of you that still has skin intact, let’s reveal that to the world and remind them of the man behind the burns.

Let’s show them you’re not a monster, just a man with a heart as broken as his skin. A man who hurts everyday and needs to heal a lot more than he needs a championship.

All I’m asking you is to let me show the world I belong here and I’ll help you feel like you belong everywhere.

The world created our past, we can design our future.