by SHALWAH EVANS

I was under the impression that the old rule had gone out the window: you can’t wear white after Labor Day. In any case, it doesn’t seem to matter to the residents of the Mission District, who were all about color over Labor Day Weekend. Now when I think of the Mission District a few things always come to mind: taquerias, Spanish (which I butcher, butcher, butcher), murals, and fruit stands (I get avocados, peaches and strawberries cheaper in the Mission than anywhere else in the city). But I don’t think most people realize that the latter two have a larger influence on the fashion of the Mission.

The same way designers draw on inspiration from all around them, so goes it for people picking out what to wear. Talk about dressing for the weather, right. I do it all the time. I have been inspired by Berkeley’s cherry-blossoms to wear my much neglected white linen skirt that I got from Banana Republic years ago. And a rainbow in a puddle of water reminded me that my silk Zara basic top with the gorgeous hues of blue, brown and tan had gone unworn all summer. So walking around the Mission, with its corner stands full of the orangest oranges, and purplest eggplants, and murals abounding with various colors I am inspired, and delightfully, so is everyone else.

I was reminded of season two of Project Runway, when Michael Kors took the contestants to his office and challenged them to design a look based on something they saw walking the streets of New York. The winner, Daniel Voscovic (who deserved that win) was inspired by a flower in Kors’ office. He created a stu-nning! orchid blouse and pencil skirt look. I drooled when I saw it. I mean really drooled. It was inspiring to see the beauty of a flower translated into such a unique look for the runway.

Project Runway season five contestant Kenley Collins recently said that she was taken by a small stint she did in jail (for domestic violence). The line she plans to debut in Spring 2010 New York Fashion Week is reported to have an Amelia Earhart inspiration as well. From Goth (Alexander McQueen) to Parisian burlesque (Roberto Cavalli), inspiration comes from different eras, places, and cultures. During Japan Fashion Week designer Suzuki Takayuki, said he’s inspired by everyday things and gets ideas for silhouettes by watching people walking on the streets. Well it works because he created a beautiful line of silk, and knitwear for the fall that will last through all seasons.

After settling in at home reflecting on the creative use of color I saw—and regretting my own sartorial misstep, aka looking like a bum because I used the excuse that I was going out to shoot photos when I got dressed—I asked my friend Joy what inspires her. She said her morning workout and the weather. Seems simple enough. But I’ve spent enough time with Joy to know that without knowing she draws her clothing choices from so much more.

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