African Fashion: Professor Of Social Work Uses Clothes Design To Communicate With His Ancestors

Created by VCU’s Maurice Gattis and shown at DC Fashion Week in a commercial collaboration with a Ghanaian family, the Fort Moze 1738 collection complements Gattis’ social commitments.
At DC Fashion Week last fall, fashion model Diamond Minetta was shown work by Fort Moses 1738 LLC. Fort Moze 1738 LLC is an apparel brand founded in his 2021 by Dr. Maurice Gatis, a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Minetta has modeled all over the United States and said, “I was blown away by the color and loved the feel and look of the fabric.”

It was simply breathtaking. After that I felt great.
For the occasion, Minetta wore one Fort Mosé 1738 outfit, but she ended up buying a jumpsuit and matching headband from a brand she saw worn on the runway.

“I thought it was great,” she said. “His designs stood out because they were so authentic. I enjoyed the part.

Gatiss, an associate professor at the VCU School of Social Work who never took a fashion or design course, claimed he never dreamed of starting his own clothing company.

However, about 10 items from Gattis’ clothing business were on the runway the previous year, one of which was modeled by a VCU student.
He admitted that I had always been interested in clothes, especially bright ones.

According to Ean Williams, executive director of DC Fashion Week Inc., the panel evaluating designer submissions for DC Fashion Week, which takes place at the Capitol Hilton hotel in September, has found Fort Mosé 1738 to be the perfect showcase for emerging designers. I decided there was. .

Williams said the collection “boasts vibrant colors that are staples of materials found in Ghana.” The fashion industry will no doubt be drawn to Gatisse’s use of traditional textiles and new silhouettes.

A chance encounter turns into a business opportunity
It was by chance that I entered the apparel industry. Gattis never thought of starting an apparel business until he traveled to Ghana and met a couple named Nathaniel and Faustina.

He thought he and his wife would make the costumes and I would design them. It seems like a fascinating idea, I thought to myself. “When I met Nathaniel and his wife, the universe was in harmony.”

To help the couple, Gatiss founded Fort Moze 1738. It is named after the first free black town in the United States, founded in 1738 for people held as slaves in West Africa. His company’s designs have been showcased at fashion events in Richmond and Washington, DC. These designs are also available in stores and online by special order.

According to Gattis, the company “helps me and Nathaniel connect with our ancestors.”

Cotton or silk/cotton combinations make up the handwoven materials utilized to make the garments.Modern West African garments were designed by Gatiss, and Nathaniel and his wife sewed the garments before shipping them to the United States. We are manufacturing.

“I believe in them and the quality of the fabric. That’s why I said yes to Nathaniel. The clothes are very wonderfully made,” Gattis added, adding that he enjoyed making them. There is
“It’s a great outlet for creativity. It seems to be beneficial for my employment at VCU. I think it’s exciting, so it’s a great balance.
Where Academics Meet Creativity
A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Gatiss has always enjoyed pursuing his intellectual and artistic passions. He studied sociology at Emory University and danced with his company Emory Dance.

He holds a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Washington at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis.

After three years as a tenured professor at the University of Louisville, Gattis joined VCU.
He works as an iCubed scholar at VCU’s Intersections in the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Communities Core. In the fall of 2021, he will become a senior advisor to VCU’s Q Collective.
He is also a founding member of the VCU School of Social Work’s Center for Youth-Engaged Research to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness.

His research focuses on homelessness, adolescent risk behaviors, and health disparities among LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) populations in North America, South Africa, and Canada. His primary research focuses on how the social environment (family, peers, stigma and discrimination) influences adverse psychosocial outcomes such as poor mental health and substance abuse.

Gattis said after the DC fashion show that he’s happy to have tried something in fashion and succeeded.

he said: This was a family trying to improve their economic situation, so it complements my fields of macro-social work and community development.

Content provided: VUC & NFH

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