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Stunning Digital Images Make Sheila Johnson’s Spring 2013 Scarves Look Picture Perfect

You’ve heard the expression uttered to unabashed oglers time and time again: “Take a picture — it lasts longer.” Unfortunately, in the age of Twitpic and Instagram, when we’re being bombarded with images on our mobile phones and computer screens, this may not be quite as veracious a statement. But, what happens when we enlarge a poignant, riveting, enthralling image and remove it from the hyperactive digital realm while somehow allowing this image to travel, to be spotted by as many eyeballs as possible? Well, then we have the best of both worlds: an image that’s somehow removed from an ephemeral realm and transported into a tactile universe, allowing those beholding the image in question to stare at it for hours at a time, to touch the medium on which it is printed, but also an image that can wander, that can capture as many viewers as possible.  By printing images onto garments or accessories, designers can accomplish precisely this feat, taking wearable art to a whole new level.

Entrepreneur Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET Networks, film producer, and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, clearly understands how powerful images  can be, the indelible impact they can have. Since launching her eponymous line of luxury scarves last season, then, Sheila Johnson has sought to weave compelling stories into these fashion accessories. For Spring 2013, Johnson accomplished this feat by digitally printing images onto luxurious Italian scarves. But the best part of the collection is that the images aren’t ordinary stock photos or reworked fare. They’re not  lithographic renditions of a famous artist’s work nor are they prints that, while pretty, boast no real significance. These scarves bear digitally printed photographs taken by Johnson herself during trips to Haiti, Rwanda, and Uganda. One scarf, for instance, captures the vibrant colors of a sandal market in Uganda (as seen third and fourth above), while another captures a group of  koi fish swimming in a blue sea (shown fifth and sixth above). When looped around the neck, the scarves simply appear to have elaborate patterns and surges of color but, when unfurled and laid flat, they reveal a much more detailed picture, one that speaks to the beauty of the world in which we live.

Among the standout pieces in the Sheila Johnson Spring 2013 collection titled “Contes: An Account of A Woman’s Journey” is the “Door in Rubble” Scarf, shown first and second above, which depicts a cyan blue metal door standing in the rubble left behind after the devastating earthquake that shook Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, in 2010. Johnson took the photo during one of her trips to Haiti, during which she sought to help earthquake victims, and thought of this door as being evocative of the resilient spirit of the Haitian people, of being symbolic of how they would triumph and persevere even after a tragedy of such proportions. Similarly, the “Antoure” Scarf (shown last above) captures another blue doorway in Haiti, this one a turquoise blue door in a rounded brick doorway  covered by wild vines.

When wearing a Sheila Johnson scarf, then, you become part of a larger narrative, helping to tell a riveting story simply through your fashion choices.

The scarves of the Sheila Johnson Spring 2013 collection retail for $475 each at select Neiman Marcus stores and SheilaJohnsonCollection.com, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Haiti Artisan Project, a division of Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation.

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