My Fashionable Obsession

For some of us, hobbies have a way of becoming obsessions. This is how I got into fashion. I started out buying things for myself. But, as I began to feel at home in vintage stores and online galleries, I couldn’t pass up great deals I came across in things that weren’t my size, and, later, in womenswear. Like an obsession with buying books turned my home into a library years ago, my obsession with buying clothes turned my home into a boutique. Racks of dresses and jackets, containers of ties and folded shirts, shelves of shoe boxes and sunglasses, were in every room.

But my interest in fashion started a long time before I was a collector of it. My younger brother was (is) a very talented artist. When we were kids, he’d buy issues of Vogue, Bazaar, Elle, and other fashion magazines and learn to copy the fashion illustrations in the ads. We shared a bedroom for a while, and it was full of these magazines. I loved them, partly because of the art they represented, and partly because they were full of photos of beautiful models.

When I was 25, I began working in the Miss America organization. By the time I was 30, I was a leading coach and consultant to Miss America contestants across the nation. Though I started as a musical arranger, I ended up being a fashion adviser. The girls would bring their evening gowns, interview suits, swimsuits, shoes, earrings, and accessories, and we’d plan their competition wardrobes.

When I retired from pageants in 2004, I got into the visual arts, partly as a gallery owner, partly as an artist myself, making movies and doing photography. Photography brought me back to my love of fashion.

Chuck Dodson Fashion went online in the summer of 2014. I was following advice I’d given to lots of others: “Do what you love.” I believe that if we follow our natural interests, doing what we really want to do – with passion and dedication – we’ll be successful. I love shopping for fashion. I love bringing it into my home. I love seeing the fabrics, the stitches, the colors, the cuts, up close. I hope my love for fashion inspires others to learn about it and to love it.