One of the many wondrous things that struck me upon moving to Seattle from Albuquerque, New Mexico in the summer of 2000 was the number of beautiful outdoor spiders. Sure, there are tons of spiders everywhere--in Albuquerque I once encountered 16 black widows in one day in and around my house. Eek! Most city spiders there are either of the bitey and (mostly) invisible kind or of the benign Daddy Long Legs variety. They'd be the deadliest spider on the planet--if only their wee jaws could bite you. I digress. So, spiders--the big ones with the yellow and brown stripey legs were EVERYWHERE spinning webs at a breakneck pace in every bush I cared to peer in to. It was beautiful! That and the rhododendrons...yum. Four years later, it seems that year was a particularly good one for the Capitol Hill arachnid community. I haven't seen as many in any of the summers since...not in the bushes, anyway. The dense webs I see now are ones emanating from people, from collectives and communities and brave souls who do what they do because they don't care to, won't dare to, stifle their creative yearnings no matter how unprofitable it may seem. There is an amazing underground force of people spinning away as hard and as passionately as they can, and that's a hell of a lot might and will. It is deliriously inspiring to feel a part of these web-makers. I've heard people speak of the black cloud, a sort of pall that hangs over Seattle. It can suck the energy right out of you for months, draining creative juices and healthy colouring alike. That first winter I learned exactly why Seattle is the home of the best coffee...and the best beer...in the States. But once I dipped below the surface and became part of Cell Division I discovered a creative well spring and a society of rock solid people unimaginable (for me at any rate) in the desert of the South West. I moved 1300 miles to home. And now here I am, surrounded by a whole new family who nurtures and teaches me, swills whiskey and rocks out and makes beautiful things, both tangible and ethereal. Cell Division is my core, my base, my crew, but the longer I swim beneath the surface the more kindred spirits I find...quite by accident, quite naturally. Some days my timing is just right and every turn brings something or someone amazing to investigate and experience. Fashion has been part of humanity since history began--frivolous perhaps yet indispensable for protecting our fragile human bodies; for signaling rank, availability, in- or out-group status; for showing allegiance or disassociation just to list a few crucial roles of clothing. Now, in a very dark time for a jaded world completely off kilter, I believe fashion can play a significant role--as important and influential as any other art--to help restore balance. When one feels secure and confident, they interact with their surroundings in a more positive way than when they feel anxious and threatened--duh. Clothing plays a huge role in that externalized positive self image. I feel that all of us young Seattle designers can encourage a staggering number of people to feel better about themselves and thus interact with the people around them in a more positive way. Sure, one happy person feeling good about themselves and oozing that happy to the strangers passing by is just a drop into a nearly bottomless bucket of suck, but eventually all those drops add up. . . surprisingly quickly. Just drive an old leaking Volvo through one rainy season and you'll appreciate the might of individual droplets joining forces. I look around at the webs I know, the spinners spinning ecstatically, and I realize I know so very little. There are more communities and individuals than I could dream of in this Emerald City, let alone the rest of the world. The thought of all those webs gives me hope. We are not just idle passengers--we are a part of this world and we can shape it to our liking. Think about that...and thanks for reading this whole thing. You deserve a treat -Lucretia L.