The Importance of Being Earnest: Fashion designer James Silvrants meets Marcel Proust

Fresh City Life asked fashion designer James Silvrants to answer our questionnaire and found out that, for James, there is no room for mendacity in his design for living. 

In the weeks leading up to our fashion spectacle Frock Out, each of our eleven designers will be featured here with their responses to the infamous Proust Questionnaire. Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist, critic and essayist, believed that people must know and understand themselves before they can know or understand others. His clever and insightful answers to a list of subjective questions (a popular social entertainment at the time) illustrate how the questionnaire helps reveal to people their true selves and the inner personalities of those around them.

James Silvrants was taught to sew by his mother and grandmother, who recognized and encouraged his talent for the art. His designs have been featured in numerous local fashion shows. A licensed hairdresser and makeup artist for 35 years, James owned and operated a successful salon in Denver, and continues to design clothing for weddings as well as tend to the hair and makeup needs of the day. With creations for adults and children, his use of fabrics ranges from exotic imports and domestic fabrics to green-friendly and recycled fabric.

Below, James brings his brand of confession to the Proust questionnaire:


What is your greatest fear?

Not trying.

What is your current state of mind?

Secure, happy with this time in my life.

What is your favorite occupation?

Reading, learning something new.

What historical figure do you most identify with?

Honest Abe.

Which living person do you most admire?

My parents for what they have taught me and my partner.

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Rhett Butler.

Who are your real-life heroes?

My parents.

What is your most treasured possession?

My grandfather's wedding band.

When and where were you happiest? 

Most of the time and wherever I am.

What is your most obvious characteristic?

The ability to listen.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Not knowing when to say 'No.'

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What is your greatest extravagance?

Antique, secondhand or thrift store shopping.

What is your favorite journey?

Walking on the beaches of Hawaii.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My weight.

What do you consider the most over-rated virtue?

Appearance over inner beauty.

On what occasion do you lie?

NEVER and that's the truth.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'd kill to have my hair back.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Living life as myself.

Where would you like to live?

Colorado, New Mexico and Hawaii.

What is the quality you most admire in a man?

Honesty, respect, and a sense of humor.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

The ability to see their own inner beauty and the same in others.

What is it you most dislike?

Lying to oneself and others.

What do you value most in your friends? 

Laughter, and being there for me.

How would you like to die? 

Natural causes and asleep.

If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be?

Me, until I get it right.

What is your motto? 

Why do I do the things that I do when I know the things that I know?

Who has been the greatest influence on you? 

My parents and my partner.

James Silvrants and ten other talented designers bring it for Frock Out on November 18. Tickets and Info

Written by Chris on November 8, 2010

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