Fashion Pioneer Rudi Gernreich's 100th Anniversary of Birth Celebrated by Designer Mona Thalheimer

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 2:17 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Renowned Los Angeles womenswear designer Mona Thalheimer will unveil a commemorative scarf on August 22 dedicated to famed 60's designer Rudi Gernreich. Gernreich, whose revolutionary avant-garde clothing and bathing suit designs still resonate today was born on August 8, 1922. He passed away in 1985.

"Rudi Gernreich had such an amazing influence on my career," said Thalheimer. "Rudi was my inspiration when I was beginning my career in the early 1970s and I feel compelled to celebrate his 100th anniversary in a way that I hope would make him proud."

Thalheimer, the first and only deaf American fashion designer to own and manufacture her own eponymous clothing business, cites her earliest interactions with Gernreich as helping her become a fashion trailblazer. "Rudy taught me to believe who I want to be – and that a deaf person could design regardless of disability."

Thalheimer's design for the commemorative scarf is based on Gernreich's dedication to protecting human rights and liberties, a message that resonates more now than ever following recent Supreme Court decisions. In addition to his numerous fashion awards, Gernreich was a founding member of the Mattachine Society in 1950.

Gernreich's estate is managed by ACLU of Southern California, which will benefit from the sale of the scarf.

The scarf will be unveiled at a ceremony on August 22nd, at The Gemini G.E.L Gallery in West Hollywood. The ceremony will feature Mona Thalheimer and Minouche Kandel, Senior Staff Attorney, LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project, ACLU of Southern California

Q&A with Mona Thalheimer

Q: When did you first meet Rudi? What was that encounter like?

A: I first met Rudi when I was 11 years old

Q As a deaf design student, what did Rudi tell you to continue to achieve your dream?

A: Rudi told me that I could be a designer and that my visual sense enhanced by my hearing loss was an asset.

Also, he told me that if I were to be a designer I must design for myself and what my view is, not just the latest trend.

Q: Rudi passed away in 1985. Why is he still relevant today?

A: Rudi is relevant because everywhere you look you see his influence- the bathing suits, the thong the bold fear less colors.

Q: Are your designs influenced by Rudi?

A: While my aesthetic is different than Rudi's, it is what Rudi would want as he always told me to be what I wanted and dreamed of being. I am here today because of mentors like Rudi.

Q: "You are what you decide you want to be" is a major theme of the scarf. What do you mean by that?

People want to put you in a box. When they ask me who I am if I do not say I am deaf first they are taken aback. I am the only person who can say how I define myself.

A: Rudi always believed in everyone's human potential. When I was a child, he valued my opinion in fashion and valued all people in fashion and in life."

Q: How does that resonate in 2022?

A: Rudi always believed that everyone was somebody and their value as a person was defined by their energy, enthusiasm and most of all love.

Q: If you could say anything to Rudi today, what would that be?

A: Rudi, your designs, your values are in season because of your heart and love people.

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