A court case
I met André at the scene of an accident on 9th st and Lafayette st. A biker got hit by a cab as he was riding against the red light. One cab screeched to a stop, missed him by centimeters and then a second cab careened into him clipped his back wheel and sent him into a tumble onto the cross walk in front of a crowd of people. Everyone moved into action. “Call 911” “get the cab driver’s license plate” “don’t let him leave” “don’t get up” “Don’t move! You could have a spinal injury.” While one guy was going at the driver, making sure he felt horrible and knew it was his fault, the cab driver was making sure everyone knew the biker was crossing on red and that he had a green light and it wasn’t his fault. André moved to the biker, put his hand on his abdomen and made sure he didn’t move. Another woman put her purse under the fallen biker’s hips to support his legs. The biker, only 20 and NOT wearing a helmet, didn’t have many visible injuries, other than the growing red scratches on his elbow. But you never know about internal injuries. He complained that his hip was hurting. André was on the phone with 911.
Soon the fire department came and strapped the kid onto the board. Then the ambulance came and wheeled him into the ambulance. His friend came to take his very colorful, cool looking and undamaged bike. The crowd dispersed and André and I were on the sidewalk with the cab driver who kept mentioning that he had the green light. He has a family, and I’m sure was freaked out by what happened and what could happen.
We asked the ambulance driver if he needed us to stay for a witness report. He said it was up to us, but we weren’t required or expected to stay. It always helps with the police report, but don’t feel like you have to stay. We decided to stay. André said his whole day had been a series of bad events and this was just one more.
I told him about “30 Days of Love” and asked if he would take part. Ironically, today he was taken to court by his ex-girlfriend. He told me a story of 7 months of love and fighting and tolerance and forgiveness and breaking points, being hit by his girlfriend– it has culminated into lawyers and court appointments. He was visibly upset and apologized for crying in front of me.
André is a bespoke designer. When it came to ask him questions about love, I focussed on his love for bespoke design.
Name: André Age: 45 Profession: Bespoke Designer Nationality / Origin: Haitian
When did you start: July 2008 What is your favorite thing about being a bespoke designer: Seeing someone’s face when they see something they ordered is well-fitted. When they walk out, even if it’s just a smirk- if they are ultra conservative and don’t want to show it. You can see in their face how they feel in the clothes. Why is being a bespoke designer important to you: My mom and grandmother were seamstresses. It’s the only thing I know. It’s a family tradition coming from a Caribbean family–they want you to be a lawyer, an engineer, a doctor. I have a degree in Biology, but that’s as far as I went. I grew up in my mom’s shop. She never took me to a store. Until I was 15 everything I wore was tailored. And then I started shopping for myself and quickly realized I could make it myself. Love is…Respect, Trust, Mutual understanding, compromising, it’s not one-sided, but mostly it’s respect. She almost broke it. How has love changed you: I used to be a very impatient and intolerant person. I had a bad habit of not acknowledging the homeless. One day I passed a man and I heard him say, “I don’t need your money. I need your help. I have 4 kids….” I had just spent $20 on lunch and thought how fortunate I am. I ended up taking him to the grocery store and buying him some groceries. It’s not that I bought him the groceries, but that I stopped to listen. I saw that I had changed.
Andre’s reaction when I said how serious he looked. The first picture I took, he looked so serious. I learned later why. ©Katarina Kojic
On love: “She almost broke it.” ©Katarina Kojic
Check out his shop on FB, “André Michel Clothiers”. He is located in Tribeca.
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