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Barbara Bates

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Information about Barbara Bates

Profile image of Barbara Bates

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Cotton Candy, Watermelon
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anguilla
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/27/1955
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Cotton Candy, Watermelon
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anguilla
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/27/1955
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Barbara Bates is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Self-taught fashion designer Barbara Bates was born on June 27, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Elvin Hicks, was a school teacher and her mother, Vera, was a housewife. Bates went through Chicago's public school system and graduated from Marshall High School in 1962.

Bates worked a variety of jobs after graduating from high school, where she frequently designed the clothes she wore. In 1984, while working as a secretary for the First National Bank of Chicago, Bates began selling her clothing out of the bathroom during lunchtime. This experience led Bates to design clothes full-time and, two years later, she opened a 700 square-foot showroom, which is located in Chicago's South Loop.

In 1999, Bates founded the Bates Foundation to provide custom-made prom dresses to underprivileged or hard-to-fit young women from inner-city schools in Chicago. Bates' desire to make dresses for these women comes primarily from her own trials as a teen mother. Bates remembers the alternative school she attended as a pregnant fifteen-year-old and promised to make prom dresses for the girls that returned to high school and graduated. Bates has two sons, Eugene and Kristopher.

Bates Designs continues to be a leader in the world of fashion. Exotic fabrics and the use of leather trim are among the hallmarks of her designs. Bates has outfitted numerous celebrities including: Sinbad, Michael Jordan, Whitney Houston and Mike Tyson.

See how Barbara Bates is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Bates interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Bates shares her parents' names
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Bates discusses her grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Bates's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Bates discusses her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Bates remembers summers in Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Bates discusses her grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Bates discusses her maternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Bates describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Bates discusses her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Barbara Bates describes herself as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Barbara Bates reflects on dream to become a fashion designer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Barbara Bates remembers her early interest in fashion
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Barbara Bates remembers elementary school science fairs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Barbara Bates describes her childhood in Pittsburgh
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Barbara Bates remembers middle school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Barbara Bates remembers the dances of her youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Barbara Bates remembers a middle school teacher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Barbara Bates reflects on her ability in science
  • Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Barbara Bates describes her search for her biological father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Bates remembers talking to her father for the first time
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Bates reflects on meeting her father for the first time
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Bates reflects on how her personality mirrored her father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Bates has first child and graduates from high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Bates aspires to be a fashion designer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Bates goes into the fashion business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Bates develops a celebrity clientele
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Bates reflects on her growing business and the birth of her second son
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Bates reflects on her religious faith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Bates discusses her business direction and becoming a grandmother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Barbara Bates discusses adjusting to her cousin's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Barbara Bates gets married
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Bates discusses her courtship with Otis Wilson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Bates discusses her separation from husband
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Bates reflects on growing after her divorce
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Bates discusses her giving personality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Bates reflects on her inherited strength
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Bates discusses her business goals
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Bates discusses her sons
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Bates discusses her civic and social activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Bates reflects on her legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Bates describes her fashion philosophy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Barbara Bates discusses the creation of the Barbara Bates Foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Bates formalizes the Barbara Bates Foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Bates describes how she selects the girls to be served by her foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Bates shares stories of girls served by her foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Bates discusses financial support for her foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Bates reflects on her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Bates reflects on her mother's support of her
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Photo - Barbara Bates with sons Eugene and Kristopher, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - View of auditorium used for the Barbara Bates Foundation Fundraiser at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - Terry Stevens and others dressing mannequins for the Bates Foundation fashion show fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Detail of staff member dressing mannequins for the Bates Foundation fashion show fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Barbara Bates and husband, Otis Wilson at the Barbara Bates Foundation fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Program designed by Craig Rex Perry for the Barbara Bates Foundation's fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Unidentified guest reading the program for the Barbara Bates Foundation's fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Models in clothes designed by Barbara Bates for the Bates Foundation fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Barbara Bates and husband, Otis Wilson with models at Barbara Bates Foundation fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Photo - Barbara Bates with models at the Barbara Bates Foundation fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Photo - Barbara Bates with models and coordinator at the Barbara Bates Foundation fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 2001