Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fashionista Dreams in Style, Designer Article Series, Part 1

Fashion is not just a word or a description or a piece of clothing or an event.  For many it is life…and a way of life.  I have the extraordinary opportunity to share with you, a little part of something bigger than just an industry.  This article series is being written to allow you a sneak peek into the lives of some of designers that are part of the 2012 Phoenix Fashion Week.  The interviews comprise of candid discussions and questions asked of the designers and my interpretation of their answers.   The write-up will be a summary of the conversation.

Bri Seeley can be described as classic, quality, and fashionable.  All of these descriptions are exactly what she portrays in her designs as well as branding.  Her desire to create fashion and design started back to her earliest memories of when her Grandmother taught her how to sew.  There was no specific starting point or deciding point on her path, it was just always known to Bri that she would be in fashion.  Her first major design project turned out to be her Junior Year Prom Dress which comprised of Silver Satin, a train and off shoulder or one shoulder design she had professionally made.  When starting out, Bri realized that through just jumping in and sewing her creations was the easiest way to determine what worked and what didn’t.  Mistakes were part of the process to design and improve the designs.  From design to creation, Bri’s experience defines a six to eight week process and potentially more where custom designs come into play.

Bri’s idea of quality consists of two major items that she looks for immediately – 1) fabric content of the best quality and 2) construction quality in how the design is made.  Her favorite fabrics revolve around silk, cotton, and rayon.  Besides quality, the areas that matter most to Bri as a fashion designer are the items being made/manufactured completely in the USA and that the garments are designed to reflect femininity.  In Bri’s design practices, she absolutely would rather go straight to sewing a design and figuring out the appropriate modifications to make it work versus sketching out the entire design first.  Bri attributes gaining some of the best experience from her schooling and work abroad in Italy.  Two years of education and experience in Florence, Italy helped to shape Bri’s thought process and eventual decision to design in the manner she does.  Advice she wanted to share for up and coming designers just breaking into the industry is the importance of networking.  It is often times, not only what you know but who you know that can actually help make the difference in getting your brand recognized.

The inspiration for many of the designs comes from nature and historical vintage fashion.  Through this, the intent of the line is to really reflect the quality, classic looks, and then designs which are outside of the trends and stand uniquely on their own as well as being able to cross seasons and last for multiple years.  Including the fabrics of silk, cotton, and rayon, wool ends up being one of the other favorite fabrics she loves to use in the designs.  Her creations are art and she is truly an artist with a blank canvas when she starts to develop her designs.   Bri’s passion comes across strong and vivid with that feminine side being a uniquely embellished to make you appreciate the movements she creates in all her designs.
One cannot deny that Bri’s clothing line is special and she is going to create waves on the runway.  Looking forward to seeing more of the designs and having the opportunity to highlight and bring exposure to the Bri Seeley brand.

Photography by Shawn Kinney

Website: , Twitter:  @BriSeeley

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fashion Rules the Runway!!!

From the district to burlap to couture, the runway last Friday included it all.  Degree 270 at Talking Stick Resort, home of Phoenix Fashion Week 2012, hosted an energetic and most stylish event full of the hustle and bustle of fashionistas, photographers, designers, artists, models, sponsors and all the fans of fashion.  The vibe is incredible at these events as everyone is vying for the best position in the house to experience the visual display of textures, lights, accessories, splashed colors and the most perfectly designed beings to represent the best of the best.  

Being part of runway is a prestigious honor and with the designers in house this year, it’s more like having royalty around as the court they hold now seems cannot be compared to others.  The models selected represented beyond outstanding and their involved presence was evident throughout the entire night.  Diversity, boldness, chic, elegance, creative, classy, comfortable were weaved throughout and arranged as part of the fiery but posh exhibition for this year’s show.  Noted here is a compelling overview of the designers and what is going to make this year’s final decision in October incredibly difficult: (See Photos for Designs )

Paulie Gibson
Ofra Styles
Italia Rocks Couture
Eye Thread
ENVY by Khanh

  1. Bri Seeley – displayed incredible free flowing forms that allowed for that elegant and gentle movement with a softness one could not refuse.
  2. ENVY by Khanh – as evident from the original showing, the boldness and daring geometric cuts brought out an edgy yet lovely form fitting and flattering choice, which has to be a staple in everyone’s closet…
  3. EYE Thread – full of styling and balance, their designs fit so naturally the presentation was complete
  4. Italia Rocks Couture –burst in with such an example of precious majestic silhouetted glamour that whisked one away to another land where princesses only live
  5. JHaus – evolved texture to a new level and made practical inspirational and stunning with the range of style from short to gown, nothing short of spectacular
  6. Living Dreams – nothing can replace a well-dressed man but one that can live the dream too, swoon as its too good to be true
  7. Ofra Style – is setting a trend in bringing the house down with more colorful flow and comfortable lines that you could wear everywhere, why wouldn’t you have a design or two
  8. Paulie Gibson – there was a mystic darkness that was shown through these contrasting pattern and color designs which offered an exotic appeal, definitely excitable
  9. Samantha Patterson – complementary color matching and sensible textures present these designs to be attractive and swanky
  10. Sew Twisted Designs – the boldness and the classic mix created a stunning sultry and sexy arrangement
  11. Shawl Dawls – with the Dawls in the house the options are endless and the breezy styles showed a more simple but provocative look that could make you melt in a good way
  12. Suzanne Lay – demonstrated a high class uptown look and with the color contrast exuded classy confidence which was amazing.
Bri Seeley
Shawl Dawls

Living the Dream
Suzanne Lay
Sew Twisted Designs
Samantha Patterson

                                         Living without fashion is not an option and to have the opportunity to not only experience but take part of a legacy that is being built around talents and gifts these amazing designers have is nothing short of grandiose.  Until next time…live it, breathe it, and be it…fashionable!!!

P.S. The bonus to all of this was the amazing VIP swag bag – can you say over the top….PHXFW just keeps getting better and better.   Phoenix Fashion Week did a fabulous coordination of offerings and products that would leave anyone completely flattered and honored to have received.  Jewelry, designer wear, accessories, and fashionable makeup and hair products…what more could a girl ask for…

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fashion with a Cause

Where is fashion today? It’s in absolutely everything…just think about it. There isn’t one thing that you don’t wear that doesn’t have some kind of fashion statement about it. Fashion isn’t just for the runway, or the red carpet, or a gala event. It’s mostly about who we are, what we represent, how we feel, who we want to be perceived as and it is a basic need. I haven’t professionally studied fashion but I’ve been aware of it all my life. Its funny when you look back over your past and especially the pictures, the changes you see evolve from year to year, event to event, going back as far as pre-school through college and beyond.

Many of us have the opportunity to enjoy fashion through special events, celebrations, major life milestones, accomplishments and other great reasons. Often a special dress, suit, outfit, shoes, or other is obtained for wearing or enjoying as part of the activity. What is great about these times is that you will have those special moments memorialized by pictures and you have the opportunity to reflect on yourself, your image and how you felt as a result of it. During these times, the conscience thought process of fashion and fashion influences may not be an obvious area to think about, but I beg to differ. It is not self-centered, or diva-ish or selfish even to consider how you look, want to look, and if you want to change anything. This goes for not only what you wear, but how you see yourself on the inside and out. There are many studies that state when a person feels good about themselves, they tend to walk taller and stronger and exude a confidence that is not always obvious otherwise. This comes out also in how they dress as well. This is why these events are considered special because you get to display through fashion how you feel .

Unfortunately not everyone can actually say they have these moments though or are able to really make a change because their choices may be limited due to circumstances beyond their control. This is difficult to talk about as these individuals may be affected by homelessness, domestic violence, other physical abuse, abandonment, or so many other scenarios that can be tragic or of similar misfortune. I think for most of us, we are absolutely blessed to be able to choose what we wear, buy the clothing we need, make the statements we do by what we wear and how we feel. Beyond this though, there is a great need by many organizations to help those individuals feel the way we feel by just having a new set of clothes to wear that fit them and make them feel good whether it be for a job interview, going to school, finding a place to live, or just being able to wear something newer than the hand me downs they have or the only the clothes they have had on their back since they got kicked out or lost their homes.

Several organizations exist that are designed to actually help individuals going through crisis get back on their feet and start to move forward again. Many of these organizations have been affected as a result of the economic downturn which in turn has challenged them in supporting those most in need. This has been a result of the demand and needs being so high. There are three organizations, that come to mind that collect and use clothing and dare I say fashionable ones to help individuals get situated so they can not only feel better about themselves but also so they can find employment, transitionally housing, training and more.

Family Promise AZ - Family Promise – Greater Phoenix is one of 159 Family Promise programs throughout the country temporarily meeting the needs of homeless families. Family Promise has affiliates in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Altogether there are more than 5,000 congregations and more than 120,000 volunteers who have assisted 140,000 guests since 1988. The parent organization’s website is found at Kimberly Noe is a great working contact for them if you need to find out more information.

IHELP - Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program - Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) in partnership with more than 30 faith communities, service clubs and businesses provides homeless individuals with hope and opportunity for a better future by offering shelter, meals and connections to community services.

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Resource - Fresh Start Women's Foundation is an Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping empower women through the services of the Jewell McFarland Lewis-Fresh Start Women's Resource Center. This Center, the first comprehensive self-help center for women in the country, opened in October 2002 and currently provides resources to more than 2,500 women a month.

Each of these organizations is open to donations and clothing especially as this year has proven to be a tough one and the needs are high. So if you are looking to make a difference, you can with your fashion help these causes. They are always looking for quality clothing that can be used to allocate to individuals and those in need especially where they can be used for bettering the individual’s situation. Today, take that opportunity to see if you can help these causes with your fashion!!!