Whenever I travel to Phoenix, it’s always felt like a second home to me. So when I learned that I was able to attend their fashion week, I was beyond thrilled. The five days and three fashion-filled nights I was there unfortunately flew by like a whirlwind. But while there, I had the opportunity to see Hayley from LA-based Shop Excess Baggage, who was hosting a small trunk show that day I flew in. It was nice to see and connect with her, as I still have that inner longing for LA. I also met up with a great gal pal, Ms. Hannah H. from Heroine Chic Blog and did some thrifting and general catching up. But I wanted to thank my friends Britton and Will for allowing me to stay with them in beautiful Scottsdale for the five days I was there. I also wanted to share that this blogger (who is out of shape as far as climbing mountains) hiked 90% of Camelback Mountain with Britton and Will and it felt fucking fantastic!!! We ended the afternoon with an amazing lunch from Sweet Tomatoes (a.k.a Soup Plantation). And P.S…. still missing you Phoenix….
Ok…..So on with the show… Welcome to PHXFW Day 1 at the Talking Stick Resort. The shows were held outside and there was a Yelp Log-In Lounge especially for media, which helped out SO MUCH! There was a mix of established and emerging designers that evening. The line up was: Kent Denim, Mabella Chic, DaVinci, Cafe Bleu and Mariska for established designers. Living Dreams, OfraStyle, Shawl Dawls and Samantha Patterson for emerging designers competing for $10,000 worth of goods and services that would help them successfully launch their brand. Also that evening, local design student from Mesa Community College-Ashley Cooper was presented with a $1,000 fashion design scholarship for her innovative t-shirt design.
The first designer to showcase was LA-based Kent Denim. Models pounded down the runway, wearing denim obvi, which was styled in that effortless California casual style. I loved seeing crisp fitted jeans with their cuffs rolled up. As well as logo tees paired with dapper blazers. Kent Denim is proudly made in the USA. Check out KentDenim.com for more information.
Next up was Mabella Chic, designed by Mabel Cortez. The line was launched in 2005 in Long Beach, CA. Models rocked on-trend dresses, pants, skirts and tops that are designed for the independent woman who isn’t afraid to express herself through fashion. My favorite piece was the chiffon multi-colored with stripes hi-low dress. Mabel was inspired by the woman who is constantly on-the-go but is still able to shine through the bright colors and lively fabrics of the garments. Cortez enjoys making garments that are sexy, yet comfortable and able to move in. Prices fore the line are an affordable $40-200. Please check out MabellaChic.com to shop and more general information.
The next menswear designer to showcase was another Los Angeles brand called DaVinci. The brand exhibited their ‘New Vintage Collection,’ which is geared for the young hipster type looking for that retro construction. Throughout the collection I witnessed Charlie Harper’s bowling shirts, shirts with skinny ties, tees styled with bow ties, some mix of plaid, stripes and flannel. This collection was exciting and I wish more men dared to dress like that. Check out more information and to shop the DaVinci collections, check out globalrebels.com.
Next up was the first menswear emerging designer, Scottsdale-based Living Dreams Clothing. The brand was launched in November 2011 (or 11/11/11 for good luck) by Michael Poulos to spread the message of “living your dreams” through his clothing line. As Michael explains, “Living Dreams believes we all have a dream inside ourselves. When that dreams becomes a reality through passion and hard work…that is Living Dreams!” During PHXFW, he showcased the Fall/Winter 2012 collections, which focused on ‘bringing out the color’ during the usually darker upcoming season. “With the primary seasons of Living Dreams being spring/ summer, it is up to us to translate our beach and summer feel into the seasons that we typically forget about the outdoor and warm days.” I personally love the colors and the quirky sayings that were screen printed on the tees premium quality t-shirts of 60% cotton/40% polyester blend. I think they are great for layering and do add a refreshing touch to the typical Fall/Winter drab colors. The tees retail for about $34, while hats retail for $30. To shop the collection and for more information, check out Living Dreams’s website. I’ll also leave you with this last quote by Michael, “It is never too late to start putting your own dreams into action in life and when what your passionate about is what you do for living, great things follow in terms of self-satisfaction and success. I have been blessed to this point in my life that I have the opportunity to do what I love for a living and would others to give it a try and the impact it has not only the individual, but the people you surround yourself with!”
Up next was the first womenswear line in the emerging designers division, Phoenix-based OfraStyle. The brand was launched just this year by Ofra Aricha and specializes in convertible clothing for women. The garments are adjustable and can be worn 2-3 ways and can go from casual in the daytime to chic and contemporary for an evening out. Each garment is soft and made so the wearer can easily move, dance or do yoga in; but can also efficiently transition into a sharp look for date night. Since I’m a fan of LBDs, I especially loved seeing the strapless knee-length and maxi black dresses that are made from Modal. The black garments are priced a littler higher due to the fabric. Ofra explains, “Modal is type of rayon textile made from fibers of the beech tree. Modal Fabric is something truly special because the fiber is very fine, natural, and it is considered the ultimate in softness. Modal is soft, smooth, and breathes well. It’s texture is similar to a super soft cotton or silk, and it’s advantage is it’s resistance to shrinkage. The fabric is also stays soft through repeated washings.” So ladies, this line is perfect for the gal-on- the -go or the gal who wants to look effortlessly fabulous at all times of the day, but still wants to watch her pennies. Prices range from $64.99 for the Convertible Tie Dye Short Dress, $79.99 for the Convertible Tie Dye Jumpsuit, $89.99 for the Convertible Tie Dye Long Dress. Prices for the black Modal garments are $79.99 for the Convertible Black Short Dress, $99.99 for the Convertible Black Jumpsuit, $109.99 for the Convertible Black Long Dress. To shop the line and additional information, go to ofrastyle.com.
Next up was the Los Angeles-based Shawl Dawls, a line specializing in…you guessed it… shawls. But these aren’t your ‘run-of-the-mill’ shawls, they are a stylish essential to the everyday womens style. And can you believe that there are FIFTEEN or more ways to style the shawls?! I loved how the shawls were presented on the runway and gave me an idea that shawls don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can be styled into a dress, cover-up, top or even wedding veil (which was stunning, FYI). According to designers Julie Cruz and Roshena Chadha, their inspiration for their PHXFW collection, “were largely inspired by the fabrics that we found and by elements of other styles and trends that we’ve seen out there. We essentially have two main bodies (short and long) and designed around them applying trends and details such as fringe and slits. And of course, we are huge on versatility – versatility in styling and versatility in the marketplace, creating styles that would appeal to all ages.” They have designed the shawls with the gal-on-the-go in mind (as in ‘throw it on and add a belt’ effortless’), as well as the everyday women, as it is ‘one size fits all’ and flatters every body type. Shawl Dawls is made in LA and retail from $38-98. Check out their ‘How To Style a Shawl” video here and shop the collection on shawldawls.com.
The last of the emerging designers that evening was Samantha Patterson Designs. Designer Samantha Patterson, who just graduated from FIDM in LA in 2011 and as since had two successful collections; is a firm believer that you can still be just as fashionable while still dressing modestly. Her definition of modest dressing is “any clothing that covers the shoulders, goes down to just above the knee and avoids any plunging neckline.” Her Spring 2013 collection that she showed in Phoenix is all about movement, but without having to show too much skin. She achieved just that by construction her garments using certain techniques and by adding small details to accomplish that flirty movement she was hoping for. I adored this collection…yes, it was modest..but it was smartly modest and on-trend. I could find a few ways to wear the floral maxi dress or the floral harem-esque pants. Her prices range from $50-250. Check out SamanthaPatterson.com for further deets!
Next up was another established menswear designer called Cafe Bleu, designed by Vince Gonzales. Well-groomed models promenaded down the runway in well-tailored shirts and blazers that were a mixture of solids and unique patterns. The designs are inspired by vintage Carnaby Street in London and produced in Istanbul, Turkey. The company only uses hand-tailored stitching, 60s singles cotton and the finest European buttons when manufacturing the collections. Ladies, they just launched a womens collection during Spring 2012. Check out cafebleu.us for more info, including info on their signature “Evil Eye” label.
The last of the designers that evening was another Los Angeles designer- Mariska. The name ‘Mariska’ is Hungarian for ‘Maria,’ which pays homage to the designer Mariska Janossy’s heritage. The line conveys a retro vibe with modern silhouettes. The brand prides itself on producing small quantities right in the heart of downtown LA, with quality in mind. To shop the collection and find additional information, please go to mariskafashion.com. When you first get to the website, a cool video with a model “getting ready for a date” trying on different looks from the collection and dancing to rhythmic beats of tambourines, instantly starts playing. I like how it gives us an idea of how the clothes look on and while in motion.
Stay tuned for Day 2…..