New Mexico Fashion Week 2015

New Mexico Fashion Week returned to Albuquerque (for the second time) for an evening of high-energy runway shows that featured local and out-of-state designers. I just happened to be passing through the city on my way back to Texas from LA and was excited to see what the event had to offer. I would also like to point out that NMFW was ahead of the “fashion week game” by celebrating models of all ages, shapes and sizes.

It was held at the convention center in Downtown and featured twelve designers: 505 Clothing, A. Tsagas Designs, Bossarolla, Debi Lynn Designs, Destinista Designs, Enlightened Designs, Kenneth Edgar, MeliDu, Monista Arts, Montecristi Custom Hats, Noir Assassin and ODELL by Kayleigh Dawn. The event was emcee’d by Miss Albuquerque 2014- Gabrielle Torres. Unfortunately, I missed the first half of the evening’s festivities (even though we hustled, it was still a long drive from California), but I was able to make the last half, as well as see the dress sculptures in the ‘Fashion as Art’ exhibit. The exhibit was also a part of a competition between students and established artists. The participants were: Dominique Cohn, Liza Doyle, Melissa Dulanto, Madeleine Toyokawa, Sara Basehart, Rhonda Crossland, Ezra Estes, Stephen Fehr and Carla Wick.

Luckily I was able to spot my favorite Cajun jewelry designer from Houston- Debi Lynn of Debi Lynn Designs, who was walking around with her models (still dressed in the collection). Her collection- titled, “Bayou Gypsy meets Cowgirl Chique,” featured fringe, repurposed clothing, appliqués, beading and more! Every piece of the collection is inspired by her Cajun and Muskogee Creek cultures. Growing up in the Louisiana bayou, she would hunt and collect little ‘treasures’ and made something with them. To this day, she has never outsourced for her jewelry and everything is one-of-a-kind. Her jewelry has been seen on Miranda Lambert, Brittany Spears, Demi Lovato and more.

K- Bobby International was the next collection to walk the runway. Jamaican-born Kenneth Edgar became a seasoned designer and dressmaker in his village by the age of 12. He showcased designs for both men and women, ranging from casual to evening wear. The collection was fun, wearable and made in the USA.

A Bossarolla is defined as “a woman who puts God first. Loves her family. Demands respect. Takes care of her business. Always real. Original. Classy. Strong. Lives her life to the fullest,” according to the brand’s two designers- Alexandra Sanchez and Leandra Rosenau. The models jammed the runway to Beyonce’s “Run This World,” rocking the brand’s swimwear and sunglasses collection. The swimwear was colorful and seemed to feature a variety of textures and fabrics. The designers also opted for bold silhouettes with girly detailing, such as sweet bows and ribbon.

Destinista Fashions designer- Destini Duran recently graduated from Santa Fe Community College with a degree in fashion design in 2014. She presented her collection “A Tower of Blue,” inspired by the Empire State Building. The collection is heavily influenced by modern abstract art and had a neutral black, white, grey color palette; with the exception of a vibrant blue. The gowns and separates were sophisticated with a hint of edginess. The clothes were paired with accessories by Monica Duran of Monista Arts & Designs. Monica holds a degree in architecture and interior design, but due to her illness, she has switched careers. In 2006, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that is terminal. But clearly, that is not slowing her down. Not only was she a bad-ass plus-size model during NMFW, but she has found success through her artwork. Monica explains (via Facebook), “I see images through contemporary eyes, both abstract and realistic. I try to convey the simplicity, elegance, grace, and spirit of my art. Light, shade, color, and texture all working together create art with eyes of Gods nature. My primary pieces of art reflect the journey and pain I have had to endure for many years. I want others to embrace my work not only as a story but through the reflection of what is inside of me.” The NMFW collection is called, “A Kiss of a Feather” and features 100% leather and Swarovski crystals. I wish Monica all the best for continued health and success!

There was definitely something “enlightening” about this next brand, aptly called- Enlightened Designs. The brand’s designer- Sharidynn Denetchiley is of Dine (Navajo) Nation descent and was originally from the Four Corners region. She launched her career sometime around 2008 and has successfully participated in many jewelry and fashion shows across New Mexico, as well as had numerous collaborations with Native American models and designers across the country. She focuses on creating contemporary Native American jewelry and strives to inspire a new generation of jewelers. This showcase featured not only the jewelry, but incredible Native American inspired body painting by Patrick “Cloudface” Burnham and several references that harked back to her Native American roots. Needless to say, the finale of the presentation was captivating. I love seeing diversity in fashion and I’m giving Sharidynn multiple thumbs up!

Denver-based A. Tsagas Designs fur and leather designer- Andreas Tsagas specializes in creating unique pieces from reclaimed and repurposed fur and leather for over 30 years now. The pieces were a perfect fit for NMFW and the Southwestern lifestyle.

Santa Fe-based Montecristi Custom Hats was the last brand to present that evening. Designer Milton Johnson has been customizing unfinished Ecuadorean hats for men and women since 1978. The company is also known for their exquisite fur felt hats, hatbands, buckle sets and hat accessories. NMFW founder- Melissa Beasley also made her ‘runway debut’ during the presentation. Monticristi has been featured in a variety of press and on numerous celebrities.

HUGE thank you to Melissa and the whole team at New Mexico Fashion Week! I look forward to hopefully attending the FULL event next year.

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