This year marked the third year of New Mexico Fashion Week. Albuquerque’s premier fashion event once again took place at the convention center, and over the course of two spectacular nights of runway shows. The founder of NMFW, Melissa Beasley, hopes to grow New Mexico’s fashion industry and help create jobs for people across the state. Again, I love that, unlike a lot of fashion weeks I’ve been to, the folks at New Mexico Fashion Week only brought in designers that were local to the state. ALSO, that the models on the runway represented different cultural backgrounds (like Navajo American Indian) and were a variety of different shapes, sizes, and ages.
Both nights were hosted by Gabrielle Torrez, who was Miss Albuquerque 2014 and Miss Bernalillo County 2015. The runway layout was different this year, as it was longer and more intimate. According to New Mexico Fashion Week, “The runway show plays out in harmony with the underlying meaning of the 2016 Pantone colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity. It exudes an essence of connection between audience and ensembles as we bring the two closer together physically with a longer, more intimate runway layout. Bringing the audience closer together with the runway will also allow everyone to feel an interweaving wellness with the garments and accessories around them, much like how the coming together of Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of peace. Pantone’s reference to the ‘gender blur’ has always been present within the fashion industry, and has been carried over into our event. New Mexico Fashion Week is a comforting, welcoming entity that embraces all genders, ages, and sizes while encouraging everyone to let their creativity flow and express it freely without judgment.”
Before the runway shows, guests were able to shop the Fashion Expo- where six designers had booths set up. That way, guests were able to meet the designer and shop as they wish. My favorite booth was Vanilla Pudding by Nikki. Nikki Delaney creates adorable retro/vintage-inspired aprons for both sexes, and children; while using unique fabrics and notions. I really like that she offers a Route 66 themed apron, available in men’s and women’s. Nikki was also a guest from the New Mexico Autism Society and 3rd Annual Project Connect Fashion Show 2015 Albuquerque Apparel Center Choice Winner.
The designer lineup for night one was: Atelier Danielle, Bossarolla, Kendra Grace Designs, Lovato Eyecare, Orlando Dugi and Penny Singer.
Before the designer presentations, we were introduced to a handful of mini-collections from student designers from Santa Fe Community College. Ebbie Edmonston’s line was inspired by many different military styles. “In the years and months leading to election day, the media encourages us to pick a side and fight for “the cause,” making many of us feel defensive of our views and beliefs. I hope my line acts as a sort of armor and a focal point to draw the conversation down a different path,” she further explained. Richard Blake’s line focused on beauty from the inside out. He wants people to be comfortable in their own skin; and a good place to start is being comfortable in your clothes. He focuses on knits that can be worn around town and as workout wear. Etagu Wondimu is from Ethiopia and likes to incorporate some of her native textiles into each garment. She is trying to help her community in Ethiopia, by purchasing handmade fabrics to use in her work. Vanessa Quintana has a passion for the pin-up girl. Her style is classic with a splash of color shown in the patterns and fabrics she uses. Lastly, Rose Wiley started by making stylish gym clothing and has moved on to a line of geometric dresses. Her line is very clean; with simple lines and calming colors that help to showcase her talent as a seamstress. (Thank you Ebbie for the additional information on the designers.)
The first designer of the evening was Penny Singer, whose designs really embrace her Native Diné (Navajo) heritage. She grew up away from the reservation, but has since spent a fair amount of time on the reservation in TecNosPos, AZ. The experiences at the reservation are woven into her work. “The thread used to sew her collection is spun with drive, determination to make people understand where she comes from, and the beauty in being Native. As a single mother, the thread pushing through the fabric is also a metaphor stitching a wonderful life for herself and her son.” Penny presented a unique mix of jackets, ribbon shirts, vests and capes that were adorned with appliqués that told somewhat of a story in her Native culture.
Bossarolla hit the runway next, the fierce strut of the models gave an enlightened energy to the audience. The Albuquerque-based designers- Alexandra Sanchez and Leandra Rosenau showcased their “Strictly Business” collection. The duo were inspired by professional business attire, but wanted to add their signature twists and details. Each garment is also customizable to the consumer’s taste.
Upcycled t-shirt dresses from Kendra Grace Designs emerged on the runway. Kendra Brock is a self-taught designer, but with a background in creating life-size figurative sculptures. One day, after “sculpting” an upcycled t-shirt dress to her curvy figure, she decided that she wanted to create handmade, wearable pieces of art for women of all shapes and sizes. Since then, she creates garments and accessories using organic fabrics digitally printed with her own photographic images, upcycled t-shirts and eco-friendly fabrics for sizes ranging from 2- 24.
Santa Fe-based Orlando Dugi launched his namesake brand in 2011 in a small 150 square foot studio. In 2013, the brand moved to a more expansive studio and has since continued making gowns and hand-beaded evening bags, and now a jewelry line. The designer’s last name of DUGI is pronounced “doo-guy” and means “mustache” in Navajo American Indian language (and his heritage). Orlando creates his masterpieces in-house and out of the highest quality fabrics and embellishments and has enlisted the help of two bead assistants and a seamstress. For NMFW2016, he presented The Red Collection. “The Red Collection is hand-dyed in natural Peruvian cochineal dye, which is derived from the female beetle and involves a lengthy and complicated process. This elaborate collection is hand-beaded and hand-embroidered in Santa Fe. It has taken six artists hundreds of hours for six months to produce this small collection of six garments…Imagine a fantastical pre-Columbian matriarchal monarchy where strong and confident women dressed in elaborate sparkling gowns differing shades of a color reserved for royalty. The designs on the garments are inspired from the flora and fauna of the southwest and a fictional golden bird. The music is composed by cellist Randall Warren for The Red Collection and resonates the beauty and elegance within The Red Collection.”
Guests were then treated to an array of the latest in eyewear trends, thanks to Lovato Eyecare– Albuquerque’s leading eye care specialists. They are a “full-service eye care practice offering ophthalmology, optometry, optical and contact lens services. Dr. Lovato, a fellowship trained, board certified ophthalmologist in Albuquerque, treats a full range of medical eye diseases and performs cataract and laser surgery. He also provides his patients with their yearly routine vision care and has been the community’s trusted resource for superior eye care service and patient satisfaction for many years. Most major vision and medical insurance plans are accepted.”
The final designer of the evening was Santa Fe-based designer Danielle Foster-Herbst of Atelier Danielle. She combines luxurious textiles with vintage kimonos, saris and lace to form her original designs. “Her silhouettes are inspired by both tailored haberdashery and ethnographic forms with couture finishes. Garments are often reversible with great attention to detail and longevity. Clients and textiles are Danielle’s muse. Danielle pursues an environmentally sound design process. Every garment is created one at a time by Danielle, and skilled local artisans are paid a living wage.”
Stay tuned for night two!!