It’s the beginning of the new year, which didn’t stop entrepreneur JS (John Smith) from putting on the first show of the year- “Modeled Fashions, Designing Women 2009,” held at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. Smith founded his company, Modeled Fashions Entertainment Group in September 2008 as a result in wanting to change the attitude and concept of his first company, First Take Entertainment. He chose Modeled Fashion as the new name because he wanted to be “modeled” and emulated by other people in the industry. He wanted “Modeled Fashions, Designing Women 2009” to be the first show in 2009…thus setting the bar in fashion in 2009. He is about enhancing creativity, not only his own, but fellow artists as well. He will go out and find entertainers, models, designers and comedians that haven’t had their chance in the industry and give them the opportunity to live their dreams. He also gives 110% effort helping fellow artists. And “Modeled Fashions, Designing Women 2009” did just that.
It was held on Saturday, January 17th at the Celebrity Centre’s Garden Pavilion in Hollywood. Being somewhat early I was able to catch up with the designers of the show before taking my seat at the front of the runway.
Houstina Summers of Cowgirl Heaven was the first designer I ran into. She has been designing for one year and is self-taught. She specializes in couture and party dresses. She makes all the patterns and sews everything herself and loves experimenting with different styles and looks. Her inspiration is God (is love.) She credits the colors in the sky and sun that inspire her as well. Also that she loves dresses and she knows that every woman loves a great dress. Her advice to budding designers and business owners, “If you can see it, you can do it…If you can envision it, if you have the heart and passion for it, you can do it.”
Another featured designer of the evening was Katie Manzella of K. Manzella. Katie has done a few shows with JS and they support each other. She has been designing since she was thirteen in the Punk Rock Era. She made her own clothes and refined her style. She does everything herself- from the sketching to the sewing. However, when she does manufacture, it will be here in LA under regulation. She is adamant on helping out the economy and making sure that people are treated well (health insurance, no child labor and livable wages.) Her inspiration for this collection came from the women of the 1900’s- 1940’s because they were glamorous and cared about how they looked. To them, going out and dressing up was a special occasion. When her company gets bigger, she wants to create a trend in LA of giving back more and being more aware of people. “It’s not just about the clothes that come out, it’s about the process of creating them.”
The next line are was also the first to show their goods down the runway. This team of three generations- Grandmother, Mother and Daughter created a line of leggings and vests named Tru Britt. The collection for the show was comprised of leggings ranging from mid-length, stirrup, long and gathered. They used liquid latex and faux leathers. The price points for the leggings range from $40-45. The tie- vests are very versatile and since they are made from soft netting, they take up hardly any room in the suitcase! The vests are $35- a great deal in this rough economy. Their website is coming soon!
As I kept interviewing the designers, I found that we had one thing in common…FIDM. Like the designer I’m about to introduce- Pam Mbanga. She has been designing for four years. So far, she has showcased in seven shows in Canada as well as Edmonton Fashion Week. Her inspirations for the the evening’s show is the sexy woman…She’s confident, she knows who she is and doesn’t have to show too much skin to be sexy. Pam’s favorite fabrics, and the most difficult to work with, are chiffons and organzas. She makes all the patterns and sews everything herself. She sells online and at the FIDM Scholarship Store, as well as selling in boutiques in Toronto and London. Check out her collection at www.mbangainc.com.
Another Canadian and fellow FIDM student is Erica Cee Steeves, who has been designing for five years. She has done two other shows in Canada for her school. She found her inspiration at the Balloon Festival in Canada. She loved the hot-air balloons and their colors. She does evening wear, cocktail and party dresses. Her favorite saying is “Life’s all about working, so why not like what you’re wearing.”
The last fantastic designer on my roster is Kimberly Alfaro of Kimberly Alfaro Collections. The “Collections” mean that the pieces are the best of the best of everything she has done. Her pieces have a lot of silk and peacock influences. She also incorporates Swarovski Crystals and embroidery into her designs. She is also a fan of trains on dresses. Her silhouettes are sleek, classical and accent the hour-glass figure. She uses Marc Jacobs and Roberto Cavalli as influences. One of the dresses in the collection, a denim dress with a long train has an Oscar de la Renta influence. She grew up with a family of sewers and has pretty much been designing all her life. She has been designing professionally for seven to eight years. As far as hearing about JS, she heard from the head of the texile department at FIDM and immediately jumped at the great opportunity. Her designs can be viewed at www.kimberlyalfaro.com.
I want to give special thanks to comedian, D Shorte, who did a very funny routine during intermission and Miss Guatemala, Krys De La Mora. They were great MCs throughout the event. Also, Terra Incognita, who performed during the runway shows. The wonderful models that rocked the runway. The creative eyewear, Tingaling. The sponsors of the show: Vice, Glass House PR, Jacob’s Shoes for the Stars. He handmakes 70% of the shoes and has a boutique on Melrose. Lastly, Glammin School of Make-up in Orange County.