Friday, October 26, 2012

The Seen: Strut!Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Last night's Strut!Memphis event, an annual benefit to raise money for the Community Legal Center, was the place to see and be seen. Between the runway full of Laurelwood's finest fashions and the stylish attendees, we found plenty of photo-worthy outfits. Check out the slideshow for a taste of the evening's display.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Local Designers Get a Shot at the Runway

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 11:14 AM

If you've ever thought about designing your own clothes, Memphis Fashion Weekend is here to make that passing thought into a fledgling design into a runway reality. The Emerging Memphis Designer Project is new to the Memphis Fashion Weekend festivities in March, and we sat down with organizer Abby Elzemeyer Phillips to find out the details.

Why did you decide to add this to the Memphis Fashion Weekend lineup?

We got a lot of submissions last year from local designers who either had full collections but weren't the current season, or didn't have full collections and therefore couldn't show on their own. This was a way to bring all of the designers in Memphis together to create new Spring/Summer 2013 looks without having to create a whole new collection — because that's time consuming, it's costly, and it's hard to do if you're not a full-time designer or you're just starting out.

So how does the process of selecting designers work?

We have an application process and the designers will submit sketches for Spring/Summer 2013 looks. We have given them a color forecast. For Spring/Summer 2013 there are four different color forecasts that showcase the different trends for the coming season and we picked the one called "Clarity." It has a lot of beautiful pastels and also has some rich plums and greys. We're asking that designers stick with this color palette so that when they all go down the runway together they'll still look like a somewhat complete collection.

So you're hoping to get multiple designers involved in one collection?

We're hoping to have 25 looks walk the runway. Each designer can submit up to five looks. We may have five designers with all five looks, or 25 designers with one look each. We're just not sure what that breakdown is going to be yet.

What does the application itself entail?

What we're requiring is a sketch and for people to fill out the application. We've said that if people want to submit a mood board to help us understand their creative thought process that would be helpful, but it's definitely not necessary. So many people are creating mood boards on Pinterest that creating a mood board is much easier than it used to be.

The application is really a chance for us to see the designer's background, find out whether they've done anything like this before — which they do not have to have done anything like this before. We're totally open to people going, 'Oh, I've always wanted to do that, let's see if I can.'

What sort of resources will be available to these emerging designers?

Each designer gets $40 per look, which isn't a ton, we know, but at least we can give them a starting point. Sew Memphis is one of our sponsors of this event and they are going to be giving time slots for the Emerging Memphis Designer Project to come and use their sewing machines. They'll also be giving one class to the designers to kind of give an overview of how to use the machines and the idea of patterns. If all they've done are sketches, and they haven't brought them to life yet, they'll get a better idea of how to do that.

Another one of our sponsors is the Memphis Fashion Group, Charlisha Renata, and she'll be there to help designers with the business side of things. She'll be mentoring the designers that are chosen, helping them figure out what is their aesthetic, how to stay true to that, and helping them with the business side of fashion.

What's in store for the designers after the Memphis Fashion Weekend?

I'm hoping we'll be able to team up with boutiques to showcase the designs but also help these designers make a connection for future sales. I know K'Presha downtown desperately wants to use local designers and is totally open to trying to sell local pieces and doing custom looks for people. It's just at this point she's had a hard time trying to find local designers.

What would you say to someone who has very little experience with designing, maybe doesn't even know how to sketch, but is interested in designing for the show?

That's the hard part. Because if you don't know how to sketch, it's hard for us to be able to see what your designs are. If we get something that we feel has the creativity behind it, has the passion behind it, we'll make sure we do everything we can to get the full idea of what they want to do for the application process. But we'd rather they give sketching their best try. We have on our website a couple of helpful links and one of those is a link to a YouTube video on sketching and some tutorials. We hope people utilize those links to help them through the process.

For more information on Memphis Fashion Weekend or the Emerging Memphis Designer Project, visit or

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Local Brother-Sister Design Team Has Talant

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Check out this week's Flyer for an introduction to Talant Trade Co., a local design duo producing some of the coolest vintage-military-inspired bags straight from North Mississippi.

Katie and Johnson Benjamin
Mississippi natives Johnson and Katie Benjamin are siblings with a shared passion for good design and craft. Our favorite part is that they upcycled old sewing machinery from their grandfather's garment factory to use in their cottage industry. Way cool.Read all about it here and check out their website and Etsy shop to pick up your own Talant bag.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trash Talk: Curb Couture Trashion Show

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Last night was the second annual Curb Couture Trashion Show, a fashion show fund-raiser featuring clothes made partially or entirely of recycled materials. Local designers used aluminum cans, plastic bags, newspapers, chip bags, cardboard boxes, and other discarded materials to create their own unique designs and support the work of Memphis City Beautiful and neighborhood beautification and greening projects.

Of course, on the way to the event, my camera battery died. Was it hoping to be turned into a snappy broach or a statement necklace? Too bad for it, I'm not as crafty as the designers in the showcase; too bad for me, I had to take all my photos on my iPhone.

Now, in the words of Alexis Grace: Are you ready to see some trash?

Former American Idol contender Alexis Grace welcomes guests in a recycled dress.
  • Former American Idol contender Alexis Grace welcomes guests in a recycled dress.
Model shows off a hat made of a screen door and a bag made of scrap leather and chair parts.
  • Model shows off a hat made of a screen door and a bag made of scrap leather and chair parts.
A hat made of packaging materials.
  • A hat made of packaging materials.
Mayor Wharton greets the crowd.
  • Mayor Wharton greets the crowd.
Best of Show winning gown made of plastic bags created by costume designer Bruce Bui.
  • Best in Show winning gown made of plastic bags created by costume designer Bruce Bui.
Gown made of umbrellas and cleaning scrubbers.
  • Gown made of umbrellas and cleaning scrubbers.
Model shows off a bowtie by Mos Bows, crafted from an old church pew cushion.
  • Model shows off a bowtie by Mo's Bows, crafted from an old church pew cushion.

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