[ A view of the top portion of the festival, taken from the chair lift by Instagrammer Caroline McCann]
It’s nearly one o’clock in the afternoon on a Saturday here at Gnarnia, and I’m just waking up, still wearing the clothes I had on the night before. I didn’t get back to my “roughin’-it” fashion tent last night until about 4 a.m., which was when I finally — and I mean finally — called an end to all the fun I’d been having in the artists lounge and trekked it back to the campgrounds. Wow. What a night..
I began my festival experience Friday evening by snapping pics of cute fashiony girls spotted in the craft and artist’s section that lined the festival’s entrance. There were people walking about everywhere, literally dotting the sides of the mountains, and all were rocking their oversized neon sunglasses, glitter, sporty caps, ripped denim, fur-lined boots or sheer lace pants, tanks and bikinis.
I quickly ended up behind the event’s main stage, tucked away in a white building used for snowboard rentals in the wintertime, amongst twenty or so models and designers, all scrambling to get ready for what would be Gnarnia’s first ever fashion show.
The event, produced by Asheville jewelry designer and fashion photographer Jade Kale, boasted designs by On the Inside, Recyclone, ARTeries, Mamie Ruth, Cavortress and Tesla Jamieson. As the show got started I watched from the stage, looking out as the models boldly strutted out to an audience of screaming fans. The heavy fog and darkly lit mountains served as a perfect backdrop. Clearly, the Festival of Gnarnia was ready for a fashion show.
And there I stood wearing my trusty gray suede ankle boots, a comfy neon blue mini, sheer green tank, and an endlessly reliable iPhone that snapped all the pics you see here now.
The fashion, music, and people.. all of it had taken ahold of me. I found myself gazing out at a crowd of hundreds, spotting fashionable ladies taking pics during the show, chatting about the styles with their friends. Wild flowers sweetly decorated one young woman’s hair while another wore suede boots and fur paired with an over-sized orange tunic keeping her comfort at a maximum and still managing to look exquisitely cool.
There was something distinctly wild and free about this festival. The people were there to cut loose and party. And partying is just what they were doing amidst the layers of mountain ridges, chalets, and low-hanging clouds. The music beat loudly in the background throughout the night and kept the crowd’s wild tempo pulsing for hours and hours of untamed and relentless partying.
The weekend of Gnarnia belonged entirely to the young people who made the festival happen, as well as those who made the festival their home for a weekend.
The style was certainly unique. Very Gnarnia and very East coast. What an experience.
This past July I attended the Asheville Community Theatre’s inaugural Costume Fashion Show Fundraiser at the Courtyard Marriot ballroom, produced by local fashionista Sara Fields, where more than 15 designers gathered to compete for grand prizes and notoriety, while supporting one of the city’s most beloved art centers.
The twist of the organization’s fashion show was that the designers who entered could only make their pieces using an element from one of four categories: Paper, Flowers, Tape and Feathers. Audience members then chose the winner of those categories by voting on top designs with “dollar votes,” effectively donating one dollar at a time to the ACT. Category winners received $250 and the overall winner won $500.
So who were the winners? And who were the stand-out designers?
Tesla Jamieson won the grand prize with her layered black and green peacock-feathered gown. The piece was modeled by Tess Miller and Jamieson’s piece raised $566 for the ACT.
Jamieson explained, “I had a good deal of time to think about the design and had most of the materials in a pile to consider, but I was on the road a lot and didn’t actually really start on any of it until the Friday before the show. It was pretty hectic!”
She made the winning dress from purple satin, old leather jackets, an old prom dress, and “thousands of feathers.” The head-piece was made with feathers, a costumed pearl necklace, chain, and bullet shells.
The second place dress was a team dress designed for the paper category by Jotti Mara and Juniper Cooper. The gown was inspired by Alexander McQueen and made with both construction and tissue paper that was cut, folded and manipulated to achieve its dramatic silhouette. The dress raised $814 for the ACT.
Some of my additional favorites included the tape dress by Alcora Designer (pictured left). It was made with dated work-out video tapes. Hilarious! And I just cannot get over how beautiful the dress looked shimmering under the spotlights. It had impeccable movement. Kudos to the designer.
I also fell in love with a flower dress designed by ML Marsh of Spiritex Organic. ML named it the “Jane Magnolia Gown.”
Marsh said, “I photographed the actual petal from the tree this past spring and printed each individual petal on chiffon and layered them upon soft tulle. The top part of the dress can be worn alone as a short dress.”
There were more dresses that I loved, so check out the video and photos for a birds eye view of the ACT Costume Drama Fashion Show!
Video by Judson Matthews!
Asheville-native Fashion Publicist Sonia Hendrix of PUSH Productions announced this week a $500 donation
to the Jewish Community Center’s second annual Fashion Revival: Project Runway.
Hendrix explained her reason for the sponsorship by saying, “This donation is about giving to an organization
that has been a long-time fixture in our city, giving freely to those who need it, while also creating fun events
that support the local fashion industry. The spirit of my agency is to build platforms for local designers and
models to cultivate their skill sets and to help those artists gain exposure on a national level. I love what the JCC has done here by combining its mission to cultivate both community and fashion. We’re proud to be a sponsor!”
The JCC’s “Project Runway” event is slated for Sunday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Asheville. The event is known for its grassroots spin on engaging audiences during fashion shows for new designers. This year’s schedule features five categories ranging from the “I Sewed It Myself” amateur category, to “Only In Asheville Couture” and “Upcycled One of a Kind Day/Evening Wear.”
For more information on the JCC’s “Fashion Revival: Project Runway” fashion show, please visit: www.jccasheville.org. Designers can enter the fashion show by contacting producer, Carol McCollum: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets to the event are $18 and include one fashion show contest entry and light theatre brunch. One-hundred percent of the profits benefit the JCC.
JCC Sponsorhip Tiers – Still Accepting Sponsors
Chai-est Sponsorship: $144.00
Heavenly Sponsorship: $288.00
Awards Sponsorships for Businesses: $288
Hallelujah Sponsorship: $500.00
Fashion enthusiasts in both Columbia, South Carolina and across the Southeast are gearing up for a week of fashion with the inaugural “Columbia Style Week,” kicking off with fashion panels and “beautiful people” parties tomorrow evening.
Fashion Publicist and “PUSH Fashion” Runway Coordinator Sonia Hendrix is slated to speak at the event on behalf of Asheville, N.C.’s fashion scene.
Hendrix explained, “I was contacted several months back by Coordinator and Founder Alicia Zeigler, who also owns Wink Magazine and FFS Model and Talent Agency. Alicia had heard about my work as a runway producer, and wanted to bring me on as a speaker to represent Asheville and its developing fashion industry. I am honored to be part of Columbia’s first-ever fashion week!”
Columbia Style Week is scheduled to be five days and five nights of fashion, arts, chic mixers, live entertainment, exclusive shopping as well as fashion education, and lasts from Tuesday, June 5 through Saturday, June 9.
According to producer Alicia Zeigler, Hendrix will be a member of the event’s fashion panel, guest celebrity at the fashion shows, participate in media interviews, and network with fashion industry professionals and up-and-coming fashion professionals.
“I think this is an incredible opportunity to get the ball rolling on uniting the fashion scenes of both North and South Carolina. I am so glad Alicia has brought us together and I look forward to bringing her to Asheville for our own future fashion events,” said Hendrix.
Also speaking at the event will be Katie Kern, Founder of Circa PR; Anthony Simons, Visionary of CharlotteFashion Week; Taryn Scher, President of TK PR and Producer of Greenville Fashion Week; Rita Miles, Director of Charlotte Seen Fashion Week; and Sonya Barnes, International Stylist, CEO & Founder of Harris and Barnes Image Consulting.
For more information on Columbia Style Week and its scheduled events, please visit: http://www.columbiastyleweek.com/.
UPDATE!! Pics from the panel:
These days I have been uber-busy with preparing for graduation at UNC Chapel Hill. Final exams, group projects and planning for the launch of my own PR agency, have all been–very–time consuming. To say the least.
However, I have been aching to post pictures of Charleston Fashion Week and tell you how flipping amazing it was to be present at the Southeast’s fashion event of the season.
Being the fashion PR girl that I am–the networking at CFW was impeccable, but the fashion shows.. now those were the real reason to go.
And why shouldn’t they be? It’s fashion week, after all! The level of execution at this event was impressive, provocative and breathtakingly cool. Even more resounding was the enthusiasm and high-energy of everyone who attended. Everything seemed to just come together perfectly.
The fashion that was going down the runway was certainly a blast to talk and tweet about as well. Talk about fashionistas–you want to see a true fashionista? Go to CFW. Color-blocking, lace, neon, high-buns, geek-chic glasses, peplums, seersucker suits, bow ties and funky accessories were everywhere–both on the runway and in the audience (see the photos below for the visuals on this).
Now you know I can’t post this blog without giving a major, major fashion nod to the ultimate style savant, Ayoka Lucas, creator and style director of Charleston Fashion Week.
Miss Ayoka Lucas has an entire fashion legion working behind the scenes to make what is quite literally a million-dollar fashion event the most talked about fashion week in the Southeast–however, it is because of Ayoka’s authenticity, industry connections and fashion savvy, that CFW is the event that it is today! So please–everybody go check out Ayoka Lucas. Start by Googling her name, then check out CFW’s website, followed by the style section of Charleston Magazine (courtesy of Ayoka). She quite literally is the woman responsible for changing the fashion landscape in the Southeast, and you simply MUST follow her journey. What an inspiration.
Now—on to the networking and learning opportunity that was CFW.
Number one on the list–I had the most amazing pleasure of meeting the creator and founder of New York Fashion Week, Fern Mallis. Slightly daunting to have introduced myself to her—by hey, in this industry you have to be ballsy, but more importantly you have to know when it’s okay to talk to someone prestigious. Thankfully, fate worked in my favor. I ended up conversing with Fern three times that night. She graciously took the time to chat with me about my own fashion endeavors, the reason why NYFW is what it is, and we also chatted about why she was in favor of and voted for Designer Hannah Goff, the winner of CFW’s Emerging Designer Competition.
I also met the delightfully kind (tall & beautiful!) Cynthia Bailey from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Fashion Designer Mychael Knight was
at CFW for the debut of his Bridal Collection, and he actually complimented my Material Girl by Madonna dress (eek!). I networked with the folks from Blogger’s Night Out, True Fashion Now, TwitPic, and a slew of amazing Southeastern fashion industry professionals like stylist Josh Ratliff, designer Faith Thornburg, Art Mag Publisher Olivia Pool, Lineage Bridal Boutique Owner Natasha Duff (high-end vintage bridal gowns in Charlotte), Charlotte Style Mag, Make Me Over Eb, Mikelle Street, Style Girl JJ, Designer Emily Bargeron (former HATCH Fashion buddy), and so many more truly amazing fashion conspirators.
See the photos I posted in the blog below this one for the visual documentation of everything that was Charleston Fashion Week 2012. Cannot wait for next year’s show!
Any man living in Asheville, N.C., who is in search of a classic, dressy men’s boutique, knows that in this town it’s going to be a little tough to find. Both Lexington and Biltmore Ave., are filled with local boutiques and designers, but in my humble opinion, few of these establishments have a large enough selection to style for every occasion; and men need options!
Shopping also depends on personal style, and I simply MUST give a shoutout to the boutiques who do sell men’s clothing. If you’re looking for vintage, alternative or 70s-inspired patterns, Honeypot , on Lexington Ave., should be a must on your checklist. Or if you want that trendy L.A. look, What To Wear has a small men’s selection to browse. Union His & Hers Boutique dedicates half its store to men’s fashion. Part-owner Orlando Hernandez described the fashion as being modern, colorful and metropolitan.
The question I am now going to pose is this—where else should men shop to find the sharp, classy clothes he needsfor work or evening events?
Enter Bonobos, a stylish, colorful men’s apparel company that exists only online. I first caught wind of them last year while I was watching the 140 Character Conference streaming live from New York City. Guest speaker Andy Dunn, CEO of Bonobos, was on the schedule and set to talk, so I tuned in and learned all about the role social media and technology plays at Bonobos. I also learned about its customer service team, “Ninjas” (that’s what they’re called), who were apparently being lauded for their legendary customer service members’ ability to give personable experiences to nearly all of its customers. After more than a year of following the Bonobos brand I have only two words to say. Social Media. And that Bonobos is all over it. If you start following their work you’ll also notice the e-commerce side of the company has a flare for the techie world and love of sports, which I love.
That being said, I was also struck by Dunn’s great public speaking skills, persuasive ability to communicate the platform from which his business operates, and most importantly that the pants Bonobos produces are tailored to make sure the guy trying them on has a better-looking backside when he’s finished. That’s right. You heard me. These pants are specially tailored to make a man’s butt look great–and not saggy.
I would compare the experience of shopping with Bonobos to the satisfaction women get from shopping at high-end women’s boutiques. It’s about being pampered and feeling taken care of. Bonobos gets that, but in a format that men relate to: hilarious advertising, accommodating services, and an unbeatable return/exchange policy.
The fashionistos who I know expect only the best from an apparel company–and Bonobos gives them just that. Premium denim, washed chinos, stretched cotton, oxford shorts, seersucker suits, corduroy–you name it and Bonobos has got it.
In fact, my fascination with the Bonobos culture led me to venture over to its headquarters in Manhattan to do some research. True to Bonobos’ reputation for excellent customer service, once I reached out to for a meeting with a member of the PR team, somebody got back to me almost instantly. I ended up having the most incredible and insightful hour-long meeting with the company’s PR Manager Kaitlyn Axelrod (what a pro!). The stylish atmosphere of Bonobos’ office positively dripped with the essence of fashion that I believe every man should have a taste of: cool, comfortable and affluent fashion.
I’ll finish my blog with this: Men–I hope you shop at Bonobos. You’ll be a better man for it because you’ll be shopping with a brand that was founded to make clothes for guys like you, by guys who are like you, and who do it extremely well. And in the meantime–keep shopping locally when you can. But don’t be afraid to seek out more than one option when you’re shopping. Mix it up!
We are delighted to point out that the July 2011 issue of SPIN Magazine published a photo of our HATCH Fashion Groundbreaker runway show in their coverage of Asheville’s 3rd Annual 2011 HATCH Experience! Thank you SPIN Mag for capturing that image and sharing it with your readers!
Sarah Mettler spoke at HATCH Fashion to an audience of aspiring, interested, and just plain curious spectators about a lifetime of shoe design. She was also selected to represent one of five HATCH Fashion Groundbreakers for her innovative iPhone application, “Shoe Designer.” Sarah presented her iPhone app and line of shoes at the HATCH Fashion show held April 17 at The Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, NC.
Learn more about HATCH Asheville at: http://hatchexperience.com/
Sarah Mettler’s Bio:
Perhaps it was the fact her corrective shoes didn’t match her party dresses growing up in Palm Beach, that inspired Sarah Mettler to become a shoe designer, but regardless, the girl was focused!
She was further convinced after classes at Parsons in Paris and New York, and working in master cobbler Roger Vivier’s Madison Avenue store. On Mr Vivier’s advice she applied to shoe pattern making school, and simultaneously was offered a prestigious position designing for the Ferragamo family in Florence Italy. She gladly accepted knowing their famous fit would be a complement to her skills, after recently having graduated from ARS Sutoria, in Milan Italy. Four plus years into her Italian experience she left Ferragamo and Italy, grateful for the knowledge learned, to return to New York and to launch her own line Sarah Mettler, and to design Perry Ellis’s line. Ironically, the pinnacle of her career happened when Roger Vivier came back into her life, asking her to be the only person to ever apprentice under him, for his new line Roger Vivier for Delman.
Flash forward, happily married with four sons, she was content being “the lady in the shoe, teaching the neighborhood kids about the craft she loves, until technology afforded her the opportunity to “Globally inspire next season’s shoe designer.”
Video by Paul Anderson & Ian Vigstedt
Fashion Surprise Produced by Sonia Hendrix
Hair by Ananda Hair Studio, Makeup by Pi Biltmore Salon & Spa
Designers: Seth Musngi, Ship to Shore, Royal Peasantry, M.L. Marsh, and MODA Boutique