FH5: Hollywood Drama Comes to Houston

Fashion Houston turned five years old this year, and I was on deck for the celebration. It returned to the Wortham Theater Center downtown and featured 21 emerging and legendary designers in its’ most diverse year yet.

I had the opportunity to cover the show as part of the first-ever Fashion Houston TV, where I met and interviewed the talented designers of opening night. I also worked with a great production team, Michael Allendorf & Company, that specializes in high fashion photography and video production.

661Fashion Houston founder Jared Lang and KHOU 11 News Morning Anchor Lily Jang kicked off the night as emcees and introduced the lineup.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut before the models wowed us with each designer’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection, I sat down with Alexis Monsanto, a designer originally from the Philippines. Monsanto first made headlines in 2011 as the first designer in the U.S. to be part of a fashion show using 3D effects. He’s also known for adding dance routines to the runway (which one designer did this year, but more on that later in an upcoming post!).

667While there wasn’t any dancing in Monsanto’s FH5 show, it was multi-dimensional, complete with masks, feathered headpieces and four buff men carrying a model like she was a queen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs Monsanto told me during our interview, “I’m bringing the high drama of Hollywood to Houston!” And he delivered on that promise. See pictures from his show below. I’ll post the interview as soon as it’s available!



Pose for the Camera Now…

I put down the microphone and picked up..well, nothing. All I had to do was walk! I was a model in the 2014 HCC Annual Fashion Show on May 2  at the Central Campus Learning Hub. After the event was over, I didn’t want to leave the runway!

10256830_2104037131038_3597141239966193788_nThis year’s theme was “Masters of Design,” which featured 12 collections by HCC fashion students. The students create their garments in a year-long course (the collections class) and those selected from there participate in the show. Being in the class does NOT guarantee a spot in the show, so as they might say in the fashion world, the competition was fierce *cue finger snap.*

Normally, I interview the designers backstage as part of my coverage for HCCTV, but this time I thought, why not get involved? After attending one of three casting calls held by the HCC fashion department, I found out I was chosen and the next stop was attending a fitting to find out who I’d be modeling for.

I modeled for three designers: Stephanie Ku – Integral Terrain, Rahill Abdur-Raheem – The New India, Mckenzie Twitty- Classique.

As a fan of America’s Next Top Model, a piece of my little catwalk dreams finally came true! And yes, it really is crazy backstage. Everyone is running around all over the place quick changing outfits, lining up models and touching up makeup and hair. The latter was provided by Visible Changes and my PERFECT makeup was thanks to Alaina of Color Du Jour.

10246485_2104038051061_9175469820469338220_nAll models scored goodie bags and one of the treats inside was a necklace from Charming Charlie. Plus, a professional photog snapped pics of the collections backstage.

Here’s the complete show:

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Showing Houston Some Love

Joey Garza and Jaime Loera aren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves…literally. The duo owns the T-shirt company, Joey & Jaime, which was created to spread pride for the Bayou City, and according to their website, the product is “designed with the purpose of sharing love for H-town, Our Town.”

I caught up with Joey and Jaime at the Bi-Annual Art Opening hosted at Spring Street Studios. Besides selling their merchandise online, markets and festivals are another way these entrepreneurs have built interest and demand for their tanks and tees.

Here’s the full story on Joey & Jaime.


“An NFL Combine for Musicians”

Artists trying to break into the music industry, or at least navigate it if they’re already in it, may want to mark their calendars for June 19-22. That’s when the Springboard South Music Festival and Conference kicks off in Houston.  With events and performances taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Warehouse Live, 120 artists and  attendees will have the opportunity to network with industry professionals, receive mentoring and critiques, plus experience intensive training and development sessions at the Band Mall and Bootcamp.

Springboard is the brainchild of producer, composer, songwriter and publisher Barry Coffing. His music has been placed in TV and film and he’s worked as a musician both in Los Angeles and Houston. I interviewed Coffing on my show, “Is It Art, Yet?,” about this initiative and another organization he’s created to help connect individuals in the music business, WeGetNetworking.

The show wasn’t all talk though! Jazz musician Dean James performed with Nick Greer and the Gs and up-and-coming rapper Len.Knox.

Sidenote: Designer Alfredo Saucedo let me wear some of the items from his collection throughout the show. Below is a pic of the rack he brought for me. He somehow managed to fit everything in his Volkswagen Beetle and hauled it to our studios!

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A Night in the City

Lions and tigers and giraffes! Oh my! Well, that’s what I said anyway when I saw this cashmere and silk scarf at Elaine Turner in CityCentre next to Town and Country Village in the Memorial area.

ScarfNaturally, as a scarf collector, I had to have it! Plus, hashtagging #shopelaineturner when I posted a picture of it to Instagram instantly made me eligible to win an Elaine Turner clutch, so that was an added incentive  (though, no word yet that I’ve actually won). Elaine Turner was just one of the participating retailers and restaurants in the CityCentre Night Out event hosted by the online news magazine, CultureMap.

Proceeds from the event benefited the American Cancer Society and shops like Dryden Kreps (featured in the photo gallery below) offered discounts for shopping there such as 20% off a purchase (Elaine Turner) or gift cards for a certain amount spent that could be used toward a future purchase. I ate at Grub Burger Bar where you could have free fries or a shake with any burger order.

CultureMap’s editors also attended CityCentre Night Out and gave fashion tips on how to wear the latest trends. I met Clifford Pugh, editor-in-chief of the site, and Joel Luks, listings editor and producer, at Dryden Kreps, and Heather Staible, fashion contributor, at Elaine Turner.

The socks in the pics are by designer Vivek Nagrani, who has made a name for himself with his colorful sock and underwear collection. Even President George H.W. Bush is a fan. I loved the socks representing different soccer teams so you can showcase your support for your favorite World Cup contenders right down to your feet.

Stay Stylish!

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Leave It to the Masters

From the classroom to the runway…students in the Houston Community College collections class have been working for two semesters on designs they hope will wow audiences next month at the HCC Annual Fashion show May 2 at the Central Campus. The show is usually sold out, with only standing room left after the event kicks off typically around 7 p.m. This year’s show is called “Masters of Design” and could feature well over 20 different collections.

Not all of the students in the collections class taught by Alex Chapman and Vi Hua, HCC professors and working professionals in the fashion industry, will have their work featured. But if they are one of the chosen ones – they could rake in the rewards. In the past, students have won full scholarships to the Paris American Academy School of Fashion and Interior Desgin in France, magazine spreads, photo shoots and have received, of course, exposure. Attendees have included Project Runway Season 2 Winner Chloe Dao and fashion pioneer Kay King, whose own resume boasts designing the uniforms for the Houston Rockets and Houston Oilers cheerleaders.

Alfredo “Freddy” Saucedo, stopped by to talk with me about the fashion show and his own budding career as a designer  – complete with examples of his work. You can see the interview below and check out the dress I have on – Freddy created that, too!


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Changes for the New Year

Happy New Year! Albeit, a few weeks late. I’m excited for the new year and hoping it ends where 2013 left off. For starters, I’m officially a University of Houston alum, graduating Summa Cum Laude in December. It was a tough semester working and going to school full-time, but I’m thankful to say I finally made it. Now, the next step is finding an opportunity where I can continue to grow and learn in my TV career. I’ve made a few changes to the site, including adding my demo reel to the Video menu. You can also see it just below.

Also under the videos page is a tab called Packages where you can find my story from Fashion Houston, a premier fashion event (think New York Fashion Week meets southern hospitality) held downtown at the Wortham Theater last November. I spotlighted Jo’se Reyes – a designer who ended up selling several pieces from the collection he showcased at FH. The next story I’ve added is about Paper Floral Artistry, a company run by Khrystyna Balushka. The Russian native has been featured in the Houston Chronicle and literally makes paper flowers for all types of events. I went to her warehouse to see how she does it.

The next change is the resume page. The biggest adjustment there is, of course, graduation! Woohoo!

I’ll be updating more regularly, so stay tuned!