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Fashion Icon Honored and Designer Tells All

This year, I covered Houston Community College’s Passion for Fashion Luncheon at River Oaks Country Club for CultureMap. I remember when I first attended as a volunteer with HCC’s television department, covering it for the station and turning the story into a package. Back then, the luncheon was held at Hotel Zaza before moving to the Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Here’s how green I was about TV: when I interviewed guests, the first words out of my mouth were “We’re here with xxxxxx! What are you wearing?” I basically treated it as a live interview (rookie mistake) and my mentor and station manager at the time told me what I did was actually pretty common for first timers! I’m thankful she continued working with me and it’s helped tremendously ever since! But I digress.

Every year, the luncheon raises money for the college’s Fashion and Interior Design Programs. It gives students in those disciplines a chance to get their work in front of some of the city’s most stylish movers and shakers.

The luncheon also honors a fashion icon who, of course, dresses well but more importantly is big on philanthropy. This year, that was Melissa Mafrige Mithoff.

One of my favorite parts of the event is the interview with the featured designer. CultureMap’s editor-in-chief has done the interview for years and this time around he talked to Rubin Singer.

Singer shared a lot of fun details (one that had the room rolling in laughter – or blushing!) and talked about his most recent show – 30,000 feet in the air on a plane – and how the idea behind Beyonce’s Super Bowl Halftime Show bodysuit (he designed it) came about.

I interviewed him after the program at Elizabeth Anthony, where you could view his Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Collection up close. The pieces were also part of a runway show during the luncheon.

Another fun note: Gospel singer Yolanda Adams was there. I talked to her as well and she told me she’s a supporter of HCC’s programs.

You can view my article in its entirety on CultureMap or see an excerpt below. Stay Stylish!

From CultureMap:

With a well-dressed crowd, a sharp designer with a sparkling wit, and a style icon who was moved to tears, the Passion for Fashion Luncheon at the River Oaks Country Club was one of the longtime event’s most memorable outings.

Meeting fashion designer Rubin Singer was a great start to the week for the 220 guests who attended the luncheon, which benefits Houston Community College’s fashion and interior design programs. In fact, as emcee Neil Hamil described him, Singer is downright charming.

As the featured designer this year, Singer flew in from New York City for the annual event and also debuted his evening-inspired fall 2017 ready-to-wear collection at Elizabeth Anthony. The line focuses on what Singer does best: draping, bold color, beautiful fabrics and corsetry. And women familiar with his work know it.

“When I wear his designs, it makes me feel really special and beautiful,” Melissa Mafrige Mithoff said. “I think he has an incredible flair for that.”

Continue reading the full article  here.

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Passion for Fashion with Christian Siriano

This year, Houston Community College‘s annual Passion for Fashion luncheon featured designer and Project Runway winner Christian Siriano. The event at River Oaks Country Club raises scholarship money for students in HCC’s Fashion and Interior Design programs. CultureMap editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh interviewed Siriano, who talked about life after Project Runway (he’s one of the show’s most successful stars), and his latest collection, which he showcased during the event. Siriano also has a sense of humor — which kept the room laughing!

Work from HCC students was also on display. I’ve always loved their designs and the talent that comes from the schools arts’ programs. Around May, HCC usually has a large fashion show featuring the collections of at least a dozen students. Scholarships to study in Paris, sewing machines and gift certificates are among the awards given to the top designers (though, those involved are all strong). I’ve modeled in the show before. It’s worth checking out!

On a personal level, I saw my great friend and former co-worker, Brittany. She’s a graphic designer who actually created all the materials (programs, signage, digital elements, etc.) for the event. A snapshot of her work is in the above gallery in the bottom right-hand corner. Before the show, I ran into Clifford Pugh and in between mingling with other guests, hung out with the mannequins. Turns out posing with them is harder than it looks! I also worked in a fierce picture with Christian Siriano.  Stay Stylish!






San Jac

A Gem in Midtown

This semester at Houston Community College Central has marked the reopening of its’ crown jewel, the San Jacinto Memorial Building.

It’s been closed for the last two years to undergo a $60 million renovation that included updates to several areas of the building, from the auditorium and cafeteria down to the tile and molding.

When the majority of the restoration was complete, I had the opportunity to take a look at how the school had been transformed but also how much of it was kept the same way notable alumni remembered it. Alumni who used to go there when it was San Jacinto High School, that is. But the building was also the birthplace of the University of Houston and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (sidebar: that school will soon get a makeover of its’ own!).

San Jac isn’t just famous for the educational institutions it launched. It’s a bit of a celeb in its’ own right,  getting accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Click the video below to see how the San Jacinto Memorial Building has changed and how it grew to become one of the most beloved places in the heart of Midtown.

Crisis in Comfort

Who do you turn to in times of grief? For people who have been through traumatic events such as natural disasters and shooting incidents, sometimes it’s easier to connect emotionally with animals than human beings. That’s where HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response comes in. The organization sends teams of canines and their handlers into disaster areas (think environments like after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike hit) to support people and help them cope.

HOPE uses volunteers who are specially trained to deal with these high stress situations. According to the website, they’ve been called to schools and military bases and appeared during the 9/11 Ten Year Memorial in 2011, the Arizona wildfires in 2013 and supported the relief efforts after tornadoes struck Indiana in 2012. The site also says that these teams respond free of charge.

HOPE recently teamed with the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College Northeast to hold training, testing and workshops for potential new HOPE volunteers.

Learn more about what they do in the story I produced about the training, below.


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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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!