The next designer to take the stage on opening night at Fashion Houston was New York-based brand, Tibi. But before she settled on the East coast, company founder Amy Smilovic grew up in the South on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. She was incredibly sweet and a gracious person to interview. Smilovic is also a huge fan of culottes (saying before they have the ease of trousers but look like a beautiful skirt) and presented a collection that was classic, laid-back and breezy for Spring.
Another favorite took the stage, following Tibi, Jonathan Blake. The man behind the brand is actually named Jonathan Tinkle, and he’s another designer who proudly keeps production of his garments local. He was also the youngest member of The Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013.
But FH5 wasn’t just for designers who have established themselves as powerhouses in the industry (or at least are on the way there). It was also about touting the upcoming generation of designers who proved they deserved to be on the catwalk, too. That’s where Little Black Dress Designer came in — a competition that gives students the opportunity to create their own version of the iconic LBD and win thousands in scholarship money. LBDD was the brainchild of Neal Hamil Agency director Jeff Shell.
At the initial LBDD presentation back in May at the House of Blues, students were paired with mentors and muses. Their assignment was to create a LBD based on their muse. What they came up with was finally unveiled at FH5.
I also had the chance to interview Sameera Faridi. Originally a native of Pakistan, she’s brought the beautiful traditional wear of South Asia and blended it with Western culture to create a stunning line of bridal wear, gowns, formal wear and menswear. Faridi also told me — don’t think sarees are just for special occasions. She wants people to know they can be worn for any event. This is her way of breaking barriers. Proving that cultures can co-exist and bringing them to life for anyone to wear through fashion. Have nothing to wear for date night? No problem. Grab a saree! And you’ll definitely want to grab hers. They’re all hand-embroidered.
Faridi is the first South Asian female designer to debut her new collection at Fashion Houston.
Wrapping up the night was New York based, Grungy Gentleman. Contrary to the name, this line was anything but grunge. The collection brought to Houston was actually the same one debuted at New York Fashion Week and mixed traditional tailored menswear with luxe fabrics like suede and rich colors like oxblood.
But perhaps the biggest surprise in the whole line was who came out with the models. Jadakiss started rapping on stage, upping the “it” factor of the line and showing that Fashion Houston wants to step out of the “Houston-isn’t-a-fashion-capital” shadow.
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.
Fashion Houston founder Jared Lang and KHOU 11 News Morning Anchor Lily Jang kicked off the night as emcees and introduced the lineup.
But 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!).
As 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!
It’s not everyday that I have the opportunity to interview talent from one of the largest TV markets in the country. So, when former KHOU Sports Director Butch Alsandor agreed to stop by HCCTV, I knew I had to dig deep to impress someone who has been in the industry for over two decades. It was an honor to interview Butch and learn about his experiences (plus – what he watches on Thursday nights!). Below are pictures from the set. You can watch the full interview here on the Videos page: http://brittaneywilmore.com/?page_id=14