Posts Tagged ‘Fashion Week’

Get to Know the Student Designers from The Academy’s 2013 Showcase

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 17, 2013 at 12:03 am

Last but not least, you’ll want to know this group of designers for Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2013! They are all currently students at the International Academy of Design & Technology and part of the Student Designer Showcase at this year’s show. Allow us to introduce you to these emerging student designers:

Alexandra Lin:

  1. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion allows me to express my love of differences.  People often refer to how much they are similar. “We are so much alike,” is often said when we meet new people. I feel that the adventure in life is the most exhilarating when we celebrate what makes each of us unique and different.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? I hope to bring “fashion experiences” to Tampa Bay. Through the combination of exploring differences, a love for simple historical silhouettes, and the use of textiles with defined texture, color, and drape, and a touch of whimsy or unexpected fun. I hope to create and share new “fashion experiences.”
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? Inspiration matters the most to me as a designer. I see the world full of possible inspiration. It is what wakes me up at 4 am.
  4. What makes your designs unique? My designs are unique because they stem from a large and wonderful family. The basis for all of my designs is the result of the “United Nations” that flows in and out of our house on any given day. Our family may consist of children from India, China, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Italy, France, England, Australia, Spain, Mexico, and the list could keep going. All of these children come into our lives for a variety of reasons; however, it is through each of their differences I was able to build my confidence to return to school at 40 and pursue my love of fashion at IADT.
  5. What are you looking forward to most about your showcase at this year’s TBFW? I look forward to working with my fellow students, meeting new   designers, and adding to our ever-growing United Nations.

Carly Edwards:

  1. What does fashion mean to you? I couldn’t describe what fashion means to me better than the famous words of Coco Chanel, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? I hope to bring my sophisticated, fashion-forward style to Tampa Bay by using luxury, airy, and colorful fabrics that represent Florida’s beautiful ambiance.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? The most important part of being a designer is creating pieces that will make a woman feel invincible to judgment. While wearing my designs, I want the woman to feel confident, chic, and comfortable.
  4. What makes your designs unique? As a designer, I love to embrace the femininity of a woman. My designs emphasize a woman’s figure and romantic attitude, while maintaining a sophisticated and classy appearance.
  5. What are you looking forward to most about your showcase at this year’s TBFW? This year’s Tampa Bay Fashion Week will be the first time displaying my designs on a runway. I am incredibly excited to present my hard work, knowledge, and experience through a small taste of my Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

Gwenn Everett:

  1. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion is a way for me to express myself. To me fashion is a silent language between myself and the world; therefore, knowing my personality style helps me to remain stylish while being myself.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? My goal is  to not just have people say WOW, but to revive the season with spring all over again.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? As a women’s clothing designer I pride myself on enriching women’s lives through what they wear. My goal is to help women connect with their inner-selves in order to express her inside-out in a simple, yet trendy manner.
  4. What makes your designs unique? Each of my designs is created with an inspiration in mind; this particular collection will reflect the flowing wind in springtime. The silhouettes are a combination of contoured fits and twisting flows at the hemlines. Each garment is a beautiful blend of simple and stylish.
  5. What are you looking forward to most about your showcase at this year’s TBFW? To have my pieces accepted by the audience, as well as gain connections to other designers and potential clients.

 Ivette “Gigi” Guerra:

  1. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion to me is a manifestation of individuality, creativity and innovation.  It’s the primary form of self-expression.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? I want the women of Tampa Bay to look and feel beautiful without losing what makes them unique.  I hope that they find something in my designs that will help them showcase their style and originality.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? As a designer, I want to share my vision by providing women with pieces that identify with their personal style, and that accentuate what makes them who they are.
  4. What makes your designs unique? My designs have a classic-chic flavor that can be worn by women who are in need of an elegant look.  My designs are for women who have a fashion forward sense, enjoy dressing up and wearing only the most luxurious textiles.  I want women to express their femininity with sophistication and grace.
  5. What are you looking forward to most about your showcase at this year’s TBFW? I’m excited to share my designs and love of all things fashion.  It’s an honor and privilege to have been chosen for such an event.  I’m positive that my designs will showcase my desire to make my mark on the fashion industry.

There you have it! All of the designers for Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2013! It’s going to be an exciting runway show event. You can simply scroll through the posts if you missed any of the previously featured designers, otherwise, you will see them (and us) the rest of the week and of course, at the runway show this Friday, Sept. 20, 2013!


Get to Know Stephen Ogaga – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

Designer Stephen Ogaga was raised in London, an experience which would later inspire many of the designs in his SW8 line. After moving to the U.S., Stephen graduated in marketing from the University of South Florida, and worked in the marketing field before deciding to follow his passion for fashion and design. His line, SW8, was so named for the postal code of his childhood home in SW London. The line features custom leather street wear and prides itself on the use of high-quality materials and careful attention to detail.

  1. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion to me is an art. It’s a way for people to articulate their inner artistic character. I see people as blank canvases, and how we choose to dress ourselves or others is almost like putting brush stokes to that canvas. Fashion is a lifestyle and, just as in life itself, you should never be afraid to do something different. Push the bar of what society classifies as the norm to levels where they said it shouldn’t be, and then make them accept it.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? I hope to bring something new, fresh, and different. I want people to look at Tampa Bay fashion as not only a city where people wear jeans and t-shirts year around because we have this fabulous weather, but a city that is in sync and moving with the rest of the high fashion world.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? Two words…detail and perfection. When I design my pieces I really stress attention to detail. In fact, it’s part of my inner core values. Every detail that is added to a piece has to have a functionality for why it’s placed at that precise point on the garment. Whether it’s what angle my asymmetric seam lines are, to the scoop of my neckline, each detail is carefully thought out before it’s added to a piece. Next is perfection. Executing my details to perfection to where the end user looks at one of my pieces and says, “Yes, this is complete. There is nothing else that could have been done to this.” Once again that goes back to me seeing fashion as art.
  4. What makes your line unique? My line is unique because I feel like I design timeless pieces that everybody needs in their closet. When I design I don’t think about what’s trending for the moment, but what’s going to be in style forever. I want my pieces to be your go-to item in your closet. Your favorite one. The one that no matter what you buy while shopping, it’ll match with it perfectly. Take the Brixton joggers, for example. They can be dressed down with a pair of sneakers to run errands, or matched with your favorite heels for a night out on the town. Multiple uses, multiple functionally for the garment, multiple looks, I really believe in giving the customer the best value for their money.
  5. Your line, SW8, is centered on leather being the key material. What inspired you to go with leather? Leather is such an intimate material. The feel of it, the high fashion look of it, and even the smell of it is impeccable. I used leather because I felt like certain pieces that were in my closet needed to have been crafted out of leather. It was always me saying to myself “I wish I had these joggers in leather,” or “These waxed jeans would have matched perfectly with a leather t-shirt.” These weren’t articles of clothing that anybody created at the time, so I decided to start designing for myself key pieces that I felt completed a well-rounded wardrobe. I love leather. I love how it looks. I love the way it makes you feel when you are wearing it, but most of all, to create out of it.


Get to Know Sandra Hagen – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Today marks the first day of Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2013 and we’re kicking off at International Plaza and Bay Street! Be sure to click here to view the day’s schedule of events!

While we’re celebrating the launch of Fashion Week, we’d also like to take a moment to introduce you to Sandra Hagen, a Colombian born designer, and one of the first designers ever featured in Tampa Bay Fashion Week! Sandra graduated in Fashion Design from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa and went on to intern at LUCA LUCA before designing her own line. She finds the perfect balance of feminine and vintage in her designs and ensures that each piece is perfectly crafted. Family is extremely important to Sandra, who makes sure to find a balance between her career as a designer and her family.

  1. What does fashion mean to you? After my family, fashion is my life and my passion. I live and breathe fashion every day. It is what I do.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s Fashion scene? I hope to bring beautiful, wearable, comfortable designs that the women of Tampa Bay can see themselves wearing. Wearing my pieces not only for very special occasions, but for everyday life.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? What matters to me most is making sure that my customers get something that is well-made and with a great fit.
  4. What makes your line unique? Details and fit are what makes my line unique.
  5. You have experienced living in many different cultures. How have these cultures had an influence on your designs? Living in different cultures has opened the doors for me to see how the women in different cultures dress. It has enhanced my skills and opened the world of possibilities as far as working with details, colors, textures, and shapes.


Get to Know Rhonda Shear – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

Rhonda Shear first made her mark as a beauty queen and Hollywood actress, before venturing into the fashion world as an intimate apparel designer. Her line, Rhonda Shear Intimates, focuses on embracing a woman’s curves and teaching women to accentuate what they have. She listens carefully to her customer’s needs and caters to women from sizes XS to 3X. Rhonda has been featured in Tampa Bay Fashion Week for several years, on HSN, and was even named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012.

This year at Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2013, Rhonda will launch her exclusive collaboration designs with Crystal Hefner and Kato Kaelin!


Get to Know Dolly Donshey – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Dolly Donshey of Monstruosité had dreams of fashion designing and finally got to chase that dream when she studied under Jan Wutkowski, a master milliner. She was able to display the skills she learned under Wutkowski when she released her first collection, “Lola.” Dolly’s second collection, “Cycles,” was featured in last year’s Tampa Fay Fashion Week. Known for her remarkable creativity and theatric runway shows, Dolly has been featured in magazines such as Style-Ology, as well as notable Tampa Bay radio and news shows. Dolly has also designed her own luxury t-shirt line, corsetry line and RTW clothing line.

  1. What does Fashion mean to you? Ever since I was little, I have always had this burning desire that I was meant to do something creative and to be something great. I’ve always had the motto, “Try everything and see what sticks.” I’ve done everything from dancing and singing, theater, photography, film and even roller derby (which lasted about a second). My list of past experiences is a long one but the fashion business is the only thing that has ever truly made sense to me. This isn’t just a business for me and my team, it’s a way of life. We spend every minute of every day working toward this crazy dream of mine because it is undoubtedly worth it in the end. I have never wanted anything so badly. Fashion isn’t just clothes for me; it is the perfect outlet for all of my thoughts, feelings, desires and twisted dreams.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? Professionalism. I have seen a sad trend of “hobby” designers and it really gives the rest of the serious designers in this area a bad name. There is so much more that goes into a brand than making a collection twice a year and people need to know that. I love this town and no matter where I end up, I want people to respect this area and hold it to a higher regard. We will never be the fashion capital of the world but that doesn’t mean we aren’t just as fabulous!
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? The brand, the story, being consistent and above all else, our clients. We work our a**** off all year to bring you two entertaining and unique 15-minute shows in September and February. We want you all to love what we do just as much as we do!
  4. What makes your line unique? Anyone can design clothes, but not everyone can tell a story with their clothing. What makes Monstruosité special is the attention to detail we have with not only the designs, but with the entire concept, fabric, music, etc. Our special clients and customers aren’t just buying a piece of clothing; they are buying an idea and an emotion. They radiate confidence and sexiness and we just LOVE that!
  5. You are one of our returning designers. What are you looking forward to most about this year’s show and what do you love most about your new collection? This is our third year with Tampa Bay Fashion Week. We are so thankful to the TBFW team for taking a chance on my brand three years ago, and giving us the opportunity to learn and grow. Anyone who has followed my brand knows just how much of an evolution this endeavor has been. Starting as a hat label, and now full clothing, has been the best ride and we just love that we were able to take this ride with TBFW. Starting in this business so young (19) I am most looking forward to the fact that I have grown up and I can finally approach a show like this in a calm and collected manner. I have finally figured out what works and I am looking forward to the relaxing atmosphere that backstage will bring this year. We haven’t lost the dramatic elements to our show that fashion fans have come to know and love, but we have channeled it into other areas, allowing for the clothes to do all the talking this year. This year’s Spring/Summer collection is called, “The Struggle” and although the concept is gruesome and disturbing (like always ;]), I have translated the inspiration into a very refined, wearable and fun line for women.


Get to Know Lorena Knezevic – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm

At 17 years old, Lorena Knezevic is the youngest designer at this year’s Tampa Bay Fashion Week. However, don’t let her age fool you! Lorena knew at a very young age that she wanted to be a designer, and has had her collections featured in several fashion events. The VH2 Fashion Show, Latina Pageant Fashions Show, Life’s a Label Fashion Show, and Exclusif Fashion Show are just a few. She has also won national art awards for the past four consecutive years from Young Artists and Writers, and hopes to attend design school in the future.

  1. What does fashion mean to you? To me, fashion is the most direct way to sense the mood of the world. Trends in movies and music, and influences of other cultures all manifest into the clothes that people wear. Like people, fashion can’t remain in one place for long. Every six months, there is a new rhythm, a new beat to run, skip, trot toward, the next big thing. Seeing this communication between global influences and the works of art that people wear is just incredible to me. When seen in that sense, fashion can’t simply mean one thing. Fashion is everything.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? Coming from the perspective of a 17 year old designer who was born in Torino, Italy, with a family originally from Croatia, who now lives all over the world, I think I will definitely be able to bring a new perspective to Tampa. I hope to present a line that is influenced by my mixed cultures and past travels, as well as my youth.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? My designs focus on the woman who is wearing the garment. In my opinion, fashion is most successful if the woman wearing the dress looks and feels beautiful. The dress should fit her, both in tailoring and in the elegance of the design.
  4. What makes your line unique? I call my style a “modern romance”. The past few years, it seems like many designers have embraced a sort of androgynous tough-girl grunge vibe. Though I respect these designers and the movement, I believe there is strength in femininity. There is a certain boldness in being completely confident being a woman, being beautiful, being soft. No one should mistake femininity for fragility. My line, with its modern romantic style, represents exactly that.
  5. At 17 years old you are our youngest designer this year! How do you manage to juggle life as a high school teen with life as an emerging designer? I could sit here and say that juggling six college credit classes and six fashion shows a year is difficult. I could say that scheduling all my school clubs and casting calls is stressful, which it is, though I never mind doing it! School is one life. Playing the role of the high school teenagers starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., or after I finish my homework. The rest of the time, I am exactly who I want to be—the designer behind Lolodaisy by Lorena. I suppose it helps that I started working my way into the fashion world years ago. Fashion was always part of my life. The past four consecutive years I have won Gold Key National Art Awards from the Scholastic Young Artists and Writers. I started modeling seriously when I was 13 or 14 years old, which allowed me to get a lot of contacts and knowledge into the fashion industry. I even modeled at Tampa Bay Fashion Week the past two years!


Get to Know Kimberly Hendrix – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 5, 2013 at 8:17 am

Kimberly Hendrix

Kimberly Hendrix  of k.hendrix always had an eye for beauty and creativity, working as an interior designer, vintage collector, and seamstress prior to moving to LA to chase her dream of fashion design. Since then Kimberly co-designed a fall 2008 Mercedez Benz collection, had pieces featured in Vogue, and garments worn by A-list celebrities, among other achievements. Each piece in her collection is unique, beautiful, and made from 100% reclaimed and recycled vintage materials. Thanks to her use of recycled materials, Kimberly was also applauded as an eco-conscious designer by the Sustainatopia Awards 2012.

  1. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion is expression for me. Not expression of style and trends, as much as expression of one’s true self. I love seeing people transform themselves when they dress up or even dress down. There is a comfort level that people find and they let themselves just be.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? I would love to see Tampa Bay branch itself out. Not always being the trendy city with everyone wearing the exact same dress in a different color. I would love to see individualism stand out as it does in bigger cities and other countries.
  3. What matters to you the most as a designer? Making things I love and sharing them with others, using what I do to inspire people in many areas of life, not just fashion.
  4. What makes your line unique? My line is just that, unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, all recycled materials. The pieces always fit each customer, as if it was made just for them. And they will never see someone else wearing the exact same thing. My stuff is unfinished and raw for a reason. I don’t like people thinking these clothes are too precious to actually wear out anytime, dressed up or down. People should create their own look with the pieces rather than wearing them only as they saw them in the store window.
  5. You are one of our returning designers. What was your favorite part of last year’s show, and what are you looking forward to most about this year’s show? I love the fashion chaos that goes on behind the scenes at Fashion Week. There is this amazing energy with all the designers putting their very best together to showcase and it is inspiring. For me, personally, each year in September I feel like my designs go through a rebirth and transformation. I try something brand new and I push it as far as I can to surprise people.


Get to Know Elizabeth Carson Racker – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

Elizabeth Carson Racker first realized her love for fashion while attending the Ebony Fashion Fair show when she was only 12 years old. She took this newfound passion and ran with it, eventually earning her Bachelor’s in Fashion Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. This Tampa native even went on to work as a Wardrobe Assistant at the Fashion Fair show, where she further discovered her passion for the industry. Already a successful evening wear designer, Elizabeth will be debuting her new line “A New” this year at Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2013.


Get to Know Audrey “Pat” McGhee – 2013 TBFW Featured Designer

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Updates on September 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

Audrey “Pat” McGhee is a returning Tampa Bay Fashion Week designer, with over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. As a former model, retail manager, and make-over consultant (just to name a few professions), this designer definitely knows how to put on a great show! Pat knows how difficult it can be for plus-sized women to find fabulous clothing with a great fit, and has designed her Audrey Pat collection to cater to women sizes 6-24. Over the years Pat has also dedicated her time to volunteer work within her community and is currently an active member of the AIDS Services Association of Pinellas, Inc. and Without Walls International Church.

  1. What does Fashion mean to you? Fashion is in the eye of the beholder.  It is the ability to view another person’s creative talent and appreciate the work and love involved in their creation.
  2. What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s Fashion scene? I would like for the crowd to take back from my showcase a wonderful experience.
  3. What matters to you most as a designer? That I always put 100% into what I do for the very best results.
  4. What makes your line unique? It’s bold colors and fabric textures. A mixture of simplicity with an edge.
  5. You’ve been featured in our event since 2008, what do you like best about Tampa Bay Fashion Week and how do you feel about showcasing in front of the Tampa Bay crowd?  It’s been a blessing to be able to showcase for six years. The Tampa Bay Fashion Week team is amazing and awesome to work with.  They allow me the flexibility to be me, and you don’t always find that everywhere. I feel excited and I can’t wait to showcase my new collection!


Seven Investment Pieces Worth the Splurge

In Designers, Fashion, Trends on August 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Ahh, shopping… any fashion lover’s favorite pastime! So it is no surprise if, like me, you find yourselves asking that age-old question… “To buy? Or not to buy?” I’m talking about that inner struggle you experience when you find that amazing pair of black patent leather pumps you’ve been eying, but know that you could find a more modestly priced dupe at the mall discount store. Is it really worth the splurge? Well, in some cases it definitely is.

One thing many fashion gurus would agree on is the importance of knowing your investment pieces – wardrobe pieces which require a little bit of a splurge, but actually pay off in the end. To make things easier on you, this list will show you which items are worth saving up for – think quality, not quantity!


The little black dress is usually a staple in every girl’s closet.  It is the perfect go-to outfit for everything from girl’s night out to date night! Take some inspiration from Coco Chanel, who never underestimated the power and elegance of the LBD. You won’t regret digging a little deeper in your wallet for this dress – it’s a classic that will probably never go out of style.




Yet another classic – timepieces practically scream success and style. They add a touch of class to any outfit and are fool-proof accessories. Some quality timepieces can actually increase in value over the years! So don’t feel guilty for splurging a little on an elegant watch… it’s an investment you will be happy you made for years to come!

Michael Kors



Over the years there have been so many jean trends that it’s hard to keep track… and not all of these trends have been good ones, yikes! So while it may be tempting to go pick up a few pairs of the latest trending jeans, don’t! Instead, invest that money in a quality pair of classic dark denim jeans. Higher quality denim will last for many years when cared for properly; they won’t fade or lose their shape nearly as fast as lower quality denim!

7 For All Mankind, The Skinny in Nouveau New York Dark, nouveaunyd, Womens : Denim : Basics, AU015043A

7 For All Mankind, The Skinny in Nouveau New York Dark



A perfectly tailored blazer simply radiates success and confidence. Rocking one is the perfect way to command respect and attention on that upcoming job interview or important meeting! Go ahead and splurge a little on a blazer, it is another wardrobe staple that won’t be going out of style any time soon. Blazers can also transform into a classy night outfit! Throw one over your LBD and you’re sure to feel, and look, like a star.




Many would say that the right pair of shoes ties your outfit together. So, what better way to go than with a classic pair of black or red pumps? Pumps bring the perfect balance of class and sex appeal to any outfit. Investing on a quality pair will ensure that you can rock them again and again.

Christian Louboutin



Bras can make or break an outfit. A bad bra can make your outfit appear sloppy or ill-fitting, while the right bra will complement your shape and even give you a little confidence boost! It is also important to be fitted for the perfect bra. Many great lingerie stores provide fittings free of charge! Your favorite bra may not be cheap, but it will be well worth it… Having the right fit will make you feel and look even unbelievable!

Dream Angels Demi Bra

Victoria’s Secret, Dream Angels Demi Bra



Let’s face it ladies, most of us cannot leave the house without a tote or handbag to haul around our makeup, wallet and other essentials. So, why not make the investment in a designer handbag that will remain stylish for years to come? Just like watches, many designer handbags increase in value over the years! You will be happy you made the investment on an item that you will use daily for years to come, not to mention beam with pride after all the compliments you’ll receive!

Dolce Gabbana



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