Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Revealed! Phoenix Fashion Week Candidates for Designer of the Year 2013

Building on their mission of Bridging Designers and Buyers, Phoenix Fashion Week hosted its 5th Emerging Designer Challenge on Friday, June 13th 2013 at the Toni & Guy Academy in Scottsdale AZ.

Greeted by familiar faces, local and out-of-towners alike, gathered at the red carpet with big smiles as the cameras flashed, there was a strong sense of passion in the room.  Entrepreneurs, fashionistas, stylists, papparazis… it was always fun reuniting with old friends…

and meeting new ones...

As Brian Hill, Executive Director of Phoenix Fashion Week, cordially interrupted the gathering, he invited us to shift to the other side of the room for the highlight of the evening.  It was my first time to attend a fashion event as a journalist/fashion blogger, and had to split up from my usual designers/stylists company. Ahh…there’s my assigned media/press seat. 

After an 8-city US tour, including New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix, the search is over and the much anticipated reveal of the 12 Emerging Designers was officially announced: 

Dolcessa – Katya Leoncia’s Dolcessa swimwear has been featured in Sports Illustrated a few times. It was 3-digit temperature outdoors, just as hot as this 2-piece Purple Rodeo swimsuit that Maureen Montagne rocked in the runway. 

Doux Belle – Describing her clothing line as Vintage Elegance for the Modern Woman, Rachel Wagner debuted her first piece - a black floor scraping bare back sequined gown. Christina Barron is a true Hollywood glam in this gown.

d.p.c. – Dora Yim’s brand appeals to my personal style. I love contemporary, classic, and the idea of timeless pieces like Aria Evans’ outfit.  This look is in my top 5, and I would buy that navy top and skirt off the runway.

Gentry – At first look, this ensemble by Stephanie Gentry has too much going on between the layers, ruffles, sheer bubble pants, etc.  But as Kimmy Vu approached the audience, the more I appreciated the strong architecture yet feminine curves of this outfit.  Another one in my top 5 picks.

Herbert Victoria – Named after the creator himself, this HV dress boasts custom design distinct from the rest in the runway, i.e. gray suits, black gowns, color-blocking and t-shirts.  This unique fusion of geometric patterns combined with exotic prints brings something new and stands out from ordinary.

Jaire – Designer, Nekia Hattley, hit the mark! Worn one off-shoulder, the romantic look of this black tieback long gown is captivating.  Alexis Hamilton, PHXFW Model of the Year 2011, exuded confidence as she sashayed while the dress flowed along.  

Linden – Full disclosure…I’ve worn Linden and previously worked with Jennifer Lynn (represented by Jenna Podraza), brand owner and designer.  I know the fit, high quality fabrication and comfort of her clothes, and this label is also on my top 5 picks.  The gray Kumiko Jacket and Trousers combination on Kirsten Garber is one of my most desired of her fashion line.

Loin Cloth – Los Angeles based tandem, Clary Jeffrey and Sam Mascaro couldn’t hide their cool California beach charisma even in the heat of Arizona. While I found the owners’ t-shirts more unique and interesting than what was worn by Gavin Tucker in the runway, I am curious about the rest of their off-duty/street wear.

Medium Apparel – Inspired by everyday life and their free spirited generation, Medium is born by Creative Director and Owner Zac McDonald (represented by Lonnie Weisgerber).  I like their branding and message “Life is Art, We are the Medium.” I am excited to see their creative spin on t-shirts and strategy to penetrate the much-saturated market.

Michelle Hebert – Dramatic, risqué and ambitious are only a few words to describe Michele’s elaborate (oh there’s another word…elaborate!) lace work.  Madisson Brown, PHXFW Model of the Year 2012, is the obvious and perfect choice to wear this gown.

Proverbs – Selected all the way from Dubai and also in my top 5, Proverbs by Efua Mensah-Brown projects a powerful message with her signature line aiming to make a difference.   Brittany Brown of America’s Next Top Model College Edition Cycle 19 displayed this simple yet confident “fashion with a cause” in ironically complicated world.

Trang Nguyen – Two-toned sleek and minimalist design with a punch of bright red pucker and handbag... very chic and feminine. Is it Trang’s charming personality or the idea of made to order clothes that put her in my top 5 picks? Am curious how Trang moves forward with her vision and sustainability of her line.

There you have it! I am thrilled for these 12 competitors and wish them all the best as they compete for the Designer of the Year 2013 with a cash prize of $10,000.  Each designer gets a chance to showcase its collection during the 9th Annual Phoenix Fashion Week taking place October 1st -5th, 2013. 

Agree or disagree with my selections? Which ones are your favorites? 

Finally, KUDOS to the amazing Phoenix Fashion Week team behind the scene for the successful affair!

Thanks for stopping by.  Get your FASH on and happy styling!



  1. Love this recap!! Looks like it was such an amazing time!!! You look beautiful!!! :)

    1. Awww...thanks Amy!! It was quite a night indeed. I appreciate you stopping by!

  2. LOVED IT! Thank you! OfraStyle

    1. Thank you, Ofra. And I appreciate you visiting my blog site. By the way, do you check your instagram? I posted and tagged you in a photo 3 weeks ago. My instagram handle is @ChasingSheila.


  3. Sheila,

    This is Ron's wife, Kat. Love your blog and LOVE fashion! My fave from the candidates is Trang Nguyen. I'm making a google account tonight so I can join.

    Can't wait to see more!

    Kind Regards,

    1. Hi Kat,

      Sorry for the late reply. I have been very busy the last month...

      Thank you so much for visiting and joining my site. The valley's fashion scene is picking up again, gearing up for Phoenix Fashion Week in Oct. Let me know if you are interested to go, there's a few of us girls who go in a group every event. Would love to have you join us!