Saturday, October 18, 2008

New York - The 1st Two Months

Ah yes, here I go with a challenge. Trying to fit everything about my first two months living in NYC into a post that doesn't get too long and boring. Deep breath...

Moving here was one of the most miserable experiences of my life!!! Packing took seriously over 2 weeks. It's actually so awful I don't really want to relive it here. Suffice it to say, if you ever hire a moving truck. PAY FOR THE INSURANCE! We paid a shipper to send everything here and then flew nonstop with two cats. Moving day we arrived at the airport, cats have been properly drugged so as to stay calm and sleeeeep. Airline announces there will be a 5 hour delay! Because of "weather" in NYC. Meaning: Phoenix pilots don't know how to fly through a raincloud. We made it though and pulled up in a cab in front of our apt. we had never seen at about 11:30pm. I won't talk about our neighborhood more than to say it's DIRTY, in a bad way. We have a 3 month sublet, the only thing we could find since we hadn't secured jobs here before we move, and we will be moving to a nicer area at the end of October. Enough about that.

Monday, August 2nd, two days after we arrive. I had an interview for an internship with a small, luxury fashion design company of Cynthia Rose. The VP, who interviewed me, told me I was overqualified and that she thought I would be bored working as an intern. I insisted I wouldn't and I was so excited when she wanted me to start the following Monday! Nick (my boyfriend) was waiting for me at Bryant Park, right up the street, and I was walking on air when I went to meet him there, so proud of myself! Things have evolved (or devolved) at the internship rather quickly. For the first two weeks I was excited to be there, but I was a little bored and wished that they would require more from me so I could show what I could do. Then the VP decided she wanted me to work mainly with the Production Manager (she was the only person running that entire area of the company). I was fine with that as it was something that I didn't know about and I felt that it would definitely give me skills, information and contacts I would need in order to start producing my own line in the future. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with this person, as the designer's personal assistant quit after my second week of work, and I ended up taking on a lot of her responsibilities, only working for free. After about another week or so, the VP started asking me if I thought I could do the Production Manager's job. I told her probably, as long as I would be trained and knew what I was doing. It didn't seem that hard. Boy was I wrong. Shortly after that the P.M. quit and I sort of got bumped into her position, temporarily or permanently was yet to be determined. Keep in mind that I have ZERO experience or training in production, but I am very organized and this is what they thought would make me good for this job. I didn't make it more than 3 weeks. In reality, I was doing a job, single-handedly (trying anyway) that there need to be 2-3 people handling; full time and on the payroll. I got so overwhelmed right away, that I knew there was just no way I could continue without crashing and burning. On top of that, it was taking up ALL of my time (I was there from 9-7 many days). I know that's typical of lots of jobs, but I originally took the internship to help me learn things to forward my own career and my own design work, not make me a personal slave for someone else's profit. There are many other reasons why I did not stay with the company, but on a professional level it's mainly because I'm not qualified for the position and I was SO stressed out about it's all I could think about all the time. I just moved to New York! I love it here. I don't want to spend all my time hating it. I would have made a GREAT production assistant, and they NEED one, but they don't want to have to pay for one, and it's just too much work for me to offer to do for free.

On to some more exciting and upbeat news! I've had several Project Runway sightings since I've been here. I almost ran into Suede on the street a few weeks ago, literally! He was talking on the phone and walking with his head down and we nearly collided. Also, right before fashion week I had to take some pieces to have buttonholes sewn in to a nearby embroidery shop, and Joe Faris was there having buttonholes put in those gold and pink pants he showed at Bryant Park. He looked tired and a little older than on the show, and I wasn't sure it was him. About two weeks ago I SWEAR I saw Keith, who was kicked off in season...3? I can't even remember. It looked JUST like him, but I'm not positive he even lives in NY. I also met Annida Greenkard, one of the models on the drag episode on season 5. She was awesome! And looked even better than on the show. And she was SO mad at Daniel for making her that boring dress! She's amazing. I'm hoping she and I can work together on a project, but haven't had time to discuss since I've been with everything else. And the biggest one of all, Nina Garcia! During fashion week I was lucky enough to get to go to one show! The assistant designer at Cynthia Rose got us on the list for the designer she worked for previous, Douglas Hannant, and Nina was one of the guests at the show. I somewhat candidly snapped a few photos of her while the models were walking. Unfortunately none of them were that great. Sorry Nina! If you go to the Douglas Hannant website and look at the Spring 2009 photos, you can actually see me with my sunglasses on on the right side of the very first image. I didn't want to steal it off their page and post it here though, so you'll have to go see for yourself.

Nina Garcia having some coffee at the Douglas Hannant Spring 09 show.

Many other exciting things have happened since we got to NYC and I'm sure there are many more to come! I'll save what I have for now for another post, this is getting plenty wordy as it is. Check back soon for more!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Ties Galore!

Haven't posted in a while, and although I have about 4 or 5 different things in mind that I want to write about, I thought I would start by sharing some of my new creations! I have 3 new tie designs available for sale, two of which were listed in my Etsy shop for the first time this week. Let's start the roll call!

Bicycle tie! This one has been super popular so far! Cause who doesn't love a good bike? This was originally designed as a custom request to be used for a wedding, and my wonderful customer was so kind as to allow me to continue to use their design. Now anyone can have this awesome tie! Shown here in Cerulean Blue, Beige and Baby Blue. ALL of my tie designs can be printed in ANY color of silk you can imagine and custom colors don't cost extra!!!


Next up is the Fan Coral tie! I think I need to put together an Ocean tie set. I've got an octopus, a seahorse and now coral! And *spoiler alert* there is an awesome new squid design on the way in the next few months. Definitely before the holidays! And it's enough different from the octopus that if you like one, you'll need both! So, yes, fan coral. This design was also made as a custom request for a wedding. The wonderful Chris and Katherine, now happily married, gave me a photograph of what they wanted their tie to look like.

Beginning photo for fan coral tie design

I then drew the coral illustration by hand and had it turned into a screen. Here are Chris and Katherine on their wedding day! (and a close-up of the tie) The tie was printed with silver ink on sky blue. It's a little hard to see in the photo, but looked great in person!


And here are the ties available in my Etsy shop! Shown here in Royal Blue, Seafoam and Sky Blue.


Both of the above designs were finished before I left Phoenix. This next one is my first new creation since moving to NYC! I've been saving this moth design for a while, not knowing what to do with it. I just recently had a silkscreen made with some other custom images done for weddings. There was room left on the layout and I needed something to fill the space! So I created this flight of moths design. I like it. Hope you do! Shown here in Autumn Gold, Turquoise and Red Grape.


These following two ties are designs that were created as custom images for weddings which I will NOT be offering for sale in my shop. The reason for this is that the customers purchased the artwork specifically for use with their order. For both of these I worked with the amazingly talented Beth of wildemoon.etsy.com She and the customer conspired to create their ideal design and when she was done she sent it to me to have made into a screen. Beth was fantastic, lightening fast and very personable and professional. She and I are collaborating on a few designs right now and I would recommend her to ANY of my future customers who are looking for an original design. She can create screen-printable artwork from just about anything! Art for the first tie shown here was created from an illustration, while art for the second tie was created from a set of photographs! Amazing!

Custom Peacock Feather tie design created for Greg & Noel's wedding. Aren't the colors they chose just gorgeous?!


Custom ties for Wendy & Tim's wedding. She's a violist (I think that's what you would call it) and he plays percussion, so their design incorporated fiddlehead ferns and drumstick Allium. Fun! We are also printing a larger version of this on silk shawls I'm making for her bridesmaids.

That's all the tie fun for now! Hit me up with your custom requests and send your engaged friends my way!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

No More Fashion Shows!

That's right! I have just completed the third and final show in a long round for fashion shows over the course of a month. It's SO great to be able to finally relax! I haven't any idea how many new pieces I actually came up with for these shows, but it was A LOT! I think all of them were successful, the last show at SMoCA being the most so, of course, and had a really great time doing them. But I definitely need a break. Especially that now most of my attention if going to be focused one trying to find somewhere to live and work in NYC in a month's time.

Lucky me, I got to have my hair and makeup done for the SMoCA show too!!

There were pile of fantastic photographers at the event, and there are a whole lot of photos online for to check out. There are some here, courtesy of Gary Millard and Four White Walls Photography. My pieces start on the bottom of page four from that link.

One of my designs at SMoCA Nights, modeled by Alyssa la Fortune Holt.

Another link for good photos is here. There were taken by Kevin Burgess of KODE b Photography. Here my pieces start on page 6, image # 113.

The gorgeous & glamorous Chasity Kenny, modeling a dress made just for this show.

There were also several shots taken from azcentral.com, the online extension of the Arizona Republic newspaper. Mine are mixed in with a bunch of other photos from that night, but you can definitely tell which are my outfits. Click here to see those. There are also a few images here, on the Arizona Foothills Magazine website.

The always beautiful and never camera-shy Amparo Elizabeth, wearing a wool and silk 2-piece.

All of the photos show in this post were taken by the amazingly talented and ever generous Nicky Hedayat-Zadeh. Nicky and her friend Chadwick came to the event with an entire setup and took some incredible photos backstage. She took so many fantastic shots of some of my new designs that I just had to post a LOT here. Hope you'll enjoy viewing these pieces as much as I loved making them!

The skirt of this outfit is trimmed in rows and rows of zippers. It weighs a ton, but looks great on the runway!


One of my favorite dresses, made of wool tweed and silk charmeuse, modeled by the enchanting Daynalyn Wain.


This piece was definitely the star of the show. Made from an amazing print silk, and modeled by the lovely Megan Accordino. This dress sold that very night, but luckily I have JUST enough fabric to make one more to keep for my own.

P.S. Most of these are still for sale if anyone is interested!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SMoCA Nights, my last fashion show in Phoenix!

The Herberger Theater show is tonight, and after that comes SMoCA!!! It will be my last fashion show in Phoenix before I get ready to move to NYC, so don't miss it! It may be your last chance to actually see me before I leave, cause I'm going to be crazy busy packing and cleaning after that. I don't think I could possibly word this better, so here's the scoop, as per the press release:

WHAT:

Summer SMoCA Nights

To Celebrate the Opening of the exhibition Branded and On Display

WHERE:

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art [SMoCA]

7374 East Second Street

Downtown Scottsdale

WHEN:

June 19, Thursday

9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. midnight

ADVANCE TICKETS:

$15 ($10 for members)

$45 VIP runway seats
480-994-ARTS (2787)

SUMMER FASHION, MUSIC & CUTTING-EDGE VALLEY CULTURE @ SUMMER SMoCA NIGHTS

(Scottsdale, AZ) The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art [SMoCA] presents the 2008 Summer SMoCA Nights on Thursday, June 19, from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. SMoCA Nights is the exclusive tri-annual nightlife event where the Museum is transformed into the ultimate art party, complete with artists, fashion, DJs, bands and performers, for an eclectic evening of cutting-edge culture. This summer event launches the premiere of SMoCA's new exhibition Branded and On Display. To accompany this opening, SMoCA is tipping its hat to all things that revolve around how culture defines itself with marketing and advertising and the consumerism that colors our lives and leisure time. The Museum encourages those in attendance to embrace our media-infused world by flaunting favorite brands and logos during the event. The evening's fashion show will feature Phoenix-based designers Jes Switaj and Devani Weaver with wearable art by artist Bobby Castaneda and dynamic hair and make-up styling by Dolce Salon & DoCo Damask.

Among the event's highlights will be a live outdoor performance by Valley favorites, Peachcake-the band that takes costumed antics on the stage and happy indie-pop revelry to the next level. Peachcake will be followed by a mesmerizing fire dance by Mali, a former Cirque du Soleil performer and new transplant to the city, straight from Spain. Inside the Museum, DJ d'strick will hone his fusion of organic and tech elements to get the crowd charged up for the fashion show. d'strick, best known for spinning groovy blends of deep and funky house, will synthesize an eclectic mix to best communicate the pulse of the runway fashion show.

Guests can mingle and cool off in SMoCA's galleries while glimpsing into their future with expert tarot readings by the famed clairvoyant, OZMA and seeing all three new summer exhibitions: Branded and On Display, Pae White: "Lisa, Bright & Dark," and Pushing Paint Around: selections from the permanent collection. *[Lisa, Bright and Dark, a novel by John Neufeld, 1969 ©SG Phillips.]

As always, SMoCA Nights features free appetizers, a cash bar, prizes and other unexpected guests and happenings. Visitors can catch a satirical feature on consumerism and brand choices by Portland's own Modern Conditions of Production (MCOP), on view in the Museum lobby, along with other surprise artist appearances. And, for all those who love to shop, the event will also boast one-of-a-kind products in the Museum Store specially created by the evening's guest fashion designers and artists including silk-screened ties, bags and hand-painted, graffiti-inspired shoes.

Advance tickets are highly recommended to avoid long lines and a sold-out event: $10 members; $15 nonmembers. ($45 for VIP runway seating) Call 480-994-ARTS (2787).

SMoCA's LOCATION

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art [SMoCA] is located at 7374 East Second Street in downtown Scottsdale, four blocks south of Indian School Road and just east of Scottsdale Road. Free parking is available in the public parking garage located to the west of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and directly behind Los Olivos restaurant on Wells Fargo Avenue. Additional free parking is available at the Old Town Parking Corral at East Second Street and Brown Avenue and at the library parking garage located on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street.



If you're still left with any questions after all that, just contact me! Hope to see you there. Feel free to bring flowers, chocolates, etc. ;-)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Herberger Theater Second Act Fashion Show

This is the next big event that I have coming up in my future! I already mentioned a little bit about the show and the other designers involved. Lots more information about the event can be found here. Also see the flyer below. (Double click it for a larger image you can actually read). The event Tuesday June 10th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10, $5 if you have a student ID, and you can see more info about purchasing them through that link. There will be food, music, art and also lots of goodies for sale! I even believe that we'll be able to sell a lot of the fashions and accessories we made for the show, so now is a good time to snag a one-of-a-kind Jes Switaj original at a great price! You know you want one to call your very own.

Starting to organize the pieces and color scheme of what I'll be showing at the Herberger on June 10th

If you're in Phoenix, definitely pencil this in to your calendar. If you know someone in Phoenix, be sure to pass this info along to them. If you can't make it out, don't fret. My next show will be June 19th at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. More info about that one really soon!



Monday, May 19, 2008

One Down, Two to Go

The 5th Annual Frock n Roll for charity event was this past Saturday night, and it was a big success! The location was changed at the last minute and although the venue was smaller than originally intended, I think it was actually better than the previous year at Alice Cooperstown.
Designers included myself, Angela Johnson, Jennyvi Dizon, Paul Hazlett, Sommer Christine and Rhonda Zayas. Here are a few photos of some of the pieces I showed.

Modeled by Amparo Elizabeth. Photo by Nick Moore

Photo by Nick Moore

There was also at least one professional photographer at the event, Christopher Cashak, who attends ALL of the local fashion events. He hasn't put photos up on his site yet from this show, but as soon as he does I'll post some here and post a link to the rest as well.

Red duchesse silk satin corset and matching skirt. Can you tell that corset works?!
Photo by Christine Johnson for azcentral.com Modeled by Bella.

So, now that Frock n Roll is over it's time to start thinking about the NEXT show! This will be the Second Act Fashion Show at the Herberger Theater on June 10th. I still don't know very much about the show at all, but some of the other designers who I know are participating are Angela Johnson, Arte Puro, Debra Davenport and Olga Ptashnyuk. My collection for this show is going to be pretty much entirely new things, or things that haven't been show before. It's going to be very dressy, but not TOO formal, with the color scheme being mostly brown, cream, orange and maybe a little deep red. Most photos of that to come as soon as I get some sewing done. Have to go design some new things now!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Frock 'n Roll Location Change!

Anyone in Phoenix who is planning on attending this year's Frock 'n Roll event or who has already purchased a ticket should know that the event is changing location! Currently Alice Cooperstown is having some big fight with the city and is not allowed to have any live music. That's about all I know. So, Frock 'n Roll 2008 will now be held at Club Mardi Gras in south Scottsdale. The address is 8040 East McDowell road and you can click HERE to view a map of the location.

A piece I hope to have ready in time for this show!
Dupioni silk, the top will have lots more zigzags.

Tickets will be available at the door for $12, and if you already purchased and printed tickets from the internet, those of course will still be valid. Keep an eye on the Frock 'n Roll website for more and probably better information than I'll have about the event, since I'm pretty much in the dark right now. Feel free to email me if you have any questions you think I can answer. Hope to see you there!!!

UPDATE!!!
Just got a digital flyer for this with more info. Here it is:


Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm graduating!!!

Tonight was my last night of class! Hooray! It's been a long time coming, and I am SO glad to be done, at least for the time being. Who knows if I'll be attending school again in the distant future. I can't even remember how long ago I began my college education. I got an associates in general studies from another community college several years ago, and started working on my AAS in Fashion Design at Phoenix College probably about 3 years ago. This is the first time in about a year and a half that I've even had a class. It was the only one I had left to take before I graduated, it was required and it hadn't been offered for 3 semesters. So I was just waiting and waiting and assistant teaching and waiting some more.

The class I just finished was Computer Assisted Design. It focused on using PhotoShop (a little) and Illustrator (mostly) to create fashion designs. I had a little bit of experience using Illustrator from my previous job at Antigua, but I hadn't used it in a while. I did actually learn a LOT from this class and I'm glad I took it at the end of my school career rather than the beginning because I probably would have forgotten it by now. Hopefully I'll actually be able to use it in a job in the near future so I get more practice and experience.

One of the designs I created in class

Graduation is tomorrow night, but I'm not walking or even going at all. It's HOT out and I am perfectly fine to just have them send me my diploma in the mail. Besides, I live literally across the street from the school and I can see the fireworks from there. That's the only fun part. So, that's all really. Time for me to go kick back and relax before I dive into a full day of work tomorrow and all weekend. It never REALLY ends, does it?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fabric is My Heroin

I could shop for fabric 24 hours a day, just about every day. It is definitely an addiction. In fact, I think I nearly OD'd on fabric this week. My mom was just in town visiting and she's into quilting, so we hit up a bunch of fabric shops as well as a few awesome estate sales and rounded up quite a pile of lovely material.

A big pile of gorgeous dupioni silk! The brown, yellow and lilac purple came from a discount upholstery shop and were only $3 a yard!!! I bought whatever they had left. The bluish-purple iridescent piece on the far right my mom bought for me when she was in NYC recently.


This whole entire group only cost $1! I got all five of these pieces at the same estate sale. From left to right: 1. A LARGE piece of white faux fur. Not sure what I'll do with it, but for 20¢ I couldn't just leave it there! 2. A piece of nice red cotton, I'll use it to line some tote bags I'm working on. 3. An absolutely GORGEOUS piece of very old silk satin. It's pale steel blue in color and feels amazing! Still has a tiny tag on it with writing in Japanese, I'm guessing from when it was purchased originally. 4. An awesome black and white poly knit. Something fun waiting to happen, I know it! 5. Several yards of bright pink corduroy. Good for bags and an obvious addition to my massive corduroy collection.


All the above pieces came from a local discount fabric shop. They sell a lot of factory ends and older pieces. From left: 1. Two yards of a nice fuschia corduroy. 2. A funky paisley print for tote bags. 3. A fantastic floral print which I'll also use for making bags. 4. Really fun blue and brown floral, I've already started making a tote out of this and it should be ready and listed in my Etsy shop tomorrow! 5. Super cute ladybug print cotton. I'm going to make my boyfriend some boxers out of this. I LOVE getting cute prints and making him shorts.


Some really nice fabrics I can't wait to make some clothes with! These all came from the same discount place as the pieces above. From left: 1 & 2 - I don't usually use polyester, but these prints were so gorgeous, the price was right and the fabric so soft! I'm going to make up a basic halter pattern and then bust out a bunch of cute dresses to be for sale just in time for summer! 3. Beautiful maroon herringbone wool blend. If you look really really close the threads are 4 or 5 different colors of purple and red. It's awesome! I'm going to make some pants with this, someday... 4. Nice black and white wool tweed with little rainbow specs. It'll make a great coat. 5. I thought this one was wool when I bought it, and it was in the wool section at the store, but when I got it home and did a burn test it melted and dripped all over my finger. It STILL hurts. I'm guessing it's acrylic. It's still really nice looking and I'm thinking of using it for a cute matching skirt and jacket combo.


This last piece is my favorite one I got all week! It's a to-die-for silk chiffon, mostly black an printed as a repeat panel with the NYC skyline, including the WTC, so this one is obviously at least a few years old. I got everything that was left, which was about 8 yards, and it was only $2.99 a yard. CRAZY deal! They definitely didn't know what they had, which is usually the advantage at this place. Most of the people working there couldn't tell poly from silk with their eyes open. Anyway, I'm going to use it to make a floor length gown with the design as a border along the bottom and the rest of the dress in black, so you can only really see the image if you look close or if the dress is spread out.

I got one more piece of silk this week, a slate blue dupioni, and I haven't actually seen it since I got it home. I'm wondering if my mom accidentally took it home with her. No time to wonder! I need to dive right in and start turning all this fabric into its intended forms. Partially to sell some of the things I create and make back all the money we spent, but mostly so I can make room for more fabric!!! I'm off to the sewing machine!


Friday, April 11, 2008

Construction Zone!

My sewing room always looks like a tornado just rolled through, I find it difficult to allot time for designing AND cleaning. Of course making new clothing comes first! Cleaning can wait til it's absolutely necessary. Anyway, right now it no exception. Half finished garments, pattern pieces, thread, fabric and notions are EVERYWHERE! But at least it's a fun and constructive mess.

Part of my sewing room and its lovely mess

Here's a little bit of what I've been up to since I got back from Chicago. I started this black and white plaid dupioni silk dress yesterday. I've had this fabric for nearly as long as I have been designing. It's just been sitting around waiting and waiting for the right pattern to come its way, and I think I have finally found the thing that it was meant to be used for. Good thing I have about 10 more yards just in case! Yesterday I draped the pattern for the top and made a quick fit sample. Today I sewed all the body fabric together. Right now I'm working on cutting out and piecing the lining together. It will be lined with black silk satin. Tomorrow I need to get a zipper for it and sew in the lining and then voila, a cute dress ready in 3 days! I'm thinking of using a brightly colored petticoat underneath it and then making some kind of sash belt in the same color for contrast. Any color suggestions? I'm leaning towards daffodil yellow, mostly because I already have a petticoat and silk fabric in that color. That petticoat is on underneath it in the second photo and I definitely like the way it helps the dress poof.

On the left is a photo from earlier today of just the bodice sewn and being checked for fit.
On the right the dress is almost complete! Just needs lining and a zipper. Also, it will have
tiny black spaghetti straps when it's finished.

I actually started making this dress with a completely different fabric in mind. I can't afford to buy that fabric just yet, unless a mysterious large amount of money suddenly falls from the sky and lands in my paypal account, so I decided to make a test dress. The plaid one is actually a little different style-wise in the skirt than the forthcoming dress will be. Also, the 2nd dress will have a super cute cropped jacket with petal sleeves. I'm still working out the pattern right now cause it's going have some crazy details and style lines. It'll be lined with and have accent pieces of the fabric the dress will be made from. Here's a little illustration I've made of the jacket:


Soon-to-be real cropped jacket, my original design. The body will be silk noile
and the lining and accents will be printed silk charmeuse. Yummy!

Both of these outfits and many more will be shown at Frock n Roll, a fashion show featuring local designers being held on May 17th. See my past post about the event here.

So, I guess it's time to get back to work! Will post more photos and fun details when this dress is done and I start working on the jacket!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Project Runway Auditions

So, I just got back from Project Runway Auditions only minutes ago. I was done at the audition 2 hours ago, but just made the track back to my friend's apartment where I am staying in Chicago.

What a long day! I got up at about 6 am, left the house at 7, took a train and then a taxi to get there and arrived at the W Hotel around 8:10 am. Auditions started at 9 and we and we waited around in line for a LONG, cold and windy time. I took three pieces with me to show the judges. Two of them are pictured in this post and the third was the plaid skirt in fall colors with silk trim that's shown in two of my other posts. My friend Dalla went with me and patiently waited out the whole day. I was 52nd in line and didn't get inside to the holding room until around 1 o'clock. Then we waited around for another really long time, because when we got in there they were only interviewing #30, but at least it was warm inside, and we could feel our toes and fingers again. Did I mention I was wearing heels? I wanted to look nice but I knew it was going to suck.

Me, in line at PR auditions, on a blustery Chicago morning

So, we waited around in the holding room for almost another two hours, watching person after person come back upset and clearly having been turned away. There were large clothing racks set up throughout the room and you could see everything that everyone else had brought with them to show to the judges. There was an awful lot of really costume-y and unrefined types of things that you didn't have to be a judge to know that that person was going to be shot down. The more I saw the more I felt confident in the pieces I had brought with me.

Dalla took a break at one point to go and try to find some coffee and ran into Nick Verreos (he was the guest past-competitor judge in Chicago) in the elevator. She didn't talk to him as he was talking with someone who just auditioned and telling him that his (the guy who was auditioning )personality AND designs were just amazing. Other than that we didn't see anyone who looked like they had been moved on to the next stage until the very end.

The whole time we really only talked to two other people, the designer in front of us, Lia Joy and her significant other, (whose name I somehow managed to not catch the entire time I was there), who was there as moral support and to help carry large clothing items.

At around 2:50 it was FINALLY my turn to go in and talk to the judges. I was sooo nervous but I don't think it was showing too much. I went down the hall to the audition room, they put a mic on me then sent me it. As I walked in they all said hello and asked how I was doing. I put my three pieces up on the clothing rack and Tim asked me to spread them out so they could see them, right as I was doing just that. Tim said that everything looked excellently constructed, Nick agreed. Then Tim said "But it's just to basic." To which Nick agreed, but I didn't! I know that of all the tips online about auditioning for the show it always says stick up for yourself against the judges. I was totally prepared to defend my work but Tim says "We're going to have to pass, thank you" before I can even get a syllable out of my mouth. Honestly, I was really surprised. They didn't even ask to look at my portfolio, which has much stranger things in it. I couldn't even manage to say thank you as I took my designs off the rack and walked out of the room, I was too shocked. I kind of felt a little bad about that, but whatever. I'm sure that's just a second of time I saved them to talk to someone else.

This dress made from brown and cream wool tweed fabric and lined and trimmed with a nude colored silk charmeuse. I gave it some interested style lines which I thought were really unique. It's hard to see in the photo, and I'll take a better one later of me wearing it and replace this one with that. It came out gorgeous, fits like a glove and I couldn't have been happier with it.

So, yeah. I'm a little bit upset right now, but I went into this knowing that there was only a SLIM chance that I would be moved on to the next round, and also knowing how to-the-point the judges are in these auditions, so I wasn't totally unprepared. Holy run-on sentence! I felt that the work I took with me WAS really good, and maybe if they had actually taken a second to ask me about it I could have explained to them why it WASN'T basic and what made it special that maybe they couldn't see in the 30 seconds they looked at it before sending me away. Literally, I was in that room for less than a minute. I wanted the pieces I took to the audition to look like they came from the same collection and also to look like something that every woman would want to wear every single day. They are by no means plain, but they also aren't over the top crazy either, because that's not what's going to sell to the general market. They were flawlessly constructed by the way, so that must count for something and at least they were nice enough to compliment that. I think that the judges and producers were so caught up about how "couture" the 4th season was that that was all they were looking for. The girl that came out of the audition room 3 or 4 people before me got passed on to the next round. Her clothes weren't interesting, they were made using horrible fabrics and they weren't constructed nicely at all. However, one of her pieces had layers upon layers of the same fabric and looked EXACTLY like something that Christian would have made, just not as nice. Really people, it's not new, hard or exciting to sew a million layers, it just takes freaking forever. Note to self - take pieces to audition that you copied from the previous season's winner.

Also, advise to any future hopefuls - stay away from the sequins!!! I only saw ONE person all day long be asked to leave before she even made it to the holding room. She had brought store-bought jeans which she hand-sewed sequins all over. Frightening, to say the least. And people, please! That does not make you a fashion designer. It might make you crafty and handy with a needle but don't waste your time. Especially to stand in 40 degree weather for 5 hours.

One of the pieces I took with me to the audition. it's made entirely from the same piece of dupioni silk. The silk the body was cut from was washed about 5 times and the fabric used for the collar, cuffs and bottom trim wasn't washed at all. There are tucks at the front neckline to create that extra fullness, and stitched down tucks up center bag that add more interesting detail to the piece. I made this in one day!

So, I guess that's all really. I am a little disappointed but I'm certainly not going to freak out and say "I quit designing because Tim Gunn says my stuff is too basic!" He's not the only opinion that matters in the fashion world, just one of them. And it must be really difficult for them to actually evaluate you thoroughly when there are 150 more people waiting in line that they need to at least try and audition as well. I've had friends who auditioned be told MUCH worse things so I'm not losing sleep over it. If there is a 6th season I will absolutely audition again and this time I'll be even more prepared and have WAY more stuff added to my portfolio (should they decide to actually look at it).

In the meantime, I have something that might be a little more exciting and DEFINITELY less stressful, up my sleeve, but I won't know more about that til the end of this month. Happy April Fool's Day everyone! I must have definitely played a joke on myself thinking I had this one nailed. :-/

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prepping for PR Tryouts

The past few weeks since the Project Runway Season 5 casting information was posting have been likely the most hectic weeks of my life. As we neared the Season 4 finale I knew that if there was going to be a Season 5 it would be announced soon, but I didn't expect to have less than a month to get ready for it. Yikes! Good thing I work best under pressure.

So, I've been sewing like a mad woman since then trying to figure out what I am going to take with me to show the judges. Since it's only days away, good news is I have at least decided. I'll be taking two pieces that I've made this month and one that I made at the end of last year. I'll post photos of the new stuff later, I think these three will be nice and cohesive. I actually started about 3 other pieces that I thought I wanted to take with me, got about halfway done and decided that they wouldn't be what the judges are looking for. Not that they weren't good or interesting, just maybe not good ENOUGH. I am planning on finishing them all and showing them at Frock n Roll in May.

Close-up of one of my designs. Modeled by KT Mayer

On Easter Sunday I did a photo shoot with an amazing local photographer, Nicky Hedayat-Zadeh. She was featured in the March 2008 issue of Java Magazine. You can view the article here. I needed to get some updated photos for my portfolio and there's no better time than now. We shot at Nicky's studio in downtown Phoenix and the shoot lasted about 6 hours and showcased 10 of my pieces. The photos came out GORGEOUSLY! I was so excited I could hardly wait to get home so I could start sewing new stuff to do another shoot with.

My design. Modeled by Amparo Elizabeth

Will wrap this one up in the morning... getting sleepy...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Frock n Roll - Only 2 Months Away!

The 5th annual Frock N' Roll benefit fashion show is being held at at Alice Cooperstown on May 17th in downtown Phoenix! Anyone familiar with the Phoenix fashion scene knows that this is one of the biggest local fashion events of the year!

Phoenix residents! You can purchase your tickets to this one of a kind show here. Make sure that when you are making your purchase you select my name from the drop-down menu so that my charity, YouthEtc, will receive credit for the purchase. Each designer needs to sell at least 50 tickets by April 17th in order for their charity to be eligible to receive donations from the event, so help us out!

One of my designs at Frock 'n Roll 2007

This will be my second year participating in this fantastic event, and I plan on showing all brand new designs! I'll have about 10 pieces total, and most will be for sale online after the event through my Etsy store.

In addition, the Phoenix Craft Mafia will probably also be participating in the event, selling amazing handmade goods. A percent of the profits from each sale will also be donated to my charity. This hasn't been confirmed yet, but we're planning on having this awesome local craft group there and are just waiting for the go ahead.

One of my designs at Frock 'n Roll 2007

See local bands, designers and models come together to support local charities in this annual fashion and music party! Make sure you purchase your tickets ASAP as there are a limited amount and once they're gone they're gone!

Address of the venue is: 101 E. Jackson Street Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Old Hobbies Die Hard

The last few months have been rather difficult financially. Sales on and off the internet had been slow, school started again and I am there 3 nights a week so I have a little less time to work and produce inventory. I'm working a "normal job" in the mornings, but only about 12-15 hours a week. Not enough to make ends meet and they don't need me there any more than that. All of this is not by any means helping the bills get paid.

Since we will be moving out of state at the end of this summer, what I've been doing lately is looking around the house and trying to figure out what I don't need to take with me, what I can sell now and what I can sell later. I'm currently trying to get rid of a few large musical instruments, to no avail, and I've been weeding through my cd collection and taking the not-often-listened-to albums, burning them to iTunes and selling the cds. That still left me with only $100 for March rent. I need $700.

Winter Garden - oil painting, finished about 4 years ago

So, two days ago I decided that I would try and sell off most of my art supplies. I'm keeping all the drawing stuff that I can use for fashion design, but I had a LOT of paints, oils and acrylics, and a bunch of canvas, etc. I used to really like to paint. I wasn't the world's greatest or anything, and I was slooooow at it, but I haven't touched any of those things in at least 3 years. Fashion has consumed all of my creating time. I declared to my boyfriend that I was going to get rid of all that stuff and he said it made him sad. I'm not entirely sure why, since he doesn't paint, but I think it's because he thought I was doing it ONLY because I needed money. That's a big part of the reason, but also because lots of awesome paints and supplies are going to waste and honestly I'll probably never ever have time to touch them again.

I sent a text to one of my friends who is in school for fine art and asked if she wanted to come check out what I was trying to sell. Her reply was simply "Throwing in the towel?" Um, noooo... I'm just trying to focus on ONE thing and get really good at it and eventually make it my career. I'm not really sure if she meant it snidely, but that's the joy of text messaging and it kind of made me mad.

Untitled acrylic painting, started about 7 years ago and finished about 5 years ago

So, I sent a message to another friend, who isn't in school and is actually painting and showing his work constantly. And who also is never rude to me. He came over right away, took everything I had and gave me a decent amount of money for it too. While I was unearthing all the boxes of paint to show to him I was a little sad about getting rid of it. I really liked painting, I just wasn't nearly as serious about it was I am about fashion. I knew deep in my heart that if I kept any of it, it would still be sitting around untouched this time next year and the year after, etc.

Only Fools Rush In - oil painting finished about 3.5 years ago, the last painting I've done

I told this friend, whose art you can see more of here, what my art-school friend had said. His reply was "What! Throwing in the towel? No, you are REINVENTING the towel, that's why you don't have extra time." Really funny and it cheered me up. I knew my paints were going to a good home where they would be used and loved. That was last night and I don't feel bad about it today. Plus, as a bonus, I've got a whole lot of extra closet space now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Persimmons Boutique

Starting this week my ties can now be purchased in another fantastic, locally owned and operated boutique. It's Persimmons, in Wisconsin!

Located at 314 N 8th Street Manitowoc Wisconsin 54220

I haven't been there personally, unfortunately, but it looks awesome from the photos! So I let the lovely owner, Kim Geiser, say a few words about her store for me:

"Persimmons is an eclectic oasis of inspiration and memories. Featuring over 100 local and national artists and designers you can find everything from fine art for your home to unique funky handmade clothing. Collage, crochet items, indie crafts, raku pottery, fused glass, and handcrafted jewelry are just a few of the one-of-a-kind offerings that make Persimmons the most unique shop in Northeastern Wisconsin.
For the artsy types we offer a fun little selection of supplies and would love to teach you to how to use them at the kitchen table! Join us Thursday nights for art night and create a project and hang out with friends. Often with a recycled art theme we are proud to teach people how to help the enviroment by re-using rather than filling the landfills.
Another great way to recycle is to buy vintage...we have that too. You can find a great selection of useable glassware, fantastic fabrics, old books, fun games, and beautiful hankies!
If you enjoy living an artful life you will enjoy your trip to Persimmons.
Oh and if you every find a store just like Persimmons...they copied us."

My printed silk ties on display in Persimmons

I'm totally excited to be working with this shop! If you're in Wisconsin or will be in the future, make sure you drop in and check it out!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Old News

Ok, so seeing as has this happened in November, it's not exactly the most exciting thing at this exact moment. However, since I didn't even start my blog until January, I think this is at least newsworthy enough to still mention.

In November the first ever Scottsdale Fashion Week was held in, where else, Scottsdale AZ. I was lucky enough to be part of this event as a participant in the SFA Designer of the Year contest. The contest was sponsored by a local TV channel and SMoCA. I submitted photos and descriptions of three designs and was chosen as one of 8 semi-finalists. The contestants where narrowed down to 4 finalists through internet voting and I made it to the final 4! You can watch a video from the news broadcast that was filmed once the final 4 were chosen. They had us get up at 5 in the morning to drive to the grand opening of some huge mall way on the edge of town. We thought they were going to actually interview the designers, but all that really happened was the models walked through the shot once or twice wearing our designs. My model is the one in the grey corduroy and velvet number with feathers. I think you can see me lurking, sleepily, in the background in some of the shots.

One of my designs on the runway at Scottsdale Fashion Week

So, after all that it was time for MORE internet voting to determine the winner of the competition. Don't even get me started about internet voting. Voting, voting, voting then waiting, waiting, waiting to see who wins. It's so agonizing! The morning the contest was over, I was just sitting around the house waiting for the phone call that would reveal the results. I was so anxious and nervous and excited that I literally couldn't do anything but sit there and wait. I had NO idea what the outcome would be and I could hardly keep still, much less focus and get some work done. When the call finally came, I could hardly believe what they were telling me, I had won! This was followed by a whirlwind of joyful tears and phone calls to friends and relatives to tell them the good news and say thanks for supporting me. I had to do one more crazy early news segment, but I couldn't find a video clip of that online. In addition, there was a small but cool article and photo in the local paper, and you can read that here.

One of my designs on the runway at Scottsdale Fashion Week

The show itself was really exciting. 6 designers showed, myself and the 3 other finalist and 2 of the original semifinalists. I showed last and as the winner was the only designer to walk down the runway. It was a huge runway! 60 feet or so, about 4 feet off the ground and lit from inside. In that moment I could definitely see how someone could want to be a model, it was so exhilarating being up there.

After the runway show I was supposed to have an arranged meeting with several owners of local boutiques, as part of the "prize" but for one reason or another, that unfortunately never happened. I guess that's ok really though because I don't have an actual line in production, not just yet. Currently all of my pieces are one-of-a-kind and more couture based. I would really love to start manufacturing small runs of limited edition pieces that are more retail-marketable, but getting started involves a reasonable chunk of money and I just don't have it right now. So, for the time I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and focusing on what I want to be doing in the future.

That's about it really. I'm hoping to get to come back to SFAand show at this year's event, but I'll have to get in touch with the coordinators sometime. Maybe I could have a small runway show to open and intro the contest for Designer of the Year 2008 and then announce the winner or something, if they have one. Better get off the computer and start sewing!!!

My models Alyssa, Chasity, Maritsa and I offstage after the show

Sunday, February 10, 2008

stylemob

I just signed up for stylemob today. It looks pretty cool and I think that it will be a good promotional tool once I have more photos of my work ready for posting. I signed up initially to vote for tiinateaspoon, awesome fashion designer, photographer and Etsy friend. She entered the stylemob Made It Myself Contest. Click here to vote for her entry!

I checked out the site, found it to be neat, and decided to start a profile and put an entry into the contest myself. Below is a photo of the dress I entered, taken at Scottsdale Fashion Week 2007. The dress is worn here by my good friend and ever-devoted and dependable model Alyssa La Fortune Holt. Click here to vote on my entry in the contest. You can view my public profile on stylemob here.


This dress is made from lilac purple and black dupioni silk. The inside of the dress has 4 layers of interlining, two of which are hair canvas and two are black cotton broadcloth. The dress is boned with spiral steel and completely lined with black silk satin. The octopus detail on the outside was hand-embroidered by me with black laceweight silk yarn and took over 40 hours to complete. In the end it came out looking pretty fantastic and it's one of my favorite pieces that I have made. So that's all... now go vote!

Monday, February 4, 2008

New ties are ready!

After forever and ever of sitting on this design and trying to get it touched up just right and then just completely slacking about it, my new seahorse ties are finally ready!



The ties are completely handmade, by me, as always, from dupioni silk. They are available in all the colors shown here (sky blue, slate blue and turquoise), as well as dozens of other colors, upon request. To purchase or inquire about options, just visit my Etsy store.

Artwork for these ties was done by my good friend Matt Forcella, who also designed my Venus Fly Trap print. He and his lovely wife Pallas share a shop on Etsy also. Check it out! It's: mallas.etsy.com