The Horn's Audrea Diaz recaps four fashion events that were recently held around Austin, including Strut 512, Catwalk on the Dock, Runway Fierce and Make It Stop.
Author’s note: In recent weeks, the city’s fashion industry has continued to emphasize its time and talents in support of charities. This article aims to highlight such efforts with accounts from different events correspondingly.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Reyes
With an intuitive play on words, founders of MKV Productions, Michele Utt and Valerie Velazquez, joined forces to create Strut 512. Held annually on May 12, Strut focuses on bringing the best of food, philanthropy, fashion, art, and music together under one roof.
Described by Utt as “a celebration of everything Austin” -- this year, the contemporary styling of Lytle Pressley and House + Earth provided a backdrop that featured music from Henry + the Invisibles, performance art of aerialist SuperSky Van Vliet, and dance routines from the Austin City Ballet.
In a unisex fashion show styled by Leonardo D’ Almagro, models of Butterfly Entertainment walked to the music of flamenco guitarist Luis Banuelos, illustrating the work of six local designers and boutiques (Michelle Weisman of 81 Poppies, Jordan Martin of Dekla, Linda Asaf, Spring Frost, Capra & Cavalli, and St. Thomas); hair/make-up provided by BLO Blow Dry Bar and Rae Cosmetics respectively, with jewelry courtesy of Gay “Sugar” Isber.
Martin said her collaboration with Strut came as a result of recommendations by D’ Almagro, whose influence furthermore led photographer/blogger Shelley Newman out from behind the camera, and onto the runway.
For a behind the scenes recap, visit Newman’s blog: ATX Street Style Event and Silent Auction proceeds benefit CapCityKids (The Capital City Fund for Education); more information on Strut 512 -- including participants, sponsors, and vendors, is available on their website.
The Catwalk on the Dock
Photos courtesy of De Ann Hoeft
Overlooking Lake Austin, Hula Hut’s relaxed atmosphere offered the perfect way to bring in summer fashion. Presented by Now! Magazine, the glittering dock illuminated looks from: Electric Frenchie, Duo, Fawn + Raven, and Bandita Couture.
According to Gregory Martin, Now! Magazine founder/editor in chief, the May 16 runway show served as a preview of the publication’s first Austin issue, set for a city-wide 40,000 distribution next month; where readers will find ten pages of pictures from the showcase.
Like Martin, freelance model Jonathan“JoJo” Macias is new to the local fashion scene. Macias, who walked during the show, said the event served as a platform for him to network within the growing industry.
“I’m fresh in the fashion game,” Macias tells me; elaborating on his and business partner Adam Mattingly’s high-end jacket line, Atom Willis. Multifaceted, he also plays guitar for the Artillery, an alternative/ indie rock band.
Macias’ versatile persona coincides with that of Now! Magazine’s approach to cover all elements of “art, beauty, health, fashion, entertainment, lifestyle, and sports”.
The full color, pocket-sized magazine can be read online here.
Event and Silent Auction proceeds from The Catwalk on the Dock benefit Dress for Success.
A promotional video displaying the runway’s designer and boutique fashions, hair/make-up teams, participants, and sponsors is available on YouTube.
Photo courtesy of Landra German
For this event (May 18), jewelry designer Gay “Sugar” Isber and I traveled on location to Killeen, Texas. Here, co-producers Landra German and William Harris, combined their fashion backgrounds to bring Austin style, primarily for those currently stationed in Fort Hood, while simultaneously launching Runway Fierce --which according to German, is a business dedicated towards “[mentoring] young girls that aspire to be models”, by helping them live a healthy lifestyle, thus proudly maintaining “their natural body type”.
After a state-wide casting call, Harris (stylist and show manager), says he utilized industry skills learned in New York, Miami and Nashville markets to transform the Wallstreet (Spurs) Club dance floor into a buyer showcase, where models wore pieces from the Ensemble: Austin Indie Designers, Valeri Jinxy Abrego-Liszewski of Jinxedaposed Clothing and Haja Iscandri Scott of Toombas Jeans & Denim Wear; all looks accessorized with statement jewelry by Isber.
German, a former international runway model, has high hopes for Fierce becoming a well known establishment inside and out of the local fashion scene; therein with the likes of former Miss Belleza Latina, Margaret Ann Garza serving as Master of Ceremonies (with co-host Richie Martinez), and as Top Austin Model winner Claire Graves sat in attendance with Abrego-Liszewski and friends, it seems that Runway Fierce is ready and willing to impress.
“I like to expand my horizons,” said Abrego-Liszewski. “You never know where you’re going to find new clients”. In our interviews, both she and Scott mentioned that the onsite clothing featured is available for purchase in store or online.
Visit Isber’s “Sugar Factory” and the Ensemble designers, located at 1800 West Koenig Lane (near Burnet Road) for product details; keep watch for their designs, and Runway Fierce during Austin Fashion Week 2012 (August 10-18).
Runway Fierce showcase hair/makeup by: Alda of Alda Beauty, entertainment provided by: Pauly Mike Hula dancers, with the music of: Hope Through Reason.
Event proceeds to benefit Kids Can Academy.
MAKE IT STOP
Photo courtesy of Peter Tung
In an effort to raise awareness toward the bullying epidemic, Amy Evers of Russ and Company Salon held a presentation inside the McCallum High School Theater on May 19. Evers, along with colleague Lecia Bates Harkins, gave McCallum students the opportunity to study aspects of the fashion industry, modeling in a runway show featuring Electric Frenchie looks and styled by Leonardo D’ Almagro.
In her speech, Evers acknowledged her past of indentifying with both the victim and bully; crediting her own teenage journal entries as “an eye opener” to the problems still faced today. According to her statistics given, children are 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide (highest risk rate being 10-14 year olds); with 16,000 kids choosing to stay home everyday avoiding education based on fear. “Everyone needs to take the time [and] think,” said Evers. “It starts at home”.
Elaborating on Evers advice, event speaker Spruce Dickerson, Miss Plus America Elite, said the surge of social media and cyber bullying has lead to the home front becoming yet another target. “Let’s not put a band aid on this epidemic,” said Dickerson. “Stand up…don’t be a bystander, but a participant in this world’s future”.
“We’re all responsible,” continued writer/LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) advocate Echo Brooks –stressing that bullying is both an adult and adolescent problem that stands as “a conscious action and a choice”. Brooks states that “half of suicides among young people are related to bullying”, with this being the “third leading cause of death amongst [them]”; and offered a moment of silence in remembrance of teens who passed as a result.
By suggesting “survival tactics”, former USA Rugby Women’s National Team member Meredith Ottens said, “Don’t change who you are, change what you do”. Ottens notes that respect, forgiveness, and trusting yourself are all factors towards leading a better pathway. “You can’t grade life”, said Ottens. “It’s not like there’s a manual”.
Although she highlights the importance of external support, Ottens says that ultimately, the inward support is just as important as the outward. “You’re not alone in this world, nobody is; [but] if you’re not there for you, who’s going to be”?
Taking positive steps to answer this question, the students turned models wrote individual signs with various derogatory phrases, tearing them at the end of the showcase. “You’re ripping this word off, and you’re leaving it behind…taking back your power,” said Evers, elaborating on her metaphoric inspirations. “If one person is altered it’s a success,” she stated.
All event proceeds donated to: The Anti-Defamation League
Hair/make-up by: Russ and Company Salon, with aid from McCullum High School student, Cassidy S.
Photo courtesy of Peter Tung
Author’s note: Also during MAKE IT STOP, the Austin Music Hall held “Art Bra Austin”: a distinctive runway show, with breast cancer survivors modeling to benefit The Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas (BCRC). For information and photos, visit the event Facebook page here.
And on May 25, The Long Center will hold THE WHITE PARTY, supporting the mission of Lifeworks; see the event website for ticket sales and information.