It’s exhilarating to be exposed to a lineup of talented individuals who are giving their all to accomplish the top challenge within Phoenix Fashion Week (PHXFW). I’m talking about the titles of “Designer of the Year” and “Model of the Year.”
The leading fashion industry event in the Southwest, hosts an Emerging Designer Bootcamp every year with a focus on business and fashion that gives designers the opportunity to strengthen their skills in real time and grow their brand over the months leading up to fashion week in October.
PHXFW also provides models with professional runway training, print challenges and more, which prepares them for their modeling career.
After 3 months of extensive training, both designers and models are tested by the biggest challenge of all.. the audience.
During Phoenix Fashion Week, designers finally show off their full collections and models rock the runways applying everything they’ve learned in the program.
The winners of 2016 include:
“Designer of the Year”:
– Isy B, Lifestyle Designer of the Year
– Laura Tanzer, Contemporary Designer of the Year
– Barbara Bultman, Couture Designer of the Year
– Monica Mauro, Accessory Designer of the Year
“Model of the Year”:
– Cierra Blankenship
– Isaiah Drake
The Phoenix Fashion Week team put together a Designer of the Year + Model of the Year Editorial Photo Shoot to celebrate the work and success of its winners.
The team behind the lens included Photographer Romen Cole, Hair & Makeup Artist Ahlonnah Manning and myself as the Wardrobe Stylist.
“I had the pleasure of working with this talented group of people who not only inspire me, but propel me. Collaborating with Romen and Ahlonnah to make our vision a reality was a blast!” – Sandra Mateu Yotty, Wardrobe Stylist.
The growth shown by both groups (designers and models) throughout the competition is outstanding. This photo shoot is definite proof of the journey traveled.
“It’s impressive to see how both our Models and Designers have evolved since day 1 in our bootcamp all the way to becoming the ‘Designer of the Year’ and ‘Model of the Year’ winners. This photoshoot is proof of what they have accomplished and an example of great things to come! To align with top local professionals to shoot, style & produce this project further illustrates the power of our fashion community. I’m so proud of all of these emerging fashion talents!” – Brian Hill, Executive Director of Phoenix Fashion Week.
Designers of the Year tell us what it was like to participate and win the 2016 competition.
“The Phoenix Fashion Week bootcamp is an unforgettable experience from start to finish. Winning the title of designer of the year last year was a hugely proud moment for me and it has opened up so many opportunities for me locally and internationally. It was amazing to have the support of the PHXFW team and my talented fellow designers as we journeyed through the process of clarifying our business vision and building our brands. I’m sure all of our brands are stronger for having had the experience” – Isy B, Lifestyle Designer of the Year.
“PHXFW Boot Camp was quite challenging, and I was up for the challenge. I worked my butt off, met all challenges head on, exceeded some of them, and then I WON! My Advice – be prepared to work really hard on the business side of fashion. Your talent is a given” – Laura Tanzer, Contemporary Designer of the Year.
“Hi!! As being a designer from STL… aka the midwest… It has taken a lot to get noticed. Attaining the title of Couture Designer of the Year wasn’t easy, but I have always told myself with hard work and dedication, dreams can be achieved! Throughout the boot camp, I learned how to grow my brand and expand my knowledge in the business world of fashion, along with selling through e-commerce and to even getting my brand in high end boutiques through out the country. Being apart of PHXFX has been a dream come true!” – Barbara Bultman, Couture Designer of the Year.
“During your boot camp you will have several challenges to accomplish. It is going to be a lot of work and can be stressful at times but you will learn from it. They will push you to do things that are out of your comfort zone, but that is what will make you grow” – Monica Mauro, Accessory Designer of the Year.
Model of the Year, Isaiah Drake, also shares with us his experience during the competition and what it was like to win the title.
“I had no modeling background going into the competition, so I had no idea what to expect but the experience I got from being a part of the Top 40 is unforgettable and the people I met in the process made it all amazing. To win it all was unbelievable, so Phoenix Fashion Week really made a dream of mine come true. Now I’m signed with The Agency Arizona doing what I love to do all thanks to just putting myself out there and taking a chance. The PHXFW team really became like a family and I can’t thank them enough!” – Isaiah Drake, Model of the Year 2016.
Photographer Romen Cole who sat on the judge’s panel during last year’s Model Search and got to see our Models of the Year audition with PHXFW, shares his thoughts about the photo shoot.
“I hadn’t had the pleasure of working with them (Cierra + Isaiah) prior to the editorial shoot that we just completed. So, with that being a completely original experience, it makes the end results of the shoot even more confounding since the images we produced were remarkable; especially for only having such a short amount of time” – Romen Cole, Photographer.
In terms of vision for the shoot, Romen explained that “I wanted to whenever you’re working with two individuals, there has to be some degree of sensed connectivity; even if the models aren’t touching/within close proximity to one another. So, I wanted to capture that mild essence of binary tension; the chemical allure that manifests itself as gravity between two opposite yet compatible entities. To that end, it was really important that they could vibe with one another and follow each others lead. It was really fascinating to see how the sets began to evolve as they picked up on one another’s queues.”
As the wardrobe stylist of the shoot, I worked with the designs of our four “Designer of the Year” winners and decided to stay true to the essence of their brand and enhance it.
“We played with color and came up with a story that allowed us to incorporate the different styles of our designers and at the same time let each look shine. This photo shoot was about celebrating their success as a brand and I wanted that original aesthetic to show through the pictures, but intensified by our creative collaboration,” – Sandra Mateu Yotty, Wardrobe Stylist.
“The photoshoot with Romen Cole was out of this world. I loved the clothes and I loved how Isaiah and I matched colors. The combination shoots were crazy cool. The shoot lasted 6 hours and I had fun every minute. Getting my hair and makeup done is always amazing, you never know what look you’re going to get. Sandra was so organized with the clothes and she always had a backup plan just in case something happened to the clothes. She and Romen collided minds and started running through the story of the photos and how the clothes should look. In the end, with cramping feet and sweaty foreheads, the photos looked overall amazing :)” – Cierra Blankenship, Model of the Year 2016.
Cierra and Isaiah’s success at Phoenix Fashion Week has allowed them to spread their wings and grow within the industry.
“It’s been exciting to see the growth in our ‘Model of the Year’ winners! They have been doing some fantastic projects with The Agency Arizona and it’s evident in their performance in front of the camera! Our ‘Designer of the Year’ winners are also doing great things in their respective markets and continuing to sell and expand their brands!” – Brenna Moses, Director of Operations of Phoenix Fashion Week.
This upcoming Saturday, June 3rd is 2017’s Model Search. If you want to be discovered and compete for the title of #ModeloftheYear, visit DeskHub at 12pm. For more details, go to this link.
The new class of Emerging Designers 2017 will be officially launched on June 23rd.
*Suits provided by Phoenix Fashion Week Designer, Glenn Plaid.
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