DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: WEDNESDAY’S AFW RUNWAYS

Katherine Michael

Katherine Michael

It’s hard to believe, but Austin Fashion Week is a month away! On Wednesday, May 8 our first batch of talented designers will send their designs down the AFW runway. We’re so excited about our new Wednesday – Friday venue — we’ll be in great company at the historic La Zona Rosa — and even more excited about this year’s designers.

To fuel the fashion flame, we thought we’d give you a preview of Wednesday’s designers. Check ‘em out, and buy your tickets here!

RAGGDAHL

I am a full time fashion designer and a part time Soldier in the U.S. Army Reserves. I attended college at The Art Institute of Dallas and graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, with big dreams of owning my own boutique. Throughout college I participated and led the campus fashion design club, Design Dallas. As the president of this club for one and a half years, I helped organize fashion marketing events, and raise money for the quarterly fashion shows, along with tutoring students who needed help. I participated in many school wide competitions and one nation wide competition, Cool Vs. Cruel, in which I represented all of Texas. Upon graduating, I realized the weight of school loans, and my lack of structure as an artist, I needed to join the military. Doing this has given me the discipline and the extra income in which I save in a separate savings account to one day hire and develop a production team for RaggDahl. I’ve got a ten y ear goal plan , that I refuse to stray from, and a production team of myself and my mother who has supported my ventures from the early days of grade school. I do all of my own sketches, pattern-making, samples and final garments. All I can do is offer the world a garment made with emotion, structure and inspiration, I feel as though Austin Fashion Week will exponentially help RaggDahl to do this.

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TROPICOUTURE

Designer Suzanne B was born and raised in California, discovering her passion for creating clothing early on. She studied couture design in Paris and London, and influence that brings a sophisticated flair to her designs.

Having lived in locations such as California, South Florida, Hawai’i, and Southeast Texas, specializing in clothing for warmer climates became a natural progression in her design career. The beauty of the Tropics has a profound influence on her creativity. Working with beautiful fabrics, her couture quality workmanship transforms each piece into a wearable work of art. She understands the need for beautiful, comfortable and well constructed clothing.

She’s designed for celebrities, socialites, and those who want to simply look amazing while enjoying complete comfort. Her style has a definite tropical influence that easily fits into any lifestyle, but is particularly wonderful for those who live in the more southerly latitudes.

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KATHERINE MICHEAL

A West Texas native, fashion designer Katherine Micheal Northcott (known to her friends as Micheal) grew up a precocious, artistic, free spirit, with a flair for the dramatic. Her artist’s mind allowed her to dabble in many crafty and creative pursuits like acting, drawing, ceramics, painting, and interior design – starting countless projects, and finishing few. As one of four hell-raising and fearless daughters, Northcott carved out her niche as the soccer savant with a no-holds-barred approach to her personal fashion. At age 17, she traded the soccer ball for a sewing needle and began creating her signature “hippy” threads, garnering so much attention from friends and classmates that she was eventually named “Best Dressed” at her Lubbock, Texas, high school.

After graduation, the budding, bohemian designer took her sewing machine on the road in pursuit of some life-living, chasing her favorite Jam Bands ac ross the nation. With her new-found freedom as her muse, Northcott financed her four-year adventure by creating eclectic clothing for a select crew of eccentric and unique individuals. It wasn’t until a decade later that Northcott found her most recent inspiration while cleaning out her old storage unit – inside was an old, unused wedding dress just screaming to be ripped apart and re-imagined. The newly-reconstructed dress was a hit with friends and family, so Northcott (a self-proclaimed “thrift store junkie”) found her most recent calling in rescuing antique wedding gowns from the rubbled racks of local resale shops and up-cycling them to resuscitate their purpose in today’s high-fashion world.

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RARE TRENDS

Rare Trends was founded over a year ago by sisters Paola Moore and Marina Silver. Tired of the mass produced labels, where the design technique has shifted to optimize costs, Paola and Marina decided to bring unique fashion back into market. They believe in art, in craft, in architecture, in exploring with fabrics and realized there was a growing market of women who felt the same way. Rare Trends believe women should wear art. Their slogan is their mantra. All of their designs reflect fine fabrics, exceptional tailoring and a lot of creative textile work. Rare Trends firmly believes that What you wear is who you are and Who you are is unique. Each garment is designed to make women feel that way. Limited quantity and optimal quality. A story behind each product.

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L.A.M.B

Widely recognized for her trend setting personal style and natural elegance, Gwen Stefani created L.A.M.B., an acronym for Love Angel Music Baby, out of her love of design and fashion. L.A.M.B. is a luxurious collection of clothing, handbags, shoes and fragrance, based on Stefani’s personal style and aesthetic. “L.A.M.B. represents all things that I love. It’s very much about my style and how I put things together. L.A.M.B. is a line that I want to wear every day,” explains Gwen.

The brand is defined by Gwen’s innate sense of style which often features a playful juxtaposition between classic Hollywood movie star glamour and more modern and casual street influences. L.A.M.B. is always a mixture of vintage inspiration mashed up with modern and futuristic elements. Gwen says, “My favorite thing is mixing old with new and feminine with masculine. I like the contrast and the clash and the resulting balance you get from mixing soft and hard elements. I go back to that inspiration over and over again.”

L.A.M.B. has come a long way in eight years. What began as six months of designing apparel in Gwen’s kitchen has grown into a full collaborative effort with extensive retail sales and partnerships. Gwen says, “L.A.M.B. is something that can be lasting and something I can continue to do in the future with a family. It’s like a seed that I planted and it’s going to grow into something amazing. I’m not always going to be running around doing cartwheels on stage for the rest of my life. Designing is something that I’ve always loved and dreamed about and L.A.M.B. just keeps getting better every season.”

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LIBELLULE

Libellule, Pronouced “libby-lool” is a New Orleans based women’s clothing line. It is the brain child of Leigh Reveley and Crickett Lapeyre and features rich modern details on classic vintage silhouettes. Their pieces are environmentally friendly, made with high quality natural fibers and are all manufactured within the United States.

Libellule believes in the power of beauty. They believe it is healing. Whether you are looking at a beautiful landscape or engaged in conversation with a beautiful person, when you are in the presence of something beautiful, you feel more alive. They hope that you will feel that way whether you are gazing at one of their garments our wearing one.

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ISABELLA ROSE TAYLOR

Isabella Rose Taylor is amping up the tween game. Her artistic passions blossomed at the age of three when she started painting; and are now realized in a spirited, yet classic, fashion line with girls seeking out her look and the Press taking note. Launching her fashion line at the age of eleven, she is truly accomplished and her resume keeps growing. Her artwork has been shown in Austin and Dallas, she is an editor for Amazing Kids (an online magazine), serves on the Creative Kids magazine advisory board and is a certified member of Mensa. Isabella Rose Taylor is also a published poet; her poetry is progressive and profound.

Currently based in Austin, Isabella travels worldwide exploring textiles, stories, and images that inspire her art. Isabella designs with herself in mind and her sophisticated, intelligent portfolio has many admirers second-guessing her age. Humble, sweet and driven, Isabella Rose Taylor is making tween the new scene.

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CATHERINE CARTER HITE

Catherine Carter Hite, the line, was started with a chance encounter at Austin Fashion Week 2012. After speaking with faculty at the fashion department from the University of Texas at Austin, it was agreed that she could further her fashion education with classes in Fall 2012. This opportunity provided her with a group of supportive mentors who encouraged her to pursue both her desire to be a fashion designer and to stay in Austin. She looks forward to continuing to work here, one the greatest creative cities in the United States.

Ms. Hite believes in designing for real women with the intent of every piece becoming an instant favorite in their wardrobe. Her classic aesthetic drives her towards fuss-free fashions that will be worn and loved after a decade in your closet. Instead of being trend-driven, Catherine Carter Hite concentrates on producing modern reinterpretations of classic garments, with a focus on the importance of good construction. By combining these elements with new technologies, such as laser cutting and digital printing, she is able to produce truly classic pieces that still retain the element of intrigue.

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