Phoenix Fashion Week’s Emerging Designers Inspire Valley Youth


Mallorie with PHXFW's Emerging Designers & Exec. Director Brian Hill

Phoenix Fashion Week has always strived to educate and inspire the next generation’s youth, whether through their educational seminars during fashion week or the recent Shankopotamus polo shirt design contest featuring a $1000 scholarship award and production of the winning design. The Shop Garment District event at Degree 270 this month was no different. Each emerging designer, from Blue Bird Denim to Silvia Bours, took time for a special meet and greet session with two talented aspiring designers in the valley. Eleven year old Mallorie Nelson and sixteen year old Anna Utter came with their sketches ready, receiving key insight into the industry, and most importantly, advice from the emerging designers themselves. What these girls may have lacked in height or age, they more than made up for in sheer talent and enthusiasm.

Mallorie Nelson is not your typical eleven year old. Of course, she loves pink, dressing up, and is a daddy’s girl, but she also is an aspiring fashion designer. Modeling herself after the TV character, Punky Brewster, Nelson enjoys mixing and matching different styles to express herself. She wears skirts, t-shirts and dresses, but not jeans. “I don’t like jeans, I like

Mallorie showing her sketches to the Emerging Designers

to be comfortable,” Nelson said. Knowing what you want definitely comes in handy, especially for dressing up for an event like this. Nelson sported a chic black satin skirt, with matching jacket and tie, along with a pink top for a pop of color. Perhaps her interest in fashion design was heightened last Christmas, when she received a Project Runway set. Complete with a projector, textiles and more for any an aspiring fashion designer, this led Nelson to take her interest to the next level. When it comes to her sketches, Nelson prefers to design certain pieces, but enjoys all fashion. “I like sketching half top and strapless dresses. I love pink, shoes, bags, pants…everything,” Nelson said.  As far as what inspires her, she reads Tiger Beat or Twist Magazine, where she takes the fashion quizzes, reads the articles featuring what to buy and what to wear and tears out photos of outfits she likes. On TV, she loves What Not To Wear and applies the show’s honest tone to her own family members’ styles. “I say, ‘Dad, are you really going to wear that?” Nelson said. Since she has never attended a fashion show before, it is only fitting that she will be experiencing this first at Phoenix Fashion Week, taking in many designers’ shows she’s met personally and can look up to.

Anna talking with Emerging Designer, Deeds of Love

Another talented young fashion designer was Anna Utter, a sixteen year old high school sophomore. While her interests in fashion and life experiences are considerably different compared to Mallorie, Anna also aspires to be a fashion designer and was truly inspired by the event and designers it featured. Utter describes herself as always having an interest in fashion, even at a very young age. “I would change my outfits at least three times a day when I was little and no matter how cliché it may sound, I’ve always had a passion for fashion,” Utter said. Not only did she enjoy styling her various outfit choices each day, she also learned how to sew her own clothes. As a current high school student, Utter also has taken fashion design courses that have given her a better understanding of the industry and what skills are required. “I not only learned about the creative side, but about the technical and business sides of fashion…the importance of marketing and advertising. It was very eye-opening,” Utter said. With her careful and chic outfit choice of a fitted blazer and minimal jewelry, it’s no surprise she describes her style as “vintage contemporary”. Her fashion inspirations include

Anna with Emerging Designer, Latonya Adkins

classic looks such as Chanel and menswear, as well feminine pieces from Ellie Saab. Ultimately, Utter aspires to attend a fashion school such as FIDM or LIM College after high school. Following her education, she hopes to be involved in many aspects of the fashion industry by developing her skills as a designer to transition to a fashion editor. This event’s mini fashion show was also the first she had ever been to, but it’s definitely not the last. “I look forward to Phoenix Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week is also on my bucket list,” Utter said. With each new designer she met, the excitement and inspiration was palpable. “Coming here makes me want to become a designer,” Utter said.

Thanks Mallorie and Anna!

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Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

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