Emerging Designers Discovered after 7-City Tour, to Debut at PHXFW

After a seven-city tour, Phoenix Fashion Week has selected the 12 emerging designers from not only Arizona, but all over the United States, that will be debuting their lines at fashion week in October. These twelve emerging designers had an incredibly beneficial opportunity to not only strengthen their business skills, but grow their brand and fashion line through competing in various challenges presented to them in the months leading up to fashion week in a “bootcamp” setting. From writing a press release and learning how to market themselves, to creating a business plan, these designers have truly transformed their brands from the ground up, leading to a lasting impression on the runway. The winner of the Emerging Designer Contest will be officially announced on Saturday, October 6th at fashion week and will receive a prize package of goods and services valued at over $10,000 to assist them in successfully launching their brand post-fashion week.

Get to know these talented designers better and let us know which one you think should win Designer of the Year 2012!

Bri Seeley

Bri Seeley is uniquely feminine fashion for the inspired woman. Established in 2006, this brand based out of Lacey, Washington was created to enhance the female figure and allow the wearers inner beauty to shine. The styles are contemporary, simple, and classic with intriguing details and high quality fabric. Guests should expect to see designs embodying the designer, Bri Seeley’s contemporary vintage aesthetic.  “I typically draw upon nature and history for my design inspiration.The Escape collection showing at PHXFW was specifically designed with a playful spirit and a touch of impulsivity,” Seeley said.

ENVY by Khanh

On trend for the season, Envy by Khanh features bold lines, colors and geometric shapes that make the line immediately recognizable.  The line is all about simplicity and elegance, and designer Khanh Nguyen’s goal is to design dresses that make women feel confident, attractive, and sexy. This vision will take effect at PHXFW in October, where Khanh’s 12 piece 2013 collection will walk the runway. “My irresistible pieces for women create lust in the opposite sex and envy in the same sex. ‘Make them feel it’ is the tagline for ENVY by Khanh, since the goal is to make other women feel envious of you when you’re wearing one of my dresses.”

EYE Thread

Based out of Los Angeles, California, EYE Thread is a luxury designer brand on a mission to give back. Their hopes are to inspire the consumer to think about buying a quality product with a genuine foundation in giving back. “By focusing on the highest quality product possible we thought it only made sense to go by an equally high standard for our practices. We believe that if we can make a positive impact, no matter how small, then weʼve accomplished our goal as a brand. Titled Keepsakes & Heirlooms, we provide products made with handselected materials, and assure each piece is made with integrity, craftsmanship and most importantly, heart.” – Designer Ashleigh Kaspszak

Italia Rocks Couture

Local designer Natalia Acosta of Phoenix is originally from Mexico and after earning two Fashion Design degrees from Phoenix College, has focused her designing vision on creating unique, one-of-a-kind evening gowns that are all individually designed and hand-sewn. With avant-garde, dramatic runway pieces showing at Phoenix Fashion Week, guests should except to take in red carpet gowns meant to see and be seen in. “The the biggest stage for fashion is in the state of Arizona. The Italia Rocks Couture customer is a very confident, elegant and sexy woman. My inspiration when designing this collection is the female figure, and vibrant colors that complement this.”


Los Angeles, California based JHaus is an American made premium denim line inspired by designer Jlynn Hausman’s American-Midwest roots. Being a farmer’s daughter and a small town girl, Jlynn wanted to bring a piece of the country into the city.  Creating a high quality product that incorporates her strong roots into the aesthetic was her goal.  Great denim should be a staple in any fashionista’s wardrobe, but it can be difficult to find the perfect fit. That is, until JHaus. “Denim is difficult and a very tough business. We have a less is more concept so there is not a lot of embellishment on our jeans.  We spent a year perfecting the fits and washes to ensure a premium product.  JHaus is the only emerging designer that will be showcasing denim.”

Living Dreams

Living Dreams is a lifestyle streetwear clothing brand “inspired by those who follow and live out their dreams”. They offer bold colors on relaxing designs to t-shirts, tank tops, and other fine products for both men and women. Living Dreams believes we all have a dream inside ourselves and when that dream becomes a reality through passion, hard work, and belief in ourselves, that dream turns into a reality, hence the name Living Dreams! The mission of Living Dreams is to spread this message of encouraging others to be “living dreams” through clothing as the canvas to tell the story. “I wanted to ultimately try to create a brand that lets people “escape” and let themselves dream again about what moves them. I am not just trying to create a trendy brand, but one that last decades,” said designer Michael Poulos.

Ofra Style

Ofra traveled throughout Europe and Latin America and her broad experiences are the culmination of what we see in her collections. OfraStyle’s latest collection is convertible clothing for women, casual by day, contemporary by night. The collection includes pieces that can be worn 2-3 different ways. They are very versatile and with a few adjustments can be worn as poolside wear, comfortable casual wear, yoga pants, or elegant evening wear. These versatile garments are extremely soft, complimentary to the body and made from beautiful custom made fabrics with a contemporary style.

Paulie Gibson

This St. Louis designer was born with a creative vision and has been designing for nearly all his life. This menswear designer is unique in that he views menswear in a completely new way. He loves mixing colors and prints that are unconventional, but believes that at the end of the day its all about individualism – so the customer can separate the prints and wear them as conservatively as they would like. “Paulie Gibson is inspired by the juxtaposition between masculine and feminine. I’m really inspired by womens fashion.  I’m also inspired by people.  I’m a very social person and as I meet new people something clicks and I start to create clothing for them in my head – what I’d like to see them in.”

Samantha Patterson

Samantha Patterson creates fashionable modestwear for women, appropriate for any professional, religious, or everyday setting, and no one should have to forgo style to dress this way.  Despite the assumptions that some may make about modestwear, Flagstaff-based Patterson has proven that with extra design elements, these subtle statement pieces are taken to the next level. “I love putting creativity in a box.  I believe that when an artist applies parameters to his/her work–modest guidelines in my case–it yields even more innovative ideas.  I use construction techniques, fabric embellishments, and other accents to compose truly original designs with classic silhouettes.”

Sew Twisted Designs

As another local designer based out of Tucson, Brooke Reyes is a self-taught designer, who has created a standout line for “women with remarkable taste.” With the drama of many of her runway garments, it’s no surprise that Reyes’ inspiration is the theater and everything that entails. “The woman who wears my clothes desires notoriety. Like in theater, costumes have a way of evoking an era and feeling into the actor. I want my clothes to inject a feeling of confidence, strength, and sex appeal, into my ideal client. My inspiration derives from my days as a thespian. I often take inspiration from theatric, historic and literary characters and bring them into the modern world with my design.”

Shawl Dawls

Co-founders and designers Julie Cruz and Roshena Chadha have created a unique line of versatile shawls and cover-ups meant for the everyday woman, with a convertible shawl that can be worn 15+ ways.  They offer practical fashion without compromising on style, with fashionable formulas for multiple looks that can transform an outfit from casual to dressy, from day to night. “We are largely inspired by the fabrics that we find and by elements of other styles and trends that we see. Our inspiration also comes from our fans, who love to get creative with their Shawls and come up with amazing new ways to style them!  The possibilities are endless!”

Suzanne Lay

Every since this St. Louis-based designer debuted her first line in the spring of 2009, the brand has been consistently growing since. Her design aesthetic is clear as soon as you see one of her garments, with a bold, strong look that is still sophisticated and chic. It really is about creating a lifestyle.  “My number one inspiration is music, which was my first love. From there, it’s about location and building our visual of who our woman is each season.  Location plays a big part as well, traveling and adventure.  Where would she go?, what would she do?, what would she take with her?…these are all questions we ask ourselves each season to create our story,” said designer Suzanne Lay.

The Art Institute of Phoenix’ People’s Choice in Social Media Contest evolved from the necessity to support  emerging designers during their launch at Phoenix Fashion Week, and it will be up to THE PUBLIC and our readers to vote for their favorite designer leading up to fashion week in October!  The winner will be announced at Phoenix Fashion Week, Friday Oct. 5th at 7:00pm at The Art Institute of Phoenix booth, inside the Style Villa Marketplace.

To get to know our Emerging Designers by visiting The Art Institute of Phoenix booth every night during fashion week!

How can you vote? Vote for your favorite emerging designer below! 

Presented By:

For more information, an event schedule or to purchase tickets to Phoenix Fashion Week before they sell out, visit our website!

Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”


    • Terry C.
    • September 30th, 2012

    Samantha Patterson is different, in a good way, and very much needed.

    • julie
    • September 23rd, 2012

    Samantha Patterson’s style is SO refreshing and original!

    • Lili LaTourette
    • September 20th, 2012

    Samantha Patterson is the one!!

    • jeff bidewell
    • September 19th, 2012

    samantha patterson!

  1. SHAWL DAWLS are definitely who I’m voting for EVERYDAY BABY! These talented ladies not only have one of the best new concepts around with their convertible shawl that can be WORN 15 DIFFERENT WAYS but they also are ON TOP of their BUSINESS! So glad to know them, receive their support and to give support right back! Continue to FLOURISHE Shawl Dawls!

    • Dori
    • September 18th, 2012

    Samantha Patterson has the talent, passion and smarts!

    • Jane
    • September 18th, 2012

    Vote for Samantha Patterson! She’s amazing!

    • Jennie
    • September 18th, 2012

    Modest all the way! Go Samantha Patterson!

    • James
    • September 18th, 2012

    Samantha Patterson is brilliant!

  2. Living Dreams over everything

  3. Vote for LIVING DREAMS ! Much Love!

  4. Go Samantha Patterson!!! LOVE IT!!!!

    • matt
    • September 15th, 2012

    Bri Seeley should definitely win

    • Haley
    • September 15th, 2012

    Bri Seeley should win!!!!!

  1. December 18th, 2012

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