The Art Institute of Phoenix Presents…People’s Choice in Social Media

In support of  the next “IT” designers, Phoenix Fashion Week has launched the brand new People’s Choice in Social Media Contest as a part of the Emerging Designer Contest. Presented by The Art Institute of Phoenix and launched at the ‘Shop Garment District Show & Trunk Sale Aug 11, 2012, guests were encouraged to preview the (12) talented emerging designers and select their favorite runway show, and trunk sale, while getting a chance to meet and greet each designer in person. The Art Institute of Phoenix has always been a big support system to local students hoping to make it in the fashion industry. Recently, it was announced that AIPX will now be offering a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design, for the first time ever! What’s more, the college is offering new students who start classes on or before Oct. 1, 2012, an opportunity to earn one of two $5,000 scholarships. For more information about this exciting opportunity, read the official press release.

The 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!

To purchase tickets to Phoenix Fashion Week and watch these designers’ lines live on the runway, click HERE.

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

Presented by: 

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

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.

Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

  1. When does the contest ends?

    • Toni Chadwell
    • October 2nd, 2012

    OfraStyle has beautiful clothing. Its so soft – and practical. Much Success!

    • Kyle
    • October 1st, 2012

    Shawl Dawls are so amazing and such good people! Good Luck to all the amazing designers! I vote

    • eve
    • September 30th, 2012

    i think Shawls Dawls will be the future in fashion design industry. Youngsters and olds will benefit the versatility and creativity of designers

    • Meia
    • September 23rd, 2012

    Vote for shawl dawls

    • Micheal Carter
    • September 21st, 2012

    Classic chic with understated elegance is the aura of Shawl Dawls by
    Julie Cruz and Roshena Chadha. Even men appreciate flowing lines and textures that blend with natural body contours. Patterns that enhance style with subtle upscale flair provide comfort and zest..

    • meg a.h.
    • September 20th, 2012

    What’s going on…one day a designer is at 44% and then 2 days later down to 20%?????

    • jason cigala
    • September 20th, 2012

    Anwesome Job Suzanne Scott Lay we are all hoping and wishing you to the top! Keep your eye on the ball, your doing an amazing job already….looking fantastic!!

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