Archive for the ‘ Guest Blogger ’ Category

GUEST BLOG: Get to Know Emerging Designer Jacqueline Nicole

_DT29811Jacqueline Madey dedicated years of her life to competitive dancing, but once she hit college she decided to change paths, not disregarding dance, but instead using it to give her a creative edge and advantage as a fashion designer for her brand, “Jacqueline Nicole.”

The St. Louis-raised 23 year old, just one year out of college,has now transformed into one of Phoenix Fashion Week’s top 13 emerging designers for 2014.

Madey said she couldn’t remember an exact age that she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer but said she “was always a really creative person.”

Madey said her history in dance helped her understand the body’s movement and how clothes needed to be designed to fit the body properly.

In addition to dancing, Madey liked to sketch and began at a very young age. Once she transitioned in to high school, she was ready to bring her sketches to life.

“I decided to give sewing a try. I had sketched (designs), but now I wanted to create them,” she said.

She put her dance pastime and knowledge of body movement together with her talent and passion for sketching to go after fashion design in college.

It was in 2013 when Madey graduated from Stephens College in Missouri with a degree in fashion design and product development.

That same year she met Brian Hill, executive director of Phoenix Fashion Week, through a mutual friend.

She applied to be an emerging designer for 2013 but straight out of college without a finalized business plan, she was rejected.

“I saw (her) potential, but she wasn’t quite ready as a brand,” Hill said.

After taking a year working a part-time job and devoting all other time to developing her business she said, “It worked out because I got to apply this year. My business entity was ready to go, and I got accepted.”

“One of the reasons we knew she was ready was because she came back,” Hill said. “Anybody who wants it bad enough to come back a second year? It resonates with me.”

Hill said Madey grew as a businessperson but also as a designer.

“She matured. It was the same great quality, but just a little more cohesive. She had the quality, mentality, and ability to be flexible.”

Madey’s growth in her Spring and Summer 2015 collections showcased at Phoenix Fashion Week were inspired by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Roman Holiday, she said.

The dancer-transformed-designer described her clothing brand in three words as flirty, tasteful and versatile with a hint of 50’s Hollywood glamour.

“Flirty, because it’s not too sassy,” Madey said.

CydniLeake, a 17-year-old attendee of Fashion Week who like Madey has spent 13 years of her life competitively dancing, said she could see where the line was influenced by dance.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all, with all the sparkle and pink,” Leake said. “She knows just the right amount of sequins to make something like just right, as a dancer should.”

Leake also said she skillfully combined flashy and bright looks with simple and sleek looks.

“She provided outfits you could wear to work but also the perfect outfit for going out,” Leake said.

Madey said that was her ultimate intention. She said she hoped to provide customers with everything they needed.

“I want someone to shop my collection and say, ‘Perfect. This is everything for Summer. I need one of each, and then I’m done for the season.”

The Spring and Summer 2015 collections will be available for purchase on her website,, the first week of February.

Madey is also working on getting her collections sold in small boutiques in St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Her tops will start at a little over $100, while the dresses range from $300 to $550 and gowns from $600 to $1300.

In five to ten years, Madey said she hopes to expand her women’s clothing line into a lifestyle brand, with products ranging from menswear to children’s wear to active wear and even home décor.

Specifically, she said she wanted to an “active wear and lounge wear all in one.”

Madey said she remembers her years as a dancer practically living at the dance studio and never being able to wear cute, fashionable clothes that she could also been seen in public wearing.

Until then though, Madey said the best part of being a designer was giving others the ability to feel confident in their appearance.

“I love the reaction from people when they feel confident in what I put them in,” she said. “That’s the whole purpose. My clothes aren’t going to overpower that person’s beauty; they’re going to complement it.”

Article by Guest Blogger Taylor Seely (ASU Journalism student) for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

GUEST BLOG: Dubai Designer Joins Phoenix Fashion Week Boot Camp

efua efua 2

Guest Blog by: Mignon Gould, blogger for The Chic Spy

DUBAI — East meets West when Dubai-based womenswear designer Efua Mensah-Browntakes to Skype and virtually joins 12 other designers in the Phoenix Fashion Week boot camp program, where she will have a chance to win the title “Designer of the Year” and $10,000 in goods and services.

During the program, emerging designers will spend four months learning business basics and honing their fashion skills to help build their brand. Efua was selected from a nationwide search says Phoenix Fashion Week Executive Director Brian Hill. “Her collection is relevant, well made, and very marketable” he adds when explaining what sets her apart from many emerging designers.

Efua, pronounced Ef-wa, has been designing since she was five-years-old. Born in Ghana, Efua lived in the UK, South Africa, UAE and the US. She was inspired to become a designer after seeing her stylish aunt in a “beautiful red dress and shoes,” she explains. When most girls her age were playing with Barbies and Easy-Bake ovens, Efua was knitting, crocheting, and hand-sewing her own outfits.

But, it wasn’t until 2011 after she graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago that Efua’s love for fashion and childhood dream was put into fruition, leading her to create her first collection “Like the Desert Missed the Rain” under the label Proverbs by Efua, a contemporary line of dresses in dark and bright hues with color-blocked themes made from fine silks and cottons.

But, that wasn’t her first name choice. She originally wanted to call the brand “To Fish” in homage to the proverb, “Give a man some bread and he’ll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” After brainstorming with family and friends, she settled on the current name because, “It encompassed all great proverbs that relate to giving hope and making a difference,” she says.

In January 2013 Efua launched Proverbs by Efua. She tells how the line parallels events in her life and describes the collection as “lots of dark colors mixed with pops of color.” The dark colors represent the past and the bright colors, the hope for the future. For a personal touch, she named each piece after a friend.

In line with her philosophy of making a difference, Efua introduced her new line during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, a cause that she is passionate about. She contributes 20% of profits to The A21 Campaign, whose goal is to end human trafficking.

With her designs Efua wants women to not only feel that they’ve invested in a quality item of clothing, but also made an impact in another’s life. When asked who she would like to design a piece for, she mentioned actressAngeline Jolie. “When I think of present day Angelina Jolie, I think classic, sophisticated, high-end, inspiring, authentic, impactful and that’s what we’re about at Proverbs By Efua,” she says.

As a designer living abroad, Efua has met many challenges from managing inventory and time zone differences, to making trips back to the US, which is her primary market. But despite any obstacles, she remains focused and positive. “I believe in what I’m doing so these just further ignite my passion to continue,” she says. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. With great success, comes great challenge and I’m blessed to be able to have the ability to be challenged daily.”

Efua is excited to take on her next challenge; being part of Phoenix Fashion Week. She believes the program will help her gain the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the industry. “I feel like Phoenix Fashion Week is the perfect platform for emerging designers to legitimize their brands and also gain tools to stay in business for seasons to come,” she says.

3 style tips from Efua:

  1. Don’t wear a dress only because it’s cute and everyone else is wearing it; choose something that flatters your body type even if it’s not trendy. Trends are not for everyone.
  2. Sometimes keeping things simple and chic goes a very long way.
  3. Pick your shoes wisel; they can make or break your outfit.

For more information on Proverbs by Efua, visit or The A21 Campaign, visit To learn more about Phoenix Fashion Week, visit

Chicly Yours,
The Chic Spy

(Images courtesy of Proverbs by Efua)

GUEST BLOG: Furne One, The Fabulous Filipino Fashionista

Guest blog by: Nadine Bubeck, CBS Traffic Anchor and Nadine on the Scene blogger

Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Nicki Minaj…all fans of Dubai designer Furne One.

He’s a 44 year old fashionista–someone who spends nearly 24/7 creating runway ensembles.  He’s won numerous reputable fashion awards, has worked with Heidi Klum, and constantly has his stuff showcased in a handful of world-wide Fashion Weeks.

“The New York fashion scene is functional; London is eccentric; and Dubai is a combination of both, plus glamour,” said Furne.

But Furne’s clothing line follows the road not taken; he describes his style as part-vintage Victorian, part art-deco, part cosmic-Wiccan, and part neo-goth.  He finds most inspiration from music and movies, like Tim Burton films such as Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands.

But before I get to describing his extravagant pieces, here’s some background on the fabulous Filipino with the full name Fernando.

Born in the Philippines, Furne told me he started sketching at age ten.  He says it was his mother and grandmother who helped form his love for fashion; Furne marveled at their colorful 70s and 80s wonderful wardrobe.  In 1994, he won MEGA Magazine’s Young Designer of The Philippines Award, and that’s what ultimately struck his first sight at success.

Style icon Josi Natori took notice of Furne’s potential, and offered him an apprenticeship at his famed Natori Company in New York.  Following his stint in the Big Apple, Furne went on to win a major design competition in Japan.

He felt destined to follow his dreams abroad, so he took a friend’s suggestion to move to Dubai, probably the best move he’s ever made.  That’s because Furne says Dubai is a hot stylish hub for a melting pot of races, and it’s not as uptight as other Arabic cities.

In 2002, he opened his first Dubai boutique: Amato, meaning beloved.  His creative flair attracted an elite clientele; it didn’t take long for Furne to get established.

The Furne word quickly spread, and Swarovski soon took interest in teaming up with the designer.  That led to their 2007 partnership; Furne started incorporating a whole lot of sparkle into his stuff.

“Bling really adds shine and impact on a dress,” said Furne.

True that, Furne One.

His imaginative clothing concoctions caught the eye of big-wigs at Germany’s Next Top Model.  As a result, Heidi Klum invited him to be a special guest in the show’s season finale.  You can pretty much assume things shot-gunned from there.

His line is literally out-of-this-world, almost robotic.  He incorporates a ton of color, pattern, and texture, and is surely known for his rather interesting, overwhelming, and downright radical head-wear.

“I want my pieces to tell stories.  My stories wouldn’t be complete without the whole package; that’s why I like to use elaborate face masks.”

He’s intriguingly unique.

Furne’s stuff is now available in Los Angeles at his specialty store also named Amato.  There, you can expect price-tags starting at $4000.

And you’ve likely seen celebs sporting Furne’s line…Katy Perry has performed in his ornate dresses, and J-Lo loved wearing his white and gold crystalized bustier accompanied with knee-high boots.

“Not everyone gets to work with such talent.  I am lucky to cater to celebrities, helping them make heads turn.”

Furne says the one accessory he can’t live without is a stylish bag, and hopes every woman eventually owns one of his signature amato dress.

The happily unmarried middle-aged man enjoys traveling on his rare downtime, preferably to Paris, Rome, and Tokyo.  And if you’re an aspiring designer hoping to follow in his successful footsteps, Furne says the key to being known is talent, diligence, and a dose of luck.

Check out Furne’s clothing collection on Saturday, October 6th at Phoenix Fashion Week 2012.

Guest Blog Series: 25 Business Tips from a 25 Year Old Business Owner

Phoenix Fashion Week Media Team is excited to continue our new blog series, where we feature talented fashion bloggers and their exceptional work on our blog. We will have a different post on the 1st Friday of every month, by guest bloggers hand picked by our team. If you or someone you know is a fashion blogger and is interested in having work featured on our popular blog, email

At the impressionable age of 25 years old, one might ask what words of wisdom could a quarter-of-a-century-person have to offer up? Well I can tell you having just turned 25 and going through the highs and lows and milestones of owning a business, there isn’t necessarily wisdom but more learning from mistakes and  experiences.  I feel it is my duty to share the way I practice business with others so they may learn or even take just one piece of advice and apply it to their business.

Prior to owning a business, I kept a lot of my ideas to myself like I had the secret “Golden Ticket”. Why on earth would I offer information to someone who could take my ideas and run with them?  I rarely asked for advice or tips from others as I was afraid it would come across as badgering, or that I was trying to move up in the world and not satisfied with my current role.

Since owning a business and making mistakes along the way, I realized the only way I will learn is to approach it in a collaborative way by seeking advice from others and returning the favor. It’s amazing how many more opportunities and friendships open up when you let your hair down and lend a hand to your network.

25 Business Tips

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.
2. Don’t work for free unless you’re volunteering.
3. Be true to yourself. No matter how much money someone else makes, if you don’t enjoy the business, or who you are doing business with, then don’t do it.
4. Always under-promise and over-perform. Never the other way around.
5. Learn that your reputation is all you’ve got at the end of the day.
6. Never burn your bridges.
7. Never gossip. Especially in places like a parking lot or public bathroom. You neverknow who may overhear.
8. Treat your clients, colleagues and employees with respect and let them know you appreciate them.
9. Always have a Plan B. If you put all your hopes and dreams into one main client, and they decide to change vendors or run into cash flow problems, now what? And if all
your records are on your computer and you don’t backup your important files, a hard drive crash could destroy your business, or at least temporarily shut you down for
several days.
10. Do not mix business with emotions.
11. Seek the wisdom of others. Learn from your peers and find a mentor, and be one, too. The best way to learn is to teach.
12.  Know your strengths and weaknesses. Do not be afraid to outsource your weaknesses to those more skilled. It will only free up your time to be more successful in the areas where your skills lie.
13. Always put integrity over success.
14. The moment you stop worrying, things will automatically fall into place.
15. Everything is not supposed to happen all at once; that is the reason for time.
16. No matter how stressed, upset, or frustrated you are in meetings, always show composure.
17. Always dress for the job you want.
18. If someone doesn’t have a budget, they cannot afford you.
19. You cannot be good at everything and should never try to be.
21. Outsource and delegate tasks that take up your valuable time or you are not skilled in.
22. Do business with people you enjoy working with.
23. Business should always be a top priority; but above all, family first!
24. Do what you love and the money will come.
25. Always carry business cards with you.

Article by Guest Blogger, Alesha Shebesta of Above and Beyond Communications, LLC.

Alesha Nicole Shebesta, lives in Chandler, Arizona and owns Above & Beyond Communication, LLC. Her firm is experienced in a wide range of services including public relations planning, marketing, crisis communications, social media, community relations, speech writing, and event planning and operation.

For PR/Marketing Needs contact Alesha at or visit her website at

Guest Blog Series: Can You Afford To Be A Copycat?

Phoenix Fashion Week Media Team is excited to continue our new blog series, where we feature talented fashion bloggers and their exceptional work on our blog. We will have a different post on the 1st Friday of every month, by guest bloggers hand picked by our team. If you or someone you know is a fashion blogger and is interested in having work featured on our popular blog, email

NO!!! It is not alright to scan and copy original artwork, graphics, prints then change it 20% to 30% and claim ownership!

It amazes me how often I hear from people in the industry that they think it is fine to scan original art work, which include graphics and prints, then make certain changes. Some industry experts, instructors and students think that by changing them a certain percent that they can then claim ownership to producing them for resale commercially. They have been ill-informed.

I have just successfully completed another expert witness case that involves these copyright infringement issues. Many cases that I have given my opinion on have been more or less the same scenario. Once the original art work has been created a textile firm, and or designer will register copyrights to this original art work. The copyright piece could have been either created by an individual, or a company with their own designers, or it could have been purchased from a design house who sells their art works, which may include graphics, and surface designs. Then a few months pass only to discover their designs have been “copied” and hanging in a major department store. Often textile firms who make their living from selling their original works have records of the “headers” being borrowed for review by manufacturers then returned as unordered yardage. In years past when working in design rooms I often witnessed this practice. Rather than buy the graphics or prints from the textile firm it is cheaper to “create” and produce their own prints to then print onto fabric or t-shirts.

Role of Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, visual art, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection for apparel products is typically for the artistic expression of the work. Copyright protection generally gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right to use and to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies, and to prepare derivative works based upon the work.

Important to note: As a rule of thumb. If the print looks like the original copyright art work from approximately 10 feet, then IT USUALLY CAN BE PROVED THAT IT IS A COPY! Another dead giveaway; if you lay one print over the other over a lightbox or up to the light, and there are similarities then it is often obvious that it has been scanned and altered.

Things to compare when looking at copyright issue infringements. Original copyright art work, which include prints and or graphics when compared to the knock-off print, has the same look and feel of the original design arrangement is suspiciously similar, e.g.

  • Size and scale of the prints
  • Execution of art work
  • Novelty of overall layout design
  • Rich coloration of detail
  • Refined artistic aesthetic

WARNING! Don’t DO IT! It could end up costing you your life savings, and or your company! Create your own original artwork or pay to use copyright art work.

Article by Frances Harder, Founder and Executive Director of Fashion Business Inc.

You can learn more about Fashion Business Inc., at Fashion Business Inc. is located in the California Market Center, 110 E 9th Street, Suite C786, Los Angeles Ca. 90079, 213-892-1669. Frances Harder is the author “Fashion For Profit”, as well as several other books on the fashion industry.

We love feedback! Post a comment or question and you could win a FREE copy of Frances Harder’s book, “Brand Building for Profit”!