Model of the Year Alexis Hamilton Struts into the Business….of Runway


Whether with the Emerging Designer Bootcamp or Model of the Year competition, Phoenix Fashion Week strives to show local professionals how to take their brands and business to the next level. 2011 Model of the Year Alexis Hamilton is doing just this, taking the leap from the runway to running her own business as Arizona’s Premier Runway Coach for Strut Runway. “It’s exciting that just a few years ago, she was an emerging model, then named PHXFW Model of the Year. We support local talent and we push the importance of business so much that Alexis was inspired to launch her own business in what she does best, modeling,” said PHXFW Executive Direcrtor

We had the chance to catch up with Alexis after her impressive official launch party at the W Scottsdale: 

How have things changed for you and your life since winning Model of the Year in 2011? “Things have been great since winning PHXFW. I’ve done a catalog spread for a jewelry company, and I am featured on the happy hour menu for national restaurant, Bar Louie. They also used my ad in a BILLBOARD in my hometown of Washington, DC! I’ve also done countless local fashion shows.”

How have you taken the runway training from PHXFW’s Model of the Year competition to implement into your career now as a signed Agency AZ Model and for Strut Runway? “I’ve used a lot that I’ve learned from PHXFW for my current runway style as well as Strut Runway. I remember always looking forward to going to practice for PHXFW; they were always so fun. I want my coaching with Strut Runway to exude that same energy. I want people to LOVE coming to coaching sessions. I feel when you are doing something you LOVE, other people can’t help but be excited about it as well.”

What inspired/motivated you to start your own business as “Arizona’s Premier Runway Coach’ for Strut Runway? “People have ALWAYS told me I had a ‘killer walk’. Even when I was getting coached myself when I was in high school, I remember all the coaches gathering around to see my walk and getting excited. As of late, when I was voted ‘Best Model 2014’ for the Phoenix New Times, they compared my walk to Naomi Campbell! I felt honored! I knew at that point I needed to share my gift.”

What emotions have you experienced since starting this new business? “Starting this new business has been an emotional roller coaster. Some days it seems like all things are moving forward, and other days it seems I’ve taken two steps backward. However, I’ve learned that everything happens when they are supposed to happen. With patience and perseverance, you’ll always end up getting what’s right for the betterment of the company.”


What advice can you give to models who are looking to follow in your footsteps and make an impact on the industry as a model? “My advice to other models would be to never let anyone tell you no. Although you may hear the word often, don’t let that deter you from persuing your goals. It’s redundant but VERY true… And also… Don’t forget to STRUT!”

How would you describe your overall style of runway walk? “My overall style of runway walk is controlled, but FIERCE!”

What’s next on your plate, you seem to always be keeping yourself busy? “I try to master one thing at a time. I’m not the type to juggle a lot of things and hope that one of them produces positive results. I focus my energy on being the best I can be at what I’m doing and mastering that goal, then I move on to the next project. Right now, my focus is on Strut Runway as Arizona’s Premier Runway Coach. I would like my company to expand to different cities, states, and hopefully countries!”

Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

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”

Neiman Marcus Partners with Slyce to Introduce Single-tap Visual Search Technology Revolutionizing Luxury Shopping with ‘Snap. Find. Shop.’


Dallas, TX – October 28, 2014 —The preeminent luxury fashion retailer Neiman Marcus (NMG) today announced the launch of a new 3-D visual fashion search and purchase feature namedSnap. Find. Shop. This highly anticipated arrival of next-generation real-world shopping experiences is now available on the Neiman Marcus app, powered by leading mobile visual search firmSlyce (TSX VENTURE:SLC) available for download from the iTunes app store for use on iPhones.

The state of the art visual search technology allows NM app users to simply snap an image of fashion items and instantly be provided with all close matching products currently available First to market in the luxury sector, Neiman Marcus offers users visual search from both real-life items and printed images – with no need for cropping, category definition, or search refinement. From “snap” to “shop” these items are then purchasable at the exact moment of capture. Known for their vast selection of luxury accessories, Neiman Marcus introduces Snap. Find. Shop. with shoes and handbags. Additional fashion categories will be considered in the future.

“Today, most online shopping begins with search – either through key words or navigating filters, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.” Says Wanda Gierhart, CMO, Neiman Marcus Group, “Visual search removes hurdles, taking you directly from inspiration to gratification. In essence, Snap. Find. Shop. is a revolutionary way to service our customers at any time and any place.”

Mark Elfenbein, President & CEO at Slyce said, “Slyce has often been described in the media as the ‘Shazam for Stuff’ and this integration with Neiman Marcus offers users that highly-intuitive, one-click, snap-to-result experience for luxury fashion. With this partnership, the Slyce platform is able to flex its muscles and deliver on the promise of visual search – in the curated fashion landscape.”

About Neiman Marcus Group
Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC operations include the Specialty Retail Stores segment and the Online segment. The Specialty Retail Stores segment consists primarily of Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Last Call stores. The Online segment conducts direct to consumer operations under the Neiman Marcus, Horchow, CUSP, Last Call and Bergdorf Goodman brand names.


About Slyce
The Corporation is a visual search technology company based in Toronto, Ontario and is engaged in the business of providing advanced visual search software that allows consumers to purchase products at the moment they discover them – in the real-world and online.

Slyce has developed an advanced visual search platform that integrates with retail brands and digital content providers to give their customers the ability to instantly discover and purchase products that inspire them by simply snapping photographs with their smartphones or ‘clicking’ images on either their smartphones (mobiles) or desktop web browsers.

Slyce’s strategy is to position itself as a pivotal player in the emerging visual web. Slyce will provide its technology to retailers, brands, app developers and digital publishers, enabling their apps to recognize products for instant purchase. Slyce will provide its technology in exchange for integration, licensing and per search fees, percentage sales splits and big data provision and analysis. Slyce is currently working with a growing list of fortune 1000 brands and companies as well as multiple innovative developers.

Slyce is also listed on the Frankfurt exchange trading under (FRANKFURT:06O1)
For image download and further company information please click for the Slyce Media Kit
For further information and interviews, please contact:

Mimi Crume Sterling
Neiman Marcus
(214) 214-5682

Mark Elfenbein
(587) 897-0993


PHOTOS: Phoenix Fashion Week at Talking Stick Resort October 1-4




Over 6,000 fashionistas, global brands hailing from Dubai, Philippines, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, FIDM and more, along with Mercedes Benz – the Official Automobile of PHXFW, Presented by Schumacher European LTD, Model of the Year Presented by Boots and Walgreens, and Official Hair Partner TONI&GUY, make for another successful year of fashion in the desert 

SCOTTSDALE, AZ  – Thousands of fashionistas, industry professionals and taste makers flocked to Phoenix Fashion Week at Talking Stick Resort for a week of high fashion, shopping and industry expert-led seminars. With an impressive lineup of global partnerships and brands, Phoenix Fashion Week has not only secured its position as the leading fashion event in the Southwest, but is quickly gaining recognition as one of the fastest growing fashion events in the country.

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Phoenix Fashion Week kicked off with Fashionably Pink on Wednesday, October 1st to a sold out crowd at Schumacher European LTD showroom in Phoenix, with proceeds benefiting local charity ‘Don’t Be a Chump! Check for a Lump!

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Mercedes Benz – the Official Automobile of PHXFW

Presented by Schumacher European LTD

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Phoenix Fashion Week at Talking Stick Resort began on Thursday, October 2nd with FIDM Debut Designers Carol Wong (left) and Tylor Leigh (right), who were fan favorites of the evening. With Wong’s futuristic elements and Leigh’s graphic colors and paint-splattered models, it’s no surprise multiple fashion bloggers named them as some of the best collections shown during fashion week.

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Finally, Phoenix Fashion Week brought in powerhouse finale designers to close each night of fashion shows, including Thursday’s Albert Andrada, Friday’s Aris Pico (top) and Saturday’s Kenneth Harion CoutureYen and Rocky Gathercole 

Additional Highlights:


Monster Products took to the PHXFW runway for the first time during the Dolcessa Swimwear show on Friday evening, styling several models in their celeb-favorite Monster Diamondz Headphones.

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The Style Villa Marketplace was a “hot spot” this year, powered by T-Mobile and featuring the latest Samsung devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Note® 4, Samsung Galaxy Note® Edge, and Samsung Gear STM.

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The Business of Fashion Seminar Series, Presented by top fashion institute FIDM.

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Internationally acclaimed TONI&GUY styled the hottest runway hair as the Official Hair Partner of PHXFW 2014.

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Local Emerging Designer Misha Mendicino Designs was named PHXFW’s 2014 ‘Designer of the Year’ following a close competition in the Emerging Designer Bootcamp.

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Model of the Year Presenting Sponsors Boots and Walgreens announced PHXFW Top 40 models Nick and Bianca as the 2014 male and female Model of the Year Winners, who will each receive a contract with The Agency Arizona!

**MORE IMAGES: Visit our Facebook Page!**

Photos by: Dan Tabar Photography, Desert Rose Images, Steve Yap Photography and Almanza Photography


HOW TO: Dress for Phoenix Fashion Week

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Fashion week is such an exciting time; mingling with bloggers and designers, seeing the latest trends, and the best excuse to debut your most fashion forward new clothes! Fashion shows are the perfect time to show the world your creative side, and to just have fun with the art of dressing up.

However, over dressing and under dressing are equally as bad. Stylist Candace Carter advises, “some people want to be extremely extravagant, but it is best to dress ‘in the middle.’” If you overdress, it might take away from the designer’s clothes and can be disrespectful.  If you under dress, you will give off the impression that you don’t care, also seeming rude.

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This is a time to wear something different from your everyday work and play clothes.  Wear that elegant dress you’ve been dying to show off. Keep it simple and then add a statement necklace or a flashy set of heels. Are you friends with a designer who is showing? Show your support and wear their brand! If you are coming to fashion week to network or represent your brand, dress a little more conservative and leave the sexy at home. If you are there to have fun and be with your friends, experiment and let your personality shine through the clothes.

Since Arizona is still rather warm this time of year, opt for weather appropriate, yet chic choices.  Open-heeled booties, silk button downs, and midi skirts are great choices.  A great way to ease into the fall season is to choose a warmer color palette when selecting outfits for the event.

Check out the pictures to help get your creative juices flowing. See you on the catwalk!

Article by Jennifer McCoy – Meshey for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

2013 Emerging Designers: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Showing a collection at Phoenix Fashion Week as an Emerging Designer provides great advice, training and more than anything, exposure. With Fashion Week a few days away, we thought we would catch up with some of the 2013 finalists and even the Designer of the Year winner, Dolcessa and see how they are doing since the completion of last year’s competition:

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Dolcessa Swimwear

This year has been crazy busy for last year’s PHXFW winner, Dolcessa Swimwear! The label’s designer, Katya Leoncio, claims, “2014 has been our strongest year yet!” The luxurious swimwear is now available in the Bellagio, the Cosmopolitan, as well as locations in three other states, including right here in the Valley at Triangles. Their biggest surprise since winning the title was an account in the Maldives, allowing them to be in many stores on the private resort islands, a perfect match for their brand.

The “A Bikini A Day” Instagram campaign has continued to be successful, and they thank UFC’s Arianny Celeste as a major celebrity promoter and customer.

You can purchase your own sexy Dolcessa swimsuit on their website,, or the locations listed above.

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Medium Apparel

Street wear brand Medium Apparel really thanks Phoenix Fashion Week’s Designer Bootcamp for teaching them more about the backend of running a brand.The brand’s designer, Zac McDonald, says “those lessons benefitted our brand tremendously!” Their sales have skyrocketed on Karmaloop and they are going to a fashion summit and trunk show next month in San Diego. The brand is also planning new and exciting things for next year’s Magic!

Besides their website (, this casual collection can be found locally at Keep Screaming Skateshop, Branded and Bud’s Glass Joint.

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Michelle Hebert

After Fashion Week, Michelle Hebert had a very successful Kickstarter campaign.  She then went on to create a mini collection at the Music Center of L.A. that was shown for three days during the performance of Les Nuits, a modern day ballet inspired by the stories from The Thousand and One Arabian Nights. “My designs were created in honor of the ballet with the original stories as my inspiration”, explains Hebert. Musician and actress, Jojo, wore the brand for a magazine shoot, the biggest celebrity seen in her designs to date. Michelle has gained many bridal clients since PHXFW, and is currently working on a how-to book with a graphic designer.

Designs can be purchased at La Maison de Fashion store in Los Angeles.

 Article by Jennifer McCoy – Meshey for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

MEET THE DESIGNER: State Forty Eight

State 48

Every week leading up to Phoenix Fashion Week, we will be posting a blog, to help our fans get to know the 2014 emerging designers a little bit better. Unlike our other posts, these come directly from this year’s emerging designers. Today we feature Stephen, Nick and Mike of State Forty Eight, one of our emerging designers. Learn about her life, her work and other little known facts in today’s designer tell all post.

Bio: (background, school, work). Stephen, Nick and I have no background in the fashion Industry. Stephen and Mike have extensive experience in the hotel industry and Nick works as an educational film maker.  With the three of sharing a diverse set of skills, it creates a diverse and effective business operation.

Where do you find inspiration for your collection? The three equal partners have different styles therefore find inspiration from diverse areas. Nick is a big fan of simplicity, nature and architecture. Stephan has a passion for sports and the business side of the fashion industry. Mike loves sports and fashion aspect, including bright colors.

Do you have any style icons? Mike admires Scott Disick’s vibrant and classy sense of style, Stephen looks up to Mark Cuban and his method of running a successful business operation, and Nick has a strong passion for cycling and is inspired by that style and culture.

Do you have any fashion secrets you can share with our readers? If we have secrets why would we want to share them? J We love what we do and remain open to feedback; that helps us learn and grow.  It often takes putting our pride to the side to do what is best interest of the company.

For beginner designers, what are some tips for setting yourself apart from other designers? Reach out to people who are successful. Life is about who you know and there is nothing more valuable than picking someone’s brain on something you share a passion for. Most importantly, you must love what you do because sustaining a business in this industry is extremely competitive and challenging. However, witnessing its success is rewarding and motivating.

What trend are you looking forward to most this season? For State Forty Eight specifically, we are excited to implement new designs, products and a cut-and-sew shirt to the collection.

Where are your favorite places to shop? Nordstrom, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Dicks Sporting Goods, Buffalo Exchange and Express.

Do you shop often to keep up with trends? Mike is the shopaholic in the group. He tends to shop for clothing every two weeks, which helps us keep up with trends. Social media is also a great way stay up to speed.

Do you have an all-time favorite purchase? Not exactly, but Nordstrom purchases are always a favorite for Mike because of the quality and consistency of their apparel.

What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer? Using our vision to create a fashionable way to represent Arizona. The excitement and sense of satisfaction does not get old. Witnessing someone you don’t know wear or talk about State Forty Eight—something we created—is truly one of the best feelings.

What is one interesting, quirky fact about you that readers don’t know?
Mike: To prove his strong loyalty to Arizona, he has four tattoos that represent the 48th State.
Stephen: He is a proud recovered alcoholic and is driven to help others who suffer from addiction.
Nick: He is a free spirit and loves to ride his bike, daily both casually and competitively.

Article by Janice Vega and Katie Snyder for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”