The 13 fashion designers will compete over the coming four months for a chance to win a prize package valued at $10,000. Four of this year's designers are based in Arizona, and three of them are returning to the competition, thanks to some newly instated rules. For the first time ever, emerging designers can reapply to the program, something the models have been allowed to do for the past few years. Additionally, designers will compete in three distinct categories: lifestyle, evening wear, and couture.
That's right. No more T-shirts vs. ballgowns.
Each showed one look that encapsulates their brand during the launch party, which also featured the debut of Phoenix Fashion Week's emerging models. In that contest, 40 men and women complete a series of challenges in hopes of signing a contract with The Agency AZ at the close of Fashion Week, which takes place October 1 through 3 at Talking Stick Resort.
A quick runway show revealed a variety of brands — from sportswear and dramatic gowns to laid-back women's basics and swimwear. Echoing that brevity, here are our snap judgments of each design.
ARAE: We're getting a distinctly Hercules vibe from this mini dress. Is the fabric extra-fuzzy felt?
Azmara Asefa: The fit is off, but we love this belted dress. Not with those boots, though.
Charmosa Swimwear: Charmosa competed in the 2014 emerging designer contest. This is pretty, but we hope the skirt is removable.
Cute Like Mad: We're not crazy about the black-and-white jacket paired with a beige top. Perhaps in another color scheme, it'd work better. The trousers are constructed beautifully.
Haute Body: These garments look totally pro. But is a hooded sports bra a thing people want? Really, we're asking.
Hues of Ego: Many thought Natasha Duran-Lynch's Hues of Ego should've won the 2014 emerging designer contest. We hope to see her kick it up a notch this year — and ditch the fabric used for this mullet skirt. It detracts from the luxe vibe of the crop top and updo.
Laura Tanzer: Love the pants, though they're a little short for palazzos. The fabric for the top is too heavy for such a summery look.
Leola Sky: Gorgeous design — sparkly, '70s, Studio 54. We vote to lose the distracting left sleeve and choose a fabric that looks less itchy and cheap.
Lily V. Designs: The accessories are so bulky and distracting it's hard to tell what's happening here.
Lousy Rich: We appreciate the minimal styling and simple shapes, but from our seats both the hooded body suit and skirt both looked like they needed lining.
Medium Apparel Co.: Another local returning emerging designer. We're not sure how much of this look (which includes jeans, a jacket, and T-shirt) is by Medium, but we hope to see the brand really push it with styling this year.
Michelle Hebert: Hebert is also a returning competitor. This Bjork-y dress is certainly ethereal, but we're not sure if its complicated neckline and cutouts would flatter any non-models.
Michi Knitwear: It's hard to tell from the image, but this look was super intricate and detailed in its construction — an impressive, if overworked, display of knitwear mastery.
Phoenix Fashion Week takes place October 1 through 3 at Scottsdale's Talking Stick Resort. Early bird tickets ($60 to $150) are now available through Eventbrite. For more information, visit Phoenix Fashion Week's website.
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