Teetering in high heels and dressed in trendy jumpsuits on a warm summer night, the Valley's fashion set hit Hotel Palomar for a capsule collection runway presentation and trunk show marketplace from Phoenix Fashion Week's 2015 emerging designers.
Dubbed Shop the Garment District, the event spanned a few ballrooms on the downtown Phoenix hotel's third floor. Each of the 13 emerging designers presented a sampling of the line they'll present in full during Phoenix Fashion Week, which runs from Thursday, October 1, through Saturday, October 3, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. These designers are in the midst of a fashion bootcamp program that pushes them to better their businesses through classes, challenges, and mentoring. At the end of Fashion Week, three of them (one in each category: lifestyle, evening wear, and couture) will win a prize package valued at $10,000 to further build their brands.
Here's what they showed off during Shop the Garment District — and our reactions to the four-look mini-collections.
Arae: This Chicago brand achieved a beautiful dark water-like effect with blue and black silk, but some tears, wrinkles, and unfinished hemlines diminished the would-be dramatic looks.
Azmara Asefa: Hailing from Los Angeles, Azmara presented looks that were overshadowed by dramatic accessories that completely distracted from the garments instead of complementing them.
Charmosa: San Francisco's Charmosa Swimwear is a repeat emerging designer competitor. We can't say what we've seen from the line this year is strikingly different from the swimwear shown at Phoenix Fashion Week 2014. The suits are cute, but not blowing us out of the water.
Cute Like Mad: Speaking of cute, this Seattle brand showed a collection with a scattered point of view. Without a connecting color story (is that a volcano-inspired print?), the four different looks didn't look like part of a cohesive whole.
Hues of Ego: By contrast, Scottsdale's Hues of Ego presented a hyper-focused group of outfits. It was heavy on pink lace, but it the looks were thoughtfully presented and styled fittingly.
Haute Body: Similar to Charmosa Swimwear, everything from this Los Angeles brand looks professionally executed. But we're not pick up a particular story or personality from the designs.
Laura Tanzer: Straight outta Tucson, Tanzer showed dresses in linen. It's a tough material to show on a runway, as every little wrinkle shows up.
Leola Sky: The St. Louis designer favored a black, blue, and white print that had a tablecloth effect.
Lily V: This Peoria designer took mismatched prints and clashing colors too far.
Lousy Rich: While this Phoenix brand has a solid showing of sleek black dresses, its opening look suffered from unflattering proportions.
Medium Apparel Co.: Also based in Phoenix (and, full disclosure, helmed by New Times employee Zac McDonald), Medium is a repeat competitor. The brand's branching out beyond T-shirts with button-downs that the crowd loved.
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Michelle Hebert: Los Angeles' Michelle Hebert showed a line of see-through boudoir wear and a couple gowns that didn't look quite finished.
Michi Knitwear: Michi's designs are impressive, but we question the New York City label's color choices.