12th & Broad

Feb. 5, 2014 4:03 PM

Nashville Fashion Week announces its Emerging Designers

Nashville Fashion Week From left to right: Scarlett James (model), Jonathan Kayne (designer) and Esseri Holmes (model, stylist). The ladies were both wearing designs by Jonathan Kayne. Meagan Rhodes/12th & Broad

The other day my mailbox was literally frozen shut, but once I pried it open I found my beloved Vogue magazine full of glossy spring fashion… such a tease! But spring fashion was coming sooner than I had realized: Nashville Fashion Week held its Kickoff Party on Feb. 4 and announced this year's Emerging Designers!

The Kickoff Party has always been private, with a steep ticket price attached, but this year the event opened its doors to the public, asking for a $10 minimum donation to go toward the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund. I believe this more inclusive approach was a great choice for getting the buzz started for Nashville Fashion Week (NFW), which will take place April 1-5.

The party was held at Music City Tippler, a posh new bar beneath the Adelicia in Midtown that exudes a dimly lit 1920s speakeasy vibe with a modern twist of nightclub. The turnout was far larger than event planners had estimated, showing just how much this community wants to support the ever-growing fashion scene in Nashville.

The fashion community gathered for the much-anticipated announcement and was well-dressed for the occasion, of course. There were style bloggers, fashion photographers, hair stylists, makeup artists, models, boutique owners, fashion designers, design students, apprentices, editorial stylists, modeling agents and self-declared fashion enthusiasts standing elbow-to-elbow to hear what NFW founders Connie Richardson and Marcia Masulla had to say.

Here are this year's Emerging Designers:

  • Ana Gomez of Anna Maria
  • Anna Mittelstadt of Anna Victoria
  • Catland Freeze of Cat-Land Forever Couture
  • Eric Bornhop of Eric Adler
  • Isabel Simpson-Kirsch of Isabel S-K
  • Maarika Mann of Maarika Mann MFPM
  • Martha Montiel of aDARable
  • Megan Chapman and Aja Blumanhourst of Soluna
  • Patrick T Cooper of Patrick T Cooper Resort Collection
  • Staci Moening-Klausing of S[mo]k

Nashville Fashion Week From left to right: Marcia Masulla (NFW co-founder), Manuel Cuevas (designer), Terrence Die (boutique owner) Meagan Rhodes/12th & Broad

Among the 10 selected designers are three O'More College of Design graduates, a Parsons School of Design graduate, an honoree of the 2014 Nashville Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list, an Atlanta Apparel Mart's Buyer's Choice award winner and Nashville Fashion Week's youngest Emerging Designer to date, a 16-year-old from Middle Tennessee. Photos and bios are now posted at www.nashvillefashionweek.com.

This year, O'More College of Design will support the Emerging Designer program as the Nashville Fashion Week Education Ambassador Sponsor.

During Nashville Fashion Week, each Emerging Designer will show a concentrated, abridged collection featuring five looks on the runway at Ruby on Wednesday, April 2. As a finale, three-time Nashville Fashion Week alumni and 2012 Nashville Fashion Fund winner Leona (Lauren Leonard) will present the FW2014 collection, which will include five looks that will be sold exclusively in Nashville.

Nashville Fashion Week From left to right: Patrick T. Cooper (2014 Emerging Designer) and Lya Kimbrough (design apprentice with Manuel). Meagan Rhodes/12th & Broad

12th & Broad caught up with one of the Emerging Designers, Patrick T. Cooper, who "weathered the storm," he said, from New York to Atlanta, then drove to Nashville just for the announcement. The young Atlanta-based designer sang his praises for Music City, which also offers a creative environment and celebrity attention, he said.

"Nashville has a rich heritage in music," said Cooper, "and music has always run parallel with the fashion industry. It's evident that Nashville appreciates artists. If the talent keeps rising at these levels — in music, photography, art — the sky is the limit with fashion as well.

"So much right now is based upon celebrity capital with fashion, and when you are able to have synergy between the two, it creates a platform for young, emerging designers to be successful."

Nashville Fashion Week From left to right: Mclaine Richardson (jewelry designer, Margaret Ellis Jewelry), Connie Richardson (NFW co-founder) and Stacey Rhodes (boutique owner). Meagan Rhodes/12th & Broad

And here's the steal of the season: All Access Passes to Nashville Fashion Week are now available for purchase at NowPlayingNashville.com for the reduced rate of $250 through Feb. 11. The price of the five-night pass will rise to $350 on Feb. 12. All Access Passes include nightly admission with reserved seating to the Nashville Fashion Week events, two drink tickets per night, a premium gift bag and more. General admission tickets for individual events will go on sale in the coming weeks.

And just in case you are still on the fence about getting your tickets, we asked co-founder Connie Richardson to explain just why NFW is such an important event to support:

"The mission of NFW is to support the local emerging fashion community and the people behind it. We established the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee with funds from NFW to support the next generation of fashion industry professionals with ties to Middle TN through financial awards for experiential professional development. The fund ensures that NFW is not just a five-day event, but an ongoing sustainable focus for philanthropic support.

"We have had the unique opportunity to nurture creativity and provide opportunities that have contributed to the growth and interest in local fashion over the past three years. We truly believe that NFW is making a difference and look forward to continually finding creative new ways to foster our growing fashion community."

We at 12th & Broad would like to thank the hard-working team behind NFW for all of their efforts, and are looking forward to covering yet another year of amazing fashion in Nashville!

See you by the runways!

Nashville Fashion Week From left to right: Alicia Boswell (Nashville Fashion Events) and Amber Chapman (model, style blogger). Meagan Rhodes/12th & Broad Nashville Fashion Week From left to right: Milton White (stylist) and Erika Weaver (design student). Meagan Rhodes/12th & Broad

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