Interviews

MY INTERVIEW WITH CEO AND LUXURY SHOE DESIGNER ON THE RISE, SHATIARRA MONROE OF SHATIARRA MONROE COLLECTION

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE, FEATURING SHATIARRA MONROE

Designer and CEO Shatiarra Monroe modeling her   Feb 14. shoe  . Brand images by  Stewdio Photography .

Designer and CEO Shatiarra Monroe modeling her Feb 14. shoe. Brand images by Stewdio Photography.

If you follow fashion and you’re from my city, you’ve probably seen poppin’ women all over your timeline completing their fits with a pair of signature feathery lace up heels by Shatiarra Monroe Collection. Launching on Valentines Day this year, the online shoe company captured the attention of many with a sultry shoe campaign and has since been growing a tribe of women all over Baltimore who love pairing the brand’s 4 inch showstoppers with their flyest fits. I got to witness the growth as a long time Instagram follower of Shatiarra’s.

I initially took notice of Shatiarra’s account due to her sexy yet classy personal style (plus, she’s gorg) but I began really keeping up when she announced that she was working on something BIG. She definitely wasn’t wrong… and if you know me, you know I’m always on the lookout for new brands to connect with and support, especially ones that are owned by young black women. So It was only right that I reach out to the woman behind the brand. I’m so honored to be the first to interview Shatiarra on behalf of her shoe collection! Check out our interview below as we talk her inspiration, the pros and cons of owning and building her business, and the lessons she's learned on her journey so far.

Sharra: So, I've been following you on IG for quite some time ( I think even since we were both in high school, tbh) and I've always thought you were such a doll! A while back, I noticed your eye for statement pieces, sleek hairstyles, and a soft glam beat. That's what initially attracted me to check out your page because I honestly felt that your style reminded me a little of my own. When did you first take a real interest in fashion and style?

Shatiarra: Aww thanks, it’s amazing to hear that there’s someone who’ve watched me over the years and paid attention to detail and it’s even more fulfilling knowing that the person…well you, are such a beautiful spirit. I value that acknowledgement because I am a person who pays attention to detail. I’ve been into fashion for like ever. My challenge has always been trying to find an item that I thought up.

As I child I’d wear the little cha-cha slides from Walmart and I had them in all colors but I’d try to hook them up with my clothes and it was hard because my slides were lit and my clothes weren’t lit so I then had to make my basic clothes into lit clothes. Fast forward to like high school and I’d make bows to wear with my uniforms and do something crazy with my hair. Every phase of my life displays me trying to work with what I have to get the image I want to portray.

Model  Cori Bullock  wearing the AG shoe, coming soon to  ShatiarraMonroe.com .

Model Cori Bullock wearing the AG shoe, coming soon to ShatiarraMonroe.com.

Sharra: You’re so welcome! So, In today's social media world, there are so many people launching fast fashion clothing boutiques (which we love, but let's face it, there are sooo many, it can be a real challenge to stand out amongst competition). What inspired you to go a different route and take on the task of creating a luxury shoe line in your early twenties?

Shatiarra: I use to feel like I wouldn’t excel at having a successful business because I wouldn’t satisfy everyone. Everything changed the moment I decided that I would just be myself, produce products that I absolutely love, and value myself. That’s it. It sounds cocky but I don’t aim to please anyone. I envision designs and scratch the itch that I get from that. Then, I put in the work to get that idea into something tangible.

This inspires me because I see designers put the bare minimum into their brands, but they are popular or they have a following so, it sells. Imagine if the quality and overall design was as lit as the person behind it all. That’s where I found my lane because I am that. I love everyone who supports my collection because everything I put out and plan to put out is precious to me and to know the world is accepting of it is very comforting for me and it’s the push that keeps me going to continue to grow my collection.

Sharra: You make a good point as far as a lot of people half doing something and having it pop off for them. But I like to think that authenticity always wins so as long as you’re authentic, I feel like there will always be that tribe of supporters that relate to your vision. What do you believe sets your brand apart from other luxury shoe lines out there?

Shatiarra: I believe I am set apart from other luxury shoe brands because I am not trying to fit in. Everyone says this but here’s the kicker, I also do not care to stand out. It’s like a middle ground that I found myself in and not a lot of shoe designers are able to be here. Either a shoe is giving everything and more or it’s pretty basic. Nothing is wrong with that either, but I find myself completely separate from both, yet satisfying, either way a person wants to go, and it’s not something I aim for or that I ever have the intention of doing. It’s just how my personality has seemed to show face in my work.

Shoe styles:    Feb 14    &    Premier   .

Shoe styles: Feb 14 & Premier.

Sharra: That’s a cool middle ground to have. I feel like finding that happy medium between elaborate and super simple designs diversifies the type of people who are attracted to your product… So, the city of Baltimore is often rumored to be/associated with being full of people who have an unsupportive, "crabs in a barrel" mentality. So I HAVE TO ASK, upon launching, did you experience this at all or did you receive the support that you wanted and expected with birthing and selling your own collection?

Shatiarra: So, I did not experience this when I launched and if it did take place it was nothing that I was aware of. I only paid attention and gravitated to the love. Maybe if I chose an industry that was over saturated or popular in our city, I probably would have seen a disconnect from the support that I expected vs. the support that I got, but I don’t know anyone in our city with a shoe collection that they personally designed. If so, I’d love to meet them. I love to see people into the same thing that I’m into.

Sharra: I love your perspective on that. Only focusing and gravitating to the love literally can cut the number of distractions in half. So, you describe your own personal style as "elegant and classy with a hint of edginess". Is there anyone who heavily inspires your personal style? Possibly, a style icon or public figure that you would love to style in a pair of your signature shoes?

Shatiarra: Believe it or not, I find inspiration everywhere. I’m into Pinterest and I save bookmarks on Instagram of so many different looks and ideas. I can’t pin point a particular person because I take bits and pieces from absolutely everywhere. I’m just like anyone else when it comes to their business, I want my shoe collection to be spotted on some of the greatest. The issue with people like myself is that after that occurs, it will still always be an accomplishment I’ll find myself always trying to achieve. Right now, I like to look at like “instagram famous” models and determine who I would want to do promo for my shoes. I have a promo strategy that the models love and I look to reach out to larger IG models with a similar approach.

Sharra: Reaching out to those with a strong presence and personal brand on IG is definitely a good move on your part because even though I’ve been following you for a long time, seeing your product on girls all around the city, all over my explore page is what really opened my eyes to how fast your brand is catching on, which is so dope. So, how has your life changed since launching Shatiarra Monroe Shoe Collection and what are 2 lessons you've learned from being a business owner, one personal and one professional?

Shatiarra modeling her  AG shoe , coming soon to  ShatiarraMonroe.com .

Shatiarra modeling her AG shoe, coming soon to ShatiarraMonroe.com.

Shatiarra: OMG, you’d be amazed at the major lessons I’ve learned since launching because it’s not what a lot of people are vocal about when it comes to the cons. I’ve learned that I like the friends that I acquired through business more than I like my lifelong friends and relatives. It’s a breath of fresh air meeting people who think like me because although I love the people closest to me, we all are not necessarily on the same page when it comes to making moves, otherwise we would all be winning big right now.

A professional lesson that I’ve learned is that profit is not going to come right away. I used to hear this all day but as a business, of course your goal is to make a profit and if I’m selling then I felt like I should see my profit right away. But no… and people don’t talk about why but it just doesn’t happen that way. The money comes 2nd. You have to love what you do first, and this is how I run my collection. Remembering the love that I have for what I’m doing is how I find resolution in that lesson.

Sharra: YES! You a real one for bringing that up because like you said, it’s something that’s almost taboo when it comes to new business owners and creatives entrepreneurs so I’m glad that you were able to learn that lesson early and still keep going. Last but not least, I peeped an accessories tab on the site, is that something we should be looking out for soon or will you be adding accessories to your inventory way later on down the line?

Shatiarra: Accessories are coming very soon. I plan to have 20 items on my site by the end of the summer. I have so many ideas so right now my dilemma is organizing it all. I will venture into clothing and accessories eventually but my primary focus will remain on creating luxury women shoes.

~Thank you so much for chopping it up with me, Shatiarra! I’m so excited to see what your future holds, girly! All love!

Like what you see? Click here Shop Shatiarra Monroe Collection! Follow the shoe page to keep up with future releases and follow Shatiarra on Instagram for more glimpses of her day to day life and her bomb personal style!

Hope you guys enjoyed this interview! More content coming very soon to the Walking Art Blog. Stay tuned!

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

TALKING FASHION WEEK, PURPOSE, AND BREAKING BARRIERS: MY INTERVIEW WITH FEARLESS & MULTI- FACETED CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR COURT KIM

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE

Court Kim for Matte Brand. Photos by    Arturo Evaristo   .

Court Kim for Matte Brand. Photos by Arturo Evaristo.

    The dope thing about networking and connecting with like-minded creatives is that as you cross paths, you often get to watch each other’s dreams come true. That’s certainly the case with my lil boo Courtlyn Montgomery, aka Court Kim. We met back in April, as we were both doing media coverage for our affiliated brands at the Fashion Designers' and Craftmakers' Angelman Syndrome Charity Event. We instantly vibed, along with a couple of other dope fashion creatives who atttended.

    I still keep in touch with them to this day so I knew that Court would be walking at NYFW. However, I had NO idea it would be for the same exact show that I would be styling! Upon seeing her name on the lineup, I was pumped to connect with her again. Being present doing what I love, while also being there for her during the backstage chaos that is NYFW, was seriously so special to me, especially as a witness to how multi faceted Court’s brand is and most importantly, how much of a genuine spirit she truly is.

          On top of being an extremely talented and candid journalist for Court Kim Media and LAPP the Brand, she also owns an online t-shirt brand, juggles modeling gigs, and is a bride-to-be, all while remaining extremely humble, well-wishing to others, and having extreme tunnel vision. Her energy is contagious and I’m beyond happy that we connected this year. Check out my interview with Court as we talk her inspirations, her BOMB fashion week experience, her advice to interns, and more.

           

Photo Courtesy of Style Fashion Week.

Photo Courtesy of Style Fashion Week.

Sharra: When did you first learn you had a passion for journalism and how did your other creative endeavors such as modeling come into the picture?

Courtlyn: I loved the concept of telling stories early on as a kid. I also love to talk to people about who they are. When I watched Oprah with my Mom as a kid, I grew fond of how she was able to break barriers while eloquently relay the real-life experiences of the American people. My other creative endeavors came out of wanting to naturally expand. Modeling was the biggest surprise for me because I didn’t know that someone like me could make it. I’m happy that I was wrong.

Sharra: So has your upbringing and background has affected who you are as a creative? If so, how?

Courtlyn: Ahhh this one is tricky. Roswell, GA wasn’t the place that I could really get into my creative self. It was more about surviving a conservative, predominately white community as a black kid. Through God and my loved ones, I’ve survived so many traumatic events and I’m still here to tell that narrative. It affects me to the point that I don’t sugarcoat anything anymore. I want my shoots to be meaningful and strategic. My articles have been  received well because I know my purpose. I’m not PR. I’m a Journalist. It’s my duty to eloquently report the facts.

Sharra: Yeah, you can definitely tell that you have a “survivor, not a victim” mindset. It translates through how transparent and candid you are as a writer. So let’s talk fashion week. I stood backstage with you holding your hand during the chaos right before your NYFW debut. It was so special watching that dream come true for you on the runway AND watching you get a standing ovation! Explain what that moment meant for you? 

Courtlyn: LISTEN. First of all, I lucked out in having you backstage with me. Thank you for keeping me level minded through the process. NYFW has been a dream of mine for the longest. It’s one of the world’s biggest stages. The backstage experience was hectic! I was practicing on my backless heels for two hours prior to hitting the main runway. Briana Wilson (the designer of MATTE Brand) casted me in a campaign two years prior so it just felt like destiny to share this moment with her. The standing ovation was the most out-of-body experience that I’ve ever had. It felt electric. I cried after walking as well. A black curve model with boxed braids at NYFW? I did that. I’m still in disbelief that I achieved that.

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Sharra: You definitely did! It was crazy, both being with you backstage and then watching it all pay off during the show and I’m so happy that I was able to be apart of that milestone in your career! So, when asked on Instagram about the importance of internships, you’ve mentioned that you have one under your belt but you believe that you can make your dreams happen on your own. What do you believe is needed to be a successful, multi-faceted creative entrepreneur in today’s world? 

Courtlyn: “Internships” should be a fulfilling experience in your field with proper compensation. College kids should know this so their labor won’t be exploited. My internship, however, was more so about fulfilling something for my resume. However, everything that I’ve done as a creative had nothing to do with my internship. My hard work, drive, and vision has been my guide this entire time. 

Sharra: I agree. I feel like internships should be mutually beneficial, especially because most young people who participate in them are often just starting to take on at least some financial responsibility. So Courtlyn, You’re working so hard on every aspect of your personal and professional brand from perfecting your craft as a writer, to serving as a muse for several fashion and creative projects. What message do you want to send to the world with your work?

Courtlyn: I feel like my message is embedded in my overall brand and creative vision. I lead with love, kindness, and intelligence in everything that I do. I want the world to know that I’m young, Black, and gifted. There’s no point of being humble about it because I deserve to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Black Women deserve to experience joy and that’s what I’m going to exude. In terms of my career in Journalism, I want my writing to always be meaningful, poignant content. 

Sharra: I’m so glad that you get that black women deserve to experience joy and be selective and intentional with all of their work! Way too often, women are trained to serve as everyone else’s source of joy but we can’t pour into others when our own glasses are empty… So, as a stylist, I’m always stressing the importance of using personal style as a means of self expression. It’s important to me that people have fun with their look and that they don’t get so caught up in today’s “trends” that they lose their sense of individuality. How would you describe your personal style? I know it’s pretty versatile! But how would you put it into words?

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Courtlyn: My style is really sporadic to be honest. I don’t dress on a “trends” basis because it’s honestly wack. I’ll partake if I feel that a trend has the capability of being “timeless.” I have hints of “goth” influence in my wardrobe as well. I really want to tap into that more. When I step out, I always serve a “bombshell” look. I love to wear something simple that accentuates my curves.

In the Winter, I always have my statement faux fur pieces. I also loooove to wear menswear. I know that my fiancé is probably annoyed with me for borrowing his clothes on a constant basis. In terms of my hair, I am sticking to my box braids. They’re super easy to maintain and they make me feel powerful. 

Sharra: You’re constantly adding to your brand. You juggle a day job, your dream job (being a journalist owning your own media company, and creative muse, having a t shirt line, etc.) what’s next for the Court Kim brand? Or are you focused on perfecting what’s already on your plate?

Courtlyn: Wow... I really do a lot, huh? This list is so steep. I’ve just closed a couple of deals for future media projects. One of them is a new podcast. The other one is something that I can’t even comment on. I’ve been given a few dream opportunities and I’m in my zone. I’m constantly working on Court Kim Media. I just don’t create based on instant gratification. I want my projects to be well-crafted. I’m in this fearless, commanding time in my life. This is what I’ve been working so hard for.


Court, it’s more than a pleasure being a witness to some of your major achievements in the industry. Thank you for sharing with me and my readers and I’m looking forward to watching the growth of all things Court Kim! Keep up with Court on Instagram, check out her articles here, and check out her t shirt line here!

More interviews and style posts coming very soon to the blog! Make sure you’re subscribed here to be the first to know about new content!

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

SHE LEFT THE CORPORATE LIFE FOR HER LIFE'S CALLING: MY INTERVIEW WITH EDITORIAL STYLIST + BLOGGER KRYSTAL J. BENSON OF #INSPIREDBYKRYS

SHARED BY SHARRA GREENE

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Back in May, I met stylist Krystal Benson while attending a fashion networking event. Pretty, poised, and dressed to kill, Krystal delivered major keys concerning business, networking, and the power of spirituality, while serving on the panel. I had to catch up with her during the intermission. I instantly vibed with her... It could be a stylist thing, or maybe a Leo thing, or both. Needless to say, I had to bring her wisdom and knowledge to The Walking Art Blog! Check out my Q&A session with her as Krystal weighs in on how she stays motivated, how she deals with different demands and personas in the industry, what trend she's had enough of, and more!

So, what has inspired your career as an editorial stylist + content creator and what motivates you during the not so sexy parts of styling? 

     I've always loved to create and be creative. From doing DIY projects at home to making my own clothes, being creative is one of my favorite pastimes. Since I was a child, I would play store and draw sketches of clothes and sell them to my family members. As I've grown, my love for fashion has also evolved. At first, I wanted to be a personal stylist or a stylist to the stars, but I soon realized that my joy came from digging deeper. 

When it comes to fashion, I love telling a story with clothes, which is why I chose to go the editorial route. After 3+ years in Corporate America, I decided to quit my 9-5 and follow my dreams of being a freelance wardrobe stylist in New York City.  This avenue allows me to have fun and create a story that can spark a conversation. 

     When it comes to styling or content creating, what motivates me to keep going is the finished product. I know that nothing worth having is going to be easy. But the end result is always great when you push through! 

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"The Girl Next Door" styled by    Krystal J. Benson   . Photo by    Dominique Guillaume   .

"The Girl Next Door" styled by Krystal J. Benson. Photo by Dominique Guillaume.

So you’ve just recently wrapped a major campaign with Nike + Amazon.. what was your experience like with this campaign? Were there any challenges along the way and if so, how did you push through to deliver? 

Yes!!! The Nike + Amazon campaign was my biggest job to date. I was the main assistant for the head stylist on the job which meant I was with him for the duration of the entire project. I knew all of the ends and outs and did a lot of the leg work. One of my biggest challenges was dealing with his type A personality. He was very demanding and overthinking throughout the entire campaign. The way that I pushed through was by praying each morning before I walked on set and staying organized! Organization is key!!  

You’re currently working with Brooks Brothers on some online content.. is working with this brand teaching you anything new about the styling / fashion industry? 

     Yes, I'm definitely learning a lot about the e - commerce side and what all it takes to get content put up on the site. Some may think that you just take a picture and post it, but there is a science to all of the webpages that you do your online shopping on. You'd be surprised, all the work that goes into it. Aside from that, when we shoot mens clothing, I'm learning a lot about mens tailoring and the different terminology for the essential garments that make up a man's wardrobe. 

"Like a Boy", styled by    Krystal J. Benson   . Photo by    Pierre Walker   .

"Like a Boy", styled by Krystal J. Benson. Photo by Pierre Walker.

I personally think that styling as a skill / profession that is really slept on or underrated.. have you experienced people sleeping on your skills personally and if so, what do you do when in this situation?

     To be honest, no. Thankfully, my friends and family have all been supportive of my career choices thus far.. and on the days when I find myself questioning my abilities, I'm reminding by my circle that I am the shit, and that I shouldn't doubt myself for one second! I can't lie, when your peers are becoming doctors, lawyers and dentists making 100k out of college, you can find yourself thinking you picked the wrong major. Trust me, I've done it. But when I sit and think that each day, I get to wake up and do what I love and that means so much more! 

      Now, let’s talk style for a moment! What is one trend that you think is slept on and one trend that you think is highly overrated and/or won’t be around much longer?

The trend that I think is slept on, in my opinion, is minimalism, which is an overall vibe. I think in today's society, people love to be extra. Extra with the colors, extra with the prints, extra with everything and sometimes that's cool! But nothing can beat a classical, minimal ensemble. They always say that "less is more" and I agree!

I am OVER the fanny pack trend, especially for men. I think it has ran its course and it's time to get into some new statement accessories! 

"Fearless Brown Girl" styled by    Krystal J. Benson   . Photo by    @torrij_

"Fearless Brown Girl" styled by Krystal J. Benson. Photo by @torrij_

There are a lot of aspiring stylists / fashion creatives who struggle with what their daily /weekly grind should look like. As a wardrobe stylist myself, I’m constantly revisiting my to do list and adding and taking away certain tasks to make sure my focus is where it needs to be. I know this process is different for everyone but could you give just a little insight on how to stay productive and not just “busy” as a wardrobe stylist? 

I think we all struggle from time to time with staying focused. As creatives, our minds are forever thinking of ways to create and evolve. That's the fun part of doing what we do but it can also be one of the hardest things to manage. First, I would say to write out your goals, short and long term. Then, devise a plan that will help you attack it in pieces until you accomplish your goal. And finally put that work into action. Like I said earlier, organization is key so be sure to write everything down and give yourself deadlines to hold yourself accountable. 

Also, whatever you do, remember that you are your own person. Don't compare yourself to the next person. Your journey is different. Your ideas are different. Nobody else can be you and that is your super power. 

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     Krystal, thank you so much for sharing your insight! I'm glad that we crossed paths back in May! Keep up with Krystal's journey on her site and social media!

The goal was to give aspiring creatives some advice from a style pro so I hope you got something from this highlight! Comment your thoughts below! 

Sharra,

"The definition of walking art." 

5 EMERGING DESIGNERS FROM THE U.S. AND MORE THAT YOU'RE LIKELY TO SEE EVERYWHERE 5 YEARS FROM NOW: ON THE SCENE @ FDCM NETWORK'S PRESENTATION & ANGELMAN SYNDROME AWARENESS CHARITY EVENT

CAPTURED AND WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE

So get hip now, so you can say you were rocking the brands before everyone else was. 

     Earlier this month, I was invited by Public Relations Coordinator and FDCM network head Joanna Marcella to do press coverage and collection reviews for London based Fashion Designers' and Craftmakers' Network's Fashion Showcase and Angelman Syndrome Charity Event. The showcase served three purposes, one; to expose a select few of today's hardest working up and coming designers to fashion media, new markets, and the public, 2; to raise funds and awareness for Angelman Syndrome,  a rare neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births (for more info, click here) and 3; to provide a great atmosphere for creative entrepreneurs, tastemakers, press, and bloggers alike to network and enjoy each other's company.  The event achieved all of that and more. I gladly accepted Joanna's invitation and was more than impressed by the attention grabbing talent, great social atmosphere, and bomb networking opportunities that this showcase offered.

     The event was held at The Paul Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, New York City this past Saturday, April 28th. Upon arrival, I received  giftbag full of event souvenirs. Glasses of wine and an array of other refreshments were served to guests. I instantly took a seat next to a group of fellow blogger baes and in doing so, made some new friends and key connections. There was literally nothing but positive vibes amongst all of the ladies, and that's not something I get to say all of the time. The rest of my day consisted of a bunch of networking as well as one on one interviews with featured designers and I truly believe several of the brands will be contributing to the fashion world in major ways . Mark my words.  Check out 5 of my faves below,as well as some highlight looks from the showcase. 

Chanette Laing Atelier

From the age of 3, UK based designer Chanette Laing knew she wanted to be a designer and nothing else. Having a background in painting and textile design, She aspired to merge the worlds of fashion and art. (obvi, why I love her aesthetic, we're both on the same page) Some of her signature techniques include incorporating African print as well as the "subtraction cutting technique", originally started by designer Julian Roberts. Chanette's success thus far is rooted in the fact that she puts God at the center of everything she does. When asked how she has overcome obstacles like having discouraging instructors and the feeling of being overshadowed, she says "When I remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I know that no man can stop me." Well said. View Laing's latest collection, inspired by the latest Black Panther movie and the idea of cultural pride in the gallery below.

Contact: www.chanettelaing.co.uk | @chanettelaingatelier | chanettelaingatelier@gmail.com

Taylor Love Couture

     Taylor Love Couture is an emerging East Coast brand that is working to be internationally known for "uniquely catering to both men, women, as well as the LGBTQ community. " Self-proclaimed as, "Riri's future designer", CEO and Designer Taylor Love says her brand is "a symbol of inclusivity and luxurious urban wear." Love designs and handcrafts all pieces herself. She cites her education at Mt. Ida College as one of the main reasons she's come this far as a designer. Taylor's design journey is similar to that of designer Zac Posen in the way that several of her family members play a major role in her creative team.

     With her cousin Jordan as her business manager, her sister as lead makeup artist, her brother as the brand's lead photographer, as well as other relatives who care for her daughter while Taylor is on her design grind, she is well equipped with a strong support system. Love truly aspires to acquire Rihanna as a client (which would be another similarity to Posen) So Rihanna and team, if you happen to come across this article,  Taylor is ready. Interviewing Taylor was such a pleasure. I could hear her hunger for success and passion for her craft through her words. Check out her latest Day of the Dead inspired collection that gave us all "slaying at the mansion" vibes, below.

Contact: @taylorlovecouture | taylorlovedesigns@gmail.com

Juhasz Szilvia Collections

     Designer Juhasz Szilvia merges fashion, nature, and the love of her native country's landscapes to create timeless cocktail dresses and evening pieces. She collaborates with immaculate landscape photographer CZako Balazs, featuring his dynamic images of different landscapes and scenery and turning them into wearable art. Featuring an array of interesting colors, shapes, and shadows, her pieces catch the eye at first glance and are truly one of a kind from top to bottom. The work of the two artists make for a truly dynamic duo.

Szilvia wants the women who wear her clothing to experience the beauty of nature in pieces that illustrate beautiful visual stories of Hungary's natural beauty through dress. Szilvia and Balazs have been building both their individual and collective brands back in Hungary. Now, they are going international as they present their immense creativity in the United States' fashion capital, New York City. View their showstopping collection below. 

Contact: juhasz.szilvia.dress@gmail.com| facebook |  info@czakobalazs.com | CzakoBalazs.com

Designs by K.Y

Moved by her desire to broaden her daughter's perspective of what is possible, designer Kymberly Achuba hit the ground running in 2015 and has been building her streetwear brand ever since. To this day, her daughter is her main driving force, always showing love, admiration, and a sense of pride for her mother's growing brand. Designs by K.Y. threw a much-needed street style perspective into the mix during the showcase through the use the fresh use of fur, painting, interesting prints, and oversized unisex pieces.

As icing on the cake, Kymberly was one of the few designers to give attendees a piece of her art to go home with, including a gorgeous handmade brooch in her press satchel. (She handmakes her own metal accessories, including the crown seen below). My talk with Kymberly was one of my faves of the day so be on the lookout for the full interview on my upcoming podcast, set to air very very soon (if you're subscribed, you'll be one of the first to know when!) In the meantime, peep the brand's street style realness below. 

Contact: @designsbyk.y | mydesignsbyky@gmail.com

Kyle Denman

Last but certainly not least, Politician turned fashion designer was definitely a highlight of the event. Initially content as a successful politician with an artistic side, Denman took a serious interest in design after conducting art classes to people with dementia and Alzheimer's and truly realizing the impact art has on people's lives. From then on, Denman began sewing in 2016 but his impeccable skillset says otherwise. Denman was the grand prize winner of Project Runway's Season 15 Remake it Work Challenge. In the midst of balancing celebrity and wedding clients, creating designs, and so much more, Kyle has also found a way to merge his love for both politics and fashion by teaching fashion to young women survivors of human trafficking, homelessness, abuse, sexual assault, and other injustices through a nonprofit organization called Freedom & Fashion.

For the showcase, Denman's red carpet yet worthy yet cutting edge design was inspired by champagne as a socio-economic symbol of the roaring 20's. His captivating white ruffled high low gown with a layered gold bustier resembled champagne bubbling over on his gorg model. Denman's design took the cake and earned him the Fashion Designers' and Craftmakers' Network Young Designer Award. As a result, the FDCM Network will also be debuting Denman's work in London, England.  See his inspiration and award-winning look below. 

Contact: kyledenman13@gmail.com | @kyledenman13

More Highlights

More fave moments including designers Gazal Sethi of Forever Tiara and N I F F F E by Omobola Onaolapo.

 

Special thanks to Joanna Marcella and team for intviting me to cover this event, as well as all of the new creatives and blogger baes I met that made this event so much fun. Covering this event required constant moving around and capturing work but I promise my next event will feature more photos of my look and all of the cool people I met! Stay tuned and follow me on instagram for more content on my experience this weekend! 

Credits| Designers featured( in no particular order):  Taylor Love Couture, Forever Tiara, Chanette Laing, Sabina, Lisievici, Flavia Loraque Goslin, Paula Prodan, 3rd Eye Brand, Chances R Designs, N I I F F E by Omobolaji Onaolapo, Kymberly Achuba of Designs by K.Y, Szilvia Juhasz - JC Collection. Event coordinator: Joanna Marcella and team of FDCM Network

 

Feel free to comment your thoughts on this post and the designers. Stay tuned for more style content and my BRAND NEW PODCAST coming your way very very soon! 

Sharra,

"The definition of walking art."