As a teenager growing up in Charlotte, NC, I never foresaw how strong my interest in fashion would be. Even more, I never would have dreamed that one day, I would be able to attend New York Fashion Week. Growing up in a small community with my close friends Jon and Chelsea, we would sit for hours by the computer, magazines, and fashion books living out our dreams. And now, I was able to experience that. Even though my attendance was on the latter end of fashion week, I was still able to get a vision of the seasons lineup for Fall/Winter 2017.
The first fashion show I attended was “Fashion’s Tech Future: Sketches to Runway,” which was sponsored by the clothing company, Nineteenth Amendment, and Microsoft Office in Manhattan.
This event featured The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as a tool for designers to use as a computer aid toward designing their collections and giving life to them on the runway. At the end of the show I spoke to three of the event’s designers, Rosina Mae, who designs swimwear, Bohn Jsell and Kasha Reavis, in a Q&A session. The designers expressed their gratitude to working with Nineteenth Amendment CEO, Amanda Curtis of. Through the intimate environment of this fashion show, consumers not only saw the runway through Nineteenth Amendment, but were able to instantly buy the collection directly after the show.
Do you think that giving the consumers the ability to buy on demand after a runway show encourages fast fashion?
Kasha said: “It [Nineteenth Amendment] is [of] more a quality when it comes to manufacturing, because fast fashion normally falls apart. When you order from Nineteenth Amendment, it is a better quality than what you would pick up at Forever 21.”
Bohn said: “Also your manufacturer is not exhausted. It is not like they are making 300 versions of one top. It is more quality than when you get it faster.”
Fashion is known as a cut throat industry. You guys are definitely in the next generation this industry and yet we are allowing more designers than ever to have access, grow a brand, to reach an audience. What are your feelings?
Rosina said: “I think that fashion has a face for everyone. It is something used to express yourself. I see most designers don’t have to worry about competition from other brands. I personally feel I can never run out of ideas. Probably a lot of designers are the same thing. There needs to be a way for smaller brands to play with the big fish to get their lines out there organically.”
Bojn said: “I think it can be a more competitive but also more balanced. There are so many people out there who have the dream, can design but they may not have the funds available. It’s a way to level the playing field for everybody.”
Where do you think your brands are going to go in the next year and where does technology plan on going?
Rosina said: “I’m doing market week coming up and a capsule show so I am thinking that I want to reach buyers and get my line into more retail stores.”
Kasha said: “We want to reach more of everyone. We don’t want to feel like people can’t wear our clothes. The way we structure our clothing is more inclusive to all women of all body types, shapes and colors.”
My next event, was the Broadway Market in Soho. At the trade show, I was able to meet a 24-year-old millennial designer by the name of YAYA, with a brand called O.T.W THREADS (Out Of This World). Based out of North New Jersey, YAYA expressed her diligent work into making it to have her very first pop-up shop for New York Fashion Week. Typically, most of O.T.W THREADS are done online. However, YAYA had the opportunity to meet her consumers directly at the pop-up shop in SOHO. I had the opportunity to speak to YAYA about being a designer and her experience with NYFW.
How would you describe yourself as an artist/designer?
YAYA said: “I would say that I am unique and I’m myself. That’s how I would describe myself. It’s me, when it comes down to it. Everything that I design and sell through my brand is what I would wear. I have a hard time sometimes selling clothes because I really want to keep it for myself.”
Is this your first time out here for NYFW?
YAYA said: “Yes, this is my first time being affiliated with NYFW. It has always been a dream to be out here for fashion week. We tried to get into the VFILES Show but that didn’t happen. Now I got a pop-up shop around the corner from VFILES. Everything doesn’t go how you want it too sometimes but it’s definitely going to come.”
What are you inspired by, what are things that touch you as a designer and some of the pieces that you have been designing lately?
YAYA said: “I aim to be different and do things that haven’t been done, that is why I call it out of this world because it’s stuff that haven’t been done on this earth.”
What do you recommend for new designers that are coming out and emerging for them starting out their brands?
YAYA said: “Stay true to yourself don’t look to Instagram for validation or status. Don’t stop it may get hard, challenging, there are times where I thought that doing this was a challenge putting everything together you may get stressed out and even want to give up but you can’t if there is a will there is a way.”
Where can people find you on your social handles?
YAYA said: “[People can find me at] OTWTHREADS, that is the Out Of This World page on Instagram, and my personal page on IG is @yayafiya.”
I also spoke with 21-year-old Millennial Model and Creative Director, Tamar Segre Lewis, about his experience modeling with well-known designer, Laquan Smith, in his Fall/Winter 2017 collection.
What was the experience like modeling for Laquan Smith?
Lewis said: “It was actually a really great experience, and everything was really organized. People don’t understand sometimes how crazy fashion week is with fashion shows and what not. Because we’re models there, but designers are still trying to get everything together and make sure everything is perfect.”
What was the lineup like?
Lewis said: “Typically, you get there to the location. Laquan was on point with the timing and everything. I didn’t really sit around which was what I really appreciated. So I get there, and we had a 9 a.m. call time. We started with makeup/hair first, then we went downstairs for a lineup to see where everyone stands on the riser for the presentation, and lastly we did a quick photoshoot to have digitals of the clothes.”
What was it like to be hired or get on for Laquan’s Presentation?
Lewis said: “Typically, your booker will book you for a casting. Sometimes it’s a casting where designers reach out to the agencies for them to send the models, or sometimes they request you for it. You attend the casting at the studio and you give your comp cards when it is over.”
What are comp cards?
Lewis said: “Comp cards are a couple strong pictures of you, your measurements, and you/your agencies information. A lot of time they have you try on clothes, walk and/or take pictures of you. You never know if they will call you back, or not unless you hear back from the agency. Usually they will call your agent and they will let you know.”
So what was the theme that Laquan used for his latest Fall Winter Presentation?
Lewis said: “His collection was great, he had like 4 different themes. There was about 20-30 models and it was a big presentation. He had us broken into groups. Our section in particular had a lot of fur looks. I wore this cropped fur sweater and these knit flare pants. That was really cool. Then he included some type of latex, PVC, but it was a shiny type of black material.”
Like patent leather?
Lewis said: “Yea like that, and he broke that up into two other sections. It was all really uniform, the girls in the back were in black, but some in formal wear and others were in evening wear. He had different themes but it all look good together.”
Did get a chance did you notice any new trends that were going on?
Lewis said: “I was looking at [Kanye West] Yeezy season collection that same day. I noticed simple styles, and feminine wear becoming more popularized.”
As you modeled for many designers, and ongoing collections, are there people you wouldn’t model for out of comfortability, like you just can’t model for?
Lewis said: “Absolutely! I definitely research the person when my booker sends me a casting. I like research them to see what they’re look is and how I feel about it. Majority of the time it is stuff I like. But yea if it is something I don’t feel like I will be comfortable in or just not my favorite I usually just don’t attend the casting. With modeling it is really based on your emotions because that’s what is going to show and how your aura is going to be. So if it’s something you’re not really feeling then it’s just not going to be good. You just might as well let somebody else do it that wants to.”
So what’s your attitude when you prepare for a show. Because I know it takes this level of confidence. Do you listen to music, workout, is there a routine for your preparation?
Lewis said: “Yea I definitely listen to music, that’s a good one. I’m usually in my head. I sit there and say to myself I’m going to kill it, this is going to be a great show! You have to have a really positive attitude about it because like I said it’s going to show how you feel. The designers will tell you what they are looking for. In this particular presentation there was no smiling, very serious strong looks, and faces to match the outfits. So I made sure I had that strong face, and did what they wanted basically.”
What would you offer as a word of advice for any upcoming models that may admire what you do, see what you’re doing or just want to get in that field. What are some words of wisdom you would give to them?
Lewis said: “The most important thing to know [is] who you are, and what you stand for because this is an industry where you can be easily influenced or used easily. I see a lot of young models in the industry, 15/16 [years old]. I’m 21, and I have been doing this for a few years. I started in the industry at 18, so I can see how coming into it young, it is hard to have the confidence right away because it is an industry where it is completely critical of everything based off of you, your looks and what you’re giving off. So if you are not completely content or confident in yourself, it could be a lot on you. You can get caught up in stuff you really don’t want to do or people you really don’t want to work with. If you know what you want, and the image you want to put out in who you are, then you can navigate through it better. I’m glad that I was able to start off modeling later in life, honestly.”
Where can people follow you at on your social handles?
Lewis said: “I have twitter and Instagram @tamarsegrelewis.