birmingham fashion week

What I Wore to BFW 2016

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Apologies for how late this is, but if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably know what I wore to Birmingham Fashion Week. But I didn’t really share many details.

I was only able to attend two nights, so I went with pretty different styles..both on a budget, of course!

The first night, I opted for a boho look. I was just perusing the mall and saw the dress in Old Navy’s sale section for $18. But they didn’t have my size. Did you know many stores can check a computer database to see if they are supposed to have what you need or to see if a nearby store has it? So, I marched right to the cashier and asked for a “merchandise locator.” It showed the store I was in was actually supposed to have one! So, I poked around and found it hanging with the non-maternity version! It may not be the most fashion forward, but it’s on trend and I was on a time crunch. I added an $8 multi-strand choker from Forever 21 and a straw clutch I have had for probably ten years. My shoes were caged sandals–a $10 clearance find from Target last year. Ideally, I would’ve made more of an effort to make my hair more wavy, but I was late and I threw in a couple of small braids in my hair and called it a day!

Moral of the story: if you see something you like at a price point you like, don’t give up on it! It could actually be right around the corner!

For the final night, I went a little more glam! I actually didn’t buy anything new at all for this look! I wore a non-maternity pencil skirt (see my post about its versatility!), an old Gap maternity tank I’ve had since my last pregnancy (and still wear even while not pregnant!) and some sort of ruffly shrug I got on super clearance from some fancy store in Atlanta that was going out of business. I accessorized with a red Rebecca Minkoff envelope clutch I got last year (on clearance, of course) and Schutz animal print heels I got when my beloved Piperlime was still in business!


Moral of the story: don’t discount your own closet when getting ready for a special occasion! You may actually surprise yourself!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo vanessa





Birmingham Fashion Week 2016 

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Birmingham, Alabama may not be the fashion capital of anywhere.
Still, as someone who can’t whisk away to New York Fashion week, Birmingham Fashion Week is something I look forward to every year. And I’m sad to say, the curtain may be closing on the entire production.

For the past six years, it’s all been thanks to the founders Heidi Elnora and Jeana Lee Thompson. They have VOLUNTEERED their time to make it happen. They have put their sweat, tears, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they bled a little, to make this fashion magic happen. But putting on multiple shows ain’t cheap. So, Heidi and Jeana are looking for someone to fully sponsor it! If no one steps up, we will have to bid it adieu. In the meantime, I can just look back on another (and hopefully, not final) fabulous year!

Heidi Elnora closed out the three-day event with her gorgeous bridal collection. The show started with a Cirque du Soleil-type performance before the models started filing down the runway. Budding super model Baskin Champion was the line leader (I’m sure there’s a runway term for that, but hey, it’s the mom in me coming out!). It ended with Prince’s Purple Rain” and on the last beat of the song, the show ended with a pyrotechnics and a shower of gold streamers. It was pretty breathtaking. Heidi knows how to put on a show!

Other designers included Abbey Glass

Alice and Trixie

and Hale BobBenjamin JayCharles Ellis Sartorial.. Rails… and by Smith.

Local retailers also featured ready-to-wear looks. The world’s first super model with Down Syndrome, Madeline Stuart, actually opened the show for Pretty Wolf.

The Clothes Tree was one of my fave runway retailers!

Here are some looks from fab’rik Birmingham. Always a fun place to shop!

Other retailers include Alchemy 213, Gus Mayer and  Tom James.

A big part of what Birmingham Fashion Week is about, is recognizing young talent and giving aspiring designers an outlet to show off their creations. There are two competitions: one for emerging designers at the collegiate level and another for middle/high school designers who use unconventional materials to create high fashion looks. Winners are awarded scholarships/monetary prizes!

This was last year’s emerging designer winner:

These were a few of my favorite finalists from this year:

Another fun part of fashion week is choosing what to wear! I admit, being five months pregnant presented quite the challenge! But I’ll be posting how I tried to come up with fashion-forward maternity looks soon!

Hopefully, you can see why Birmingham Fashion Week is important to my community. It’s just another way to give us fashion lovers of all ages a way to celebrate creativity and style! I would hate for this to be my last BFW post, but if this does end up being the last year, I guess that will leave me with no choice than to make it to New York!! ;

As always, thanks for reading!


BFW: Finale Recap

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Birmingham Fashion Week definitely saved the best for last. The finale night was jam-packed and so is this post! The evening’s shows were full of drama, free spirits and flat-out amazing design. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride! And this ride didn’t get off to a slow start.

Local designer, Project Runway alum, upcoming reality TV star and BFW co-founder (multi-hyphenate anyone?!) Heidi Elnora had the crowd mesmerized with her dramatic, zombie-inspired show. It started with amazing acrobatics and contortions from Alabama Ballet. And what was next…Whoa! I was *this* close to calling World War Z star Brad Pitt to the rescue. But somehow, Heidi still managed to keep it beautiful. Kudos to the creative direction!

My only disappointment was the dramatic lighting was not ideal for my piddly little iPhone camera. I couldn’t capture any of the amazing images during the show. I was able to get video of the final walk and that gives you an idea of what we all experienced.

We also got a final look at the Rising Design Star Challenge finalists and the Emerging Designer finalists. The winners of those contests in a moment.

Then, we saw some ready to wear fabulousness from local retailers Soca Clothing and Laura Kathryn.

Then the ride took a fun twist. Show Me Your Mumu took the stage with their first runway show ever! What a score, Birmingham! I mean, this show…I’m not a Coachella girl, but I sure as heck wanted to be when I watched this show. It was so fun, carefree and effervescent. A true breath of fresh air. One of the designers, Cammy took the time to meet us bloggers before the show (and even after) and I cannot wait to share her take on the brand in an upcoming post!

And, finally, headlining designer Rebecca Taylor closed things out. Talk about another twist! We went from the footloose, fancy free, music festival girl to the cutting edge, polished, professional woman. It was great to see Birmingham Fashion Week cater to such a broad spectrum of fans. Here are some highlights from Rebecca Taylor.

At the end of the night, winners of local competitions were announced. Congrats to Emerging Designer winner, Lauren Ledford; Rising Star Challenge winner, Sarah Foret and Fresh Face model competition winner, Anna Marie Parrish.



And, once again, I had to take some snaps of some of my fave looks off the runway.


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That’s a wrap! Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 left me waiting impatiently for next year’s shows! I can say Project Runway alum Anthony Ryan Auld has said he’ll see us again next year, so it looks like we can look forward to more amazing designs and entertainment from him! If you weren’t able to make it, I hope I successfully recapped the big events to make you feel like you were there! Thanks for reading!

BFW: Day 4 Recap

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The fourth night of Birmingham Fashion Week had a little bit of something for everyone. It was such a fun night!

It started off strong with opening designer Hunter Bell. She was the winner of the second season of NBC’s Fashion Star. Having southern roots (she is a South Carolina native and attended the University of Alabama), she successfully blended the style of the perfectly polished, southern femme with the edge of the downtown professional trendsetter. All of her garments are created in the U.S.–another great reason to support the talented, young designer!

The Rising Design Star challenge followed, featuring young designers who could very well be the mentors for Project Runway’s infamous unconventional materials challenge. They created looks with everything from smashed CD’s to Christmas tinsel! To keep them from getting too comfortable, they were given an additional challenge to create a second design using recyclable Pepsi products from Buffalo Rock. I see some Emerging Designers in Birmingham Fashion Week’s future!

Birmingham shoppers also got a chance to see what’s available to them in stores right now with runway shows from featured retailers MarellaGus Mayer and men’s fashions from The Baer’s Den.

Headlining designer Salence followed suit with men’s outerwear that I did not capture. Sorry, guys! I was more focused on the ladies’ looks!

Like looks from SW3 Bespoke who rocked the runway with hippy chic looks with a modern twist. Very boho. Very cool. Plus, they’re made in America! Even cooler! I noticed a pair of lace pants on the runway I live blogged about during a local event I covered for B-Metro Magazine. I’ve always loved lace and lace pants are a must-add to my wardrobe! Thanks to Birmingham Fashion Week, I’m now a fan of a brand I was previously unfamiliar with!


Of course, one of my favorite parts about attending these shows is seeing what the lovely people of Birmingham pull out of their own closets! Here were some of my fave looks off the runway!

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Thanks for reading! Can’t wait to share the BFW Finale with you!


BFW: Grassroots (A Local Fashion Evolution)

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I already introduced you to Elizabeth Singleton, Birmingham Fashion Week’s Up and Coming Designer.

Well, there are 12 other young designers who hope to follow in her footsteps!

They were featured during the first night of BFW, which focused on amazing local talent. And let me tell you, I was impressed! I REALLY wanted several of these pieces! (side note: I was also impressed with this year’s production! It was bigger and better than last year!)

My fave of the night had to go to Auburn University student Kailey Smith. I loved her use of sheer fabrics. I have seen plenty of the sheer bottoms with boyshort/granny undies on the red carpet and have not really been a huge fan. But, for some reason, I wanted to rock these sheer looks in the worst way! Don’t know where I’d wear them exactly, but it would be awesome to be able to step out in one of these looks as a confident woman! I’m rooting for you on Saturday, Kailey!

Here are more highlights from other emerging designers:

We are in the heart of the Southeastern Conference, so it’s fitting there were “game day” appropriate looks from local designers three07.

The headlining designer was Harold&MOD with such an eclectic, bohemian, vintage vibe. Perfect for any cool girl.

Birmingham Fashion Truck also showed off the latest spring trends available for a real woman on the go!! I will feature this fabulous business in a later post! Fashion on wheels?! Awesome, right?!

Not all of the hot looks were seen on the runway! I snapped a few pics of some stylish spectators and fellow Birmingham bloggers! A few other pics from the evening are also included. I threw myself in a few of them. It wouldn’t be complete without some selfies, right? Do you have a favorite look?


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I wasn’t able to attend the second and third nights of shows and I hate that! I REALLY wanted to see Project Runway alums Anthony Ryan Auld and Joshua McKinley during Thursday night’s show because they killed it last year! They were both so entertaining! But so is life. I’ll be back at the tent for shows on Friday and the finale on Saturday! Can’t wait! To see a full line-up of all designers and schedules, go to Birmingham Fashion Week’s website.

Thanks for reading!! xoxoxo

BFW Spotlight On Elizabeth Singleton

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While I was at the Birmingham Fashion Week Kick-Off Gala at Alabama Ballet, I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful fashion lovers. One person I briefly mentioned in my kick-off post was up-and-coming designer Elizabeth Singleton (seen wearing a coral dress from Kohl’s Elle collection, Candie’s nude ankle-strap heel and Coach bag).

When I first saw Elizabeth, I thought she might be a model because she is super tall and gorgeous. Turns out, she was the winner for last year’s BFW Emerging Designers competition. She was also invited to return to BFW as the featured Up and Coming Designer on opening night! So, I made it a point to check out her designs. On the night of the gala, Elizabeth said she wasn’t really nervous…more like excited. But that changed the night of the show when she said the nerves finally arrived! But she need not worry! She had a great showing with looks that were classic, easy and fresh. My favorite was the knotted skirt and tank combo.

Here’s a look at some of her other designs that graced the runway.

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Elizabeth is a true inspiration to local, aspiring designers. She took the title of Emerging Designer and ran with it. She said winning last year’s competition gave her that boost she needed to believe in herself and move forward with her passion for design. She packed up and headed to the Big Apple where she holds a part-time job which gives her time to focus on her designs. She also had the chance to intern with acclaimed designer Rebecca Minkoff. Click here to follow Elizabeth’s budding career!

This year’s Emerging Designer finalists could learn a thing or two from Elizabeth. If she could give them any advice, it’s this:: Don’t stress yourself out too much and take the time to enjoy everything that’s going on!

Good luck to all of this year’s young designers and good luck to Elizabeth on her continued success!




Birmingham Fashion Week Kick-Off

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Birmingham Fashion Week starts tonight! I’m more than ready to see famed designers show their hottest Spring trends. Young, local designers also get a chance to show off their innovation and creativity! It will be awesome!

To set the tone for this week of fabulosity (yeah, I stole Kimora Lee’s catch phrase, don’t judge me), show organizers held a kick-off gala at the Alabama Ballet center for dance on Saturday. In attendance: show organizers Heidi Elnora and Jeana Lee Fleming, models, stylists and one budding fashionista!

It was a perfect night to get dressed up and also get an inside look at the Alabama Ballet costume shop!

I love seeing what everyone is wearing, so my goals for the night were to meet new, fashionably-invested people and to see what people were wearing!

I didn’t even take my own pic, but I did manage to get in front of the camera with fashion week co-founders!

Because I couldn’t shop for anything new, I wore a two-year old lace dress I purchased from Lotus Boutique (a local business), my Charlotte Russe Outlet necklace featured in a recent blog post, Madden Girl heels from DSW and a sequin clutch from Forever 21.

Here are details of the organizers’ fabulous outfits!

Heidi Elnora, along with Birmingham Fashion Week co-founder is a bridal gown designer, future TLC reality show star and former Project Runway designer! So, I thought it was fitting she could barely tell me about her outfit! She doesn’t have to remember brands/designers. She is a designer. All she remembered was her skirt and alligator bracelet were from Nordstrom Rack, her other bracelets are by Shalla Wista. About the pic, Heidi..I thought I had a good front view from you! Sorry for the candid shot! But you still looked so fab!

Jeana Lee Fleming, Birmingham Fashion Week co-founder, dressed to the nines in a backless dress by Alexis, flea market clutch!, Lisa Kerns cuff and Jimmy Choo heels. Talk about high-low mixing!

Jeremy Stephens, Creative Director/Lead stylist for BFW, owner of Aia the salon

Stevi Mahaffey, Fashion Week junior board member: Free People skirt, self-styled T-shirt (I should have taken a pic of the back, because it was shredded)

Rachel Rohler, assistant to Heidi Elnora: Billy Reid dress, Steve Madden shoes, thrifted bag. (By the way, I wasn’t familiar with Billy Reid, but after searching through the designer’s site, I’m officially a fan!)

Ashley Burgess, model (winner of last year’s BFW Fresh Face model competition): Urban Outfitters dress, Aldo shoes

Anna Marie Parrish, model: Charlotte Russe dress, shoes from Burlington Coat Factory

Brantley Willis, hair stylist: Christian Dior Blazer, Gap shirt, Frye shoes // Brian Avery, hair stylist: Brooks Brothers blazer, button-down, Izod pants, Del Toro loafers.

Islara Vazquez, Alabama Ballet finance manager: Ann Taylor loft top, vintage skirt, Worthington shoes from DSW

And, last but not least, new fashion blogger buddy, Rachel Tindall from To Hell In a Handbag. Go check out her blog!! ASOS dress, Boutique 9 heels, Target bag.

Here are a few other pics from the night! Included, are images from the costume shop tour (which was absolutely breathtaking!)

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I will be there for the first round of Birmingham Fashion Week shows from: up and coming designer Elizabeth Singleton, retails from Birmingham Fashion Truck, as well as featured designers Three07 and Harold and Mod. Can’t wait to share with you!!

Thanks for reading!