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!


On The Catwalk For A Cause

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I admit, when I was younger, I wanted to be a model. The clothes! The make-up! The exotic photo shoots! I would’ve eaten it up! But that wasn’t in the cards for me.

The closest I came to modeling was in high school as a “Gayfer Girl” for a local department store. Model measurements were not required. But it was a pretty select group and we did do a few fashion shows. One of them was kind of a big deal–it was even held in a casino showroom/concert hall with a huge stage, fancy lights and high-tech sound system. Trust me, it was big time. 😉

Then in college, I tried out for the school’s Fashion Board–twice! And I didn’t make it–twice! The following year an actual board member encouraged me to try out again. I respectfully declined. I figured I’m not going to make it a college goal to be on the Fashion Board (my pride may have kicked in a little as well), so I moved on with my life. Kind of.

I hadn’t had enough rejection yet, apparently! After college I decided I just HAD to be on America’s Next Top Model. It was time for my big break! So, I auditioned. My tape must’ve gotten lost in the mail because they never called me back. hmmph! Tyra, if you’re in search of middle-aged models, you know where to find me!

Needless to say, I’ve given up on that teenage dream. But, I did have a chance to get back on the “catwalk” for a good cause recently. My blogger friend, Rachel (from To Hell in a Handbag), and I got beautified by Laura Mercier experts and showed off some new fall looks from BCBG Max Azria at Saks Fifth Avenue in Birmingham.

It was all in support of The Exceptional Foundation, which is an amazing local nonprofit organization. They provide the mentally and physically challenged with social and recreational activities that aren’t always provided by schools or the community in general.

Some members of The Exceptional Foundation had a chance to work the runway as well and they were rock stars!! They had so much fun and it was such an amazing event to be part of and to witness.

Now, mind you…as much as I wanted to be a model in the past, I am pretty self-conscious about my “strut.” I have scoliosis, so I can look a little lopsided if you look closely. Maybe those fashion board judges looked closely. Regardless, I just sucked it up (and sucked everything in) and tried to make Right Said Fred proud. Here are some pics from the event!

All photos are courtesy of Birmingham area photographers Eric and Jamie from EJ Photography.  They were kind enough to share their pictures with me and I think they did a great job (plus, I think their prices are pretty reasonable if you’re looking for a photographer)!

ef vanessa1You all know I love a great jumpsuit! I immediately gravitated toward this Simone Strapless Peplum Jumpsuit! What a beautiful color, no?!

ef rachel2Talk about a hot date night dress! Rachel in the Kailey Sleeveless A-line dress (from Saks website: Geometric Lace Dress) and  Lloyd Bonded Faux Leather Jacket.ef ef3She was the Queen of the Runway!!

ef ef2A dapper gentleman with a lovely lady on his arm. She is wearing the Printed Silk Tunic Top.

ef ef1He had so much personality! What a charmer! She is wearing Jenifer Boatneck Asymmetrical dress topped with the Marcelle Two-Tone Blazer.

ef rachelHere’s Rachel again in the Darin Moto Jacket , Brea Drape-Front Tank, Travis Faux-Front Leggings and Diane von Furstenberg Metallic Envelope Clutch.

ef ef4Here I am again in the Jaklyn Crossover Draped Blouse and Josa Geometric Print Jacquard Skirt!

If you’re interested in donating to the Exceptional Foundation, click here.

Being part of a worthwhile cause was really the icing on the cake. It was all such a fun time! And who knows, you may even see more of me on the runway in the future!




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!