photograph by Natalie Norris Photography
SHOP THE POST
AH-MAZE! That’s really the only way I can describe my experience at Birmingham Fashion Week. As you guys know, I was chosen to be the featured blogger for the Friday night shows. And it did not disappoint. I mean, I got to sit FRONT ROW at a fashion show…in my hometown…as the featured blogger. The coolest part? I got to experience ALL THE FASHION, ALL THE PASSION, and ALL THE DESIGNERS up close and personal.
ALL THE FASHION
The details. Wow. From afar, you don’t always get to see the intricate details that go into every piece. Up close, the colors are more vibrant, the fabrics are more luxurious, the textures are more prominent. I loved seeing the return of the nineties from Benjamin Jay, the beautiful silk, boho-chic designs from Alice & Trixie, and the ready to wear couture from Bradford Billingsley. Here are some my absolute favorite looks from both nights.
ALL THE EMOTION
I loved seeing the blood, sweat, and tears that the up and coming artists put into their designs. I loved seeing the emotion on the models’ faces as they concluded possibly their final year walking the runway in Birmingham. I loved seeing the passion for our city and for this event in Jeana Lee and Heidi.
“TO CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE THAT NOT ONLY DIRECTLY INFLUENCES OUR YOUTH AND LOCAL ECONOMY IN A POSITIVE MANNER BUT TO CHANGE THE PERSONA OF THE SOUTHERN FASHION INDUSTRY WHILE SETTING THE STAGE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.”
What many people do not know is that BFW is a 100% volunteer, non-profit organization. This is a true passion project, y’all. They give scholarships to middle and high school rising stars, as well as a grand prize package to emerging designers. This package includes a guaranteed spot at BFW 2017’s runway show, a television appearance, editorial coverage in B-Metro magazine, professional photo shoot with a BFW photographer and a $1,000 cash prize.
In the Rising Star Design Challenge, the students can use NO fabric. Yep, you read that correctly. Imagine designs made only of pipe cleaners, old CDs, and wrapping paper. Some of them spent MONTHS perfecting their designs, rocking their pieces alongside internationally-known models and designers. Hashtag goals.
ALL THE DESIGNERS
Most importantly, I got to meet some REALLY cool people. I had the opportunity to interview three fabulous designers: Jeff Abrams from Rails, Angela Taylor George from Alice & Trixie, and Chad Ellis from Charles Ellis Sartorial.
Jeff, who was inspired by the railways in London, started his label from a single hat and over the past 8 years has grown to a full collection of men’s, women’s, and children’s designs. You guys are all familiar with his super-soft, simple yet chic, plaid shirts. I seriously own probably 10 of them. And the coolest thing? He never had to pay celebrities to wear his clothes. They simply fell in love with the ultra-soft texture of the fabric and gravitated towards his relaxed, Californian style. His designs are not only comfortable, they are chic, accessible, and super on trend. I love wearing them casually with a pair of rips and sneaks or dressing them up with a sweater, an a-line skirt, and platforms.
SHOP MY FAVORITE RAILS STYLES
Alice & Trixie
“Alice & Trixie is a celebration of Angela’s obsession for exploring vintage stores and global marketplaces, her appreciation for style icons of the past, and her passion for art. The essence of the collection is bohemian glamour that is reflected in unique vibrant prints and rich solid hues in effortlessly chic silhouettes. Angela believes that when a woman is wearing something that she loves, she radiates. She designs for the woman that is feminine, chic, sexy, and most of all confident.” I had the pleasure of wearing one of the most amazing jackets I have ever seen. A sequin bomber jacket. Let me repeat that: a sequin bomber jacket. SWOON. The bomber is part of their holiday collection and will be released in October. Stay tuned for the full blog post! I will be rocking this bomber next week too…so make sure you follow my Insta story for behind the scenes of my next fashion week adventure…
SHOP MY FAVORITE ALICE & TRIXIE DESIGNS
CHARLES ELLIS SARTORIAL
I have known Chad for several years! He is one of the most giving, determined, and creative people I have ever been around. Chad started his first menswear label, Charles Ellis Sartorial, in December of 2012, with a focus on bespoke menswear accessories created in the Neapolitan way of tailoring. When he reached out to me to ask Asher to “walk” the runway as his final model in his show, I could not have been more excited. Until he informed me that I would be walking Asher down the runway. LAWD was I nervous. But in all seriousness, it truly was one of the best experiences of my life. Asher did so well, and I was beyond proud to support my dear friend. His show was innovative, fun, and a perfect reflection of Birmingham. To shop his pocket squares, head to his website www.charliebham.com.
ALL THE BIRMINGHAM
“Birmingham Fashion Week was founded on the ideals of bringing unity to our community through fashion.” And that’s exactly what they have done. Over the past 10 years, I have watched our city transform into a hip, stylish, foodie destination. When I tell people from around the country that I am from Birmingham, everyone’s first reaction is “what a cool little city!” Our community is now filled with culture, pride, and amazing people. From the likes of the Champion sisters to Bradford Billingsly to Heidi Elnora, Birmingham is now on the fashion map. And let it be known, Birmingham Fashion Week has been a huge contributing factor to this transformation.
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO SIT FRONT ROW AT A FASHION SHOW
To sum it up: inspirational, emotional, and oh so fabulous. As I looked around me, I saw world renowned designers, local celebrities, and famous models all collaborating with local makeup artists, future designers, and everyday people that simply love fashion. The underlying theme was PASSION. It really reminded me why I started Life Lutzurious. It reminded me why fashion is so important to me. It reminded me what it means to be a creative. Yes, posting pictures of myself feels conceited and awkward at times, but if I can inspire one person to FEEL and LOOK their best, I have done my job that day. In a world full of bullies (yes, I have had one recently…someone I know…more on that later), chaos in the world, and just bad days, it is nice to be able to put a smile on someone’s face, offer a bit of inspiration, and take our minds off the negative. Sometimes it’s nice to just be ourselves and express what we love.
Lastly, BFW has inspired me to expand my fashion week experience beyond Birmingham. I made the decision late last week…I am headed to NEW YORK FASHION WEEK! Ya’ll, to say I am excited is the understatement of the year! I am not going to lie, this weekend was EXTREMELY busy preparing for my trip. I have sent out over 100 emails and messages to hotels, designers, PR companies, other bloggers, you name it. This is truly a dream come true, and I can’t wait to take you along with me. Make sure you are following me on Instagram (both my feed and Insta-stories), here on the blog, and Snapchat to keep up with all the action, all the fashion, and all the inspiration. I have some AMAZING stuff planned, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
So, THANK YOU to KC Projects and Birmingham Fashion Week for an amazing experience. Just know that you not only inspired me but hundreds of other people across our city. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to this amazing event. I hope 2016 is not the last year…this is an event that our city needs and wants. A request to my loyal followers: if any of you know of someone wanting to sponsor next year’s event, please let me know. We want to keep the event going, but we cannot do it without your help!
Images by Eric Gray Photography