Since our start 15 years ago, our purpose at Eclectic Eye has revolved around a concise and crucial mantra: to strengthen our community by passionately building our team and business. Whether it be through partnerships with other local initiatives, neighborhood outreach or simply among our own small family, we plant our roots deep in the Memphis community. The same could be said for local events such as Memphis Fashion Week, which reaches out to promote talent and creation within our community through the showcasing of some truly inspiring Memphis designers. Eclectic Eye has been fortunate enough to be a part of this event for several years, and the opportunity to contribute to the growth of our city’s art scene is one we do not take for granted. This year, we all had the chance to attend one of the events and appreciate the efforts of our fellow Memphians.
Friday – Featured Designers
By Lee Blankenship, Eyewear Architect
Location, location, location. What better place to kickoff Memphis Fashion Week 2018 than Graceland. Well, more specifically, the Elvis Presley Motors Museum, which sits directly across the street from the iconic Graceland Mansion. My co-worker Shannon and I were excited to represent Eclectic Eye at the first night of shows, which displayed the collections of this year’s featured designers from across the world and one from right here in our neck of the woods. Neither Shannon nor I had ever been to an event like this before, and as representatives of a Memphis Fashion Week sponsor, were treated to a great VIP experience.
While we waited for the shows to begin, we enjoyed delicious food and beverages and explored the venue. The museum had a unique Elvis feel to it, and not just because his face was all over the walls and gift shop merchandise. The vibe of each room was uniformly retro, harkening back to the days of Elvis mania and Sun Studios. The murals of classic Elvis photos and movie posters, his collection of vintage cars on display at every turn, all of it was so epitomic of a crucial piece of local history.
The pre-show featured numerous “freeze models” walking and posing on platforms dispersed throughout the crowd. The models all wore clothes from local Memphis boutiques, such as Sachi and Oak Hall, and all models used were from Memphis and the surrounding areas.
The runway showcased the collections of this year’s featured designers from all over the country and across the world, such as This Is Sloane out of Austin, Texas, Ituen Basi all the way from Nigeria and the eponymous global brand Rachel Roy. In addition to the international designers, the night also featured a collection from T I E N A, the line of local Memphis womenswear designed by Tiena Gwin.
To see a native-Memphian on the same stage as national and even global designers was a proud moment. Gwin is a strong representative of the community and the richness of local talent, something that we here at Eclectic Eye strive to embody on a daily basis.
Saturday – Emerging Designers
By Maddie Robinson, Eyewear Architect
The Eclectic Eye team had the pleasure of attending the Saturday night event of Memphis Fashion Week, hosted at Memphis College of Art. Jonathan, one of my coworkers, and I made our way to the concrete staircase leading up to the beautiful, midcentury building that houses some the emerging artists in Memphis.
It was encouraging to see so many people come out and support Memphis College of Art and the community. From the moment we walked in, we were greeted by smiling faces and a crowd full of excited viewers ready to see the show. It was also special because our rep from three of our frame lines was able to join us for the show and had the opportunity to experience all that Memphis has to offer, up close and personal.
What made Saturday night even more special was that all the designers featured were local to the Memphis community. It was such a great experience seeing so much talent not only in the designers themselves, but also in the models who showcased their beautiful designs. This night also included the Teen Collection, which featured four teenage designers. For some, this was their first time to sew, yet it seemed like they had been perfecting this art for years. Their exquisite designs were breathtaking.
The showstopper of the night was Siss Viss. Eclectic Eye had the pleasure of working with the designer, Mary Ambrose, by handpicking some of our most gorgeous frames to complement her beautiful pieces.
What a unique experience it was to see some of our Jacque Marie Mage, Andy Wolf and Anne Et Valentin frames shining on the runway.
We all had such an amazing time on Saturday night, supporting our city and the wonderful artists who call Memphis home. We are so fortunate to have spent another great year at Memphis Fashion Week, and we even made some new friends. We can’t wait to do it again next year!