Memphis Fashion Week 2016

By Lindy Faulkner, Midtown retail manager

Another year of Memphis Fashion Week is in the books, and this was the best one yet! For the fourth year sponsoring Memphis Fashion Week, Eclectic Eye had the opportunity to serve as the Presenting Sponsor for the Emerging Memphis Designer Project (EMDP), which has always been one of our favorite parts of MFW.

Celebrating its fifth year, Memphis Fashion Week is a great event for our city. Abby Phillips, MFW Director, and the board members work hard to bring a focus on the fashion industry in Memphis, while also raising money for the Memphis Fashion Fund, which contributes to the EMDP program and fashion classes offered at Memphis College of Art.

“I went (to Nashville’s fashion week) the very first year in 2011, and realized it was something Memphis could easily do… Many cities around us already had a fashion week in place. I knew it was time for Memphis to get on board with what was happening in other regional markets,” said Abby Phillips, via The Commercial Appeal.

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Emerging Memphis Designer Project

As the Presenting Sponsor of the EMDP, we got to follow the designers from day one. Back in September 2015, we hosted a party at our Midtown for the chosen 2016 designers. We got to meet some first-time designers and catch up with returning participants. There was a total of 16 designers this year, which made it the biggest EMDP class yet.

The 2016 EMDP class with Dr. Mike & Robbie

From September to a few weeks before MFW, the designers were working hard to make their sketches come to life for a premiere at the VIP Preview Party and during the Saturday night runway show. Clothing Manufacturers, whether in house or outsourced are an essential part of the creation of any item. You want your products to be the best they can be and also high quality. After giving the manufacturer your specifications and vision, it is up to them to bring your vision to life. Not everyone needs this assistance, but if sewing isn’t something you are great at, it may be best to use professionals like these. It makes life just that little bit easier.

As a teaser for the MFW kick-off on April 4, some MFW sponsors showcased an EMDP in their store for a week. This fun tactic let the public see these (amazing) designs before MFW began and created buzz for the upcoming events. We shared photos of each designers’ mannequin on display at these local stores, and you can see the photos on our Facebook page.

From left to right – Meggy Muller at More Therapy; Meredith Olinger at Oak Hall; and Kathryn Heard at Kittie Kyle

One of the most noticeable takeaways from the 2016 EMDP program was the quality of the garments; they were all extremely impressive!

As part of our sponsorship, we got to provide eyewear for freeze models at the VIP Preview Party and both runway events. This gave us a chance to show MFW attendees the depth of fun and different eyewear options we carry in-store.

We wanted the models to look natural and effortless, so an eyewear architect served as the “eyewear stylist” for each event that included freeze models. Their job was to ensure that each model had a frame that complemented their face shape and outfit. As you’ll see, some of the models wore the eyewear, some held it, some used it as an accessory, but the frame was always visible.

VIP Preview Party
The VIP Preview Party took place at Lafayette’s Music Room the Wednesday night of MFW, and it highlighted the EMDP designs. Our own Lindsay and Lindy were the eyewear stylists for this event, and they were behind-the-scenes, styling the freeze models and choosing the perfect eyewear for each piece.

Behind the scenes work is so much fun! Collaborating with the stylist, make-up artists and models themselves was a great experience.

Friday Runway Show

J Brand presented by Indigo

Hayley Paige presented by Maggie Louise Bridal

Abbey Glass presented by Joseph

Faherty Brand presented by Oak Hall

Friday night’s runway show was downtown at the Cadre Building and featured designer brands Abbey Glass, Jbrand, Hayley Paige and the Faherty Brand. The eyewear stylists for Friday’s show were Jamie and Lindsay, and they did an absolutely amazing job! See for yourself in the photos below.

Saturday Runway Show

Emerging Memphis Designer Project presented by Eclectic Eye

Dilettante Collection by Tara Skelley presented by Kendra Scott

The Saturday runway show highlighted all of the EMDP designers, as well as unveiled the latest line from the Dilettante Collection, which is designed by two-time EMDP winner Tara Skelley, This show was hosted at Memphis College of Art’s Rust Hall, which was the perfect venue.

The EMDP winners were Zoe Vu for the singles collection and Mary Ambrose for the mini collection.

A graphic designer, Zoe used mesh, chiffon and faux leather in her collection. Her color scheme was predominately white, which was crisp and clean and really highlighted the cutout details and accents of powder blue.

Mary Ambrose’s collection, titled “Birds,” used found objects, like inner tubes, feathers and fur, in a really elegant yet funky way. We were lucky enough to host Mary’s design in our Midtown store before fashion week started.

Each year during MFW, I learn more about how the fashion world and Memphis, Tennessee really belong together. There are so many creative store owners, designers and opportunities to grow this industry in our city. Seeing the EMDP submissions only reaffirms this; the ingenuity behind the designs coupled with the skills apparent when you look at the construction of each garment, are truly amazing.

It is such an honor to be a part of MFW on behalf of Eclectic Eye and I’m so proud to work for a company that participates in events that adds value, culture and depth to our little city on the bluff.