When fashion comes to mind most people think about New York Fashion Week, Hollywood celebrities, or the mecca of fashion, Paris. No one would name Maryland as a hot spot for fashion trends. However, Fashion Awards 2012 showed that Maryland is a hub in its own right of fashion and beauty creativity. Maryland is emerging as a contender in the fashion industry and making a name for itself. Fashion Awards 2012 proved that Maryland is creating its own brand of art in the fashion world and isn’t afraid of NYC, L.A. and Paris. Why should it be? It has it all right here in our local area.
The recurring theme of the show seemed to be that Maryland was as fashion forward as the rest of them. Three Industry Awards were given out during the event to Ean Williams, Isis King, and Paul Wharton. All three have made names for themselves and paved the way for Marylanders with their contributions to the fashion industry.
Ean Williams remarked that being successful in fashion in Maryland has not always been perceived as attainable. He said “Everyone feels we have to go to New York, Paris, Milan. But there’s enough here for everyone right here in the area.” Williams’s showcase of his designs, which used plenty of bold red and white, during the final fashion show of the evening demonstrated how he was living out his words right there on the stage.
America’s Next Top Model contestant Isis King was presented her Industry Award by her mother. King, a Prince George’s County native, now resides in New York City and travels often. She acknowledged how different it was to do bookings in Maryland after leaving the area. However, King is still proud of her Maryland roots. She said “I will continue to rep the DMV to the fullest.” Her declaration elicited a large scream of approval from the crowd.
Television personality Paul Wharton began his acceptance speech for his Industry Award by dedicating it to Maryland. He described his early life as always wanting to leave Maryland and buy a plane ticket for New York City. Wharton wanted to be a part of the fashion industry but felt there was no place for him in Maryland. Yet Wharton will always have a special place for Maryland in his heart. He said “Maryland is home for me.” Wharton also gave a quick shout out to King by saying how there was no place for them in Maryland for what they wanted to achieve and he is glad there is now.
There was also so much talent abound at the Fashion Awards that has still remained local. Bianca Thompson, owner of B. foxy Jewelry & Accessories, feels local designers are important for her business and for the fashion industry as a whole.“This DMV area, we have our own unique, distinct style that we can definitely impact the fashion industry,” she said. Emerging Designer winner Karen Garalde is proof enough of that. Her collections Kalai Kai are self described as “more of a glamorous and feminine inspiration with a little bit of old Hollywood.” A unique blend that wouldn’t be expected to be found in Maryland but it is.
Brandi Lewis, creator of fashion line Syeko Design House, won Women’s Best Urban Designer.She said “I feel like we’ve always been fashion forward but it takes that one person to believe in us. So I’m really excited that we’re getting acknowledged and hopefully it continues.” Lana Rae, founder and producer of the Fashion Awards, is who believed in Maryland’s local fashion and beauty talent like a proud mother and is to thank for Fashion Awards 2012.
When asked about their own personal style, local designers frequently used adjectives such as “eclectic”, “different”, and “standing out”. These are all words that can be used to describe Maryland as a fashion industry. Watch out New York.