When I hear the word “kaleidoscope” I am immediately drawn back to the days when I was a kid and would be mystified by the colorful shapes in the cylinder. On Sunday, June 23, at Penn Social, “Kaleidoscope” represented all the talented artists in the building, showcasing their work for everyone to see. Once again, RAW Natural Born Artists in DC, went above and beyond with the colorful and creative artists that were represented. Every two months RAW puts on an amazing show featuring local artists in all genres of art, fashion, makeup, music, film, photography, hair, performance, and accessories. There was no time to waste since the last RAW DC show, there are so many artists in the area whose talent needs to be appreciated.
Here are a few highlights from the event:
Lauren White was the host of the show, and while we didn’t get a chance to speak to her at the Marvel event, we were able to speak to the talented beauty in between her hosting duties! She is the prime example of how social media can be used in a beneficial way. Not only did she hear about RAW through Facebook but Lauren also loves to spread the word about the artists on social media. Lauren loves that for the show, even though everyone is different, all the artists come together and help one another. To prepare for the show, Lauren jots down some notes, usually paragraphs on each person and has them in order. Her advice for anyone who gets nervous up on stage and is afraid of messing up is to just keep going! Acting and entertaining is Lauren’s favorite form of art and she hopes to see herself in a sitcom in five years. She gets her inspiration from shows like Modern Family and Tina Fey is her role model. Another amazing thing we learned about Lauren is she was on Parks and Recreation, which is a hilarious show! If you are curious about Lauren’s outfit from that night, which we know you are, Lauren was wearing a Terry Tocci dress, Ai’kan necklace, hair by Sug, and makeup by Chris Soto. Lauren, once again, did a wonderful job hosting the show and we hope to see her again!
Imagine being able to dress one of the world’s biggest pop stars for one of her music videos? That is what the duo from Chez Kevito was able to do for Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.” Chez, means house in French and Kevito is the combination of the duo’s name, Kevin Hawkins and Titi Wreh. Titi has had over 20 years of experience designing and sewing, and one is able to see that by the craftwork of her garments. The company was established in 2009 and has already seen a tremendous amount of success. Aside from having Nicki Minaj wear their clothes, Chez Kevito is sold worldwide in countries such as Finland, Australia, Germany, and many more. Originally from Liberia, Titi then earned her degree in biology from La Salle University in Pennsylvania. At the show, Titi was helping her models get ready for the show and that was when we found Kevin and asked him a bit more about the team and the collection. Kevin mentioned that this collection was inspired by the 80s, with neon colors and glow in the dark nail polish. This is perfect timing because neon is making a big comeback for the summer! Inspiration can be found in many places, but Kevin said he mostly finds his through a mixture of music and architecture. The most rewarding thing about designing clothes is helping women feel beautiful. Can’t wait to see more from this very talented team!
Victor Hou Designs
To some people, fashion is like second nature, and happens naturally. For Victor Colvin, who first took sewing in high school to be in a class full of girls, and has now been in the industry for over 30 years, this fits the part. Victor never illustrates what he wants to create. He starts with an idea in his mind and once his creative juices start flowing, his inspiration comes to life. Victor says that along the process of creation, his ideas may change but it always ends up being the look that he wanted to create. As for the collection that he showed at RAW, Victor says that it was unnamed, but everything flows together, from one look to the next. He describes his work as innovative and eye-catching, and we were definitely able to see that! It was very minimalist, yet the cut and fit of the garments made it pop, and gave it more of a sensual edge designed towards making any woman feel sexy! Victor loves John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, and Valentino, so designers that are very sophisticated and modern inspire him. Other things that inspire Victor are people that he sees, architecture, and cartoons, just to name a few. Victor hopes to create a showroom in the future and work with different designers to show individual looks and continue to inspire and be inspired by people. We loved Victor’s designs and can’t wait to see what’s next!
Terry Tocci Designs
We first saw Terry backstage helping Ms. Lauren White with her dress for the show. Her attentiveness to detail was clear from the start, and her love for fashion also shone through. Terry’s favorite motto “You only live once, make a statement” is a fitting representation of the designer’s style aesthetic and personality. Terry describes this collection as vintage, retro, sass, with sex appeal! She loves to design clothes that make women feel confident, sexy, and beautiful, and with the belief of wanting to “make a statement,” Terry’s style is perfect for that. Terry has been designing and sewing since she was about 14 years old and is originally from Boston. Since fabrics were limited, this forced Terry to get creative and make the best out of what she had. This definitely worked in her favor because it is clear that she can work with different fabrics and can make anything stylish! She is inspired by her daughter, family, friends and clothes, and hopes to continue doing what she loves, making women feel beautiful, one design at a time. What we really loved about Terry is that she has an amazing personality and is extremely friendly. Despite her struggles, she turned it all into something positive and enjoys every single moment and opportunity that she has. Terry is someone that definitely lives by her own words and makes a statement everyday because you only live once. Terry hopes that in the next five years she will be around the world, maybe in Italy. We wish her the best of luck and hope to see more from her!
Another person that we saw at the Marvel show and were excited to see at Kaleidoscope was Shug W from VIP The Salon. Shug has been doing hair for almost 20 years and has recently started doing makeup as well. Shug is a RAW alumni but has come back to do hair for sPACYcLOUd for the Marvel show, and did the hair for the Victor Hou show and Lauren White’s hair also. Shug loves to do hair because she can unleash her creativity and think outside the box. It’s fun for her to come up with something different that you wouldn’t normally see. Doing makeup also helps with her creative side and completes the vision that started with the hair. When it comes to different styles, Shug is really well rounded and can do futuristic, couture, avant garde, just to name a few. When it comes to doing a specific hairstyle for a collection Shug looks at all the different aspects and styles of the collection to incorporate it into the look. She loves that she can see what designers were going through while creating the collection based on their work, and believes that artists should evolve as much as they can. Not only does Shug do hair for fashion shows but she also does individual and you can also find her at VIP The Salon. Shug wants to continue to grow in this art field and broaden her horizons by continuing to do what she loves, teaching classes, and being featured in magazines. We think it’s great that Shug is able to unleash her creative side because that is talent that shouldn’t be hidden. Hopefully we will see her at many more shows, and magazines in the near future!
Junichi Fukuda is a Japan native and has been dancing for about 15 years. Not only is he a contemporary dancer, he is also a choreographer who is absolutely talented. Junichi is a graduate of Boston Conservatory where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Dance Performance. He has a gracious presence and elegance about him that can be seen miles away. Junichi has been part of many dance companies from New York, to San Francisco, and has also toured in Italy, Germany, and Japan. Junichi’s inspiration comes from collaborations, friends, music, people, and says that anything can be inspiring. One of Junichi’s performance at RAW was with his friend Daniel Zook, and they both did great together! To Junichi this is a once in your life experience, but with his talent we believe we will be seeing much more from him. When asked about maybe forgetting what the next move is or getting nervous, Junichi said he doesn’t get stage fright; it’s more of an excitement than anything else. And if you mess up? Just keep going! Right now Junichi also teaches at the Strathmore, and hopes to one day open up his own dance company. Looking forward to seeing more from Junichi!
Ebony Qualls is a great inspiration to people for many reasons, but one that stuck out to me the most was feeling confident with being different. We all go through moments when we feel like we don’t fit in or we may be embarrassed by something that we do, but Ebony took that as a positive to continue to do what she really loves. Ebony started taking belly-dancing classes in DC in 2000. She was a raver before a belly dancer, and would go to raves and use some of the moves from her belly-dancing class. While at first she was a bit embarrassed, she was able to fuse the two together, inspired by dancers such as Mardi Love. When Ebony dances, every single move looks effortless and flows together from one beat to the next, right on cue. I had never seen anybody belly dance to Dubstep, which was one of her performances, and I was beyond impressed! Ebony is booked every weekend for many weekends to come, was recently in Japan and will be going to China soon for workshops and performances! Ebony gets her inspiration from the golden era, the 50s, tribal fusion, and indigenous designs. As for a beauty routine, Ebony likes to get a facial every four weeks, and to just keep it natural and take good care of her skin! We love that Ebony was able to pursue her dreams and didn’t let different stop her from achieving them. She is definitely an inspiration to us in reminding us to keep going after what we believe in no matter who or what tries to stop us. Congratulations on your success Ebony, and good luck with your future endeavors!
We had so much fun at the RAW Natural Born Artists: Kaleidoscope DC event! It was great to see all the talented artists showcase their favorite pieces, collections, and performances. For more information on RAW and the artists, check out the site where you will also be able to see more information on the upcoming show titled En Masse!
Here are a few more photos from the show, including the time when the audience got on stage and danced to “Cupid’s Shuffle”!
Congratulations to all the featured artists!