By Megan Barbera
Energies were high on Thursday night at the Talking Stick Resort as the first night of Phoenix Fashion week brought together fashionistas from all over Arizona and beyond. Walking around the beautiful Style Villa, I was in awe of the uniqueness and individuality brought upon by the Phoenix fashion culture.
Although there was an abundance of designers that caught my eye, I had the pleasure of conversing with a handful that not only had striking clothing collections but interesting backgrounds and motives as well. Here are my top five up-and-coming designers from Phoenix Fashion Week:
Navajo Mermaid – Phoenix, Arizona
Artistic designs and free-flowing pieces dominated the runway as Navajo Mermaid unveiled two new looks to the fashion week runway. Designed by Arizona native Cody Matthieu, Navajo Mermaid brings a uniquely colorful vibe to a very minimalistic fashion world.
When asked about how he wants people to feel when wearing his clothing, he told me “I want the people wearing my clothes to feel smarter. I want them to feel like a princess.”
Matthieu certainly succeeded in that, collabing with another up-and-coming Arizona clothing line Savg Thread. His models rocked unique kimonos that bring the wearer to a whole new level of feeling free. Cody’s laidback personality and loud designs make Navajo Mermaid a brand to look out for in the upcoming year.
Dakota Jeane – Phoenix, Arizona
The 70s were alive and well on the runway with Dakota Jeane showcasing two of her newest vintage-inspired looks. Taking vintage fabric and creating it into modern and unique pieces, Dakota Jeane caught my attention with her designs that brought a groovy vibe to Phoenix Fashion Week.
When I asked her how she wants the wearers of her clothes to feel, she told me “fun, funky, and flattering.” That vision comes alive with her unique take on vintage, made for the fun-loving, independent woman. Her sweet, welcoming persona and Woodstock-inspired clothing make her out to be a strong up-and-coming designer in the Phoenix fashion community.
Prodigal $un – Peoria, Arizona
Hard hitting and edgy, Prodigal $un struck the runway with classic, cool vibes that seemed to be a crowd favorite. With leather jackets, dark hues, and vintage-inspired t-shirts, Prodigal $un is most definitely a brand made for the “cool guy.”
I asked Hartley what the inspiration behind his clothes was, he told me “70s and 80s metal culture, as well as 90s grunge.” While the inspo behind his designs dates back, he still manages to keep it modern through impressive lookbook styling, and the use of timeless pieces. With solid 2017 runway looks and a chill persona, Brandon Hartley and Prodigal $un are not to be slept on in this coming year.
Shalaja Swimwear – Mableton, Georgia
The runway was heating up as Shalaja swimwear designer Shaquoya Jackson strutted alongside her models in fun and trendsetting swimsuits. With bold cutouts and bright colors, Shalaja swimwear was most definitely one of my favorites for the night. Aiming to cater to all bodies, Jackson wants to “create a brand that caters to different body types…from the sexy to the very curvy, and everything in between”. Jackson’s bright personality shines through her electrifying swimwear designs, overall making her a designer that you don’t want to sleep on.
Aiming to cater to all bodies, Jackson wants to “create a brand that caters to different body types…from the sexy to the very curvy, and everything in between.” Jackson’s bright personality shines through her electrifying swimwear designs, overall making her a designer that you want to start paying attention to.
Moon Arrow – Los Angeles, California
A free-spirited and hippie vibe was brought to the Phoenix fashion week runway, and that’s thanks to Moon Arrow Co. designer Gabriela Rosales. Describing her brand as “a lifestyle and clothing brand for the free-flowing gypsy traveler who still appreciates the glamorous things in life,” Rosales brings an interesting take on hippie fashion.
That most definitely translated on the runway last night, as she presented eleven bohemian gypsy influenced looks that spoke “bold” and “free.” Rosales with her free spirit and unique designs is a certain designer to keep your eye on.