Not all designers are born, bred and reside in New York City, Paris or Milan. Some of the most renowned designers have had humble beginnings in places such as Haynesville, LA (Geoffrey Beene), Vicksburg, MS (Patrick Kelly), and Amite, LA (Billy Reid). But the common denominator is their passion for their craft and their drive to create beautiful fashions. NOLAFW's Top Designer Winner, Sandhya Garg’s passion started at the young age of 8 and she’s never lost focus. Graduating at the Institute of Fashion Technology in India and the London College of Fashion, Sandhya paved her way to studying with fashion greats such as Alexander McQueen and Gucci in Italy. Since winner NOLAFW's Top Design Competition, Garg has gone on to be one of the emerging designers on Lifetime’s TV Show Project Runway, Season 13. Sandhya has successfully proved to herself and the world she has a unique talent and drive to succeed in the fashion industry.
NOLAFW 2013 Top Design Competition Winner, Ashley Gunkel is an Ocean Spring´s native and attended Mississippi State University, obtaining a degree in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising. Since showing at NOLAFW in 2011, Gunkel has studied and developed her aesthetic style that has proved to appeal to a broader audience as well as the fashion week judges. Competing against 9 other talented and emerging designers, she took home top honor. Her current collection Midas as well as other fashions designed by Gunkel can be found at Hemline Boutique (Metairie Road), a New Orleans based fashion store.
Standing 6’0 tall and a perfect size 2, it is only natural to think that Taylor Hamric had been modeling since she was 14. But that is not the case, before participating in NOLAFW, Hamric had not ever walked a runway. It was at NOLAFW that Taylor was spotted by agent Craig Magleby and invited her to attend the IPOP Model Convention. At the event she was named Model of the Year and signed with Wilhelmina Models in New York. She modeled in New York and most traveled to Shanghai to work modeling assignments there. Currently, she is signed to Kennedy Management here in New Orleans.
As part of her prize package for winning the Design Competition Fashion Uncorked 2012, an event hosted by the Atlanta Easter Seal Association, Sidratu Maju was invited to showcase her collection at NOLAFW 2013. Born on the west coast of Africa, in Sierra Leone, Sidratu Maju discovered her passion for fashion at a very young age. Inspired by her mother, a great seamstress herself, and motivated by compliments on her own designs, she decided to enter the world of fashion and designs on a professional level. Her African heritage is the key to her success: colors, textures and fabrics. It allows her to combine eclectic and modern designs with an African flare to them.
Former model and New Orleans designer, Michele Marcombe graduated from American InterContinental University in Atlanta, as well as Parsons “The New School of Design” in New York City. Being the winner of Oxygen Network`s "Build your own Business", Michele is the creative director of Michele Marcombe Inc., POP!Rock, PUP!Rock and her latest label NOLA Bikinis. This label specializes in creating unique; often one-of-a-kind bathing suits made from New Orleans iconic t-shirts, jerseys and other favorites. Look for NOLA Bikinis to be featured on some of the lovely New Orleans Saintsation Dancers in their 2014 calendar.
Chelsea Stumo and her line, RubyBritt, debuted on the NOLAFW runway in 2012. The collection features clean lines, classic fabrics, and a touch of flair. RubyBritt prides itself on being appropriate for work days and date nights, and for being designed and manufactured in the US. RubyBritt, based in Dallas, was a hit with local retailers and can now be found Uptown at Hattie Sparks.
LSU graduate and Top Design Competition Contestant, Elise Doran, showcased a retro themed swimsuit collection at NOLAFW 2012. Not only did the swimsuits receive rave reviews from guests, judges and NOLAFW team members, but they also received the highest honor from the local fashion industry. Elise sold her collection to Hickory Chicks, a boutique located in River Ridge, had it photographed for an issue of Cue Magazine, as well as showcased the swimsuits at The W Hotel in New Orleans for an installment of Strut & Swim in 2012 presented by NOLAFW.
Victoria Henley graced the NOLAFW runway as a model in 2011 and 2012! Following Fashion Week 2012, Victoria was selected to compete on America's Next Top Model, Cycle 19. As a designer and crowd favorite at NOLAFW, Victoria certainly took the ANTM judges and the world by storm, placing in the top 5.
Stephanie Young, 2012 Top Design Competition Winner, earned an array of prizes with her stunning collection. Included in the 2012 Top Design Prize Package is a 90-day presence in Vernon clothing, a $500 manufacturing package from NOLA Sewn, an editorial spread in Amelie G Magazine, a new Brother sewing machine from Allbrands.com, a photo shoot of the winning collection with professional photographer John Charles, and a $100 gift certificate from Promenade Fabrics. Stephanie has many wonderful things coming her way and we can't wait to welcome her back to the runway as a featured designer for NOLAFW 2013!
Anthony Ryan Auld
Anthony Ryan Auld is an LSU graduate who lives in Baton Rouge, LA. Auld participated in our Top Design Competition at NOLAFW 2011. Although Auld did not win our competition, Auld’s greatest success was yet to come. Auld was chosen as a contestant for Project Runway Season 9, and quickly became a fan favorite. His greatest success came when he designed the winning collection on Project Runway All Stars Season 2!
After studying Fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Alicia Zenobia began designing her own collections. Zenobia is a Brooklyn native who fell in love with New Orleans during a springtime visit and never left. Alicia won our Top Design Competition in 2011, which scored her the coveted prize of selling her collection at Hemline Boutique in the French Quarter.