Ciao, friends & fashionistas!
First of all, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season!
Second of all, let’s talk fashion and the process. Continue reading
“Modeling has made me into the confident woman that I am today.”
Meet Mara Wuliger, runway and fashion model. Learn why she fell in love with modeling and how to succeed in the industry.
Mara’s natural beauty and graceful strut are some of her trademarks. She walks the runway, works edgy fashion shoots and features in music videos. Here are some of her favorite looks.
How did you get into Modeling?
For my whole life, my cousin, Shane Knee, has always been the one to tell me to model, so I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to, but never really did anything about it until the Trend*Setting Fashion Show (where Mara and I first met!) in 2012.
What obstacles did you face? How did you overcome them?
I did not have a lot of confidence and self esteem about myself, but many people told me I should try modeling. Ever since I have become a model, I have learned to be more confident. To really know my inner beauty along with my outer beauty.
Ever since then, I have been exploring modeling more and more and it has made me so happy! I feel like I am a part of something really fun. Also to be honest, I really love being able to play dress up and get my hair and makeup done-it would make any woman feel gorgeous!
What is one of your favorite photoshoots?
I really liked my first photoshoot with Demode. It is my favorite shoot so far! We used what we had around us to create really cool photos! We climbed roofs and I got to pose by this really cool car. It was a lot of fun.
Sounds like a blast. Do you have any advice for aspiring models?
Do what you love, which is modeling. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. When you’re facing a No, know that there are many more Yes’s waiting for you in the future. Keep working hard and focus on becoming what you want.
“Modeling has given me passion and fire in my life. I love how when you go to a modeling gig, you just feel so at home with everyone, it’s almost like a small family.”
Thanks Mara! Look for her next on Charlotte Fashion Week. http://www.charlottefashionweek.com/
Super. Mighty. Awesome. Righteous. Triumphant.
The SMART Hat Collection is a stylish clothing and accessory line that transforms the fashion industry as we know it. From urban streetwear to a fun night out, SMART’s clothing, hats and accessories send a stylish and positive message to wearers.
<Below catch an exclusive interview with designer and founder of the SMART Hat Line, Dinah Pittman.>
This collection is inspired by a 10 year old with Asperger’s dream to bring confidence for end of year test takers. Fast forward one year, and the line has taken off. Most recently, the SMART Hat Collection was a featured designer in the 4th annual Trend*Setting Fashion Show with producer, Latrisha Valdez-Rushing. Now, SMART continues to grow with big plans for the future, including raising awareness and giving back. Something that never goes out of style.
We were fortunate to do be featured in a photoshoot for the SMART Line. Working with multitalented designer Dinah Pittman is a joy! She radiates energy and love. Her line is a true reflection of her and her son’s heart-sharing faith, love and style. Check out some of the looks and our fave pieces of the line.
Here are some of our favorites.
One of our faves, the Custom Designed by God tee. Available for men or women. Look for a standard or baby tee. Plus, who can resist an animal print hat?!
<For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139: 13-14> You are truly Custom Designed by God. You’re beautiful and there is no one like you!
The SMART Hat Collection keeps us on our toes 🙂
Meet Model Brandi Crenshaw. Dress it down, dress it up. She pairs a SMART tee with a colorful tutu perfectly. Check out some other ways she pairs the look at smart-hat.tumblr.com and shop the Look Book!
<So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27> God intricately, purposefully and intimately designed you. He is interwoven in the fabric of our beings. He is our ultimate Designer and Inspiration.The Smart Hat Collection reminds and connects us to our true selves, meant to be in harmony with God.
We love how versatile the SMART tank can be! Add to a skirt to hit the town, incorporate flops and a suit for the beach, or add jeans for a casual look. You’re going places.
The SMART Guy. Meet model, Payton Bolin. This tank is perfect for khakis or jeans, casual or comfortable wear. Don’t forget your SMART Hat on your way out the door.
Below: Exclusive interview with Dinah Pittman, designer, founder, stylist and photographer!
Learn the designer’s fave pieces, how to get exclusive news and more!
Meet the Designer of the Smart Hat Collection: Dinah Pittman
What started you on the Smart Hat Collection?
Well, my son, who had just turned 10 at the time (he’s now 11), was getting ready for the 4th grade End of Grade testing. For all kids, this is a big deal, and sometimes it can be super scary. When you throw in Asperger’s syndrome, which my son was diagnosed at 5, or any other learning difference, for that matter, it can be even more difficult to provide encouragement. During that time, he said to me, “Mommy, I think I need to make a ‘SMART’ hat to help me pass my EOGs.” So we did just that.
I told him we should think of words that SMART could stand for. He started calling out words for each letter: ‘SUPER, MIGHTY, AWESOME, RIGHTEOUS’, and we later thought of ‘TRIUMPANT’. This made me think of the fact that these are all words we use to describe God, and things that we strive to be. So, the SMART hat can encourage us to be our best, and define ourselves with these words.
Such an inspiring story. Recently, SMART made its runway debut at the Trend*Setting Fashion Show. What was going through your mind during that?
I was super nervous, because it was the first time I had presented my line, or anything at a fashion show. I really appreciate LaTrisha Valdez-Rushing (producer) for her encouragement and the opportunity to present my collection. I just wanted everyone to get the message, and I think they did.
What is your source of encouragement with this line?
Honestly, the grace of God. With all that He has done for me, I would dare not allow the gifts and graces He has given me be wasted or not used for His kingdom. So when people say, “I love your message”, I know I’m doing the right thing.
Love it. What are some challenges you’ve faced pursuing your line? How do you overcome them?
Major challenges have been funding. I have some things in place that are helping with that part. Another is dealing with people who only have their interest at heart. You have to separate friendships and work, and figure out who you can and can’t work with.
So true. Business is a tough balancing act. What advice would you give to a new designer or artist starting out?
Stay true to the gift or passion that you have been given, and don’t try to work in anyone else’s passion. God has given us certain gifts to equip us to do work so that He will get the glory.
Just DO IT. Wise men have told me, don’t be afraid to fail, that’s the best thing you could ever do.
Words of wisdom. What is your fave piece(s) from the line?
My favorite is anything with “DEX” the Brainiac on it. I designed him and I love the way he looks on anything! Also, I love the shirts that say “CUSTOM DESIGNED By GOD” because, we are just that…Custom Designed by God, for God, and to do His work.
Anything else you want fans/people to know?
Just that God is greater than anything. Any problem, any sickness, any situation…anything! And if you give Him the glory, He will bless your socks off!!
Also, we support Autism Awareness and Breast Cancer. Once we get to a certain point, SMART will be donating some of the proceeds to a camp in Georgia that facilitates activities for children on the Autism spectrum, as well as one of the causes for Breast Cancer research.
Where can fans follow you on social media?
Our blog is smart-hat.tumblr.com. Fans should subscribe to become a part of the SMART Insiders (they will receive special emails updates, news, product releases, and special discounts!!)
More on SMART Hat:
Shop the looks and the snag the latest news: smart-hat.tumblr.com
Follow SMART on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wearSmarthat
Be inspired on Pinterest: Pinterest.com/thesmarthat
Check that Insta: @smart_hat with posts featured on my Twitter: @iamdmari
Thank you so much for the interview and exclusive news on SMART. We can’t wait to see your SMART takeover!
*All looks and photos were styled and taken by Dinah Pittman.
The latest looks. Beautiful models. Edgy fashion. A recipe for the perfect fashion takeover.
The 4th Annual Trend*setting Fashion Show was a culmination of talent, beauty, style and something more. This year’s TSFS raised the catwalk for fashion. Talent strutted style, new looks and beauty to prove it.
On June 21th, over 7 up and coming designers featured new styles for men and women on the catwalk at Zinda in downtown Raleigh. From southern inspired classics to edgy Vogue streetwear, this show displayed many faces of fashion hitting the streets.
< And hitting the interwebs. With budding designers on the rise, building an online presence is key for their brand’s success. We feature our top picks below. >
Designers high school and up shared their hottest and most inspired looks. Lines included urban streetwear, a twist on southern classics, daring and dramatic, and playfully edgy.
Models petite to plus size, men and women, pop to flow worked the runway. Talent in Raleigh is unstoppable. The audience and runway’s energy was electric.
Many local models and designers who walk the Trend*Setting Fashion Shows don’t stop there. Produced the last four years and counting by acclaimed model and enterprise owner, Latrisha Valdez-Rushing, the TSFS initiatives are changing the face of fashion in the south. Latrisha recognizes the demands of the industry and gives people opportunities. She recognizes talent and dedication and gives them a chance to shine. (For more about Latrisha, read our exclusive interview below.) Many who participate in the show pursue their talents and become discovered.
Last year’s TSFS put a local designer on the map. In a designer competition, winner Cori Spade shared her looks and now is recognized worldwide for her signature styles. We can’t wait to see what happens this year.
Move over, Hotlanta. Look out, NYC! Raleigh is on the rise. We’ll see you on the catwalk.
What people are saying about the TSFS14:
“The TSFS is a great opportunity to bring local designers together in the Triangle.” – G105 Radio Personality, Kimberlee B.
“Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.” – Co-Host and Comedian, Jermaine Avery
Exclusive Interview with the show’s producer, Latrisha Valdez-Rushing.
What was the inspiration for the 4th Annual Trend*Setting Show?
I wanted it to be an intimate experience, more like the shows in NYC during fashion week. I wanted it to be standing room only type of crowd. This is why there was limited seating (not an accident). The 4th Annual Trend*Setting Fashion Show was exactly what I wanted.
And what attendees, wanted, too. When you put a show together, what do you look for in designers? In models?
I seek professionalism first, innovation, talent, passion and drive. Having these qualities makes for a well rounded designer who is going places! Models are another story. I look for professionalism, of course, but also loyalty, consistency, confidence and reliability!
How did you select designers for this show in particular?
It depends on the type of show, but just because the designers clothes fit into the theme of the show doesn’t mean they will make it. I go for more quality than quantity.
What motivates/inspires you in the fashion world?
I’m inspired by the art of fashion! When you see fashion from the perspective of the artist and get what the artist is saying or their story, it’s exciting. I’m also inspired by the innovation of fashion, the trend setters in the game!
What’s fashion life like as a mom and wife?!
Being a wife and mom has changed the way I shop and wear clothes, but I still appreciate other people’s perspectives and style like I always have. Now, I just try to figure out how to be stylish and respect my husband, and also let people know that I’m a stylish mom. Which makes me laugh sometimes, because I never thought I would be a wife and a mom, but that’s a whole other story!
What words of advice/encouragement do you have for designers, models, and talent?
I would say to designers, be yourself and don’t fall into the line of mediocre fashion. It’s ok to shine. We, your audience, wants to see you be different. We are tired of the same ole same ole things. To models and talent, know that YOU are in charge of your business, which is you! Make good decisions. Get a real mentor that has professional experience in the world of modeling to get advice. You need to keep your morals and values in check! Know everything out there is not good for you. Be careful.
What else do you want people to know about you?
I have a way in which I do things in this business-always uplift people and give them chances. I just want everyone to do the same. Let’s uplift and encourage one another to move the fashion industry in the Triangle area forward. Forward Movement!
Should Trend*Setting fans prepare for a 5th show? Any upcoming events in the works?
Every year I think either: “The next show will be bigger and better” or “I’m not doing another show”. Next year, I’m thinking I will do a show, but it will be a different vibe then I’ve ever done. I do have plans to do an ongoing pop-up retail type event with fashion and the arts. Stay tuned!
Thanks Trish! We can’t wait to see what happens next.
LaTrisha Valdez-Rushing’s, founder of Avance` Enterprise, fashion career began in the early 90’s as a professional model. She has graced the catwalk for numerous designers including Oscar De La Renta, Betsy Johnson, and Fendi. With decades behind her, LaTrisha continues to remain a vital member of the fashion business, known mostly for her expertise of grooming aspiring inexperienced models into “seasoned, recognizable models” ready for the runway.
Keep up with Latrisha:
The S.M.A.R.T. Hat Collection
Urban streetwear with a message.
Super. Mighty. Awesome. Righteous. Triumphant.
Featured: We can’t deny our love for the baby tee.
A stand-out style with something for everyone. Founded in Raleigh with locations in NYC, Demode is now worldwide. Offers looks for men and women.
Featured: We can’t resist The Vogue Shirt. Available online soon. For what Demode is up to next, go here.
Models to Watch
Nissha McNeil: This girl encapsulates beauty and positive energy! She is going places. As a model, Nissha believes in, “Embracing curves and being happy in your own skin.” Words to live by.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PlusModelNisshaMcNeil
A runway and print model, Mara’s effortless poise and beauty make her a natural. Where you’ll see her next: Charlotte’s Fashion Week! More info coming soon.
Meet the Host: Jermaine Avery
Known for using comedy to connect with anyone, anywhere, Avery is an improv and comedy guru. “Comedy brings people together, it’s universal.” Says Avery on his craft. Advice to comedians starting out? “Be yourself and write. Have fun. Don’t take it too seriously.”
Follow Avery at @averyisfunny on Twitter or stop by Tir Na Nog on Monday nights for a stand-up comedy routine.