Fashion News from 10 Downing Street

Samantha Cameron, courtesy British Vogue

Samantha Cameron, courtesy British Vogue

Samantha Cameron, wife of former British Prime Minister James Cameron, will be launching her own fashion line the beginning of 2017. This is a story of perseverance, patience, and creativity. Cameron, a distant cousin to Diana, Princess of Wales, was preparing for this during her six years as the wife of the Prime Minister. She took that time to learn the craft of dressmaking and was at her sewing machine every day. Her new fashion line, Cefinn, which is named after the initials of her four children, is designed to “create an urban uniform for busy women” and to bridge a gap in the market for a British brand that offers a wardrobe that could take women from day to evening. Cameron told British Vogue: “I felt that there was a lot of American and French brands out there that fit that bracket of designer contemporary with the right price point and the right styling, but there aren’t that many British brands which fill that space.”  I love this story!

 

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Borris Powell’s Next Big Adventure

Borris Powell embarks on his new journey in Amazon Prime's Prana Warriors

Borris Powell embarks on his new journey in Amazon Prime’s Prana Warriors

Fashion designer Borris Powell is special – one of a kind. When I first interviewed him I was struck by his story; growing up in the projects of Alabama and taking a leap of faith to follow his dreams to be a fashion designer by relocating to Chicago. He left everything he knew to build his own fashion brand. His life is the ultimate testament to perseverance and optimism. And this Sunday, Borris is taking another leap of faith as he undergoes a new adventure – this times it’s a reality show on Amazon Prime called Prana Warriors. Borris will be traveling to Mexico, as part of a cast of four people – four survivors who have overcome extreme obstacles in their own lives – to inspire and serve orphans and make a difference in theirs.  Says Borris: “I signed up to do the show for a couple of reasons: one, it’s a positive show about giving back and paying-it-forward. This matters very much to me. Years ago, when I was first trying to get into the industry, someone I had trusted hurt me very much. In that moment I knew that I would never be the kind of person to say no to anyone in need. I have a chance to help others. The other, is to see if I can follow the practice of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation that will be the cornerstone of the show.”

A special fashion note: during the filming Borris will be wearing shorts designed by fellow fashion designer, good friend, and Project Runway contestant, Peach Carr (from her new line, ‘The Lobster Collection’).

Borris will alert me when the show airs. For now, I will wish him well as he travels to Mexico to begin the adventure. And once again feel inspired by his positive attitude and ability to take risks to make things better for himself and the world around him.

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Showroom Style at Meredith Banzhoff

Optimized-P1050796When you first step into Meredith Banzhoff’s west-side showroom in the heart of New York’s garment district, you are drawn to the clean, crisp, and colorful clothes and the custom design of the showroom. And as Meredith herself showed me her studio, I felt her personal connection to her clothes and her environment. It’s all personal for Meredith, in fact; she refers to every shirt by her name and much of the furniture and handiwork is from her native Pennsylvania. The four original shirts – four original “girls”- were given names: Bella, Catherine, Liz and Jane. These four are the originals, born from a desire to create the epitome of comfort, construction, and tailoring. Meredith’s commitment to “40 Points of Measure” is the foundation for the design of her shirts. The brand is now three years old and though it has grown to include shirt-inspired pieces, the core is still the classic, made in New York shirt.

I knew when I first interviewed Meredith Banzhoff that I would visit her studio and get fitted for a custom shirt of my own. And that is just what I did – to my utter delight! I ended up with a navy, Isabella shirt, perfectly-fit with just the right combination of stretch. I look forward to seeing where Meredith Banzhoff* is headed!

*TFIO readers: want to own your own Meredith Banzhoff shirt? Through April 15, 2016: you can purchase any of the four “original girls” styles for 30% off the original price. Just use Promo Code: TFIO30%

The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith's favorite)

The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith’s favorite)

Measuring the perfect-fit

Measuring the perfect-fit

Meredith Banzhoff Showroom

Meredith Banzhoff Showroom

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Rally Behind Rallier!

Oliva Rose Fay

Oliva Rose Fay, wearing a Rallier  dress from her debut collection

Incorporating social missions into fashion and accessories brands is an undeniable and exciting trend. There is such a synergistic relationship between wearing a brand you love and supporting change you believe in.” ~ Olivia Rose Fay

There are some stories that tug at your heart. Some fashion stories that soar beyond fashion to the core of the human condition. One feature on TFIO about fashion and philanthropy was not enough to tell the entire story of Olivia Rose Fay, the CEO and Creative Director of Rallier. Rallier officially debuted its first collection, consisting of 15 dresses, just last month, February 2016. But Olivia’s inspiration and purpose started when she was a young girl watching her grandmother, who had immigrated to San Francisco from Shanghai in 1954. Olivia’s grandmother supported her family by designing dresses, eventually opening her own dress store called Lily’s.

At the age of 28, Olivia has already begun the process of conceptualizing her own legacy by looking at a cause that matters to her most: education for girls and gender inequality. Continue reading

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Where Fashion Meets Family

Designer Meredith Banzhoff

Designer Meredith Banzhoff

My intention is to create shirting-inspired pieces that tread the line of traditional and edgy. My goal is to push the envelope of what shirting means and give it a feminine twist while maintaining a clean timeless aura. The Meredith Banzhoff woman is confident with a touch of attitude.” – Meredith Banzhoff

At five years old Meredith Banzhoff knew she wanted to design clothes. Throughout her young life she watched and absorbed her family’s traditions that were to become her heritage of quality and care for clothing. She watched as her father had custom clothing made for him and as her grandfather, a lawyer, always dressed with proper shoes, shirt, and tie. Since her grandparents lived near her, their influence on her thinking was strong. Now Meredith is a smart and savvy fashion designer with a singular and solid point of view for her designs and brand. And Meredith is only 29! We spoke about her philosophy on clothing and why taking proper care of one’s clothes makes all the difference …

MKG: How did your commitment to fit and proper tailoring begin?

MEREDITH: I have wanted to design clothes since I was five years old. My mother would get me patterns to make my own clothes. I grew up riding horses – Ralph Lauren‘s style was always an inspiration to me. And watching my father and my grandfather care for clothes and their attention to detail was ingrained in me at a very early age. As a young girl I was drawn to the quality of clothes rather than the quantity and when I bought things for myself I would choose quality shoes and clothes that would last longer. As I got older, I decided to major in business, major in fashion design, and minor in fashion and beauty communications; this was my focus. During college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and that exposed me to true master tailoring in womenswear. Continue reading

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Daniel Silverstein Goes Bridal

2015-08-14+23.18.42-22015-08-15+23.01.45DSC_0057Fashion designer Daniel Silverstein (featured several times on TFIO) continues to grow and inspire! To bring you up to date on Daniel: he is now designing for love, launching his first bridal collection available exclusively at Schone Bride, Brooklyn, New York. Says Daniel: “My collection is best suited for modern love and the real couples of today and tomorrow. Classically romantic in feel, but pushing the fashion envelope, many of my pieces are gender fluid. I want all brides and grooms to have a chance to find something unique, ceremonial, ethical and special to wear as they share their vows and commit their lives and love their partners. This approach drives me forward in my design.”

In late May, Daniel moved his design studio from the garment district in midtown Manhattan to Manufacture New York in Brooklyn, where, says Daniel, “together we are navigating the vision for a new kind of fashion industry where anything is possible and zero goes to waste.” Daniel’s commitment to zero waste is what sets him apart as a fashion designer. None of his textile byproducts go to landfill. This commitment transcends every element of Daniel’s designs.

I love that Daniel Silverstein is going bridal. I’m buying it!

New bridal looks, courtesy of Daniel Silverstein

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Borris Powell’s story: From the Alabama projects to Chicago

Borris Powell

Borris Powell

 

Perseverance: Be steadfast or staunch or constant, keep going, stand fast or firm, show determination; endure, carry on or through, keep at or on or up.

On a day when you are feeling a little lost, that maybe your dreams can’t come true, or you don’t know how you will make them a reality – think about this inspirational story of fashion designer, Borris Powell. Borris has lived in Chicago since 1997 but that is not where his story begins. His story begins in the projects of rural Alabama. Everything that Borris has achieved has come from his attitude and determination and especially, his ability to persevere. He will tell you that there was one defining moment when he took a leap of faith to start his fashion brand, Borris Powell, but after hearing him tell his story I believe that his entire life has been a leap of faith – going beyond the expected to the unimaginable. Borris, a southern boy, tells how it happened that he left his home and ended up in Chicago …

I grew up in the projects of Alabama. Our town was so small that there were only 74 people in my graduating class. There were limited options if you were a boy: the way that boys were measured was their participation and success in sports. I had no interest in sports. I was interested in home economics but boys were’s allowed to be interested in home-ec …

My dad’s sister was a fashion model and she introduced me to the world of fashion, a world I had never seen before. When I was about 9 years old she took me to my first fashion show and I remember loving it. My mother was a seamstress and I was curious about her sewing machine, but again, boys weren’t allowed to be interested in sewing machines. As I got older and my mother became busy during our summer vacations, I would sneak and play with her sewing machine. That sparked my curiosity even more … Continue reading

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Francesca’s Chapter Two Collaboration with Marchesa

Francesca with found

Francesca (center) collaborated with Marchesa co-founders, Keren Craig (left) and Georgina Chapman (right) on a dress for actress Naomi Watts: Photo Credit: Kent Meiste

Naomi Watts at The Cannes Film Festival, in her gown designed by Marchesa and Francesca

Naomi Watts at The Cannes Film Festival, in her gown designed by Marchesa and Francesca

Six months ago, in a small restaurant in New York City, Francesca Azzara and her husband were enjoying a quiet dinner. They started having a conversation with a woman who happens to cast people for reality television shows, and the rest, as they say, is history. Francesca was later cast in an online commercial for Prudential Financial Services, as part of its Chapter Two Campaign, celebrating retirement and retirees. As a result, Prudential gave Francesca, a real estate agent, her very own ‘Chapter Two:’ the chance for her to live out a dream of a lifetime and collaborate with luxury eveningwear brand, Marchesa. Together, Francesca with co-founders Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, created a gown for actress Naomi Watts. I discovered Francesca’s Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts, last night on Twitter, tracked down Francesca immediately, and talked about what this commercial, what this experience, what this moment has meant for her and where she will go from here. Francesca tells her story

“The commercial developed very quickly. In the course of one weekI had several conversations, created six sketches of evening gowns overnight for approval, and was eventually selected to be filmed to work with a fashion house to design an evening gown for an actress to wear at an awards show; all of it, part of a Chapter Two story of a new kind of retirement. At first, I didn’t know with whom I would be working. Eventually, I found out I would be collaborating with two, young, amazing, and incredibly talented designers who co-founded the brand, Marchesa: Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, to create a gown for actress Naomi Watts …

This was a dream come true for me. I had gone to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and majored in apparel design. Continue reading

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Meeting Isabella Rose Taylor!

Isabella with the fashion campers

Isabella with the fashion campers

Can you imagine being a teenager with an interest in fashion, lucky enough to meet someone your own age who is a bonafide artist and fashion designer? That’s what is happening this week in New York, at Fashion Camp NYC, with guest speaker, 13-year old Isabella Rose Taylor. And can you also imagine being me, creator of this blog, meeting Isabella and her mom, Sherri, while they are here in NY? It was beyond special!

We spoke about her message to the girls at the fashion camp and the issues facing young designers of Isabella’s generation. According to Isabella, “It’s important to know the basics of design, including pattern-making, but at the same time, understand that everything will be streamlined very soon. You must know the technology of fashion.” Continue reading

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What does being a fashion designer at 13 look like?

IRT2014 springBhaman03Isabella Rose Taylor – Bella – is a fashion designer about to launch her first collection to a top retailer. That statement, in and of itself, is remarkable and so very impressive. But there’s more remarkable, because Bella is only 13 years old. Yes, thirteen. What’s extraordinary, however, is that when you meet Bella, you aren’t aware of any age; just that you are speaking to a beautiful, creative spirit who is making her dreams happen …

MKG: What was it like growing up in Austin, Texas? What were the influences on fashion?

BELLA: Austin has always been known for its food and music, and now fashion is making strides, as well. Austin Fashion Week is an established annual event, and the city is up-and-coming when it comes to fashion. There are some great designers in Austin, too; Ross Bennett has been very supportive of me.

MKG: What happened when you went to sewing camp at 8 years old? Was a dream born?

BELLA: I began painting when I was three years old. Continue reading

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