The countdown is officially on for N.W.A. Fashion Week (#NWAFW) and here at Hello Luvvy we couldn't be more excited. What you may not know about fashion week is that is was started to not only magnify our local fashion scene and support our local economy, but also to raise money for local non-profits. In my mind it is a relationship made in heaven. I love fashion, and I love it even more when it is supporting non-profits like The Junior League of N.W.A and Seven Hills Homeless Shelter (See all benefiting non-profits here). Fashion week was started in 2012 by a group of people committed to fashion and philanthropy. The organization has grown significantly and has become an event that Arkansans look forward to yearly.
At the first meeting I attended for Fashion Week 2014, it's Founder Jade Terminella talked about their humble beginnings and their very first sponsor, Mertins Eye Care & Optical. I was more than eager to hear more about this relationship, so our first feature is about just that. Jennifer Esty is Mertins' branding and marketing ambassador and is behind the concepts of Mertins' highly anticipated fashion show. Upon first meeting her you can just sense her excitement for Fashion Week, and the excitement is contagious. See the exclusive interview below.
Darcy Munoz: How and When did Mertins first become involved with NWAFW?
Jennifer Esty: We heard about NWAFW in 2011 when it was still in its planning stages and almost immediately reached out to Jade Terminella. Not long after that, we met with Jade and Danielle Vaughn and walked out of that meeting as the first official sponsor of NWAFW. We’ve been a proud sponsor ever since.[caption id="attachment_5831" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Backstage Image from Mertins 2013 NWA Fashion Show[/caption]
DM: What has been the most rewarding part of this involvement?
JE: It’s very rewarding to know that this event, which rallies our community, benefits charities based right here in NWA. It’s incredible. And some of those charities do their work on different parts of the globe, so to think about how far out the benefits of this event might reach….. It’s exciting!
DM: What are some of Mertins' favorite charities that NWAFW supports?
JE: We are huge supporters of Restore Humanity. Their vision statement says it all: "Our vision is a world where every person has access to basic human necessities, compassion and kindness are commonplace and there is a perpetual concern for the well-being of others." THAT is a contribution to humanity.
From Left: Dr. Allyson Mertins, Vincent Agare (First Restore Humanity Scholar), Sarah Fennel (Founder Restore Humanity), and Jennifer Esty at Mertins Garland Location.
DM: How has your role in NWAFW been beneficial to Mertins?
JE: NWAFW has obviously given us a great deal of exposure. But it's also allowed us to make new connections within our community, which has led to some great collaborations between businesses we hadn't worked with before.
DM: What is currently inspiring new trends for eyewear?
JE: Round seems to be everything right now. Small, studious round, all the way to giant Jackie-O round. We are also always inspired by the uniqueness and craftsmanship of a line, too. The story behind the construction of a frame is almost as much of the appeal as the style itself.
Mertins Eye & Optical is a local business that is paving the way for fashionable eye wear here in Arkansas. By taking a risk to be the first sponsor of NWAFW, they have created an opportunity for local business owners and charities alike. Owner Dr. Allyson Mertins is a beautiful, smart, generous individual. When I spoke with her for this interview she was so quick to inform me about the importance of supporting others and our community. She and Jennifer are truly luvvly ladies that we can all strive to simulate and both have Hello Luvvy's official stamp of approval (like they needed it).
This year NWAFW has spread it's wings and the show is in Downtown Bentonville at 21cMuseum Hotel and the old Daily Record. Friends, these venues are amazing and couldn't be more perfect for some very fashionable evenings. Here is the schedule of events, and make sure you don't miss Saturday night when Mertins shows their collection. It is always quite the show stopper!!
Photo Cred: Jade Thomas Howard jadefOXpictures