While much of NWAFW is local boutique owners showing off their creative concepts through clothes that will be for sale in their boutiques, Designer Night is about locals that are creating a concept and then actually constructing it. There is a yearly collaborative show from Art Amiss, it contains 7 segments by 7 different designers. I met up with Melissa Arens, Fashion Director for Art Amiss (Owner of Mayapple Salon & Boutique), and Maleah Loya, self proclaimed "designer sidekick" in Maleah's studio to find out more about Art Amiss and see some of the concepts behind their show for NWAFW 2014. Melissa, along with the 6 other designers, is creating a segment for the Art Amiss production and Maleah is their go to gal for assisting in bringing their concepts to life.
Maleah at her sewing machine while Melissa talks to her about a design aspect for the Art Amiss production.
Darcy Munoz: For those who may not know, what is ArtAmiss and what is your role in the organization and relationship with NWAFW?
Melissa Arens: Art amiss is a local non profit that has been around for 10 years or so. We throw art related events in the community and use the funds from these events to write grants to local artists, musicians etc. in the community. Art amiss has four categories: Visual Arts, Music, Literature, and Fashion. I have been the fashion director for Art Amiss since 2009. Myself and my assistant, Natalie Denton have been involved with fashion week since its beginnings in 2012.
DM: What is inspiring your style and your segment in the ArtAmiss show?
MA: The inspiration for my show this year and every year comes from within! People should expect to enjoy the passion of many talented artists and designers getting the opportunity to express themselves through the art of fashion and music. Every segment has a specific feel and is often expressed through the music that plays during that segment as well as the visuals you will see through wardrobe, wearable art, styling, and hair and makeup design.
DM: How would you encourage other women who are interested in design and fashion to get started?
MA: I have the opportunity every year to seek out local artists and designers in the community that I feel will fit and enjoy showing under and along side Art amiss. I would encourage other interested designers by showing them that we are all capable and talented individuals with something to offer to the fashion/art scene.
DM: Describe your role/collaboration this year for NWAFW.
Maleah Loya: If I gave myself a title it would probably be Designer’s Sidekick. I’ve collaborated with four designers on five different segments. I will also be helping with hair, make up and wardrobe styling on the day these segments run.
DM: How long have you been designing and creating?
ML: I’ve ALWAYS loved to make stuff. When I was a little kid I would turn shoe boxes into apartments for my R2D2 and C3PO action figures. I would hand sew little curtains, pillows and bedding for them. As I grew up, I would see something or think of something I wanted and the first thing that would go through my head would be, “how can I make that?” or “how can I make that better?” Because of this, I bought my first sewing machine when I was about 15 and started teaching myself to sew from there.
DM: What most inspires your creativity and keeps you motivated?
ML: Boy, that’s a hard one to answer because inspiration comes to me from everywhere and everything. However, I am likely to be inspired by things that are simple, the dark and noir, pop surrealism Japanese style and culture. Or, I just have to pop onto Etsy for a minute to see what everyone else is making and that really inspires me! I am definitely the most motivated when I’m collaborating with someone else though.
DM: What makes your most excited about being part of fashion week?
ML: I love everything about it. I really like creating things beforehand and the hustle and bustle of pulling all the elements and looks together on the day of the show.
"I truly wake up every day and am grateful for my job and involvement in the community, that I have created through hard work and dedication. It isn't all rainbows and butterflies producing a fashion show on any level, especially not on the level that NWAFW has become. Everybody involved, from Jade Terminella ( Owner and Founder of Fashion week) to every designer and boutique that shows, to the assistants back stage, are working their butts off to make this event happen, and we are ALL doing it for the sake of Artistic expression and charity... and we are all happy to be doing it :)!"
Don't miss Designer Night luvvies!
Thursday March 6th at 21c Museum Hotel.
Be sure to check back here for more profiles on the individuals showing their work on Designer Night!