For those of you who went straight home after work to catch the season premiere of The Office, boy did you miss out on a lot. So allow me to fill you in…
First up, shoppers and fashion enthusiasts crowded a runway in the middle of Macy’s Center City for the Macy’s Fashion Show. Hosted by season one winner of NBC’s Fashion Star, Kara Laricks, the show marked the official debut of the 2013 collections of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator’s inaugural crew of Designers-In-Residence (Autumn Kietponglert, Melissa D’Agostino, Latifat Obajinmi, Moriamo Johnson, Kaitlyn Doherty). While hardly surprising, their featured garments were quite impressive. More importantly, you got a sense of how unique each of the designers really are.
I was pleasantly surprised what Kietponglert’s line Heartless Revival has in store for 2013 (particularly her crazy cool statement jewelry). Her newest looks seem to have more of a goth-meets-glam feel. Still, I think it was Latifat and Moriamo who ultimately stole the show. Between the impeccably constructed and versatile pieces and vibrant prints, their line Aso Damisi certainly stood out amongst the mostly neutral-colored looks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good spot in the crowd and then my camera died so you’ll have to bear with these photos.
Next, I was off to The Comcast Center for the Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering. The array of delicious food and cocktails was insane. Practically every Rittenhouse bar and restaurant was in attendance serving up samples. Just in case that wasn’t enough stimulation for one evening, there was also a fashion show featuring fall styles from a slew of local shops and boutiques (Knit Wit, Intermix, Joan Shepp, Duke & Winston, Boyds, Arcadia Boutique, LOFT, South Moon Under, Kembrel, Adornia, LAGOS, ect.). The fashions were modeled by locals, including some of the neighborhood’s most familiar faces (not familiar to me, but to others). Honestly, there were too many great looks to mention, especially since each ensemble featured several amazing pieces from several different retailers/designers. Plus, I couldn’t show them to you even if I wanted. The huge spotlights surrounding the makeshift runway rendered my iPhone useless. Not to mention I had a plate of food and at least two cocktails in hand at all times.
Finally, my friends and I head up JFK Blvd to catch the spectacular light show better known as Open Air (which you can read more about here). We didn’t make it all the way to Eakins Oval for the opening festivities, but neither did a lot of people. A pretty decent crowd gathered near The Franklin Institute to check out the powerful spotlights (as well as the production crew filming an episode of the upcoming new NBC drama, Do No Harm). Not sure if the overcast had anything to do with it, but the lights didn’t appear to be shinning as brightly as I would have expected. I also couldn’t hear any of the recorded messages because the Open Air Philly app wasn’t available in the iPhone app store yet (it is now though). Still, there’s really no way around it—the shits cool.
**Photos by James Ewing
For anyone who didn’t make it out last night, here’s a little preview of what you missed…
As mentioned yesterday, all this week leading up to their awesome “Sample Sale” next Wednesday, PW Style will be featuring interviews with the five Designers-In-Residence at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City.
First up, Latifat Obajinmi and Moriamo Johnson, two Nigerian sisters who are infusing a little bit of culture and couture to the local fashion scene with their line Aso Damisi (which translates as “cloth prosperity” in the Yoruba language).
Born in Nigeria, West Africa and raised in New Jersey, the two have been designing their own clothing together since they were children and have the unique distinction of being the only PFI designers without any formal design training.
In fact, both attended Rutgers with an entirely different career path in mind—Latifat majored in Human Resource Management while Moriamo studied Chemistry.
Sporting their own designs around town, the ladies constantly received positive feedback from people and so, in 2010, they finally decided it was time to launch their own brand.
Using bold, African-inspired textiles to create sophisticated, feminine silhouettes, Aso Damisi celebrates their love of both the American and African cultures equally and is meant for modern women who dare to stand out. As for their necklaces, well, they’re just flat-out badass.
Anyway, we decided we wanted to get to know Latifat (“Tifa”) and Moriamo (“Mo”) on a more personal level. Here’s what they had to say about all things style-related…
So how would each of you describe your own personal style?
Tifa: I love to pair different things together. I like to take risks with what I wear. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Mo: My style is more simple and chic. I’m not as daring as Tifa.
What are some of your fashion goals?
Mo: We aspire to be among the major fashion companies in the world. We want to be forefront in introducing modern African inspired fashion to the masses.
First thought when you were accepted for the Philly Fashion Incubator?
Mo: We were ecstatic to find out that we were chosen. We knew it was time to put in more work and that this opportunity would be extremely beneficial to our business.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Tifa: We take inspiration from our daily lives and try to think of styles of clothing that would fit into any woman’s closet.
What celebrity would you love to see sporting one of your outfits?
Mo: Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna.
If you had to stuff a duffle bag and suddenly skip town, what would you bring?
Tifa: Blazer, Pants, sunglasses, my iPod, and some cash!
Mo: Sundresses, hats, wedges, and my one-way ticket to Fiji!
What would you say has been your proudest moment in your career as a designer?
Tifa: Our proudest moment so far has been the very first time we saw our names on the wall of the Incubator studio provided by Macy’s.
What’s one item you think every girl absolutely must have in her wardrobe?
Tifa: One of Aso Damisi’s garments, of course.
Who would you say are your favorite designers?
Tifa: I love Zac Posen.
Mo: I love Michael Kors.
What’s on your iPod playlist right now?
Tifa: I have a little bit of everything on my playlist, from indie to hip-hop.
Mo: I have D’Banj (a popular African artist), Rihanna, Beyonce, and Maroon 5 on constant replay.
What advice do you have for fashion-obsessed women in this crappy economy?
Tifa: She should only buy something she is in love with.
Mo: She should invest in high quality garments that will last longer.
Back in March, we told you all about the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City, a new year-long residency program which provides a selected group of emerging local designers the tools and knowledge they need to launch a successful brand and business here in Philly.
After having spent the last few months learning the ins and outs of the fashion biz from industry professionals, the inaugural team of Designers-In-Residence—Melissa D’Agostino, Kaitlyn Doherty, Latifat Obajinmi & Moriamo Johnson and Autumn Kietponglert—are now going to be unveiling their fashions to the public for the first time since the PFI launch.
Going down next Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. at Sofitel Philadelphia (120 S. 17th St.), the PFI Sample Sale will give locals a chance to not only meet the designers, but enjoy exclusive pricing on their apparel and accessories (as well as wine and cheese).
Seeing as though this is a pretty exciting event for the local fashion scene, we here at PW Style figured now would be a good time to really get to know these five talented designers. That’s why all this week, we’ll be chatting with each of the DIRs about everything from their upcoming collections and all-time favorite looks to their own personal style dilemmas and biggest fashion pet peeves.
So go mark your calendars and check back tomorrow for the first designer profile!