Brand: Milano di Rouge
Bio: Milan Harris began grabbing the attention of her peers with her motivational words, unique style and ambitious mindset through social media networks. In 2012 she started a blog, Iammilanrouge.com, which offered love, fashion, dating, and motivational advice to women. Later that year, Milano di Rouge was born. Milano di Rouge started from a grassroots setting with all distribution of goods, products and services delivered personally by the owner, Milan. Through hard work, dedication and consistently pleasing customers, Milan has built her brand from the ground up. Invested not only money, but also her time into constantly improving her brand, business reputation and ethic. Using social media along with developing great business relationships to expand her audience. Milan has enhanced her brand products and gained loyal clientele/supporters.
Mission Statement: Milano di Rouge, LLC is an apparel brand with a focus on affordable luxury for the street wear enthusiast. With the vision that Milano di Rouge will reach local and national markets but also be branded to have a global appeal. The message that Milano di Rouge promotes is Making Dreams Reality. We believe it’s never to late to follow your dreams. We empower and encourage dream chasers to keep achieving. From eye-catching body-con dresses to unisex jerseys and statement bomber jackets, Milan di Rouge already possesses a growing celebrity following.
Brand: Charley Girl Designs
Bio: Kristen Leonard is the founder and designer of Charley Girl Designs. With degrees in fine arts painting and sculpture, Kristen has spent time exploring and mastering a wide variety of artistic disciplines. Her time spent training and working as a potter, custom painter, and interior designer has greatly influenced her design sense. Each of her unique skirts is approached like a painting, pulling colors and textures from the pallet of diverse and varied materials in her studio.
Brand: 611 Style
Bio: Nigel launched his first clothing line during his freshman year at The University of Rochester. He and his two friends were venting about the school bookstore’s boring t-shirts and Nigel suggested they print our own. The three quickly turned into business partners and decided to make their own t-shirts and hoodies branded with the school’s logo. It was there that Nigel’s love of fashion turned into income. From there on, Nigel and his partners grew the business and were able to pay for their college educations. His inspiration exists in music but Nigel has many muses, translating his life story and influences into the art of fashion. Nigel’s clothing line, 611 is now featured in retailers across the country and rapidly expanding each season.
Mission Statement: 611 is a men’s clothing and accessories brand inspired by Philadelphia’s iconic record store and label, 611 Records. Founder and designer DJ Nigel Richards is heavily influenced by international style through his worldly travels as a techno DJ. The brand’s essence is seen not only in its daring combination of prints and patterns but through its overall commitment to dressing the bold and fearless gentlemen.
Ivy Aristy was born in Queens, New York and raised in the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. At an early age, Ivy showed a high interest in the arts and fashion world. This led to her enrolling in design courses and majoring in the Arts during her high school years. Following her dreams, Ivy attended Moore College of Art & Design where she obtained a BFA in Fashion Design in 2010. She had the pleasure to intern at renowned fashion houses like DKNY and Yigal Azrouel in New York. Following graduation she had the opportunity to freelance for Goodlad Apparel located in Philadelphia. After many years of cultivating her aesthetic, Ivy Aristy has decided to launch her namesake line. It concentrates on fusing feminine and edgy elements to create an overall modern, cool, and sophisticated look. An essential part of the brand will be to provide USA made quality garments.
Buffalo native, designer and artist Conrad Booker puts his architectural skills and creative mindset together to fashion beautiful masterpieces from handbags, shoes and clothing to decorative pillows, frames, and murals. Through multiple achievements and awards, such as The Pella Window Award for Outstanding Window Design and Temple University’s Outstanding Thesis Award in Architecture, Booker has the experience and drive to push him to the top of the design world, with appearances in Architectural Digest, Interior Design, and Southern Living.
A graduate of Temple University’s School of Architecture, Booker now lives in Philadelphia where he has had his clothing and shoes designs appear in ASI’s Stitches and Wearable Magazines, as well as featured at The South Street Head House District’s 2014 Street Fair and Fashion Under Shambles 2014. Booker was the winner of the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show’s Best Commercial Window “Daly Girl” and runner-up of the 2014 Queen Village Winter Wonderland Window “Rise of the Phoenix” wind display.
In addition to his design projects, Booker is a muralist for the Jokers Fancy Brigade, with recent work including a 10’ X 20’ Fiber Textile Mural titled Quiet Rain at The Kimmel Performing Arts Centers “Volver” and a 20’ X 60’ mural titled Harmony and the Windows of Curiosities located at 4th and Fulton Streets.
Conradbooker is a contemporary women’s handbag and accessory line, whose core design principle is the elevation and transformation of unconventional materials into wearable works of art. The collection is sculpted using strong architectural forms, bold colors, while seamlessly molding luxurious materials like leather and fur with unconventional ones like door hinges and bike chains, into pieces that are both forward- thinking and timeless.
Ashli Reese began her career studying fashion design at Rosemont College where she received her BFA in Fashion Design but she didn’t stop there; she continued her studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The summer before graduating from Drexel University with a Master’s of Science in fashion design, Ashli had the opportunity to work for LoBo Mau with Designer Nicole Haddad. The invaluable experience gained from working within the design house inspired Ashli Reese to fulfill her lifelong dream and launch her eponymous line, Mars & Venus clothing.
The MARSANDVENUS line is inspired by shape, vision, fabric, texture and colors. Every design focuses on combining the chemistry attraction between men and women. The technical knowledge of a garment’s proper fit and design, combined with Reese’s innate creative abilities, results in an effortless and wearable line that reflects the kind of woman she considers herself to be: strong, sexy, fun, and fearless with the transferable chemistry to a man’s dominating, handsome, powerful and lead role.
After graduating from Philadelphia University, Amanda Stearns’ love of knitwear inspired her to start her own clothing line. She designs and produces clothing that combines the elegance and luxury of handmade knitwear with the accessibility of ready to wear attire. Her inspiration comes from the love of nature. Amanda’s creations utilize a variety of yarns that are eco-friendly and come from naturally sustainable resources. Amanda’s designs bring comfortable clothing to a new level of fashion and sophistication.
Stearns has always loved the creative arts. At the age of 8, she started creating knitted scarfs and afghans. A summer pre college program at the Columbus College of Art and Design piqued her interest in Fashion Design. Her focus on knitwear is bolstered by her interest in tactile stimulation of various fabrics and yarns, creating a line of clothing that is both comfortable yet fashionable. Stearns and Co. will develop into a line, which is flattering, fashionable, and eco-friendly. Two early designs from this collection were featured at the 2014 Evening of Innovation Gala for design excellence.
Gabrielle Mandel is a highly creative individual who fosters her talent through her curiosity. After graduating at the top of her class with a degree in fashion design at Syracuse University, with a minor in creative writing and video art, she moved to New York City to continue her career. Working with the esteemed design teams of brands like Dylan and Rose, J. Crew, Rebecca Minkoff, and Nicki Minaj for Shop Your Way, Gabrielle was inspired to create her own line of apparel. Supra Endura, Gabrielle’s first forage into fashion entrepreneurship, is a line of womenswear inspired by social art.
Designer Jovan O’Connor is a Philadelphia native whose fashion influences come from daily observance of the vibrant scenes of Philadelphia’s diverse culture. As a child, Jovan always had the desire to start her own fashion line. Following her dream, Jovan attended Philadelphia University where she obtained a B.S. in Fashion Design in 2006. During her junior year, Jovan studied a semester abroad in Italy at the American University of Rome. She traveled throughout Italy and Europe, and was inspired by the architecture and sculptures of ancient structures. While she was still a senior, Jovan was commissioned to design a gown for Philly’s own Patti LaBelle, which established her as an independent custom designer. After graduation, Jovan continued to build her clientele throughout the Philadelphia area, freelancing as a stylist and designing custom gowns and ensembles for special occasions. In 2011, Jovan opened a design studio which would ultimately serve as a house for her namesake line. As a custom designer, Jovan was able to get a feel for the needs of her clients and felt that it was time to create a line that provided a mixture of perfect pieces for every occasion. In 2013, after deciding to return to her original dream, Jovan set out to launch her clothing line, Jovan O’Connor Inc.
Rebeca Imperiano was born in a region with an extreme wealth of cultures, colors, sounds and smells in Brazil. Her relationship with fashion started at an early age through her fashion designer and entrepreneur mother who has a successful evening and wedding gown business in her hometown. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and urbanism, but only with her Master’s degree in fashion design from Drexel University, she felt complete as a designer, and now she is capable of imagining and materializing anything from a city to a garment, from a building to an accessory, crossing scale boundaries. She interned at Frank Agostino, a highly regarded couture company in the Main Line of Philadelphia and won the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) 2013 ‘Approved’ certificate among other awards at the Drexel Fashion Show including the BCBG Max Azria and Emily Lung Accessory Award and the Pearl Miller Carpel Award.
Sherrill Mosee, founder and inventor of MinkeeBlue, set out to solve a problem she calls the ‘overload bag syndrome.’ “It’s common to see women, including myself, carrying two or three bags at a time—a purse, laptop bag and lunch bag,” says Mosee. “Add motherhood and it’s possible to see a fourth bag—the diaper bag.” Mosee wanted to create a fashionable handbag for busy professional women whose role changes throughout the day—caregiver, employee, traveler and fitness enthusiast. “One bag will do with a MinkeeBlue,” says Mosee. Sherrill Mosee is the former president of Family Care Solutions, a nonprofit organization she founded to promote higher education among low-income women with children. The organization awarded over $3 million in child care scholarships to help women with children stay in school and graduate earning a college degree. She came up with the idea for MinkeeBlue after seeing young moms struggle with their purses, diaper bags and book bags. Mosee put her formal education—a degree in engineering—to work, and came up with the patent pending design. She describes MinkeeBlue as a reflection of who we are and what we do in our daily lives. Mosee is excited to introduce MinkeeBlue Baby and MinkeeBlue Travel to women around the world.
Terese Brown spent her early years growing up in Jamaica and immigrated to the US with parents who supported her creativity and love for fashion even at a young age. For 20 years, Brown lived in New York, putting her array of talents in fashion design, sales, and buying and merchandising combined with business management to use. In 2010, Brown began creating a mix of one-of-a-kind dresses and contemporary separates during her program in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree that same year. In 2011, Brown launched her label and namesake, Terese Sydonna™ to the public. Brown uses world travel experiences as part of her inspiration combined with her experience working abroad alongside artisans in Europe and Africa. Additionally, Terese attended Lafayette College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics & Business and Studio Art, along with Honors in Studio Art in 2007. Lafayette helped Brown craft and define her signature style as a designer, with the introduction of abstract art and silk-screen printing.
Whimsical, feminine, sophisticated, modern. Victoria Wright is a Philadelphia based designer committed to providing unique designs catered to the individuality of each woman’s style. With a love of world travel, embellishment, couture and vintage, she finds inspiration in all corners of the Earth. With her amalgamation of diverse fabrics, unique hand worked embellishments, and vintage references, she offers a singular point of view.
Melissa Choi & Pia Panaligan
Melissa Choi and Pia Panaligan met in fashion illustration class at Philadelphia University in 2004 as Fashion Design majors. Many all-nighters in the sewing lab working on their collections for school quickly bonded them together as they talked about designing a clothing line together. Fast forward to 2012, after Pia had been working as a stylist for companies such as Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, David’s Bridal and Melissa had designed for Free People and lived and worked with factories in India, they realized it was the time to merge their creativity and pursue their dream of designing a clothing line together. Senpai + Kohai was launched in fall 2012, turning out their first collection in just 3 months.
Trisha Williams created the Trisha Will collection to pay homage to her Barbadian heritage and draws inspiration from her trips to her parents’ native Caribbean homeland. Launched in spring of 2012, Williams’s fabrication combinations and cutting-edge construction pull heavily from her experience of balancing the calm of island life with the structure and simplicity of New York fashion. Primarily working with structured wovens, she releases seasonal collections that perfectly balance adaptability with distinction. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Williams worked with major corporate retailers such as Victoria s Secret, Macy s, and Saks Fifth Avenue after receiving her B.S. in Fashion Design from Syracuse University.
Annina King has been the owner and sole designer of custom fashion atelier, Granaté Couture, LLC since 2007, and is now launching Granaté Prêt, her first limited-edition artisanal ready-to-wear collection. Annina’s education includes a BA in History from Bryn Athyn College of the New Church, an MS in Fashion Design from Drexel University (winning awards with her graduate bridal collection), and two certificates from Maison Sapho Couture school in New York City. She has taken many master classes including Arts of Fashion classes in Paris where she was particularly struck with the concept of artisanal handcrafted limited-edition fashion. She has also worked in three historic costume collections, gleaning a first-hand knowledge of techniques used in the past.
Leah D graduated The Art Institute of Philadelphia with a degree in fashion design. During college she had the opportunity to intern with the Betsey Johnson showroom in New York, assisting with her 2009 collection. After her internship, she returned to Philadelphia with everything she learned and wants to show the world that fashion can be fun and exciting. Pretty Pretty Rebel launched in 2011, and in just two short years, she had the opportunity to be a nominee for Philadelphia s Fashion Designer of the Year for the RAW awards, present her collections at NY Fashion Week and Philly Fashion Week along with being chosen to participate in Teen Vogue’s 2012 Business Workshop where she was mentored by Philip Lim, Erin Fetherston, and Grace Coddington.
Devin Anne Pauley is sole designer and owner of Morgia Bridal Couture in Philadelphia. Devin graduated in 2011 from Moore College of Art and Design with a BFA in fashion design and a minor in textile design. Devin has built her business part time while working full time at Kevin O’ Brien Studio. She is now full-time in her business.
Owner and Sole Designer of D’AGOSTINO Fashion Textile Design, Melissa D’Agostino possesses a BFA in Sculptural Fine Arts and a Minor in Textiles from Moore College of Art and Design, 2002. Her pursuits through college as well as post-graduate experience of Environmental Art and Alternative Architecture provides the background to develop a business with sustainable goals and practices. D’AGOSTINO Fashion Textile Design operates as a home-based business since 2009 where D’Agostino independently creates slow fashion collections; working directly with clients, creating one garment at a time. The D’Agostino collection begins with her artistic skill developing hand-made, hand-dyed print designs and techniques that create the fabric for a dynamic clothing and accessory line. D’Agostino’s vision has received recognition from Women’s Opportunity Resource Center, winning first prize in a Business Plan Competition as well as the Community Impact Award for her custom design work in May 2011. D’Agostino respects the hand-made movement, and has up to the recent acceptance of the Designer-in Residence position, built her business part-time while employed as a hand block fabric printer at Galbraith and Paul Textile and Lighting Studio. Dedicated to the creative studio practice she raises awareness for the slow growth fashion movement by being a member of local groups and national organizations. Her involvement in the Philadelphia fiber arts community focuses on collaborative initiatives such as “3 by Three,” a design collective initiated in January 2010. She is also an active member of the Philadelphia Guild for Handweavers since 2005. D’AGOSTINO Fashion Textile Design values her membership with the National Association of Sustainable Fashion Design as well as the Manufacturing Alliance of Philadelphia.
While still in school Kaitlyn received numerous awards for her clothing designs. In April 2011 she was awarded the Young Spirit Award for Excellence in Childrenswear at Philadelphia University’s annual spring fashion show. In April 2011 she showed her Springtime in Paris dress in the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts fashion show held at the Kimmel Center. That same dress was also displayed at the Philadelphia International Flower Show in March 2011. After graduating from Philadelphia University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Design, Kaitlyn was chosen as a finalist for the 2011 Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA). After taking 1st place in her category for Best Student Made Handbag Inspired by the Colors of Vitaminwater, Kaitlyn launched her company “Kaitlyn Doherty” in her hometown of Horsham, PA, and her unique debut collection, inspired by the architecture she came to love during her time spent in Prague. In addition to the IHDA win, one of her greatest achievements came in August 2010 when she was chosen to represent Philadelphia University and participate as one of six student designers in Project OR. Project OR is a biannual competition held during the Outdoor Retailer Market in Salt Lake City, UT. Challenged to design and construct a women’s bicycling jacket in 48 hours, Kaitlyn drew inspiration from time spent with her family along East Coast beaches to achieve the People’s Choice Award and 1st Runner Up for her Easy Rider jacket. Kaitlyn also studied fashion design and illustration while overseas in Rome, Italy during the fall 2010 semester of her junior year. While abroad she travelled throughout Italy from Capri, to Florence, Milan, and Venice, as well as to other countries including Greece and the Czech Republic. Kaitlyn is often inspired by the architecture of each place she travels, which is reflected in the aesthetic she infuses into each of her designs.
Autumn Kietponglert is an award-winning Philadelphia-based independent fashion designer whose work has been shown at Philadelphia Fashion Week, Couture Fashion Week (NYC), Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (NYC) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She has also shown in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago and has had art exhibitions in Florence Italy and Philadelphia PA. Editorials featuring her designs, styling and writing have been published internationally in France, Germany and the UK. She has Bachelors in Fibers from The University of the Arts and a Masters Degree from Drexel University in Fashion Design. In addition, she has studied in Florence Italy, New York and Paris.
Latifat Obajinmi and Moriamo Johnson
Aso Damisi (ah-SHAW DAH-me-see) creates sophisticated and feminine silhouettes for the bold and beautiful woman using unique and vibrant textiles. The company was created by two sisters, Latifat and Moriamo. Both sisters were born in Nigeria, and they relocated to the United States at a very young age with their family. Moriamo and Latifat originated from the Yoruba-speaking tribe in the West African nation. In the Yoruba language, “Aso” means cloth or clothing and “Damisi” means prosperity. The colorfulness, vibrancy, and styles of the clothing worn hold significance as they can represent social standing, age, tribal orientation and marital status. The talented duo are self-taught designers. They both share true passion for fashion and entrepreneurship.