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Meet the top designers of Fashion Week San Diego
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Meet the top designers of Fashion Week San Diego

The highly-anticipated Fashion Week San Diego hits the runway Oct. 1-4 in an all-new open-air venue in La Jolla. Twenty-four designers are debuting their 2016 spring and summer collections throughout the weekend, showcasing womenswear, menswear, kids, accessories and much more.
We got to know six of the top designers to find out more about their collections before the big reveal.
When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
I have always had an interest in fashion and design from a very young age. I pursued it as a career after going to college to become an X-ray technologist. I found that after being in the medical field for many years, it wasn't the right environment for me to commit to as a lifelong career, and that I needed to pursue my creativity full-time.
What is one of your proudest moments or collections?
This would have to be my proudest collection, since it’s my first and it has been many years in the making. My proudest moment had to be seeing my first look in "New York Times Fashion Magazine," NYT Instagram with over 6,800 likes and on "The Zoe Report," which voted it among the best street wear looks of Coachella 2015.
Describe your design style and customer. Who are you designing for?
My design style is simple pieces for the modern girl/guy, man/woman on-the-go or traveler who likes to easily make a statement by their wardrobe and what they wear. My collection is based on hi-resolution photo prints and digital designs that I have developed into print designs for fabric that is washable and wrinkle-free. All of my designs are photographs and radiographs (X-rays) from my personal collection that has manifested over the years. My prints are bold and bright and can be easily mixed into your existing wardrobe. My designs are for the person who loves color, nature and a little of the unknown or eccentric.
What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
My ultimate goal as a designer is to become a known brand.
What are some of the pieces that you will be showing at Fashion Week San Diego 2015?
Some of the pieces I will be showing at FWSD this year will be the look that was featured in “New York Times Fashion,” and I am very excited to see our very own Allison Andrews in my first ever maternity look that features a photo print design of her dogs. She will wear it for the Haute Dog Runway Show Saturday, Oct. 3, which is also exciting since it is the night of my show.
When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
I first became interested in fashion and design when I was 12 years old. I watched my mother sew, and that’s how I learned how to use a sewing machine. As a professional ballroom dancer during my teens, I started to make my own gowns to wear for competitions.
Was there a moment when you decided this is something you would commit to full-time?
In November 2014, I attended a celebrity poker tournament in Las Vegas and wore my first evening gown. I got so much positive feedback and offers to buy the gown from the event’s A-list attendees that night. That’s when and how NApostol Couture was born.
What is one of your proudest moments or collections?
My proudest moment to date is seeing my gowns on the runway for the first time and the reaction my work got from the audience.
Describe your design style and customer. Who are you designing for?
My design style is “sensual elegance.” My customer is a confident, social, fashionable woman. She is daring and high-class. Through my work, I strive to empower every woman to own her sensuality by engaging into her confidence and inner goddess.
What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
My ultimate goal is to create couture gowns that are inspired by trends that I wear myself. I want each of my gowns to be a true reflection of me and my style.
What are some of the pieces that you will be showing at San Diego Fashion Week 2015?
I am ecstatic for my first-ever San Diego Fashion Week and even more thrilled to be the finale designer with my Goddess Collection. I will be showing a range of her handmade couture evening gowns from my Goddess Collection.
When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
We have always had an interest in fashion, but never thought we would become designers. We are childhood friends. Growing up, we wore uniforms to school, so it was always fun to dress up during the weekends. Back then, our conversations covered a lot of fashion and we would love to go window shopping and try on different outfits. Two years ago we started seeing a lot of African print in fashion, and we started talking about how it would be awesome to produce some modern designs using our traditional African print. The idea became reality and fashion has taken over our lives. We designed our first collection which is currently on our website, and we have been passionately working on our second line which will be featured on the Fashion Week San Diego (FWSD) 2015 runway.
Was there a moment when you decided this is something you would commit to full-time?
We are both still working full time in our regular jobs. We are late bloomers in the fashion industry with kids and lots of other responsibilities. We are hoping that soon we can be able to commit fully to just designing. The reality of this business is it takes time for people to trust a brand, but we are here for the long haul and every extra minute of ours is being taken over by our passion for designing and nurturing our brand.
What is one of your proudest moments or collections?
Since we are so new to the fashion scene, we have experienced several proud moments. But the very first experience was when we saw our very first design come to life. That moment gave us the reassurance that we are capable of being in the industry. In July, our mini FWSD informal runway event at The Patio on Goldfinch was a major moment. Seeing the models in our outfits sent chills down our spines. We just finished working on our look book and that was another proud moment, seeing our new designs on these gorgeous models and knowing that the looks will be seen by thousands of people during FWSD is surreal. Our spring 2016 collection is definitely a big achievement; we can already see the growth in our designs. We can't wait to see how the collection will be received.
Describe your design style and customer. Who are you designing for?
Our design style is a blend of vibrant African print with modern style. We create practical outfits that are multifunctional; they can be worn from day to night. They are elegant enough for the office but flexible enough to be worn for an outing in the evening. Our customer is ambitious, stylish, and socially conscious. She wants to stand out in a crowd, as our pieces are produced in very limited quantities. Our clothes are designed here in the U.S. but produced in Africa, with materials that are also sourced there. When our customer buys from us, she is making a socially conscious decision to contribute to the economic development of our partners on the ground.

photo

photo: formal dress shops sydney

What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
Our goal as designers is to create timeless pieces that will be loved by our customers, while also giving back to the African continent, namely the workers tailoring and managing our products. We are going against the thread by producing in Africa. We want to show that Africa has a lot to offer and has the potential to become the next fashion manufacturing hub. We realize it requires a creative way of making it all work and we are willing to take on that challenge.
What are some of the pieces that you will be showing at San Diego Fashion Week?
We have a 10-look collection that we are very excited about. Expect bold colors, sultry and flair. Be on the lookout for one of our favorites - The Neli Cape. We have some really exquisite pieces that we can't wait to showcase. See you on the runway!
When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
I remember on my eighth birthday receiving my very first sewing machine and Barbie fashion design computer program. Since then, I’ve been hooked on sewing and fashion designers.
Was there a moment when you decided this is something you would commit to full-time?
Three years ago, I had realized that being a designer is a really a big part of who I am and there isn’t anything else I would rather do. With the demands for my brand at an all-time high, I decided to go full-time.
What is one of your proudest moments or collections?
Last December, when I was able to raise money and clothing for San Diego Rescue Mission and Polinsky’s children’s center and having my 2014 Fashion Week San Diego collection walk the runway.
Describe your design style and customer. Who are you designing for?
My designs are a feminine traditional vintage feel with fresh, hip, new-age twist, and I truly feel that you can't beat high quality, unique fabric that is comfortable to the touch. It is at the utmost importance to me that my clients feel comfortable in my designs and in their own skin, to truly look and feel amazing inside and out. My brand focuses on a woman who loves to feel feminine, likes color and doesn’t mind standing out in a crowed.
What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
My ambition is to, one day soon, open up a store and to sell, making all sizes available, in other boutiques and large stores. I plan to pay it forward by regularly donating a percentage of proceeds to charities that are near and dear to my heart. I also plan to remain a true American brand. In the future I plan on manufacturing all of my designs in the continental U.S. to keep here or bring back some of those lost jobs that are often outsourced in this industry.
What are some of the pieces that you will be showing at Fashion Week San Diego 2015?
This year’s collection focuses on a lot of feminine fun looks. The looks range from upscale dresses to a night on-the-town. This year I am also doing children’s wear, and the fabrics are fun and full of color with a few sparkles and here and there.
When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
It was not until I went to a swap meet in Point Loma years ago, and saw a beautiful broken bracelet that shined and sparkled in the metals. That is when I first learned of Swarovski Crystal, though I had no clue what a bead was! From that point on I searched for that specific bead throughout San Diego. Upon searching for this item I fell in love with beads, gemstones and other jewelry making materials. This is when I truly began designing jewelry for my family and friends as a hobby.
Was there a moment when you decided this is something you would commit to full-time?
Ironically, my company was operated as a “hobby” according to the IRS. It was not until May of 2015 did I go full time and full force, putting myself out there and not playing it safe. I now have a LLC and it really created the necessity for me to work hard and commit to working it full time in order to reach optimal success and to be able afford a lifestyle doing what I love.
What is one of your proudest moments or collections?
My proudest moment as a designer was having the opportunity to design for two anchor women presenting awards at the Emmy’s Awards this past June. It was truly surreal when I received a photo from one of the anchors on the official Emmy’s red carpet after exclaiming how much she loved her items. It gave me a sense of being closer to my goals.
My proudest collection was developing an exclusive Swarovski line for the Bazaar Store at Harrah’s Resort and Casino this past month. It was a lot of hard work in a short amount of time but has been the highlight of my newly founded success thus far. During this project I showed myself I could create over ninety-five items within two and half weeks and still conduct life with demands of family and children.
Describe your design style and customer.
One noticeable attribute among day and night looks with GFASH is the “bling” factor. Just about all designs have a hint of shimmer and some multiple functionality. Bold statement pieces is what GFASH is noticed for during the runway and trunk shows. My customer is the type of person who enjoys jewelry that can transform from day to night and likes to feel confident in what she is wearing. The spirit of GFASH is confidence and I seek to bring that out in my designs especially for those who are wearing the items to special events.
Who are you designing for?
I love the "Real Housewives of Atlanta," Orange County, Beverly Hills… any city! With that said, GFASH’s target audience is comprised of married and single power women, entertainers, celebrities, executives and just simply fabulous ladies; ages 18-45 that live in upscale cities, who attend elegant events and love something new. My girl loves to shop, is fashion-conscious and is up-to-date with what is trending on the red carpet.
What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
My ultimate goal is to expand my business to other aspects of retail and community. I would love to be known as a provider of high-end costume jewelry distributed in stores such as Bloomindales while being worn on high-profile women.
I would also like to be lucrative enough to form a 501 C3 Non Profit business that offers after school programs for children 9–16 years old. The program will be inspired by fashion/designing and include self-esteem building and entrepreneurship mentoring.
What are some of the pieces that you will be showing at San Diego Fashion Week 2015?
My Spring 2016 collection is inspired by the many red carpet events that celebrities and reality stars attend. I always refer to the “The Real Housewives” because it is a reality show in which there are real women who find a reason to always look glamorous even if just going to pick up a child from school. This collection can be worn virtually any season due to the color scheme and style. It is composed of large sparkling Swarovski and Austrian crystal and is composed of several statement earrings, necklaces and bracelets and rings. I am expecting success and am excited for what opportunities are ahead.
When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
I started sewing at the age of eight and was making my own clothes in high school. I attended UCSD and studied visual arts and photography, but did not get into fashion until recently. I created a gown for my sister last year for a benefit event and it was a hit. That was when I started to feel like I can do this professionally.
Was there a moment when you decided this is something you would commit to full-time?
Since I started with Fashion Week San Diego, I have committed more than full-time to create my collection. I want something to showcase not just my creativity, but a point of view of a San Diegan.
What is one of your proudest moments or collections?
This collection I am showing for FWSD is my most proud body of work. Not only because I have work so hard for it, but also because it represents who I am as a designer. The collection is titled "Sea of Dreams" and comprises of dreamy couture gowns as well as truly avant garde dresses.
Describe your design style and customer. Who are you designing for?
I am first and foremost an artist. My work is whimsical, ethereal and a bit eccentric. It takes an outstanding woman to demand a Nolan Dean original. But as you can see from my collection, women of all ages and ethnicity look great in a Nolan Dean.
What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
As of this moment, I am only doing one of a kind couture pieces, but I envision a day where I can produce bigger lines to reach a wider audience. Every woman (as well as some men) deserves beautiful dresses.
What are some of the pieces that you will be showing at San Diego Fashion Week 2015?
I will be showing lots of couture gowns in some very unexpected material.
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