AMEX OPEN RISING STARS OF FASHION

I got the phone call a month ago to confirm that I was one of the three handbag designers chosen for the American Express Open Rising Stars of Fashion Competition.  I was so nervous and excited at the same time but knew this was an opportunity I could not pass up.

 

Three up-and-coming handbag designers from New York flew to Las Vegas to individually design and create a unique handbag within the time frame of MAGIC Market Week.  Starting on August 19th, we went through an intense three days of sketching, sewing, and ultimately constructing a masterpiece LIVE.  American Express Open set up a beautiful stage for us to interact with buyers, customers, and fashion influencers which was such an experience and reward on its own.

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The theme description for the competition was RETRO PROVEN NEWNESS.  The judging panel evaluated each of the designer’s final product based on the following criteria - Originality, Craftsmanship, Marketability, and Theme Integration.

Retro Proven Newness sparked the 1960’s on my mind, combined with aspects of today and tomorrow.  I love the swinging 60’s Mod-movement and the French film cover ‘Who Are you Polly Maggoo?’ with its stimulating visuals of black and white stripes.  I interpreted this look with zebra printed haircalf leather creating abstract black and white stripes paired with a maroon croc-embossed leather and black calf.  I chose a classic handbag shape that I could imagine being worn by Betty, Peggy, Megan, or Joan on Madmen.  I incorporated newness by adding three straps to allow the bag to be handheld, worn on your forearm, or as a shoulder bag that would incorporate a zebra Mohawk piece.  I wanted the bag to have a structural element like the 3D printed dress Dita Von Teese designed by Michael Schmidt.  And with that, I decided to name this the ‘Dita’ Shoulder Bag since she is a modern day muse with a great retro flair.

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The final bag was definitely a wow piece and I am happy to share that I was chosen as the winner of the American Express Open Rising Stars of Fashion Competition!!!  What an amazing opportunity and I would like to say congratulations to Kristine & Aimee, the other two fab designers for being part of this wonderful experience.  Lastly, a HUGE thank you to American Express Open and the incredible team that made this happen.

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