Okay, so I know you’re anxious to see the second half of the designers, but first I have to gush a bit about the show (if you missed the first half, follow this link). So many cool people showed up! The people who came to attend, the people involved with the show – models, makeup artists, OFN volunteers, DESIGNERS – everyone rocked their style (I should hope so, at a fashion show) and looked divine. The event sold out well before Urban Stitch’s door opened, and a warm vibe of creativity took over well before the door opened, too. Mingling and canoodling went down, and, lucky me, I got to interview some of designers, because I’m press, you know…no big deal.
My press status also got me a super up-close, models-comin’-straight-for-me seat with a neon sign that read ‘Reserved for Wear Your Voice’ alongside Urban Stitch owner, Alanna Rayford, and Wear Your Voice founder and Editor In Chief, Ravneet Vohra…cause that’s how Wear Your Voice rolls these days. That’s right.
I absolutely loved that for the first half of the runway show (pre-intermission), people lined up on17th St., spilling off Broadway towards Telegraph to watch the show from the street. BTW: In case you di’int know, Urban Stitch that awesome-looking boutique with the incredible fashions you spotted up on the second floor, between Telegraph and Broadway (that spot that used to be a hair salon). And if don’t know, now ya know.
Anyways, it was a fantastic show with fly-as-hell people, and the trunk show gave the engaging attendees the opportunity to meet and buy clothes from the indie designers. Yay!
Now finally, let’s get on with our coverage of the post-intermission indie designers, shall we?
Heather Who designer, Heather Habig, draws her inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe. Her designs exude class and composure, and she aims to help you become your own icon.
This silk tweed pencil skirt and cropped swing coat almost make me wish I had a fancy job in the city. But fuck that – I have my dream job working for the dopest online magazine around about our beloved Oakland – and I get to wear Heather Who or whomever I choose to work! Yeah!
Don’t quite have your shit together yet? Don yourself in Heather Who, and you’ll fool them all (even your inner self-saboteur).
Surprise, surprise – the classic, Suzy Perette-esque dress worn by Heather’s model is actually comprised of separates; a silk cowl top tucked into a full, cinch-waisted taffeta skirt, wrapped up with a feisty sash. Way to put a new spin on Dior’s “New Look” while giving your customer a few new, versatile garments, Heather!
You can visit Heather’s studio in San Francisco to purchase items from her limited-edition ready-to-wear line, or you can collaborate with her to create your own custom garment. Let Heather bring out your inner icon!
Lev Mandel began his career as a designer with the intention of getting into menswear, but then he learned to sew a hell of a circle skirt, and thus spawned Monarch Couture.
Lev’s circle skirt muse gives each skirt a name. He paired his black Sadie Circle Skirt, shown above, with his Seven-Pleat Tuxedo Shirt, and his Iris Circle Skirt, show below, with his Pleated Ruffle Tuxedo Shirt.
The Monarch Manifesto reads, “We believe clothes should represent a way of living in addition to a way of dressing. With our first collection we strive to represent freedom and spontaneity through our classically playful circle skirt.”
I love the way Lev styled his circle skirts and tuxedo shirts with docs – kind of like pairing a leather jacket with a tutu – froufrou with a touch of tough – bold and multi-faceted, just like an Oakland girl oozing style and gumption.
The sexy cutouts on this black ultrasuede Uma skirt will zig-zag through on-lookers’ imaginations.
Get your prance on and they won’t want to keep their pants on – soon enough, that Five-Pleat Bib Tuxedo Shirt will be on your admirer’s imaginary floor.
It’s safe to assume Lev Mandel will eventually make his way to menswear, and by the look of his strong-enough-for-a-man-but-ph-balanced-for-a-woman tuxedo shirts, it’ll be dapper as hell. But hopefully he’ll keep producing his circle skirts for us flirty girls, too.
Oh, Altana Danzhalova…just dreamy. First of all, her name sounds like magic. More importantly, her dresses will abracadabra you into a lucid dream fairytale!
This gorgeous coral, pencil skirted dress reeks of sophistication. The brocade belt is constructed with boning and crinoline, and those winged cap sleeves will astral project you straight into an arabesque alternate Universe.
Originally from Siberia, Altana organically incorporates her ethnic flavor into her designs. Yep, Siberia. Look into it.
Who doesn’t love a leather jacket with a fancy-schmancy cocktail dress, tell me, who?!
The corseted bodice and wool/lycra blend pencil skirt with peplum make this dress flattering on almost any body-type.
The custom bright red leather belt adds just the right spice, and I can’t get enough of that exposed zipper!
Okay, princessa, here’s your dress. You’re too old for the prom, let alone a Quinceañera, but you need your tiered peplum with tulle fix. Well, lady, Miss Danzhalova’s your girl.
Altana moved to San Francisco from St. Petersburg five years ago to learn English, then pursued her passion in fashion school. She worked in New York’s fashion district for a time, and now, back in San Francisco, her work in the fashion industry ranges from creating bespoke garments to doing custom alterations of designer clothing to costume design for Stanford University’s Modern Dance department. “Her first collection is a representation of her personal style, classic and sophisticated, but with a touch of funk, boho, and whimsy.”
A woman of many talents, Altana makes jewelry and accessories in addition to her beautiful dresses. All headpieces styled with her dresses are handmade by the designer herself. AND she did hair for all the models in the show – a woman of many talents!
Altana explains, “I’m a very shy designer, so I try to let my designs speak for themselves”. Well, Altana, your designs speak very eloquently. Congratulations on a stunning collection – I can’t wait to see the rest!
Benjamin Ellis showed an interest in fashion when he first began drawing at the age of three! He was born and raised in Alaska, but has lived and traveled extensively in the US and abroad. He created, directed, and exhibited in various fashion events in Alaska and on the Big Island of Hawai`i. Benjamin moved back to the Bay after a four year stint in Colombia, started the Menswear program at the Academy of Art University, and couldn’t be happier with his decision.
The look that Benjamin showed at ‘Make It Reign’ was inspired by the recent homophobic remarks made by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. The words on the shirt are a play on Robertson’s words about the creation of life, and the use of camouflage alludes to the Duck Dynasty cast members’ attire.
Without a doubt, Benjamin’s model was one of the crowd favorites.
Benjamin created this look in attempt to “add to the conversation and get Phil and others with like mind-sets to see that ultimately we are your brothers and we are your sist-AHZ!” Here’s hoping!
Margarette Laizure believes each design should be as unique as the individual wearing it, and let me just say, the people wearing her clothes must be adorable, because her garments are cutey-cute-cute!
How much do I want to wear this tunic, legging, headband look to a bowling alley?!
This adorable beachy minidress can also be worn as a skirt – as my mom would say, “a two-fer”!
Margarette lives in Oakland, where she creates her one-of-a-kind fashions out of sustainable fabrics.
Margarette draws inspiration from nature’s colors and shapes in the changing season. Lucky us, here in Oakland, these three looks can be worn for three seasons.
Field Day is perhaps the most aptly named fashion lines ever – not in the tug-of-war, egg drop, three-legged race sense – these designs are perfect for frolicking in a field on a lovely in every way kind of day.
Another shining example of a conscious Oakland fashion line, Field Day is made entirely from sustainable fabrics in downtown Oakland, and everyone who sews for the line makes a living wage. The yellow and black Queen’s dress shown above was made in small batches from dead stock materials.
The sheet dress is Field Day’s signature design. Made from vintage sheets dyed in small batches, then whipped into adorable frocks, these dress are perfect for trottin’ your charming ass around town.
Field Day designer, Trinity Cross, designs her dresses with elastic thread smocked backs to allow for eatin’, drinkin’, and livin’.
In late 2013 Field Day designer, Trinity Cross, opened her own boutique, Field Day and Friends, located at 329 19th Street in Downtown Oakland, between Harrison and Webster. Each month she features a different designer and artist, with openings popping off every First Friday – drop by, have a beverage, get your picture taken in a professional photo booth, and be sure to keep your eye for some of the indie designers from ‘Make It Reign’!
The cute-as-a-bug’s-ear Francesca jumper show above is constructed from reclaimed materials. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a good suspender?
In order to help promote the designers she features at Field Day and Friends, Trinity organizes professional photo shoots, providing them with clean, eye-catching images for their website and other advertisement opportunities. Way to promote your peers, Trinity!
Inspired by the classic French Patisserie, Tyese Cooper blends forward thinking and a vintage feel to create her ultra-classy garments.
Tyese chooses her fabrics very consciously in order to achieve her edgy meets classic style. She used creme silk shantung for her Origami dress and those beautiful high-waisted pants shown below.
And what type of fabric did she use for that jacket with the amazing zipper detail on the sleeve, you ask? Neoprene. That’s right, wetsuit material.
Tyese is currently enrolled in the Academy of Art’s Fashion Design program, and will graduate in 2016. In addition to creating her own designs, she works as a personal stylist and runs ‘Off the Grid’ workshops, teaching the basics of style.
Tyese says, “I help inspire people to think differently about what they are wearing and how they are wearing it. I was influenced by so much…living in Paris, shopping in Brazil, a grandmothers thrift store touch, dad’s creative redesigning spirit and mom’s nagging designer taste. I believe that as you walk down the street, your personality should show without you uttering even one word.”
What an exquisite way to end the show – a woman on the runway whose amazing personality shows without an utterance.
Not only does Tyese wear her voice, she enables other women to wear their voices, too.
– All images by Monica Payne
– Makeup by Janny Zheng and Kristine Rose Raqueno
– Hair by Altana Danzhalova
–Behind the scenes coordination by Jules
– Show curated by LaChe Milo
– Show emceed by DeAngela Cooks
– Show deejayed by Triangle Man
In case you missed Part 1 of our coverage, click here!