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Black Fashion Designers You Need to Know | Part II
20 Jul

Black Fashion Designers You Need to Know | Part II

In part one of our Black Fashion Designers You Need to Know series, we met some amazing fashion designers you may not have previously heard of. From Berny Martin at Catou to Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with AAKS and from Carlie Cushnie to Fe Noel, these fashion designers are bringing the heat to both the runway and print. Now, it’s time to continue our list of the black fashion designers you should know–let’s dive in!   Laquan Smith Laquan Smith started his brand in 2013 when he was just 21 years old. He learned patternmaking and sewing from his grandmother and developed a passion for design. Laquan Smith loves glamour and he creates garments with an amazing attention to detail from his studio in Long...
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8 Jul

Melissa Lockwood | Garments Made from Salvaged Fabrics

Sustainable fashion is a hot topic in the industry right now–and for good reason. The fashion industry alone is responsible for a staggering 10% of annual global carbon emissions. That's more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined(1). Additionally, nearly 60% of synthetic fabrics are made of fossil fuels and 85% of that material will end up in landfills, where it won't decay or decompose(2). As designer collection launches become more frequent than just seasonal, the problem is accelerating and designers are looking for ways to slow the damage it is causing the environment. Melissa Lockwood is one such designer.   Melissa Lockwood is a conceptual artist and the self-taught fashion designer behind IQTEST, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. A...
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1 Jul

Black Fashion Designers You Need to Know | Part I

You’ve added new books to your “to read” list. You’ve added social activism tasks to your “must-do” list. You’ve learned the names of all of the black representatives in your state. Now, it’s time to get familiar with the black designers who will have you looking fabulous the next time you’re ready to dress to impress. Ade Hassan Ade Hassan launched lingerie and hosiery company, Nubian Skin, in 2014. She wanted to fill a need for women with darker skin to have lingerie and hosiery with four skin tones to help women find their own “nude” color to wear under other garments.   Akosua Afriyie-Kumi Akosua Afriyie-Kumi founded AAKS to share weaving techniques from Ghana with the world at large, while also creating a sustainable...
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30 Jun

Wild Fashion | Creators Magazine

The following images and media are part of an editorial shoot for Creators Magazine and feature clothing by Midwestern designer Berny Martin of Catou.   Clothing provided by The Confessional Showroom NYC Designer: Catou Model: Livi Packard Photographer: Sophie Sahara Videographer: Brandon Giraldo Stylist: Anna Sproul Assistant Stylist: Dymond Holmes Makeup: Lauren Paige Producer: Lauren Kho...
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23 Jun

Give Me My Flowers While I Am Still Alive By Sean Patrick Watters

The following images are part of an editorial shoot for Ryker Magazine and feature clothing by Midwestern designer Berny Martin of Catou. To see the full shoot and learn more about its beautiful inspiration, click here. Clothing provided by The Confessional Showroom NYC Designer: Catou Photographer: Sean Patrick Watters Models: David de Jesus, Seth Hill, Gaël Carmans Agencies: Soul Artist Management & DNA Model Management Styling: Michael Stallings Floral arrangements: Emily Scott Retouching and layout: Marco Massa...
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12 Jun

While We’re Social Distancing, What’s Happening to Fashion?

I’m not even the least bit ashamed to admit that most of my fashion over the past three months has been with comfort in mind. In fact, between you and me, yesterday was the first time I’d left my home in those said months, and it was for a doctor appointment. While I’ve bought some new clothes, its been garments that are much more attuned to gardening and outdoor adventures with kids than my usual garb. I can’t be the only one with heels on timeout, and with boutiques largely still closed to the public, one has to ask: What have been the effects of COVID-19 on the fashion industry?   Boutiques Have Gone Online and into Exclusive Facebook Groups Many of the...
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28 May

Accessories Trends for Late Spring and Early Summer 2020

Accessories are the frosting to your outfit. They can switch something from a casual look to something more formal and polished. What should you consider adding to your accessories closet as we round out spring and move into summer? Here are some of the top items you should look for.   Face Masks   Image Source: Hollywood Reporter Face masks are here for the foreseeable, but you don’t have to settle for humdrum when making a statement that you care for others’ well-being. Matching your mask to your outfit or to the occasion is becoming more common. Dressing up for an anniversary date outdoors? Why not sport a mask made from faux-glitter cotton? Heading to a park for a quite picnic...
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1 May

Downsizing Your Wardrobe? Here’s What to Keep and What to Let Go

A lot of people aren’t just spring cleaning, they’re quarantine cleaning. If you find yourself among them, then you might be looking at an overstuffed closet wondering which pieces you should keep, which pieces you should store, and which pieces you should let go. Here’s a guide to help you make those tough decisions – especially helpful if you’ve been experiencing a bad case of decision fatigue. What to Let Go Letting go of things – especially if we’ve had them for a long time – can be difficult. I’m a big fan of starting with the hard things first. As you’re sorting through things, here’s a list of things to repurpose, recycle, sell or donate: Anything you haven’t worn in the...
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20 Apr

How to Style Tie Dye in 2020

Whether you create the tie-dyed garments on your own or you purchase them, tie dye is having a moment again. After receiving attention on the latest season of Project Runway, many fashionistas are stocking up on garments that have received this fabric treatment. Before you deck yourself out in head-to-toe starburst designs, it’s important to consider how best to wear your new tie-dyed garment.  Here are tips on how to best style tie dye and avoid looking like you’re wearing a costume.   Accessorize with Tie Dye When you don’t want to make too big of a splash, or if your office is more formal than most tie dye garments, consider accessorizing with tie dye. A cute tie dye tote or fun tie...
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27 Mar

Men’s Spring 2020 Wardrobe Trends

Last time, we talked about the trends for women that we’ll see this spring. Now, it’s time to talk about men’s spring wardrobe trends. If you’re ready to start rocking the looks that say, “warmer days are on their way,” then you’ll want to take a look at these 2020 men’s spring wardrobe trends. Utility   Photo: GQ   What’s better than a couple of pockets? Lots of pockets. The more pockets the better – and not just in terms of having room to stash items. We’re seeing lots of utility pieces – mainly jackets – coming down the runway this season. Not only is a good utility jacket a fashion statement, it’s a practical wardrobe piece.   Open Collars   ...
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6 Mar

A Dozen Women’s Spring Trends to Shop For in 2020

Despite the snow on the ground in some areas of the Midwest, spring is just around the corner. So put your puffer jacket and velvet details to the side for a minute and get ready to talk about what’s coming around the corner.   Crochet Photo: Filippo Fior/GettyImages   Crochet details are heating up the runways and print spreads as we head into spring. To make the crochet-trend workable, consider a crochet sweater over a cute camisole, crochet cardigan, or even crocheted hem on a skirt.   Leather/Vegan Leather Versace/GettyImages   Leather and vegan leather are showing up everywhere – from floor-length trenches to dresses made of the material. If you’d like to work this trend into your spring wardrobe, consider a...
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28 Feb

Shop Midwest: Lesley Jane

Located just north of Indianapolis is the quaint village of Zionsville. Bakeries, restaurants and retail shops line the charming brick streets, but you’d never guess that this small town is home to a boutique reminiscent of something you’d uncover in Paris. None the less, that’s exactly what Lesley Hunt has created. Inspired by her impeccably dressed grandmother, who was a dressmaker for more than 70 years, Lesley has an eye for fabric and fit, offering something truly unique to the Midwestern fashion scene. Her store, Lesley Jane, has an ever-changing collection featuring the latest trends bought in small quantities so you can be sure that your purchases are one-of-a-kind–and a visit to her store is a treat in itself! Let’s learn...
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21 Feb

Top 6 Evening Wear Trends from the 2020 Oscars

While many are still talking about the best and worst dressed stars gracing the 2020 Oscars red carpet, there’s room for a tangential discussion: trends in eveningwear. While few of us in the Midwest will wear a gown like Sandra Oh’s to galas and other black-tie events, we can still take inspiration from the event to use when selecting – or commissioning – our own gowns.   Sequins and Beading Bring the Bling     From Scarlett Johansson’s Oscar de la Renta gown to Brie Larson in Celine, the Oscars red carpet was filled with shimmer and shine. When it comes to sequins and beaded details, it’s most successful when the dress shape is more traditional – the more beads or sequins on the dress,...
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31 Jan

Shop Midwest: Lola Blu

The Midwest may not be known for fashion, but it is chock full of amazing designers, stylists, fashion influencers and small business owners–and when it comes to small businesses in fashion, boutiques are a fashion maven’s BFF. Their unique selections and affordable prices provide great style options for every budget, and offer easy access to fashion in even the smallest town. In the Shop Midwest series, we will uncover some of the Midwest’s hottest boutiques, so you’ll know where to find the latest styles, while also supporting local businesses–the best of both worlds! First up: Lola Blu Boutique, located just north of downtown Indianapolis in Broad Ripple Village.   Off the beaten path of Broad Ripple Avenue lies this hidden gem, in...
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14 Jan

New Year, New Style: Winter 2020 Trends for Men

Last week we took a look at the trends women need in their life this Winter, but today we’re switching gears and chronicling styles for the gentlemen. No surprise here, suits and outerwear reigned on the runway this past Spring, so we’re breaking down each trend in more detail so you can easily pull it off in your everyday style. Let’s dive in!   Military Coats     While not particularly new to the scene this season, this trend is quickly becoming a Winter staple. From camo pieces to peacoats and bomber jackets, the military coat offers a piece for every individual style with an air of sophistication and touches of individuality in each pairing. We’re loving an all-black look featuring a longline peacoat, or...
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9 Jan

New Year, New Style: Winter 2020 Trends for Women

While we all begin dreaming of Spring just after the holidays, the truth is, it’s only been Winter for a few weeks and there are so many trends to be taken advantage of while it lasts! Forget everything you think you know about cold weather style, ladies (hello, oversized sweaters and leggings–we’re looking at you!), because we are reviewing some of the hottest trends, direct from the runway that can easily be translated in the Midwest. Let’s dig in!   Fuzzy, Furry Outerwear   Photo Source: Denim & Street When temperatures drop, there’s nothing better than cozy outerwear that makes you feel warm and toasty like a polar bear, and that’s what this trend is all about! Sherpa, shearling, wubby, teddy...
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17 Dec

Spotted: Discovery on the Runway

*This article was authored by Freelance Writer, Kate Mazzarella-Minshall, and was originally posted on No Strings Attached News. “Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them." — Marc Jacobs Photo Source: Esscence Taylor Instagram The dream of every model is to get discovered but have you ever wondered how some models actually get discovered? Becoming a model can be daunting. Even when you have the right looks, getting discovered is often challenging; it takes perseverance, discipline and an unwavering commitment but most importantly, the right contacts. It’s not always about being the most beautiful, it takes someone who sees the uniqueness in you and is willing to invest their time and energy in you to unlock your potential. Typically, each model's...
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9 Dec

Indy Highlights: Fashion for a Cause 2019

A few weeks ago, the Circle City’s best dressed and most influential assembled at the Indianapolis Artsgarden for Fashion for a Cause–a runway show featuring designers with ties to the Hoosier State–all in the support of this season’s charitable partner, the Fashion Community Foundation. Upon entering the beautiful, all-glass structure which sits over the busy streets of downtown Indianapolis, music was bumping and energy was high. Due to the later-than-usual date (mid-November), the Artsgarden was decked in gorgeous holiday garland and sparkling lights, adding an extra touch of excitement to the venue. Ticket lines were long, due to high demand, and there was standing room only, well before the start of the show. It was a full house and a...
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22 Nov

Backstage with DaNisha Greene

  When you watch a runway show, your attention is set on the designs coming down the catwalk, and rightfully so, but there is so much more that goes into runway production than first meets the eye–and a number of dedicated individuals backstage that made it all happen. We had the chance to catch up with Fashion Creative and Fashion Show Director, DaNisha Greene, to uncover how she made her way in fashion and what it takes to make it in the industry. Here’s what she had to say!   Hey, girl! Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us! You’ve worked with Midwest Fashion Week for many years but for those that don’t know you, why don’t you...
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20 Nov

On-stage with Allyson Pruitt

Over the last thirteen years, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with hundreds of talented individuals in the fashion industry. Some global, some national–and some local, who are from right here in the Midwest. For this season’s Fall show in Indianapolis, Fashion for a Cause, we will work with one such individual. Allyson Pruitt is a personal stylist, entertainer, blogger, and self-proclaimed “hype woman”, and we are lucky enough to once again have her as our emcee for this event. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Allyson attributes her love for entertaining to her charismatic and talented family who always supported her interest in singing and dancing as a child. As she grew older, Allyson began to uncover a love for...
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18 Nov

Designer Spotlight: Mau et Cie, LLC

The last feature in our Fall 2019 Designer Spotlight series is the uniquely talented, Maria Mauro of Mau et Cie, LLC. Getting an early start in fashion design at the age of eight when she first learned to sew, Maria later taught herself to crochet and fell deeply in love with the craft. Following her passion into adulthood, she began making garments for her children and decided to start her own label, Mau et Cie, LLC. With an incredible energy and love for the art of crochet, Maria crafts haute couture pieces that are truly one-of-a-kind. From gowns to tops and pant suits, her collection incorporates a strong design with intricate details that make her collection a must-see on the runway....
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15 Nov

Designer Spotlight: Elan Furs

The next label to be highlighted in our Designer Spotlight series, as well as to grace the runway at Midwest Fashion Week (MWFW) Indianapolis’ Fashion for a Cause event, is a staple in the midwest fashion industry, and a long-time partner of MWFW. With two locations in the region– one in Indianapolis and one in Morton Grove, Illinois–Elan Furs is a family owned business of more than four generations, dedicating it’s stores to luxury fur, leather and shearling designs that can’t be found anywhere else. With sizes ranging from petite to plus, there is truly something for everyone.   Aside from stocking their showrooms with pieces from esteemed designers such as Michael Kors, Zandra Rhodes, Pisani, Zuki and Louis Feraud, they also...
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14 Nov

Designer Spotlight: Catou

If you don’t know the next talent in our Designer Spotlight series, do you really even like fashion? We’re talking about Designer, Founder/Director of Midwest Fashion Week, and family man, Berny Martin of Catou. Dedicating his line to men and women’s professional wear, this fashion design icon has grown from Indiana-based designer to internationally known in just over a decade. Take a moment to learn a little more about Berny and his amazing accomplishments, and don’t forget to snag your tickets to Fashion for a Cause, taking place in Indianapolis on November 22, 2019.   Like many in the fashion industry, Berny’s love for design started early. He recalls crafting his first design as a child with the help of his grandmother:...
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12 Nov

Designer Spotlight: Dorshelle Guillaume

In our last Designer Spotlight, we introduced you to bridal designer Shawna Marino of Shawna M Designs and in this post we’ll meet another of the designers set to take the stage at MWFW’s Fashion for a Cause later this month. We’re talking about Dorshelle Guillaume, a Haitian American designer who dedicates her self-named fashion label to producing high quality, creative and detail-oriented products. Let’s learn a little more about this talented young professional!   As a young child Dorshelle discovered an interest in fashion design and decided by the age of nine that it was her calling. After years of taking community classes, she went on to graduate from Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts...
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7 Nov

Designer Spotlight: Shawna M Designs

As sweaters and leather leggings grace the streets this Fall, the runways have hit fast forward and jumped ahead to Spring/Summer 2020 collections, and this is especially true for Midwest Fashion Week as it returns to Indianapolis later this month. With a focus on custom, limited quantity bridal and formal wear, Indiana native and designer behind Shawna M Designs is just one creative set to show her new collection at Indy’s upcoming Fashion for a Cause event. It all began with a custom flower girl dress designed for her in her childhood and grew to become her very own private fashion label – take a moment to learn a little more about Shawna Marino!   After earning a double major from Ball...
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13 Oct

On Set with Carissa Lancaster

Since its inception in 2006, Midwest Fashion Week has provided an abundance of opportunities to individuals looking to get involved in the fashion industry in a region where it is otherwise hard to find. Indiana native, Carissa Lancaster, is one such individual. A small-town girl, now living out her dreams in New York, is just one example of the positive impact Midwest Fashion Week has had on not only those involved but the fashion industry at large. Let’s get to know her a little better and find out what she’s up to now! MDFW: Thanks for coming back to your roots and chatting with us today, Carissa! Can you tell our readers a little more about yourself? Carissa: Originally, I'm from a...
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22 Sep

Trend Spotter: What to wear for Fall 2019?

Days ahead of the official start of the fall season, pumpkin spice lattes are passing through drive-thru windows, and chunky cable knits and heeled booties are flying off the shelves. For the fashion-forward, these pieces may seem #basic and merely touch the surface of the season’s trend potential, but the hottest designers always have a new trick up their perfectly tailored sleeve. Want to set yourself apart this autumn? Take a look at these trends that are sure to take your style from lackluster to leading lady. Animal Print It’s safe to say that animal print is here to stay–and for good reason. While leopard and cheetah print are the safer choices of last year, zebra, snakeskin and tiger stripes take this...
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27 Apr

Paris Fall 2019 dates!

Midwest Fashion Week Announces Paris Fall 2019 dates! After a successful lineup of shows for the past three years, Midwest Fashion Week has released the dates of its Paris Fashion Week Fall 2019 season. The event is expected to be its largest season yet and will take place at a prestigious venue in the centre of the fashion capital. The Indianapolis based fashion production is looking forward to a great Fall fashion show with international designers and wants to continue expanding its reach and growing its audience. “The purpose of our Paris expansion is to highlight and introduce designers with the creative effort of the US fashion community to the world. Although ‘Midwest’ is in the name, our goal is to transform Midwest...
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30 Apr

Fashion Week Recap Post

The fashion presence in the Midwest is real and this organization works to make sure we are recognized in this space. I attended my first Midwest Fashion Week show in October last year. It was amazing to see these young designers displaying their creations on a runway. I kept thinking "How cool that they've envisioned this, sketched, created it, and brought it to life on this runway." This year, I had the opportunity to be a small part of the planning process. Berny Martin, founder of Midwest Fashion Week, contacted me after the show in October to share a little bit about his story. He also shared his passion for generating an understanding of cultures and places through style. I thought that...
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30 Apr

MY FIRST FASHION SHOW EXPERIENCE

On March 17, 2018 (St. Patrick’s Day) I took a trip to Chicago to meet the directors of Midwest Fashion Week in hopes of simply getting a press pass to blog about the show. Being an influencer at Fashion Week was one of my goals I set out for the year back in January. Little did I know I would be meeting Berny Martin, founder of the organization. Weeks passed, one thing led to another and I ended up not only receiving my press pass but becoming a member of the media team and hosting both shows on the @officialmidwestfashionweek account! Because of this I was able to share this experience with some of my fellow bloggers and very best friends!...
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10 Apr

Beautiful Difference | Diversity in Midwestern Industry

When you think of the Midwest, wholesome images of sprawling farms and quaint towns with small, family-owned businesses likely come to mind. But the truth is, there are a number of thriving cities with booming businesses, exciting nightlife, luxury lifestyle and niche industries–and fashion and beauty are no exception. And as diverse as these niches are, so are the people who dominate them. Far from the coasts which are typically known for diversity, the Midwest has also become a melting pot of race, ethnicity and heritage, creating a culture that is solely Middle America. So, what better way to showcase that than through self-expression–hair, makeup and personal style? From fashion bloggers and beauty vloggers to stylists, designers and models, diversity is...
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2 Apr

Spring 2018 Showcases

Midwest Fashion Week Announces Holiday Heroes and International Marketplace Coalition as Charitable Partners for Spring 2018 Showcases Region’s most prominent fashion event returns to Chicago and Indianapolison April 14 and April 20, respectively CHICAGO (March 27, 2018) — With the spring season right around the corner, many Midwesterners are anticipating the return of the region’s most prominent fashion event, Midwest Fashion Week. A showcase of the latest seasonal trends by some of the industry’s brightest up-and-coming designers, this series draws hundreds of influencers, local celebrities and general public, with proceeds going to a designated charitable organization. Today, the Indianapolis-based production company is releasing details regarding dates and not-for-profit partners. The schedule will be as follows: The...
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25 Mar

Defining Your Personal Style

Personal style is elusive, and ever-evolving. Besides I’m sure, if you are like me, you also appreciate a handful of different styles. But which one truly speaks to you? That’s where this simple guide comes in. I share some steps to discovering the particular look that speaks to your most fashionable self. 1. What words would you use to describe your style? (Examples: quirky, polished, bold, experimental, cheerful, comfortable, sleek) Take a moment to think about the overall vibe of your style. What are some descriptive words that come to mind? For example, if my daughter, Emma were to answer this, her answers might look like this: “quirky, playful, colorful, athletic, and casual.” These words will help you recognize an overall theme or feeling...
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25 Mar

Authenticity is the new chic.

​“In order to be irreplacable one must always be different.” -Coco Chanel In a City saturated with so much energy, vibrance, and inspiration sometimes it’s easy for your own creative energy to get lost in the noise of it all. How do you stay relevant, and stay true to yourself at the same time? If you’re in the creative industry like me, you know this struggle is REAL and it’s a never-ending battle you’re going to have no matter what. This is one reason I love expressing myself through fashion. With fashion, the possibilities are endless. You can take the trends and bend them to your favor--using them as guidelines to create something totally new and different and so you. I’ve...
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11 Mar

FIVE SPRING TRENDS TO TRY ON THIS SEASON

At this point in Indiana, most of us are happy to be packing up our Sherpas for the spring and breaking out the sandals and sundresses. The hype surrounding spring style is astounding as these trends are known to set the tone for what we might see the rest of the year. You’ve probably noticed your favorite retailers highlighting their popular floral prints, best-selling sandals, and bringing back rompers. Some spring trends may never die while others just seem to be accentuated for the year. Read on for five spring trends to try for 2018 and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe.   Pastels Yellow, pink, purple, mauve, light blue, powder blue, lilac, blush. Whatever you want to call it, if...
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18 May

Meet the Designers & Sponsors from Chicago’s Spring Fashion Series

Chicago-MFW Wraps Spring 2017 Season & Plans for Upcoming Events     Above: Modum Magazine interviews the MFW team, designers & sponsors   Just weeks after hosting its Spring 2017 season, Midwest Fashion Week is making plans for October events and taking time out of it busy production schedule to thank the designers and sponsors who helped make the latest season a success. Events took place March 29th-April 1st and combined exclusive fashion presentations with networking, food and female empowerment. Contributors include: Designers Antoinette Stone Ahava Zarembski Daryl Sneed Rong Zhang Shaly Guo Sponsors Holiday Heroes, La Mez, Nelson Westerberg, Mints Medical, ChikAfrik, NookiMooki, Hubbard Inn, The Whitehall Hotel, Chicagonista, LMG Chicago, United in America, Godfrey Hotel Chicago, Modum Magazine, CBS Chicago, Candid Candace, Tricoci University, Ford Model, Rock Agency, The Frock...
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27 Mar

#7 Write up

As a born and raised Indiana native, the unpredictable change in temperature comes far too naturally to me. This time of year, I fully expect it to be 65 degrees one day and 30 degrees and snowing the next. It’s just the Indiana...
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