When I found out that three07 designer Melissa Grimes was going to be on Under the Gunn Season One, I nearly jumped out of my socks! I was so very excited for her, and I could not wait to attend the premiere party!
During the first episode, I was sitting on the edge of my seat and falling in love with the dot-on-dot ensemble Designer Melissa created–it was so cute that I wanted to reach right through the TV to get it! Surprisingly, Melissa did not make it to the next episode; however, she stayed true to her classy aesthetic while representing the South fabulously with her precious and drama-free attitude–that is better than winning any reality TV show in my book.
Now, without further ado, I present to you the VIP Interview with designer Melissa Grimes!
VIP: Melissa, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Melissa: I am originally from Mobile, Alabama; and I moved to Birmingham two years ago to work on a clothing line that I co-own with two of my best friends from college [April Moore and Courtni Tyre]. We all attended the University of Alabama together and starting a clothing line was always something that we dreamed about in school!
VIP: What inspired you to audition for Under the Gunn?
Melissa: Auditioning for Under the Gunn was not something I ever thought that I would have the guts to do! We were contacted by someone who had seen our work, and they suggested that we try out–it was an opportunity we simply could not pass up!
VIP: Who are you as a designer?
Melissa: It can be hard to differentiate my personal aesthetic from that of our company three07–We all have a very similar sense of style with our own little tweaks that make it unique. I am very girly- I love fun prints, bright colors, full skirts–I believe fashion should be fun and make you smile!
VIP: Who or what inspired you to become a designer?
Melissa: I think I was always driven by a general love of fashion–I actually started out in interior design when I realized that it wasn’t for me. It seemed the more obvious choice was right in front of me–so I switched to apparel design!
VIP: What is it like having a clothing line with your best friends?
Melissa: It is great! We love to bounce ideas off of each other, and we each bring a different perspective to the table when deciding on fabrics and final designs. I consider myself very lucky!
VIP: Even though you were eliminated, what was it like being able to be on the first season of Under the Gunn?
Melissa: It was an unforgettable experience! It was such an honor to be chosen, and I was able to meet so many amazing people–and of course Tim Gunn himself! I cannot say that I ever imagined myself on reality TV, but it turned out to be so much fun!
VIP: What was it like having to create an entire look in just six hours? *gasp* I totally couldn’t do that!
Melissa: So Stressful!! I really like to process everything and think things through when I work; however, there was no time for that– you know going into the competition that there will be time constraints, but it doesn’t really sink in until you are there in the moment!
VIP: The mentors did not like your dot-on-dot creation; however, I LOVED it because it was classy and wearable. Do you think had you made a more dramatic/flashy piece that the mentors would have liked it better?
Melissa: They may have, but I think that I stayed true to myself and really loved how my look turned out on the runway!
VIP: If you could go back and design something totally different, what would you do?
Melissa: I have tried not to over-think the “what if.” I would love to say that I would have sent an elaborate ballgown down the runway or something equally dramatic, but that’s not really me!
“A reminder to everyone to continue to tune in on Thursdays @ 9/8c,” says fashion designer Melissa Grimes. “The remaining designers are so talented- I cannot wait to see what they create!”
To learn more about three07 and the designers behind the clothes, check out the VIP Interview here!
Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog! My goodness, can you believe that in just a few short hours (depending on your time zone haha) it will be 2014?! Phew! It has been a fabulous year for the VIP because I have met some amazing people and done some amazing things–and I could not have done any of it without y’all’s love and support.
Now, as we prepare to ring in the New Year, let’s take a look at the VIP’s hottest posts of 2013 (in no particular order)….and then the moment y’all have all been waiting for *drum roll* NEVER BEFORE SEEN PHOTOS. *gasp* Come on, let’s get started!
1. VIP Interview with Extreme Home Makeover Edition’s Ty Pennington
Saturday night’s finale was full of excitement and anticipation from the heidi elnora bridal runway show to the announcements of the Emerging and Rising Design Star winners–not to mention the headlining designer Tibi.
Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 concluded with a big, dazzling bang! The finale began with wedding gown designer and co-founder of BFW Heidi Elnora’s collection, which was inspired by the movie Snow White and the Huntsman. “Brides-to-be can find heidi elnora gowns across the world and in Nordstrom Bridal Salons as she has dressed hundreds of brides from L.A. to Dubai.” (www.bhamfashionweek.com)
Big round of applause to the 2013 Emerging Designers! All of their designs were incredibly creative and aspiring! I am so glad that I did not have to pick winners…It would have been pretty much impossible because each collection was truly breathtaking!
BFW 2013 Emerging Designer Winners:
1st Place: Elizabeth Singleton showcased an eye-catching collection that wowed everyone! She is this year’s Birmingham Fashion Week Emerging Designer Winner.
2nd Place: Sarah Winford exhibited a tremendous collection that crowned her runner up of BFW’s Emerging Designers competition. The VIP would love to wear her garments!
3rd Place: AnnaKay Winford (sister of Sarah Winford) and Allison Mills tied for third place in the competition. Both designers displayed marvelous garments–it would have been hard for me to choose just one!
Let’s give a grand congrats to the 2013 Rising Design Star competitors! These talented rising stars designed garments using nontraditional items (garbage bags, paper, can tops, bubble wrap…) and assembled these upcyled frocks with glue, tape, and staples. The eighteen finalists displayed their designs one last time on the Birmingham Fashion Week runway during the finale. “Birmingham Fashion Week wants to help promote and inspire teenagers to follow their dreams….It makes me happy to involve these students in BFW.” exclaims Jeana Lee Fleming, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week.
To learn more about the Rising Design Star competition, click here.
Want to see more photos from the 2013 Rising Design Star Competition? Check out the VIP Facebook page here!
2013 Rising Design Star Winners:
Annie Bloomston (age 16) of Mountain Brooke High School was named Birmingham Fashion Week’s Rising Design Star of the year. Annie was also the “People’s Choice” when the competitors garments were on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Preston Mills (age 17), runner up of the BFW Rising Design Star competition, created a garment that weighed a whopping 35 pounds!
Bradford Billingsly (age 11) won the third place prize in the competition. He designed a fantastic hand painted piece!
Featured boutiques of the night were Laura Kathryn, Shaia’s (menswear), and Gus Mayer. Each store exhibited superb spring attire that had the whole crowd ready to shop!
“Laura Kathryn is an exclusive women’s boutique located in Crestline Village. Dressing the city’s women for the past twenty years, it carries one of a kind items and select designer labels,” www.bhamfashionweek.com
Shaia’s displayed sexy and sporty men’s attire on the BFW runway. “Shaia’s is a men’s wear retailer in the finest sense of tradition. More than a shop that sells suits, sportwear, shoes, accessories, and formal wear; it is a destination for camaraderie,” www.bhamfashionweek.com
Gus Mayer featured marvelous fashions that made every lady ready for a shopping trip! “Gus Mayer is one of the premiere shopping destinations of The Summit Lifestyle Center. It sells designer, contemporary, bridge clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry for women,” www.bhamfashionweek.com
Headlining designer of the night was Amy Smilovic (Tibi). “Tibi’s contemporary clothing line is sold at more than six hundred retailers worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Harrods, and Saks Fifth Avenue.” (www.bhamfashionweek.com) ” I love it when I see an individual’s personal style reflected in the way they dress. And I always think a woman should dress in contradictions – youthful and sophisticated, masculine and feminine, bold and muted colors,” http://www.tibi.com/about/inspiration/
Hi there, fantastic fashionistas! For the past week, I have been super busy covering Birmingham Fashion Week events. Phew…let’s just say I took a really awesome siesta after the Saturday night finale! Awe…I cannot believe BFW is over for the year…I absolutely cannot wait until next year! It will be even better!
I bring you all here today to admire some of the fabulous designs of the Thursday night runway show! So, let’s get started…shall we?!
Thursday Night Runway in a Nutshell:
Natalie Norris is a 26 year old photographer living in Enterprise, Alabama. She has one son, Landin, who is five and a half years old. She wed Justin, Landin’s father, at the age of 22. At the age of 23, Natalie was suddenly widowed.
Norris mainly shoots weddings and children, but is becoming involved with the fashion photography industry. “The intense moment of when a model walks down the catwalk where you have that one second to capture the perfect shot is wild! It is where my passion lies, for sure. I have attended Birmingham Fashion Week since the start, and it gets better year after year,” states Natalie Norris.
Hello, wonderfully fashionable readers! I have a fabulous interview to share with y’all today…the interview with the amazingly talented Jeremy Stephens-owner and master stylist at the Association of Independent Artists in Hoover, Alabama. So, without further ado, I introduce to you, the spectacular interview with Jeremy Stephens!
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Jeremy Stephens, founder of The Association of Independent Artists, Inc. (AIA), Owner of AIA: The Salon in Hoover, AL, and Artistic Director and Lead Stylist for Birmingham Fashion Week.
I’m also a field educator and platform artist for Keratin Complex.
I have been working in the fashion and beauty industry for over 13 years. I am a hairstylist and makeup artist specializing in wedding/special events, photo, film, runway and couture hair and makeup.
I am currently a Tuscaloosa resident (Roll Tide). I share a home and my life with my partner Brian Avery, owner of The Brian Avery Salon in Tuscaloosa, AL. I’m also a working pet parent to a precious little fur-baby (Chihuahua) named Rupert.
What inspired the creation of the Association of Independent Artists?
The Association of Independent Artists was an idea that developed from a need for talented freelance artists in the hair and beauty industry to supply the growing demand for local talent. My wedding and freelance clientele had begun to grow beyond my scheduling capabilities. Therefore, I began to network with other stylists and makeup artists working in the Birmingham market in order to meet the growing need for their artistic abilities and respective areas of expertise. In my search for a resource for local artists, I realized that there wasn’t really an established database of freelance artists in the local hair and beauty industry. So…..I decided to start my own! Recently, we’ve also begun to add photographers to our database of artists.
Tell us a little about your AIA Board of Directors.
AIA Associate Artistic Directors are my core group of hairstylists and makeup artists with whom I have previously worked with on freelance projects. Not only are my AIA Associate Artistic Directors extremely talented artists, but they are also all established professionals with their own clientele. As we build the AIA Brand, this group of individuals will form the founding Board of Directors. One of our primary goals is to gain the resources and facilities to provide opportunities for advanced education for other professionals working in our respective industries.
When and how did you become involved with Birmingham Fashion Week?
I’ve been a part of Birmingham Fashion Week since the inception. When my life-long friend, Heidi Baker (Heidi Elnora), approached me with the idea, I couldn’t resist. After seeing continued success with her seasonal collection releases, she began to be approached by other local business owners and charitable organizations who were interested in working with Heidi on producing a larger event. She and co-founder, Jeana Lee Fleming, basically said that they thought we should give it a whirl and offered me the opportunity to jump on board. After all…..what is a fashion event without hair and makeup?!
We started with one-night preview event in April of 2011. The entire event was planned, funded, and organized in seven weeks. The primary benefactor of BFW 2011 was Camp Smile-A-Mile. Unfortunately, the April 27th tornadoes struck the state three days before BFW’s maiden voyage. Thanks to the encouragement and support of our community, we not only hosted a sell-out event, but (in addition to Camp Smile-A-Mile) we also raised THOUSANDS of dollars worth of donations for the victims of the tornado outbreak.
We knew from that first event that BFW was going to be something special to the community. We provide opportunities for local business owners to showcase their individuality, we offer local aspiring designers the opportunity to earn funding and support to peruse their career goals, and we bring world-renowned designers to share in the hospitality and beauty of the great state of Alabama.
What is the best advice for aspiring stylists/artisans?
The best advice I can give to aspiring stylists/artists is to take advantage of every opportunity you can to work with people who inspire you.
I work more now than I ever have in my life, and I’ve never been so motivated. The more opportunities I have to work among my peers; the more I want to excel in my craft.
I believe that you will always be successful if you are working in a career that you love. When work feels like play-time, you don’t mind putting in the extra hours.
There are no short-cuts; however, if you are willing to stick with it and work hard, you can achieve any goal that you set for yourself.
What should we expect from AIA at Birmingham Fashion Week this year?
AIA is the official sponsor for hair and makeup for BFW 2013. Our partners are MAC Cosmetics, Keratin Complex, Matrix, and The Aveda Institute of Birmingham.
In addition to my AIA Artistic Directors, we will also be working with hairstylists and makeup artists from around the Southeast! BFW 2012 Top Stylist, Detra Smith, has also organized a design team from local cosmetology schools and junior colleges through a mentorship program by Matrix called “Spread The Love”. These students will be the hair and makeup team for the Emerging Designer competition. While you’re at the event, be sure to check out the AIA Spring 2013 Collection: “The Sky is The Limit” in the BFW Lounge. For contact information and information about AIA Artists, check out our website at www.thesalonartists.com!
When you are not making people beautiful, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not making people beautiful, I enjoy time around the house with Brian and Rupert and LONG dinners out with friends. With such a CRAZY work schedule, I have come to really appreciate the rare opportunities I have to spend quality time with my family and friends. I have such an amazing and loving support system in my life, and there never seems to be quite enough time to show them just how much I appreciate them. Also, when I do have free time, I like to rest and recharge my positive energy reserve!
In your opinion, what is the best karaoke song?
In my opinion, the best karaoke song is, WITHOUT QUESTION, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
VIP QUESTION: What is one item you would never toss out and why?
The one item I would never toss out is my smart phone. I know it sounds so superficial and silly, but I am a slave to portable communication and am addicted to internet search engines. (I’m sort of an information nerd. I like to know the “why’s” and “how’s” of pretty much everything.) I’m sure I should have said The Bible, but I can download it on my Kindle app from my smart phone, so that’s still in there too!!
To learn more about Birmingham Fashion Week, take a gander at their website: www.bhamfashionweek.com. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for Birmingham Fashion Week, click here.