What’s Happening Wednesday: The Birmingham Edition

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Hey, y’all! Welcome back to the blog!

This Wednesday, I am trading a Weekly Whistle for a What’s Happening Wednesday–yes, I have made this blog into a card game for the moment. Hm…what a fabulous idea…a VIP card game *wink* Okay–this is no time for digression because I have two fabulous Birmingham events coming up SOON that you all should attend. Now, let’s find out what they are!

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The VIP at the Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 Kick Off Party with (from left to right) Krista Conlin (KC Projects), Jeana Fleming (co-owner of Bella Bridesmaid, co-founder of BFW), Heidi Elnora (wedding gown designer, co-founder of BFW), and Jeremy Stephens (head stylist of The Salon, founder of Association of Independent Artists).

If you are a Birmingham reader, you know Birmingham Fashion Week is happening RIGHT NOW. If you have not attended, but would like to–there is still time! Check out the Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 schedule here. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, click here.

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Want to know more about Birmingham Fashion Week? Check out the VIP BFW archives here and visit the official website here.  

The VIP with author Liza Elliott.
The VIP with author Liza Elliott.

Also happening this week in Birmingham–30-A Supper Club author Liza Elliott will be releasing her 30-A Supper Club: The Cookbook (written by authors Liza Elliott and Nancy Dinsomre) at Williams-Sonoma at The Summit Birmingham on April 24 from 5:30–8:00PM. This launch party will provide a delightful atmosphere, complementary samples from the cook book, complementary wine, swag bags, a meet and greet with the author and the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book….BUT The festivities do not end there. A silent auction of a gift basket filled with Williams-Sonoma goodies will take place benefiting the “Delicious Nutritious” Program at Children’s Hospital.  

To learn more about Liza Elliot, check out the VIP interview here and visit her Facebook page here.

 

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

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VIP Interview: Jeremy Stephens

Jeremy Stephens and I at the BFW 2013 Rising Design Star Reception
Jeremy Stephens and I at the BFW 2013 Rising Design Star Reception.

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!

Jeana Fleming. Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party (Gus Mayer-Birmingham, AL location).
Jeana Fleming. Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party (Gus Mayer-Birmingham, AL location).
  • 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.

Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and Jeana Fleming at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party.
Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and Jeana Fleming at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party.
  • 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.

Jeremy and Heidi having fun posing at the BFW Kick Off Party at Gus Mayer.
Jeremy and Heidi having fun posing at the BFW Kick Off Party at Gus Mayer.
  • 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!

Jeremy Stephens and I just being fabulous at the kick off party at Gus Mayer.
Jeremy Stephens and I just being fabulous at the kick off party at Gus Mayer.
  • 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!!

Krista Collins, Jeana Fleming, Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the 2013 kick off party.
Krista Collins, Jeana Fleming, Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the 2013 kick off party.

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.

Like BFW on Facebook to keep up with the latest media coverage and runway updates! www.facebook.com/bhamfashionweek

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bhamfashionweek HASHTAG: BFW2013

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If you cannot get enough of the VIP, check out my articles in The Real Story! The Adventures of the VIP in the Lifestyle section! www.realstorypublishing.com

The VIP is also on The Real Story YouTube page! Check out the first Adventures of the VIP video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Uhx3yMCDh4

Check out the latest issue of Town and Gown Magazine! You can read online @ www.issuu.com/townandgownmagazine!

Like the VIP on Facebook to keep up with the latest VIP news and sneak peeks! www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/abbysauce_

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/vintagepassionista

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

BFW 2013 Kick Off Party at Gus Mayer

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Hello, hello, hello my fabulous fashionistas! Today, I have a fabulous event to tell y’all about-the 2013 Birmingham Fashion Week Kick Off Party! Oh, it was ever so amazing, and I met some spectacular people! So, without further ado, I present to you the VIP’s coverage of the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party at Gus Mayer (Birmingham-Summit location)!

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The lovely Leah Burns posing with a dashing fellow at the BFW kick off party.
The lovely Leah Burns posing with a dashing fellow at the BFW kick off party.
Getting to meet some of the models of BFW was super fun! They are all so glamorous!
Getting to meet some of the models of BFW was super fun! They are all so glamorous!
Krista Collins (principal of KC Projects) looked stunning in an all lace frock at the BFW Kick Off Party!
Krista Conlin (principal of KC Projects) looked stunning in an all lace frock at the BFW Kick Off Party!
Kimberly Strickland (on left) and Anna Marie Mobley Parish (on far right) looking fantastic at the kick off party.
Kimberly Strickland (on left) and Anna Marie Mobley Parish (on far right) looking fantastic at the kick off party.

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Doesn't Jeana Fleming, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, look absolutely breathtaking in that superb neon dress and statement jewelry!
Doesn’t Jeana Fleming, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, look absolutely breathtaking in that superb neon dress and statement jewelry!
We all loved Jeana's ensemble at the party! So fabulous!
We all loved Jeana’s ensemble at the party! So fabulous!
Kristen Ashley and I looking super cute at last night's event!
Kristen Ashley and I looking super cute at last night’s event!

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Brandon, Ellis, Abbey, and Michael were such fun BFW models to meet!
Brandon, Ellis, Abbey, and Michael were such fun BFW models to meet!

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Everyone, including the VIP, loved having their picture taken by Curtis B. Photos.
Everyone, including the VIP, loved having their picture taken by Curtis B. Photos.
Jeana Fleming. Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and myself being glamorous while Curtis B. took our picture.
Jeana Fleming. Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and myself being glamorous while Curtis B. took our picture.
Krista Collins, Jeana Fleming, Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the 2013 kick off party. Love the tremendous people of BFW!
Krista Conlin, Jeana Fleming, Heidi Elnora, Jeremy Stephens, and I at the 2013 kick off party. Love the tremendous people of BFW!

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Jeremy Stephens and I just being fabulous.
Jeremy Stephens and I just being fabulous.
Jonathan Shalon Ballard rocked an awesome pair of cobalt blue trousers topped off with a black vest at the 2013 BFW kick off party!
Jonathan Shalon Ballard rocked an awesome pair of cobalt blue trousers topped off with a black vest at the 2013 BFW kick off party!
The VIP was pleased to meet Jeana Fleming's sister and mom at the party. They all dress so amazing!
The VIP was pleased to meet Jeana Fleming’s sister and mom at the party. They all dress so amazing!
Live models showing off the wonderful fashions at Gus Mayer.
Live models showing off the wonderful fashions at Gus Mayer.

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Spotted Mary-Margaret McCord, Miss Alabama USA, at the Birmingham Fashion Week Kick Off Party. Doesn't she look truly stunning posing with BFW models!
Spotted Mary-Margaret McCord, Miss Alabama USA, at the Birmingham Fashion Week Kick Off Party. Doesn’t she look truly stunning posing with BFW models!

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Having fun with statement hats at the 2013 BFW kick off party at Gus Mayer! I am thinking the VIP needs to take a shopping spree to Gus Mayer!
Having fun with statement hats at the 2013 BFW kick off party at Gus Mayer! I am thinking the VIP needs to take a shopping spree to Gus Mayer!
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Jonathan Thomas Croy (Winner of the BFW 2012 Model Competition) and I at the 2013 kick off party. He wore a dashing vintage button up that the VIP simply adored!
The fashions being modeled at Gus Mayer were to die for!
The fashions being modeled at Gus Mayer were to die for!

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To see more photos from this event, check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista as well as the BFW Facebook page and Curtis B. Photos!

Find out more about the founders of Birmingham Fashion Week, Heidi Elnora and Jeana Fleming! VIP Interview with Heidi, click here. VIP Interview with Jeana, click here.

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.

Like BFW on Facebook to keep up with the latest media coverage and runway updates! www.facebook.com/bhamfashionweek

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bhamfashionweek HASHTAG: BFW2013

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If you cannot get enough of the VIP, check out my articles in The Real Story! The Adventures of the VIP in the Lifestyle section! www.realstorypublishing.com

The VIP is also on The Real Story YouTube page! Check out the first Adventures of the VIP video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Uhx3yMCDh4

Check out the latest issue of Town and Gown Magazine! You can read online @ www.issuu.com/townandgownmagazine!

Like the VIP on Facebook to keep up with the latest VIP news and sneak peeks! www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/abbysauce_

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/vintagepassionista

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What the VIP Wore:

Cardigan: Banana Republic

Dress: Banana Republic

Heels: Michael Kors

Belt: Anthropologie

Purse: London Fog

Earrings: Hearts of Stone Jewelry handmade by Rachel Leathers

Stone Ring: Beadsoul handmade by Lisa Hamilton

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

BFW Rising Design Star Reception 2013

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Hello, fabulous fashionistas!  I must tell y’all about a magnificent event that I attended at the Birmingham Museum of Art…drum roll please…Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 Rising Design Star Reception! It was an incredible experience getting to admire the wonderful pieces of wearable art created by middle and high school students from all over the great state of Alabama.

These young and talented rising stars designed garments using nontraditional items (garbage bags, paper, food bags, can tops, bubble wrap…) and assembled these upcycled items with glue, wire, staples, or tape. The top forty designs were on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art from January 13 through February 10 for all to admire.

From the top forty, thirty were selected and announced at the Rising Design Star Reception.  These creative and talented students will continue to the next level of the competition where they will showcase their garments on the BFW runway in an attempt to not only win scholarship money, but also to claim the title of 2013 Rising Design Star.

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If you missed seeing the Rising Design Star display at the Birmingham Museum of Art, no need to fret! I have pictures for all to see! So, without further ado, here are some of the garments by this year’s Birmingham Fashion Week Rising Design Star competitors!

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Designer: Kayla Kittle, age 14. Kayla attends Davis Emerson Middle School.
Let’s give a big red, white and blue salute to designer Kayla Kittle (age 14, David Emerson Middle School) for her awesome use of plates and patriotic pride!
Designer: Audrey Gibbs, age 12. Audrey attends Russell County Middle School.
Yum! Everything is better with bacon! Designer: Audrey Gills, age 12. Audrey attends Russell County Middle School.
This dress is ready to party it up for Mardi Gras!
This dress is ready to party it up for Mardi Gras!
Designer: Savannah Smith, age 18. Savannah attends Fultondale High School.
Designer: Savannah Smith, age 18. Savannah attends Fultondale High School.
I absolutely love Savannah's design! My favorite touch was the colored washers embellishing the shoulder and side of the dress!
I absolutely adore Savannah’s design! The colored washers embellishing the shoulder and side of the dress are superb!
This creative suit was designed by Odelia Huang (age 14) of Pizitz Middle School. I love the green bowtie-terrific accent!
This creative suit was designed by Odelia Huang (age 14) of Pizitz Middle School. I love the green chevron accents on the bowtie, buttons and handkerchief!
This lavender frock was ever so cleverly designed! I love the rainbow flower accents!
This lavender frock was ever so cleverly designed! I love the rainbow flower accents!
This dress makes me ready to go on an adventure! Who is up for a safari?!
This dress makes me ready to go on an adventure! Who is up for a safari?!
What a humdinger of a frock! This lovely hummingbird dress was designed by Bradford Billingsly (age 11) of Pizitz Middle School.
What a humdinger of a frock! This lovely hummingbird dress was designed by Bradford Billingsly (age 11) of Pizitz Middle School.
The VIP loves, loves, loves, the top of this beautiful art piece by Shannon Marie Ellis (age 17, attends Shades Valley High School)!
The VIP loves, loves, loves, the top of this beautiful art piece by Shannon Marie Ellis (age 17, Shades Valley High School)!
This high-low dress masterpiece was designed by Olivia Kampworth (age 17, attends Vestavia Hills High School).
This high-low dress masterpiece was designed by Olivia Kampwerth (age 17, Vestavia Hills High School).
Rising Design Star, Jamesa Fletcher, designed this bright art piece that the VIP would adore to wear! What can I say...I am  sucker for bright colors!
Rising Design Star, Jamesa Fletcher, designed this bright art piece that the VIP would totally wear! What can I say…I am sucker for bright colors!
I loved getting to meet Jamesa's family! They were so sweet that I just had to get my picture with all of them for the blog!
I loved getting to meet Jamesa’s family! They were so sweet that I just had to get my picture with all of them for the blog!
I enjoyed getting to meet the fabulously dressed designer! Her garment was very colorful and made me crave Doritos!
I enjoyed getting to meet this fabulously dressed designer! Her garment was very colorful and made me crave Doritos!

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I say this dress designed by Erin Killian (age 15) is petal perfection!
I say this dress designed by Erin Killian (age 15) is petal perfection!
This color-tastic dress was designed by Cayla P. Sexton (age 12) of Pizitz Middle School.
This color-tastic dress was designed by Cayla P. Sexton (age 12) of Pizitz Middle School.

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Cecily Anderson (age 13) designed this spectacular frock! She attends Pizitz Middle School)
Cecily Anderson (age 13) designed this spectacular frock! She attends Pizitz Middle School.
Emily Butler (age 17) of Vestavia Hills High School created this whimsically perfect frock the VIP wants to wear! Don't you absolutely love it!
Emily Butler (age 17) of Vestavia Hills High School created this whimsically perfect frock the VIP wants in her closet! Don’t you absolutely love it!

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Drew Rutland created cute comic book pants that I am totally infatuated with! I cannot wait to see his design modeled on the BFW runway! (Drew Rutland, age 17, Florence High School)
Drew Rutland created infatuating comic book pants that gets five stars from the VIP! I cannot wait to see his design modeled on the BFW runway! (Drew Rutland, age 17, Florence High School)

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I posed with Peyton Boyd's (age 17) techno-savvy art piece at the reception. I am truly wowed by the concept of this fantastic frock!
I posed with Peyton Boyd’s (age 17) techno-savvy art piece at the reception. I am truly wowed by the concept of this fantastic frock!
Rachel Irvin of SMIC Academy created this sleek silver dress. I love the fabulous neckline!
Rachel Irvin of SMIC Academy created this sleek silver dress. I love the fabulous neckline!
I just had to get my picture taken with Preston Mills (age 17) and his breath taking design that weighs a whopping 35 pounds! What a masterpiece!
I just had to get my picture taken with Preston Mills (age 17) and his breath taking design that weighs a whopping 35 pounds! What a masterpiece!
Annie Bloomston's garment won the "People Choice Award". her design has automatically advanced to the BFW Saturday night runway event. Big congratulations to you, Annie!
Annie Bloomston’s (age 16) garment won the “People Choice Award”. Her design has automatically advanced to the BFW Saturday night runway event. Big congratulations to you, Annie!

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The VIP was very delighted to have met the fabulous Jeremy Stephens! He is the owner and master stylist at the Association of Independent Artists in Hoover, Alabama.
The VIP was very delighted to meet the fabulous Jeremy Stephens! He is the owner and master stylist at the Association of Independent Artists in Hoover, Alabama.
Jeana Fleming, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, was looking totally glamorous at the Rising Design Star Reception so I just had to get a picture with her!
Jeana Fleming, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week, was looking totally glamorous at the Rising Design Star Reception so I just had to get a picture with her!
I want to give a special congrats to all of the 2013 Rising Design Star Competitors! You all did a fantastic job with your designs!
I want to give a special congrats to all of the 2013 Rising Design Star Competitors! You all did a fantastic job with your designs!

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Don’t you want one of each of those wearable pieces of art! All of the Rising Design Stars did such an amazing job creating their masterpieces! Let’s give a round of applause to these fabulous students!

Join the excitement of Birmingham Fashion Week and visit their website, www.bhamfashionweek.com, to see the schedule of events and to purchase tickets! I hope to see all of my ridiculously fabulous readers there!

You can keep up with the latest media coverage of Birmingham Fashion week @ www.facebook.com/bhamfashionweek

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Check out the latest issue of Town and Gown Magazine! You can read online @ www.issuu.com/townandgownmagazine!

Like the VIP on Facebook to keep up with the latest VIP news and sneak peeks! www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vintageinspiredpassionista

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/abbysauce_

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/vintagepassionista

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn