Renowned fashion designer Hilton Hollis, a proud Mississippi native, was born in Natchez and brought up in Carthage. He attended elementary school at “The Old School” in Carthage. When Hilton received word of its possible destruction, he was devastated and knew that he had to do something to help preserve it. His connections to not only his home state, but also to his hometowns run deep. Hollis has incorporated his Southern roots into his chicly tailored designs ever so perfectly. “The architecture of Natchez is very Gothic, and I take a lot of inspiration from that….When I am designing, I look at [the process] like creating a garment to sit on the body…how it is structured to accentuate areas of the body—just as the wraparound porches and stained glass windows [in Natchez] compliment the structures of antebellum homes in my hometown,” explains Hilton Hollis. With his Southern accent and love of fried apple pies, Hilton joins the ranks with Mississippi’s finest stars. “I am so proud to be a Mississippian,” exclaims Hilton Hollis. “Things can get fast-paced and hectic…whether I am in New York, Paris, or Hong Kong, but a little piece of Carthage and Mississippi goes with me to each of those places. It brings things into perspective and helps keep me grounded, which I truly appreciate,” states Hollis.
Hilton Hollis has not let his designer celebrity status and world travels go to his head. He is totally delightful, and his passion for community and giving back is contagious. He recently received a commending resolution from the state of Mississippi where Governor Phil Bryant awarded Hilton for his outstanding philanthropic and fashion designs. “I am really honored and amazed that the governor of Mississippi gave me this wonderful award,” says Hilton Hollis in an interview with Abby Hathorn at Gus Mayer in Birmingham, Alabama. “Growing up in the South and coming from a small town in Mississippi, as a kid I would never in a million years imagine that I would be standing there getting an award from the state that I call home…I give a lot of my time to my philanthropic interests…I am very proud to be a Southerner and a Mississippian! So, for my home state to recognize my achievements and to give me this award is really humbling,” states Hollis.
Hilton Hollis will be showcasing his passion for community and fashion at his “The Local Fashion Advantage” event benefiting The Leake County Foundation and The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi on July 18-20. The Local Fashion Advantage event was arranged, in conjunction with The Leake County Advantage, to help save “The Old School” in Carthage. Hilton’s support of The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi is a personal one.
What is the Local Fashion Advantage?
“The Local Fashion Advantage is about the community coming together to support two very important groups, The Leake County Foundation and The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. There will be a series of events for everyone to enjoy including: a trunk show and sample sale of my ‘Ethereal Angels’ spring 2013 line, a silent auction, and the big headliner fashion show,” explains Hollis.
What inspired you to create this event and fashion show?
“My father passed away from complications due to diabetes, so I wanted to give to a group committed to bettering the lives of people with diabetes. In addition, I wanted to give back to my community of Carthage by helping to save our old elementary school, which was almost in ruins before a group took the initiative to begin renovating it,” states fashion designer Hilton Hollis.
Hilton Hollis attended elementary school at “The Old School” and was devastated when he received word of its possible destruction. The school is such an important staple in Carthage, so Hilton took action. This event [The Local Fashion Advantage] was arranged in conjunction with The Leake County Foundation to help save the school, which is a basis for many of the fashion designer’s earliest childhood memories.
What should people expect to see at the Local Fashion Advantage event?
“High energy runway fashion paired with local talent from around Mississippi. I have models from all over the South walking in this event. Imagine New York City runway fashion in the small town of Carthage,” exclaims Hollis.
What is up next for Hilton Hollis?
“We are ALWAYS moving forward! As I speak to you, I am on a train from Newport, Rhode Island where I just had an amazing trunk show. It was my first time in Newport, and I as expand across the United States, I plan to always be doing more to bring awareness to our great state [of Mississippi] and the place I call HOME,” says Hilton Hollis.
The Local Fashion Advantage is the event of the summer. You will not want to miss it! Fabulous fashions for a great cause—it does not get any better than that! “The Local Fashion Advantage event will be full of passion, excitement, energy, and caring—the vision has come together perfectly,” states Hilton Hollis. Twenty percent of the proceeds from the trunk show and sample sale will go directly toward The Leake County Foundation and The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. One Hundred percent of ticket sales and silent auction proceeds will go to these two charities. What a great way to revolutionize your wardrobe and do something proactive to give back to not only the residents in the Heart of Mississippi, but also to all the Mississippians living with and battling diabetes!