Dayton Threads will also work in conjunction with The House of DEFIance: A Fashion & Design Co-working Experience and represents Phase III of the fashion and design process; the tangible product. Micro-manufacturing services of 50 pieces or less and prototyping will be offered in Phase II of The House of (DE-FI)ance. Designers selling in Dayton Threads will have the option of using the services of the
So what exactly, is the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI)? Well, since going public we’ve been receiving this question quit a lot! For starters we are not a Fashion Week nor are we affiliated with DFW; though there are various aspect of what (DE-FI) will do our main two goals are to be a support system for designers and talent looking to make their mark in the Fashion Industry and to keep the “Made in America” tag on our clothing by reaching out to garment manufacturers to have their lines produced here in Dayton. After all Macy’s is right down the road in Cincinnati and the Limited Brands are in Columbus.
So, exactly how would this Incubator work?
(DE-FI) is working closely with Sew Dayton (Oregon District), Joli Boutique (Centerville), and TIME Magazine recognized Midwest Fashion Week (Indianapolis) to create a unique and affective training program that:
1) Offers mentoring for emerging designers via a series of workshops designed to teach the designers business skills, sharpen sewing skills, and ultimately providing designers a place to sell and showcase their work on a local level.
2) Train and provide seamstresses for the designers in the incubator to help them to produce their lines locally.
3) Provide a forum to profile fashion based talent from across the Midwest whether it’s designers, models, MUA’s, stylist, bloggers, and etc—via our Fashion Blog that will debut in May.
4) Establish professional models for designers to work with! The biggest complaint that I’ve heard from designers and photographers in the lack of professionalism that the models present from the area and that happens for several reasons: 1) area models have never really had the chance to receive real training that didn’t cost them thousands of dollars, 2) There’s currently not a lot of work in the area for models, and 3) Because there isn’t a lot of work in the area models often don’t get paid for their time which all can lead to a lack of professionalism. So (DE-FI) is raising the bar by being the first major fashion event in the area that actually pays their models for the work that they do.
5) A long term goal for (DE-FI) is to take advantage of the City of Dayton’s Activated Spaces Pop Up Shop Program. Like our partners at Sew Dayton and Beaute Box are products of Activated Spaces–In the Spring of 2014 it is the goal of the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) to have a store front location in Downtown Dayton that sells local and independent designers from across the Midwest lines in our store.(that have also been produced here locally by those seamstresses that have been trained by (DE-FI).
These are just a few things that (DE-FI) will be doing! One thing that we constantly remind each other of is that this is a new concept for the area; therefore we are taking our time and making sure that everything is planned out, communicated, and executed well. This is learning experience for everyone involved but you can rest assured that we are being realistic with our approach and we are dedicated and committed to following through with these plans. Right now we are planning our Launch Party scheduled to take place on July 13, 2013 at SunWatch Indian Village—We want this event to be an intimate affair; with a theme of “Fashion In the Mystic Garden”, the night will consist of mixing and mingling with some of the area’s top professionals, complete with New York Fashion Week style show, and dancing under the moonlight in the majestic setting of SunWatch. For more information on how you can get involved with (DE-FI) as either a designer, model, sponsor, and etc—please contact us at [email protected]!
A little over a year ago, I had the honor of serving as the Director of Operations for the first ever Fashion Week in the City of Dayton; like Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland have been doing for years…it was now the Gem City’s turn to take its position in the International Fashion Spotlight. From day one it was an uphill battle getting Dayton Fashion Week off of the ground, the Founder and owner of DFW Junda Morris-Kennedy of JMK Production was new to the area, she didn’t have any local connections, and the idea of a fashion week was a completely new concept to the Miami Valley area.
As someone who was familiar with the fashion industry from a modeling perspective and a cheerleader for the City of Dayton, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this ground breaking and I reached out to the founder and after a brief meeting with her, I jumped in with both feet and started spreading the word within my various community based circles that fashion finally had a platform in Dayton. And soon after an entire new community emerged, the area in general began to recognize the talent that was here, and individual success stories began to surface.
However, in the days and weeks leading up to and immediately following the first DFW, questions started being raised and cracks began to show all surrounding DFW’s Founder. I along with others associated with DFW attempted to address our concerns with the owner and seek out answers from her as well but our concerns were ignored and our questions went unanswered. Never one to compromise my ethics, in September I resigned as the Director of Operations for Dayton Fashion Week–and soon after, so did others. I initially kept my departure quiet not wanting to cast any dark clouds over the local fashion community; but as sponsors, media, models, photographers, and designers continued to reach out to me for answers regarding DFW and sought my support it became apparent that not only did I need to make my departure public but it was also clear that the demand for a fashion outlet and venue in the area was still present.
After meeting with others who were associated with DFW last year, I was urged to create a new fashion based organization and soon the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) was born! Consisting of over 30 local and national media personalities, business owners, fashion experts, and those who just want to be a part of a positive, transparent, and professional organization; and we’re excited about the opportunity to bring a new fashion outlet to the city of Dayton!!! The Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator also known as (DE-FI)’s main goal is to build a solid foundation for the fashion industry to grow on building a viable and economically successful market in the Miami Valley. Modeled after the Fashion Incubators in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, (DE-FI) is partnering with TIME Magazine recognized Midwest Fashion Week, Dayton Most Metro, Joli Boutique, Sew Dayton, Shuttereye Photography, Studio Dayton, and UnZip the Runway Designer Competition.
(DE-FI) launched in February 2013 and is planning to host 2 intimate fashion events this year starting with an Official Launch Party July 13, 2013 at SunWatch Indian Village. This event will serve as an opportunity to mix, mingle, and network with some of the area’s top professionals, community leaders, and fashion lovers from all over. Complete with an official introduction of the DE-FI team and designers that have been selected into the Incubator; the Launch Party will also feature a fashion show featuring local and nationally known established designers who will be prepared to take special orders on all of their designs.
In preparation for the Launch Party, the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) will be hosting 2 Casting Calls for models on Saturday March 23 and April 20 from 2p-4p at Studio Dayton located at 1001 E. 2nd St., Dayton, OH 45402 in Bldg 100, Entrance B-C in Suite 3220. The Casting Call is open to male and female models ages 4 and up. (NOTE: Models under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.) All applicants must bring (2) images (1) Head shot and (1) full body shot; photos DO NOT need to be professional. All models must bring with them an application which can be found on the website Adult models should come dressed in fitted attire flattering for your body type. Female models must bring a pair of 3″ heels to walk the runway in. Models under the age of 18 should wear age appropriate attire. There will also be scouts from UnZip the Runway in attendance as well. For more information on (DE-FI) and to download your application please visit our website.
The bar was set high for the Inaugural Dayton Fashion Week, what started out as just a fun idea grew and grew and in the age of social networking word soon traveled outside of the city, outside of the state, and oh yeah outside of the country!! Who would have thought that little old Dayton, OH would cause such a stir in the Fashion World that even the people at Italian Vogue’s party during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Miami would be talking about us and watching us…after all this was just the first one! The designer submission for DFW 2013 have already started rolling in starting with South Africa’s International Fashion House Azucar who has already signed on!
In this first year, we faced it all controversy, skepticism, criticism, and attempts of sabotage, yet we were lifted up each time by friendships, support, faith, determination, shared visions, encouragement, opportunity, and outreach, making dealing with the negativity from a handful of individuals much easier to ignore and here we stand today with success in our hands.
In the days and weeks leading up to and following Dayton Fashion Week, I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions from a huge sense of accomplishment to asking myself if I ever wanted to be a part of something like this again…especially since I wasn’t in it for personal gain; I was and still in it because I love this city! Each time I thought about throwing in the towel I was reminded and motivated by those who stood behind me and had my back when we faced adversity, next to me when there was work to be done, and in front of me when it came time to take the lead and show the world just who and what Dayton Fashion week was and is all about. I found that the support far out numbered the naysayers…and I can proudly look back at our first year with ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS!!
The success stories that have followed in the past couple of weeks speak for themselves and have made it all worth it, starting with:
“The Face” of Dayton Fashion Week
Celebrity photographer Rich Jackson was in the building during Dayton Fashion Week doing some scouting. Rich has been credited
with discovering some of the today’s top models and entertainers. During his stay here in Dayton he hand selected 9 models from Dayton Fashion Week that caught his eye during our Kids Couture and Ready To Wear shows. Including Jessica Ventus, Kayla Holts, AjA Howard, Ashley Jones, Grace Langshaw, Dana Langshaw, Erica Skrylac, Jeanne Kinne, and Olivia Nichols who was named “The Face” of Dayton Fashion Week; Olivia has gone on to do other shoots with Rich for national campaigns!
Abercrombie & Fitch signs Dayton Fashion Week Model
Joshua Reid was discovered while walking the runway of Dayton Fashion Week by scouts from Abercrombie & Fitch who were in attendance and as of today Josh is officially the newest face of A&F!
“The Hidden Gem”
According to McKinley Pierre, the Executive Producer of Miami, FL based fashion series Inside Couture Dayton designer L’Amour Ameer stole the show! From his creative runway presentation to his multipurpose multifunctioning designs—“Look! Up on the runway!! It’s a bag, it’s a—wait for it…wait for it…Wow it’s a jacket??” Mr. Ameer’s showcase during DFW had people cheering in their seats and left the people from Inside Couture in awe naming him the “Show Stopper” and “Hidden Gem” of Dayton Fashion Week!
Sew Dayton Opens for Business!
What can I say about Dayton designer Tracy McElfresh other than the fact that she was a God send during DFW! Not only was she one of our most popular designers appearing with us on Living Dayton, FOX 45 In The Morning, and appearing in F.I.Q. Magazine but when Junda suffered her stroke days before the kickoff of DFW Tracy stepped up, took over some of my duties and became my right hand woman when it came to answering most of the contractual questions being asked of me by designers. So, I’m super excited for her new business Sew Dayton; in conjunction with Activated Spaces Tracy and her business Partner Jesy Anderson will open their own clothing shop complete with original designs from Tracy, hand bags designed by Jesy, and they will even offer sewing lessons! Located in the Oregon District across from Thai 9, Sew Dayton will open its doors this Friday Sept 7!
Pretty In Dayton gets invited to the Big Apple
Another God send was Fashion blogger Sarah Tyrchniewicz of Pretty In Dayton, like Tracy, Sarah stepped up and took over some of my duties when Junda fell ill and helped us to keep the ball rolling. And in the process, her honest, sincere, and edgy writing style caught the attention of designers who are participating in New York Fashion Week which kicks off this week! They invited her to sit in the audience and do what she does best give her thoughts and opinions on the latest fashion trends hitting the runway and the streets! Though she had to decline the late invites we’re pretty confident that Sarah and Pretty In Dayton will continue to capture the fashion worlds attention!
Photographer of the Year!
Dayton Fashion Week Photographer Lamar Pacley has been nominated for Photographer of The Year for the 2012 Ohio Hip Hop Awards! Lamar played a huge role in the success of Dayton Fashion Week, from scouting models, shooting the cover of F.I.Q. Magazine, and working with the designers to name a few. Lamar definitely has our vote you can vote for him too at http://survey.websitegear.com/launch/29437/173!
These are just a handful of the success stories that have unfolded in the last couple of weeks from members of Team DFW! I’ve been approached about creating a Designer Incubator for the Midwest, Dayton Fashion Week caught the eye of producers from Naomi Campbell’s new reality show “The Face” and requested some information about several of our models, Dayton Fashion Week models and designers will be on a big screen near you soon after being cast as extras and stylist for a feature film being shot locally, DFW Events Manager Cindy Gaboury is writing for a new magazine called Envision Chronicle, you’ll also see the work of one of DFW’s models on a national hit show soon, and DFW Designer and CEO of Midwest Fashion Week Berny Martin will be showcasing his Spring 2013 designs during New York Fashion Week Emerge Show just to mention a few more!
The Inaugural Dayton Fashion Week has made its mark in the Fashion Industry and Fashion Weeks from across the country and fashion insiders from around the world have reached out to us for support and to help us grow to make it to the next level! The 2012 Dayton Fashion Week consisted of a lot of educating, trial and error, lessons learned, adjusting, adapting, communication, and corrections. Coming into this year we only had 3 people who were familiar with Fashion Weeks– myself, Junda, and one other model– now we have 300! The planning for the 2013 Dayton Fashion Week is currently underway. Stay tuned for details on how you can become a part of the planning process! For more information on Dayton Fashion Week be sure to “Like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/daytonfashion .
What do you get when you combine one of the most talked about events taking place in Dayton this summer and one of the chicest Restaurants in the Heart of Downtown Dayton—You get Dayton Fashion Week and De’Lish Café’s First Friday’s Model Meet and Greet! With Dayton Fashion Week’s Inaugural event just weeks away they are getting the party started this Friday July 6 and this event is something that your entire family can attend!
From 6pm-8pm, DFW and De’Lish will have an Ice Cream Social for the DFW Kid Models. During this portion of the event, the kids will be introduced to attendees and there will be ice cream floats, music and games! Then from 9pm-2am it will be the adult models turn to mix and mingle; still reveling in the success of DFW’s Pre-Launch Soiree in March, models selected from the second round of Casting Calls in May will be introduced.
Aside from hosting 2 out of 3 casting calls for DFW, Jasmine Brown Co-Owner of De’Lish Cafe had this to say about her involvement with Dayton Fashion Week, “As a fashion enthusiast I’m really excited to see this happen in our city! Dayton is a very eclectic and artsy city so it’s not too far-fetched that we can do fashion as well. At De’Lish we try to correlate our food into art with the presentations, so for us we’re just excited to be a part of something so big.”
This event is free and open to the public, there will be lite hors d’oeuvres served but De’Lish will also have their full menu available for those who would like to purchase a full meal. De’Lish is located at 139 North Main Street Dayton, OH 45402 right across the street from The Victoria Theatre. Also, De’Lish Café’s well known Chef Anthony Head will be grilling out on De’Lish’s newly opened patio. Tickets for Dayton Fashion Week are on sale now at De’Lish Café, SunWatch Indian Village, Joli Boutique, American Pi, and they are also available online at http://daytonfashionweek.com/html/tickets.html. Tickets are going fast so be sure to buy yours today!!
The very first time that I saw a design by Marlene Haute Couture, I was ready to run out, grab the first guy that I saw, and marry him just so that I could wear one of her wedding dresses. There are no words that come to mind that can describe the amount of detail and creativity that she puts into every piece. Originally from South Africa Marlene Thomas affectionately called Marli has traveled the world living in various places from Australia to Italy, and she describes her designs as “very feminine and soft with intricate detailing”.
Over the past couple of months Marli and I have become good friends, we’ll call each other up and talk for hours from fashion to just life in general. She’s been one of our biggest supporters, cheerleaders, and motivators. She’s even shared with me several of her confidential sketches—which I’m going to go ahead and say are Oscar Red Carpet worthy. There’s not a week that hasn’t gone by that she has not called either myself or Junda to share some big news about her work and her appearances. In recent months Marli has been highly sought after by the Sundance Channel, her designs have been recruited for the Grammy’s, most recently she’s been approached by the PR Staff of Vogue Magazine, and in July she will be the headlining designer for Dayton Fashion Week.
Since a child Marli has been a fan of fashion and upon enrolling in Linea Fashion Academy in South Africa she was advised that her designs and work were too advanced, she had natural skills and was told that she should go to Italy to study fashion design. According to Marli, she does sketch but very rarely will she find it necessary to sketch out a final look. “I usually have an idea which fabrics to use, then when I start working with the fabrics I make additions to the base design… It’s all about the fabric, especially the soft fabrics like chiffons, voiles, and silks”
If I had to describe Marli style of design in one word, it would be impossible because her style ranges from business professional to avant-garde. She doesn’t follow style trends she believes that every person has their own style and they should follow it. She does have some fashion pet peeves—a big no no for Marli is people who wear animal prints from head to toe—“if you’re going to wear an animal print, please don’t wear animal print shoes.” Another fashion no no according to Marli is over accessorizing, “I always say LESS IS MORE” so don’t wear huge earrings with a huge necklace and finally a big no no for Marli is clothing that clings to all of the wrong areas!
The Marlene Haute Couture line has been on the rise and one of Marli’s major goals is to have a ready to wear production line. “I would love to see my designs at a very high end fashion boutique and of course land a major celebrity to wear my designs”
The thing that I love and respect most about Marli is the fact that she uses models of all sizes and in fact she will have a size 18 model in her show for Dayton Fashion Week. “We all love fashion, big, small, tall and petite. Women of all sizes want to wear beautiful fashions and designs. Although thin models are often used on the runway, it is also good to have plus sized models, and for me to see them on the runway, is almost a “must”! It is important for me to know that a model is healthy and has never had an eating disorder or losing weight just because they want to be that perfect fit on a runway. I do not like to use model at all who are sizes 0 – 4 anymore because the facts are the ones wearing my designs in the end are sizes 6 – 10.”
Marli also has some advice for those seeking to enter the fashion industry—“It’s hard work– nothing happen instantly. You have to develop the business side for it to be a viable company. You always hear people say “That is my passion” but I go a step further by saying put effort into your passion to become successful. And forget being a copycat of someone else’s designs, do your own thing, use your creativity!”
Marli, has also let me in on a few secrets and a surprise for her appearance during Dayton Fashion Week including a one of a kind design to be auctioned off during DFW’s Silent Auction for Hospice of Dayton and Clothes That Work. As far as the other surprises are concerned– my lips are sealed and you’ll have to be in attendance to find out!! “This will be my highest couture line ever! I am very grateful that Dayton Fashion Week has given me this opportunity to design “out of the box” which of course I love.” Marlene Haute Couture is well known for the one of a kind, very high fashion, avant-garde pieces for the person who wants to make a fashion statement. “Those in attendance during Dayton Fashion Week will not be disappointed!!” For more information about Marlene Haute Couture please visit http://marlenehautecouture.com.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at Dayton Fashion Week and the dates have been set for the Kids Casting Call (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10 at De’Lish Cafe located at 139 N. Main St.) and the casting call to become a host covering the DFW for Inside Couture Television (10a.m. to 1 p.m. April 7 at SunWatch Indian Village, 2301 West River Road) which airs in Miami Florida.
New York Fashion week kicked off this week and a Dayton native will be gracing the runway of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York! Tameka Jones-Young will rip the runway for Indonesian designer Farah Angsana. “Walking in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week has been a dream since I began my modeling career. I feel so fortunate to finally have the opportunity. I am beyond excited!” said the mother of 2 and graduate of Chaminade-Julienne. After taking part in a national search, Tameka is also the new face of Shinto Clinical – a new skincare line by fashion mogul and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons (ex-wife of music mogul Russell Simmons). You can watch Tameka live on the runway at FarahAngsana.com and on Style.com on Wednesday February 15 at 5pm. New York Fashion Week runs February 9-16 at Lincoln Center’s Darosch Park and features the Fall 2012 collections of some of the world’s top designers.
So what exactly is Fashion Week and why should the people of Dayton care that we are finally having one? In short, Fashion Week is an opportunity for designers to showcase their latest designs. We all know about the multi-million dollar showcases in New York, Milan, and Paris—they have the A List Celebrities sitting in the front rows of their shows and buyers from some of the top department stores and fashion lines in the world eagerly awaiting the next big fashion trends to hit the shelves and racks of their stores. But did you know that the City of Dayton has the potential to become prime real estate for the Fashion Industry. Yes, you read that right! The City of Dayton is sitting right in the middle of 2 of the most respected fashion brands in the country—Macy’s which is headquartered in Cincinnati and The Limited Brands which include Express and Victoria’s Secret (to name a few) is headquartered in Columbus. These companies spend millions of dollars every year to manufacture their clothing all over the world so why has the city of Dayton been overlooked as one of those locations to manufacture their clothing? As we all know when the auto industry collapsed a few years ago it left a huge gap in our local economy, unemployment skyrocketed, and it also left a lot of abandoned factories just sitting around waiting for someone to take notice of all of the gems around us. I’m not sure how much thought or energy has gone into trying to get the attention of Macy’s and the Limited Brands from our city leaders or if they’ve ever considered the notion but it’s definitely something that Dayton Fashion Week team thought was worth mentioning–afterall it was Dayton’s close vicinity to Detroit, our railway system, and the easy accessibility to Interstate 75 and 70 that made us prime real estate for the auto industry. Why not the fashion industry?
Hi my name is Caressa Brown, I have acne prone skin, stretch marks on my hips, I pluck unwanted hairs from my chin and neck and I was 28 years old the first time that I felt pretty without a hair weave or straight hair. When I was a kid I had bugged eyes, bucked teeth, dark gums, and would go home crying every day after getting picked on by classmates for being so tall and skinny–they called me names like Skeletor, Jimney Cricket, and Nappy-Go-Happy to name a few. I didn’t get into modeling because I thought I was cute; in fact it was quite the opposite— at the age of 11 with my self-esteem 6 feet below the basement my mom enrolled me in Betty Massie Modeling School in Centerville with the hopes that I would learn some skills that would boost my self-esteem and confidence. After that first class the instructor told my mom that she wasn’t going to charge me to attend because I had the potential to be signed in a larger market or a major agency and at the age of 12, I signed my first professional modeling contract.
At the time it was the norm for agencies to only have one black model if any–and it was a rarity for any agency to have two– if they did, the models were instantly pitted against each other. So there I was – an insecure 12 year old model, the only black face at casting calls, and I wasn’t getting booked for any jobs. Seeing the affect that it had on me my parents put my career on hold until I was in high school, when ironically, I was scouted and signed on the spot by the President of Click Modeling Agency and the very first “plus-sized” model signed to the Click.
I said all of that to say this – I know that there was some disappointment based on the size restrictions for Dayton Fashion Week and I was immediately called out for it—one person questioned how could our city’s very first International Fashion Week put such size restrictions on models. After all this is the city that brought you Toccara Jones – a “plus-sized” model who appeared on America’s Next Top Model. And this is the Midwest where the vast majority of people don’t come close to fitting into those sizes—and I couldn’t agree more. I’ll be the first to tell you that it pained me to add those restrictions so much so that I reduced the height requirement from 5’10 to 5’8 and I raised the dress size from a 2 to a 4.
Before I go any further please understand that I would love to have women of all shapes and sizes rocking the runway of DFW–but the sad truth is, when it comes to finding designers of “plus size” clothing–pardon the pun but it’s slim pickings and when you add the fact that DFW is an inaugural event it becomes even more difficult. As of right now we have not had any designers of “plus-size” clothing to sign up–but it’s my hope to find local boutiques that cater to women of all sizes to step up and participate. So I encourage everyone REGARDLESS of your size to come on out to De’Lish Café and give it your best shot.
When I was offered the opportunity to write this column by DMM Publisher Bill Pote, he admitted that he didn’t know much about the fashion or modeling industries and he requested that I helped to educate readers about the industry and share some of my experiences. So without further ado—
Lesson #1 – Image is Everything
This can be a cruel and vicious industry– and if you don’t fit into that image you will be chewed up and spit out. As mentioned when I started modeling I was the only black model at all of the casting calls—when I returned to modeling the first photshoots I booked were for my comp cards. I spoke with the photographer over the phone the night before, he asked me my race, and I told him that I was black. I arrived and I was immediately ripped to shreds for not being “black enough”–for an hour the photographer fussed at me because my nose wasn’t wide enough, my lips weren’t full enough, I had golden undertones in my skin, my eyes looked Asian, my cheek bones were too high, and he demanded to know my family history. I told him that I was black, Blackfoot, Cherokee, and Irish. Then he snapped at me “that’s how you need to identify yourself from now on” and then he went on to tell me that I’ll never get cast as a black model.
Lesson # 2 – The Skinny on Skinny Models
There are several reasons why models are so thin: 1) It’s very expensive to start and maintain a clothing line and the less you spend on fabric the better–hence the sample size 2 that is often seen on the runway. 2) Most designers want their clothing to appear on the runway as if it’s hanging on a hanger which means no curves. 3) Somewhere a standard of beauty was set saying that the thinner you are the more attractive. The good news is that there has been a movement to ban super skinny models on the runway, but the bad news is—it came from governments and the industry fought against it claiming that they were being used as a scapegoat for eating disorders.
Lesson #3 – If You Wanna be on Top—You’ll Need a Strong Support System
I can’t even begin to imagine where I’d be or what my mind set would be like if I didn’t have strong, active and supportive parents in my life. My education always came first, so during those years of low self-esteem I gained inner confidence based on my academic performances. I was an honor student, a volunteer, a Who’s Who Among American High School Students, etc. By the time I was in my 20’s and I had contract offers from the top modeling agency in the world Elite, I didn’t feel the pressure to fit into any industry standard because I was focused on college. When people come to me about getting involved in modeling I tell them how important it is to have a support system in place. I don’t mean having a “yes man” – you need to have someone willing to tell you when you are wrong, pick you up when you are down, and be your voice when yours is lost.
Lesson #4 – True Beauty Starts from the Inside
I know it’s cliché but it’s the truth – if you don’t like what you see in the mirror there’s no amount of makeup that can cover that up. I started this article talking about my insecurities – the majority of which I have overcome by not allowing them to define me as a person. I set my own standards and I don’t waste my time comparing myself to anyone. I look myself in the mirror everyday literally and figuratively speaking, and if I don’t like what I see I adjust my mind set and slowly but surely I work on those things until they are no longer an issue for me… no cosmetics or designer clothing needed.
“I know talent when I see it. You either have it or you don’t. It’s that simple.” Those are the words of MTV’s Made coach, runway coach extraordinaire and Executive Producer of Dayton Fashion Week Kyle Haggerty—and on February 25, 2012 you will get your chance to prove if you have what it takes to rip the runway at the official Casting Call for DFW! It will take place at De’Lish Cafe –located at 139 N. Main Street in Downtown Dayton from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Models must arrive by 10:00 a.m. and have two recent photos; one full body shot and one head shot with your measurements and contact information on the back of each. Models with previous experience should bring your current portfolio.
Female models must be at least 5’8 without heels and wear a women’s size 0-4. Male models must be at least 5’10 and wear a suite size 40-44. Few exceptions will be made. Models must be at least 15 years of age–participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present–Mature models are welcomed. If you don’t fit into the height and size restrictions fret not because you still have two other opportunities to participate in DFW via the Dayton Fashion Week Magazine Cover Model Search and you can audition to be one of the local hosts to cover DFW for Inside Couture Television which airs in Miami Florida for NBC affiliate Channel 6. Information regarding these two casting calls will be announced at a later date.
If you’re wondering what to expect during this casting call, it’s simple–for starters, you will be auditioning in front of me, along with the CEO and Founder of Dayton Fashion Week Junda Morris-Kennedy, the Director of Makeup Angelica Ross, and there may be a surprise judge in the building (but you didn’t hear that from me). Be prepared to walk the runway and answer a few questions about yourself. Our job is to pick the best models and send their information to the designers who will make the final decision on who gets to walk for them.
As far as preparation for casting calls is concerned, I can honestly say that in my 20 years in the industry I’ve seen it all and I’ve made a lot of mistakes in preparing for them. However, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m going to share a few pointers with you so that you will arrive ready to shine!
Tip #1 Your Pictures
I CAN NOT EMPHASIS THIS ENOUGH–PROFESSIONAL PICTURES ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS CASTING CALL–or any casting calls for that matter! Your pictures should be simple–ladies you should be wearing little to no makeup, your hair should be pulled back. Men you should be clean shaven.
Your head shot should be a close up photo of your face. Smiling is optional but if you choose not to smile in your photo please take the advice of Tyra and smile with your eyes–we don’t want to see any mug shots! This pic should also be taken with you looking straight into the camera.
The full body shot should include a head to toe view of you. Do not go out and buy a new outfit–your clothing should be simple no logos, bright colors, or wild and crazy prints; this applies to both male and female models. Your outfit should be fitted but flattering to your body type. Shoes are optional. You should be standing. Its ok to be a little creative for this shot; by this I mean you can have your hands to your side, one or both hands on your hips, you can tilt your head for a profile shot of your face, and etc…but no over the top posing. The same rules for your appearance in your photos should be applied during the casting call as well.
Tip #2 Be Prepared To Stand
Ladies please BRING a pair of 3” heels to walk in—emphasis on BRING! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up to casting calls or Go-See’s wearing heels and ended up having to stand for hours. By the time it was my turn to be seen by the casting agent—I could barely walk and let me tell you– hobbling down the runway with a grimaced look on your face is not a good look on anyone and it’s not going to land you any jobs! So it’s ok to arrive in some flat comfortable shoes. If you’ve never worn heels before practice makes perfect–start practicing your catwalk in the shoes that you plan on wearing for the casting call now. Guys, you have no clue just how good you have it; the only thing that we ask of you is to not wear gym shoes when it’s your turn to walk!
Tip #3 Diva’s and Divo’s Need Not Apply
Attractive and talented models get turned down for jobs every day because they have poor attitudes or they’re not coachable. I’ve attended casting calls where the client or casting agent was right in the waiting room with the other models and never said a word to anyone about whom they were; they mingled, sat back and observed. Sadly, I’ve seen some models be really rude and unaware of whom they were speaking too–needless to say they weren’t cast. Please don’t be this person!
Tip #4 Be Yourself
We can tell the real from the fake–and we want to see your real personality. You might not be right for the runway but you never know what opportunities may come your way as a result of this casting call. Finally, don’t worry about the next person, February 25, 2012 is all about you and we can’t wait to meet you! If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]