Lawd a mercy…where do I even start?? When I first heard that someone was trying to bring a Fashion Week to Dayton in September of 2011, I immediately got excited and went to work on trying to find out who this Junda Morris-Kennedy person was, I called, I wrote, I googled, I Facebooked, pretty much I stalked her until she finally responded!! I offered my assistance thinking that this Dayton Fashion Week thing was just going to be a cute little fashion show—BOY WAS I WRONG because This “Dayton Fashion Week Thing” turned out to be an International Fashion Spectacular that can only be summed up into three categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly…of course there was more Good than anything else.(que Ennio Morricone please)
The Friendships: Excuse me while I get a little teary eye’d and sappy but in the course of the past 10 months I had the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful people and even better we became more than friends we became a family.
To the models, I want you to know how much I love and respect each and every one of you! As a former model myself, I set out to do for all of you the things that I wish I had accomplished in my career! Modeling isn’t an easy career to break into and all too often your hard work, passion, and dedication are dismissed and go unappreciated because you are “just a blank slate” and I want you to know that you are more than that. From the very first calls that we made to you after the casting calls and hearing your excitement and even tears of joy made me feel like a Fairy Godmother making a dream come true. And every event thereafter you went out and represented Dayton Fashion Week and let the whole world know that we had officially arrived on the Fashion Scene.
To the designers, WOW is all that I know to say!! Actually Wow and Thank You! It wasn’t an easy process finding designers to be a part of the first year of Dayton Fashion Week. I remember sitting at Junda’s house going over plans for the casting call and being really worried about the lack of commitments that we had from designers and doubting whether or not we could go on as planned with DFW. But in true DFW style we continued to reach out and slowly but surely you all answered the call, stepping out on Faith and risking your names and reputations to be a part of this Inaugural event. To say that I was blown away by your presentations throughout the week would be the understatement of the century! Your drive and push to make this event the success that it was will never be forgotten. I’ll be hitting some of you up soon for my custom orders!!
To the Photography team, Lamar Pacely, Robert Coyle, Pete Bradow, Krissy Mills, Cj Kim, and Cliff Fennell, I don’t know very many if any photographers let alone photographers as talented as you all are, who are willing to give up so much of their time voluntarily. You rose to the occasion with each phone call and yes even the last minute cover shoot calls!! If a picture tells a thousand words then your efforts made it a thousand and one!
To the Hair and Makeup Team— Great job Angelica Ross DFW’s Creative Director of Cosmetics, Elite Hair Academy, Stacia McVey, and The Hair Gallery. McKinnley Pierre of Inside Couture said it best, “Dayton Fashion Week’s Hair and Makeup team was better than any such teams that I’ve seen in Miami Fashion Week, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and L.A. Fashion Week, so my hat’s off to them.” What more can I say?
To Maha Kashani—thank you so much for welcoming me to your hood!! lol From the very moment that I contacted you about DFW. You jumped on board and worked your butt off to make sure that this event was a success. You are Dayton, you are the bomb, you are the best, you are amazing, you are fabulous, and all of the positive adjectives that you can name but most importantly you are my friend. Without you and your work there wouldn’t be a Dayton Fashion Week.
To Junda Morris-Kennedy—We did it!! This was not an easy journey, we climbed up the rough side of the mountain together and I’m honored to call you more than a friend you are my sister. We put in countless hours in planning, we worked together, cried together, we even disagreed a couple of times, and when push came to shove…we always had each others back and like real sisters we toughed it out, stepped out on faith, kept God first, and kept on climbing to the top of that mountain. Thank you so much for taking me under your wing and teaching me another side of the industry, for believing in me, and allowing me to be a part of a positive event for the city I love! I love you from the bottom of my heart.
In the days and weeks leading up to Dayton Fashion Week we were rocked by a series of tragedies that shook us to the core. Junda suffered the loss of several family members back to back and 6 days before the Kickoff to Dayton Fashion Week on July 18 at the age of 37, Junda suffered a stroke. I was thrown into the leadership position and was faced with answering a challenging question…Will DFW continue? Not knowing all of the details of the business end of things, I called a last minute emergency meeting that was opened with prayer led by DFW Event Manager Cindy Gaboury and the number of people that showed up and the outpouring of support I received gave me the strength to go on and reaffirmed that cancellation WAS NOT AN OPTION!!
On Friday July 20, DFW’s Executive Producer and MTV’s Made Coach Kyle Haggerty, called his best friend to pick him up to take him to the airport to fly into Dayton and help with Dayton Fashion Week’s preparations. The weather was bad that day and his friend never arrived because he had been killed in a car accident on his way to pick up Kyle leaving him completely devastated and cancelling his trip to be a aprt of DFW.
On Sunday July 22, our Director of Public Relations Tamieka Kent had to step down from her DFW duties when she received a phone call requiring her to leave town to be at her mother’s side who had emergency open heart surgery.
I’ll keep this short,in the days leading up to DFW and when Dayton Fashion Week was struggling to survive after being rocked by back to back to back tragedies there were attempts made to kick us when we were down by those who we bent over backwards for the most to help and accommodate. Did I mention those were FAILED ATTEMPTS??
Back To The Good
Surely you didn’t think that I was going to let the ugly outshine the good right? As McKinnely Pierre the Executive Producer of Inside Couture told me when he called to check on me the other day. “Don’t let a couple of barking dogs steal your joy, especially when you have hundreds of silent ones standing behind you who have your back”. This is only the beginning and you know my motto Dayton Fashion Week #ItJustKeepsGettinBetter 2013 here we come!! News Flash WE ALREADY HAVE DESIGNERS FROM BRAZIL, LONDON, SOUTH AFRICA, INDIA, JAMAICA, AND YES DAYTON GETTING READY FOR 2013
Stay tuned for Part 2 and be sure to check out our Facebook Page to see all of the wonderful images captured by Dayton Fashion Weeks Photographers at Facebook.com/daytonfashion.