Angel Fant, a clothing designer, and Nannette Davis, a jewelry designer, are headed for New York Fashion Week where they hope their work will catch the eyes of buyers, retailers, celebrities and the fashion press.
For years, New York Fashion Week came and went with hardly a blip on my consciousness. Mainly, I was aware of it because of the hundreds of photos that moved on the Associated Press news feed and the 15-pound Vogue magazine that popped up every September on newsstands.
The September Vogue can cost about $10, which is a lot of money for something that’s mostly ads and will probably be looked through only once, but I’ve allowed myself the luxury of that visual feast on long plane rides. (That’s about every other year.)
My former colleague Janice Gaston covered NYFW for the Journal in the 1970s when we had more features sections and a budget for that sort of thing. I can’t imagine anything scarier or more fun.
So, that was pretty much it for me and my awareness of Fashion Week, until a couple of years ago when I started hearing about Winston-Salem Fashion Week. Then I heard about No Punching Bag, Fant’s fashion brand, and last year, another group popped up — Twin City Fashion Week (www.twincityfashionweek.com ).
My personal fashion sense is somewhat limited: jeans, a T-shirt and a jacket, and leopard skin is my favorite color. But I acknowledge that there is art in fashion.
Somebody imagines a “look,” designs and executes it. Somebody designs fabrics. Somebody else designs accessories and jewelry.
According to industry analysts, in 2016, more than $250 billion was spent on fashion in the United States, and apparel industries employed 1.9 million people. The largest fashion hubs in the U.S. are New York and Los Angeles.
Held every September and February, NYFW is considered one of the “Big 4,” with events also held biannually in Paris, London and Milan.
In 2015, Fant and her daughters, Tenijah and Danielle, founded No Punching Bag, which Fant calls “a fashion brand for social change.” They took a group to Paris Fashion Week in February.
No Punching Bag with 15 models from North and South Carolina will have a showcase at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 8 on The Society platform at NYFW.
In Paris, Fant featured designs in purple, the color for domestic violence awareness. In New York, the Fants have designed clothing using orange, the color that stands for gun violence awareness.
“The New York collection is based on the idea that everyday people are affected by gun violence,” Fant said.
“I founded No Punching Bag to enhance the conversation surrounding domestic violence and other social issues pertaining to women and youth. NPB was formed on a combination of passion and purpose. We were inspired to use our passion and skill set for fashion on the runway.
“We are seeking support to present our ‘Who is Holding the Gun’ gun violence awareness collection in a Fashion Tour with The Society Fashion Week Group. ... One bonus for us is the chance to spread the movement against gun violence to the fashion industry in different arenas. The total potential social media and web reach is 7,250,000-plus, and the average attendance is 452 guests per fashion show.”
Fant has a GoFundMe campaign to support the trip, and she is about $1,000 short of her $5,000 goal. Visit Gf.me/u/uy77j7 to help out.
“We have done a lot of fashion weeks this year. It’s pretty overwhelming,” Fant said. She hopes to have a new collection for the 2020 Winston-Salem Fashion Week.
She said they have been invited to more events than they can attend: “We have to go to the platforms where we can get the biggest audience, that can get us seen and get our mission and our vision out there.”
Nannette Davis is jewelry designer and fabricator who lives in Winston-Salem. She participated in last year’s Winston-Salem Fashion Week, and is going to NYFW this year.
Davis, who teaches in the metals department at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art, has been designing jewelry since 1991. She designs for her company, NannetteDesign, and for other designers as well.
“Creating for other designers taught me that it takes time, experiences and willingness to always learn from others,” she said. “I see in my work so many different influences and skills coming together to allow me to design the way I do now.”
Puja Aurora, a designer from Apex, had Davis design jewelry for her Studio Ivey. They are taking the collection to NYFW for an outing in a “pageant” show and an “elegant evening show.”
Davis will be doing her own designs for Winston-Salem Fashion Week later this month. “I love to create pieces that make the person wearing the piece feel special,” she said.
She explained the influences on her art.
“My background in graphic design and architecture can be seen in the lines and function of my pieces,” Davis said. “Artists that have influenced me are Frank Lloyd Wright, Salvador Dali, Kandinsky and many more.”
Her challenges as a designer include “creating for the ever changing market place, keeping things affordable, staying current in this digital age.”
Winston-Salem Fashion Week is not going to NYFW, but it will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a kick-off on Sept. 20, sponsored by the Winston Cup Museum, and showcases Sept. 26-29.
Founder Nikita Wallace, said that this year’s theme is once again “Transformation,” which refers to Winston-Salem’s transformation from industry to technology, “while expanding in the arts with fashion and textile.”
For the first time, WSFW will also have an exhibition, “Fashion and Design in Winston Salem,” Sept. 12-Oct. 6, in the Community Gallery at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, 750 Marguerite Drive.
For information about WSFW, visit www.wsfashion week.com .
Like artists, many designers feel called to their work.
“Creating is what I am meant to do,” Davis said. “It brings me to a place where I lose myself when working out a piece, and bringing it from design on paper to fruition excites me every time.
“Believe in yourself. We are the only ones who limit our possibilities.”