Out on the Runway: Fashion Week San Diego

Fashion Week San Diego returns to the runway next month to give our city’s fashion stars the attention they deserve. Allison Andrews founded the event in 2008 with the idea of aiding the developing fashion culture.  After the initial launch, it went on a three-year hiatus to recoup from the economic recession. It gave them time to re-group and now it is back stronger than ever.

The seven-day event will feature 17 designers from San Diego with collections ranging from ready to wear, jewelry, sportswear and haute couture on October 1-7. In addition to fashion, this event also provides models, hairstylists and makeup artists a platform to showcase their talent.

Two of those designers are Kenneth Barlis and Andre Soriano. After submitting their applications in February 2012, it was a waiting game for close to three months. “The process of getting selected for FSWD was very nerve wracking… you’re going through the application process with the directors, the interviews, and then the official list selection of the designers” Barlis remembered.

Barlis wasn’t always a fashion designer. He started in the fashion industry as a model. When he turned 21 he felt modeling was not for him but his love for fashion persisted and he pursued fashion design as a career. He credits Alexander McQueen as one of his biggest influences from the industry due to his design and impeccable craftsmanship “It shows how the impossible could be possible. From a simple material can also be turned into an extraordinaire [sic] work of art.”

Being part of the LGBT community has influenced him as well, “to get out from my comfort zone and to stay true to myself for who I am as a designer whether the people will like me and my designs or not. It’s all about self acceptance, how different we are from each other whether as a designer, or just our personality in general.”

When he got the news of his acceptance he was at home doing homework. “It gives me butterflies in my stomach knowing that this is my first Fashion Week experience ever.” He already has a few upcoming shows after FWSD including International Fashion Week in Barbados, where he’ll be taking 40-60 design pieces from his Spring/Summer 2013 Collection.

“My inspiration for my Spring/Summer 2013 collection was my ‘love story’. I am showcasing a dark romantic collection that captivates everybody’s hearts. It is a story of a young beautiful lady that falls in-love with this handsome man. However, the world around them doesn’t permit their love [for each other] to happen, and even though that it didn’t work out, they are still hoping for a happy ending~ someday” Barlis explained. He named his collection “DIVINA” as a tribute to his grandmother who has found that happy ending with his grandfather.

Andre Soriano was encouraged to apply by FWSD’s founder and Director, Allison Andrews while attending FWSD’s 2012 kick off meeting in January. He submitted his application without hesitation after their encounter.

“The anticipation was very grilling, because this was the second FWSD and we (Soriano and director Manoj Sharma) wanted to be [a] part of this event, which has grown a lot now. This is going to be the biggest event of the year in San Diego. Also we wanted to change the way people look at fashion in San Diego, and they will see in our section during FWSD on October 6th at the Hard Rock Hotel Downtown”.

For the grand finale Soriano’s bringing in Nightlife Personality and Entertainer Paris Sukomi Max to present his haute couture look. “[The] LGBT Community influences me to be Creative, Fearless and Original.” Soriano will be donating 20% of the proceedings from his trunk show to various charities. “Andre Soriano always wants to help the community, and the people who really need our help!” said Sharma.

Soriano and Sharma were eating dinner at Urban Mo’s when Soriano got the final decision, “I got a phone call that I am selected, which made me excited and nervous at the same time.” Growing up around stylish women inspired a young observant Soriano, “I grew up around fashion and watching my mom and other women around me dressing up, which inspired me to pursue fashion designer as a career.” Fabrics, textures, colors, different cultures and Hollywood glamour influence Soriano’s designs. His showcase will be a diverse set of elegant gowns to avant-garde to haute couture staples.

On October 6, the designers will be presenting their Spring 2013 collections on the runway show at Hard Rock Hotel. Audiences will vote for their favorite design based on wearability, creativity and overall production. The winning designer will receive a business package that will make their line a reality. This event will not only introduce these up and coming fashion designers but it will give them momentum to grow.

Fashion Week San Diego™ is presented by APA Business Consulting, Inc.

The event will be open to both industry professionals and the public. For more info, visit www.fashionweeksd.com

Kenneth Barliswww.kennethbarlis.com

RTW collection is available for purchase online or by visiting M. Daskal La Jolla

Andre Soriano –  www.andresoriano.com


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