Phoenix Fashion Week Takes the Gold with Shop Garment District 2016

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Ah, my favorite time of year… the time where Phoenix Fashion Week’s Emerging Designers give us a real taste of what we can expect on the runway in October. Shop Garment District is always one of my favorite events throughout the season because we are finally starting to figure out who the designers really are, and how their collections are shaping up.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Top 40 Models

Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

I have to say, overall I was thoroughly impressed with the event. The caliber of designers for the 2016 season is some of the best I have seen from Phoenix Fashion Week yet. There was actually no show this time around that I thought was absolutely dreadful, and for me that is a major accomplishment.


The one area of improvement I could really see gearing up for the runway in October is with the fit of the garments, particularly for the more couture designers. Now, I went and looked at every booth before the show and studied the garments thoroughly. They are well constructed and they are using high-quality fabrics. So, I think the area of opportunity is the prep time with the models.

In the past, I know that the designers have not had a ton of time to actually fit the models prior to fashion week. In my opinion, it would help the couture designers immensely if they were assigned models at the beginning of the whole bootcamp. Then, they could work from their measurements and have multiple events to perfect the fit of the look before they present the collection in October. When you are working with materials like silk and leather, the piece can go from gorgeous to garage sale in no time if the fit is not right.

Team PHXFW, please help these designers out and give them more time to fit and adjust the look for the model’s measurements so the garment looks as exquisite as I know it is!

The Fashion Olympics

In honor of the show being on the same night as the Olympics Opening Ceremony, I categorized the designers into the medal I would give them if this was the Fashion Olympics. When you think about it, it isn’t really that far off. These emerging designers have traveled from all over the world to compete for the Designer of the Year title. They’ve put in countless hours of work to prepare for the event, and come October all eyes will be on them to see how they perform. Let the games begin!

Gold Medal

My top 3 personal favorites for Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 right now (we all know that can change!) are Barbara Bultman, Cosmogyral, and Mowa by Emily Smith. I thought each one of these designers presented a cohesive mini collection that illustrated exactly who their customer was and what we can expect to see from them in October. I also, like I said earlier, stopped by their booths to look at the garments up close and was really impressed with the overall quality of each piece. Don’t be surprised to see me wearing pieces from each of these designers in the future.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Barbara Bultman

Barbara Bultman | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Cosmogyral

Cosmogyral | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Mowa by Emily Smith

Mowa by Emily Smith | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography


Silver Medal

I also saw a ton of potential for Laura Tanzer, Amanda CasarezIsy BMarisa MikeAconavand Forgiven LoveAlthough these shows didn’t resonate with me quite as strongly, I think that they have a ton of potential to get in stores both in Arizona and throughout the United States. I actually really loved the aesthetic of Laura Tanzer, Amanda Casarez, Isy B, and Marisa Mike but felt that these are some of the designers who could benefit most from more time fitting their models.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Laura Tanzer

Laura Tanzer | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Amanda Casarez

Amanda Casarez | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Isy B

Isy B | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Marisa mike

Marisa Mike | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Aconav did a beautiful collection, but I felt like some of the dresses were a bit overworked and had too many design elements. I would love to see this designer strip down the designs to really highlight the creative elements that make his brand stand out like the mesh overlays and creative slits. Less is always more when it comes to a dress in my opinion! Incorporate one special element to make the dress stand apart and nail the fit. The dress will be more sellable, and the woman more confident.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Aconav

Aconav | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Forgiven Love did a really nice job with their collection as well. As much as I don’t particularly enjoy t-shirt runway shows, I did appreciate the effort they put forth styling the show. The European aesthetic paired with the streetwear brand was interesting and appealing for the upscale venue.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Forgiven Love

Forgiven Love | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Bronze Medal

MXN and Ricci JvR were the two designers, in my opinion, that need to spend a bit more time working on their collection. Although the pieces by MXN fit great, the designs were way too over the top. I love the mission of the company which is to be a zero waste, animal and earth friendly company, but, at the end of the day, you still have to design pieces that the public likes. Simplify, simplify, simplify ladies! Fringe, flower crowns, and feathers is just too much for one look.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 MXN

MXN | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Ricci JvR was a decent display, but again, the fit was off and made the pieces look sloppy. (Have I made my point about the fit yet?). The design elements had potential but this designer will need to work on construction and execution to really bring the collection to life. After the crowd sees so many awesome looks from the other designers, it is more important than ever to make sure the collection you present is absolutely perfect.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Ricci JvR

Ricci JvR | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

Overall, I think this was my favorite Shop Garment District event to date. The Top 40 models did an absolutely fantastic job on the runway and in their print challenge (see more about that here). Toni & Guy did some great runway hair and makeup, and The Moxy in Tempe provided the perfect backdrop for the whole evening. I, for one, am more excited than ever to see the runway shows in October.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 Print Challenge Winners

Print Challenge Winners: Faith, Nicholas, Andreas, and Cierra | Photo courtesy of Almanza Photography

What did you think of the runway shows? Let me know your favorites by tagging @suburbscouture on Instagram and Twitter and using #CitSxPHXFW.

Please be sure to credit Almanza Photography and Couture in the Suburbs when sharing photos from this story.


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Lindsay Viker
Lindsay Viker

Founder & Editor of Couture in the Suburbs. Fashion Enthusiast. Starbucks Addict. Jewelry Hoarder.

Almanza Photography
Almanza Photography

Almanza Photography is based out of Phoenix, AZ, and is lead by Phoenix Fashion Photographer, James Almanza. His work spans from Commercial to Editorial, Lifestyle Portraits to Modeling Portfolios and Weddings to Production Events.

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