Fashion Forward

A look at Austin’s first Fashion Week.
Fashion Forward
Bolsa Bonita handbags
Courtesy of Liz Potter

It was a whirlwind of fun during Austin’s first-ever fashion week (July 12–19). On a typical day, we (my mother and sister tagged along) dressed (fashionably, of course), loaded up the car, and tried to navigate our way around the city as we went from show to show. We chatted with designers and previewed the next big things. Here’s a little peek.

All About Diamonds

Bolsa Bonita’s designer, Liz Potter, hosted a fabulous open house. We mixed and mingled and nibbled on cheese and fruit and sipped wine, all the while taking note of Potter’s beautiful handbags. “This is a passion I could do my way to make money,” remarked Potter, a photojournalist turned handbag designer. She still exercises her photography skills by taking all of the pictures that are on her Web site.

Potter likes working with silk and vintage textiles and is inspired by these materials. “I will see a fabric and think that looks like a small bag and that looks like a large bag,” Potter explained. Bolsa Bonita’s two latest handbags are the Vintage Inspired Tote ($108) and the Silk and Obi Tote ($140). “It’s important to me to make what I love,” Potter said.

Adelante Boutique

Hazele Samson, the designer for People for Fresh, talked about her line to the crowd. Although she hails from Los Angeles, Samson said she took Austin into consideration when designing her line. The flowy fabrics are lightweight and chic—and allow the body to breathe.

Samson studied English at the University of California at Irvine before going to fashion school. “Fashion is something I have always loved and still love,” explained Samson, who hopes that Austin Fashion Week will get people in New York and Los Angeles to take note of the talent here. People for Fresh retails from $77 to $209.

Wish

Finding a parking spot was an experience in and of itself, but viewing Robin Designs was well worth the effort. Walking into the boutique, we were greeted by friendly salespeople who directed us to the back of the store where Robin Huneycutt, of Robin Designs, was sitting on a couch.

On display was an elegant white wedding dress that seemed to imitate nature. “My wedding dress was inspired by a picture of me and my grandmother’s rose garden,” explained Huneycutt, who recently graduated from the University of Texas. Huneycutt researched pictures of various types of flowers and tried to mold them and manipulate the fabric. She believes that a woman will always feel good when she puts on a dress—even if she’s having a bad day. The Robin Designs wedding dress retails for $3,000.

Beyond Tradition

Before jumping into the jewelry market, Catherine Nicole and her fiancé decided to take a cross-country trip in an Airstream trailer, along the way selling some of her jewelry. One of their stops was Austin, and they liked it so much that at the end of their tour, they came back to settle down.

Nicole, who won the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Designer at Austin Fashion Week, gets inspiration from her travels, whether from trips abroad or simply across town. In her new line Nicole uses vintage Chanel chains, antique Tibetan pendants, and Swarovski crystals to create her eclectic jewelry. Take note that 25 percent of Nicole’s direct online sales go to the Foundation for Tomorrow, which places African orphans into African boarding schools. For Nicole, it all started with a boy named Isaac, who didn’t have enough money to attend school. Catherine Nicole retails from $56 to $185.

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