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After last year's inaugural event drew 1,000 people, the Designers Choice Fashion Preview returns on Saturday with more designers and new celebrity hosts. Mabelvale's Korto Momolu emcees with her friend and fellow “Project Runway” finalist Jerell Scott, who'll also display his latest collection. Pre-show, there'll be a VIP meet-and-greet with Momolu, Scott and Shane and Shawn Ward, an acclaimed twin design duo based out of New York.
Though the bevy of collections featured would make a great event alone, organizer Theresa Timmons-Nooner hopes to foster a community of fashion designers and makeup artists. By making connections within the industry, she says local talents are less likely to feel that they have to move out-of-state to be successful.
Participating designer Nicole Daniels agrees with the philosophy. “Designers don't have to move to New York City or Los Angeles to find work. Many boutiques in Little Rock, including Jeante and Box Turtle, already support local designers by carrying their lines, and participating in this show helps make those connections.”
Timmons-Nooner doesn't charge the designers to participate. Her mission, she says, is to provide participants with not only a venue, but with mentorship, which is where Momolu comes in.
A participant in last year's Designers Choice Fashion Preview, Momolu, of course, went on to become a finalist on Bravo's “Project Runway.” Now, using her own experiences in the industry as a guide, she's playing Tim Gunn and visiting each participating designer before the show, critiquing collections and offering advice. Daniels says it's especially helpful since most of the designers have never shown a collection before.
Unlike in recent Fashion Weeks around the world, these designers won't wear the creative shackles that usually dictate a collection be shown months before it's in season. Instead, Timmons-Nooner allows the designers to have full creative reign, from the music to the makeup. “If you want to make a winter coat, go ahead and make it. Their segment is their segment,” she says
In keeping with the theme of the event, all the models are from Arkansas and all the designers, save Jerrell Scott, are from Little Rock. The designers participating are Scott, Star Akel, Nicole Daniels, Natasha Dixon, Heather Gayle, Nicole McGhee, Marcus Lewis, Linda Thomas and Stephanie Thomas.
A vendor expo, with booths from beauty companies, makeup artists, jewelry designers and clothing boutiques, will be open before the show and throughout the evening.
The event is Saturday, March 28, at the Metroplex Event Center. Tickets are available at Jeante Boutique, Bag It Up Boutique, 4th Dimension Salon, Scarlet and Uncle T's Food Mart. Prices are $25 for general admission and $35 for VIP admission. The vendor expo begins at 5:30 p.m., and the VIP meet-and-greet starts at 5:45 p.m. The fashion show begins at 7 p.m.