Pin Show attendees, fashion nerds, aspiring designers and fans alike love seeing their favorite designers’ work walk the runway each year, but do they really know about their favorite designers? Luckily DFW Style Daily has got you covered with need-to-know facts about this years’ established designers lineup. Get to know this year’s roster of Established Designers below.
Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria Dika Obiaju graduated from the University of North Texas (UNT) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design in May 2015. Her three-year experience changed her life by opening her mind to accept every challenge which helped her grow and build on her unique aesthetic. Obiaju’s label launched post graduation on August 16, 2016.
Alexander McQueen is an inspiration to Obiaju and her style. The collection Obiaju presents is all about “humans transforming.” The brand’s artistry is inspired by,
“The underdogs, the people suffering, the people who do not take anything in this life for granted are my inspiration,” Obiaju said. “They are very brave, and because of them, we try to stay strong.”
Obiaju’s line donates a percentage of the proceeds to helping a Nigerian child pay for their education.
Jinani Chen, another UNT graduate of the College of Visual Arts and Design presents her talents for the first time at the annual Pin Show. Chen’s brand aims to influence women that love streetwear and want a unique design. For her Pin Show presentation, Chen turns to her favorite movie, “The Professional” for her design concepts.
“I used scripts and graphics combining edgy details from this movie to create a visual impact on the garments,” Chen said. “The main character in the movie, Leon, seems clumsy and indifferent but has a kind heart. My concept of design is to present the attitude of the current young population to life. They may seem cold outside, but actually with a warm heart inside.”
The artistic influence for the brand is Chen’s family and friends.
“Most of my friends and families like traveling, visiting museums, and watching movies,” Chen said. “Sometimes we would discuss what we have seen and experienced and share with each other. A lot of time, I was inspired by our conversations about culture and art. They are the most important persons in my life who gave me a lot of help and supported me forever.”
Chen wants to bridge the gap of the fashion industry between the United States and China, her homeland, in hopes of creating a greater impact of Asian styles on American communities. For the future of the brand, Chen plans to keep the line to ready-to-wear and wants to provide more options female customers that are on the smaller side.
Melancholic Design, the creation of designer Jesse Thaxton, blends elements of what she calls “retro-futurism” and modern aesthetics for the fashion world to enjoy. This is not Thaxton’s first Pin Show and has expressed how the show benefits her brand.
“It’s unique, expressive, and conveys the message that I want my consumers to feel,” Thaxton said. “It’s important to show at events that match up with your identity and bring in clients that will buy your brand.”
Thaxton began her fashion career designing costumes as a hobby. She graduated from UNT as a fashion design major with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. When stepping into the fashion world right after college, it was difficult to find a job. Since then she has been a designer at Melancholic Design since 2011.
Thaxton incorporates the ideals of Alexander McQueen in her designs by creating how McQueen looked at fashion.
“Alexander McQueen saw more than clothing,” Thaxton said. “He saw extensions of people and their choices. I try to convey that in my clothes along with his fearless commitment to his vision.”
Thaxton’s artistic influence comes from scientist Carl Sagan.
“Carl Sagan, above so many others, saw the beauty in people and culture and our place in the world,” he said. “His quotes, philosophies and beliefs on humanity and the cosmos drive me to push my artistic endeavors forwards to the edge and to always see people and their advancements as things that should be celebrated.”
Thaxton hopes to begin manufacturing and producing her clothing line to sell at retail locations in the near future.
LaLa, the brainchild of designer Lisa Macias, began her fashion career at the age of six while her grandmother was a seamstress for the military. During that time, Macias was hand stitching clothes for dolls. In 2007, Macias took classes locally in Austin after along hiatus. Once feeling comfortable, she invested in one on one lessons for pattern drafting. Now, Macias returns for her second Pin Show with designs inspired by a freedom of expression.
Macias hopes to inspire those that question the status quo or the new designer who is playing it safe. She wants her designs to influence people to “mix things up and take a chance.”
“There are so many colors and textures, combinations of prints and fabrics, representative to me of us as humans,” Macias said. “The collection has a vibrant energy. It represents individuality and love for all things fun.”
Returning for a second Pin Show, Silk Threads presents their theme of 2017, “Women’s Empowerment”, derived from their recent annual fashion charity event dedicated to domestic violence awareness. The collection will have a silhouette of women’s faces to represent the initial theme.
Silk Threads’ mastermind Ruby Bhandari never had any formal fashion education. Her journey is one of a self-made designer. She made her own clothes at a very young age leading to her creating her own wedding trousseau – which the Indian-American community of Texas greatly appreciated.
Designs are taken from traditional Indian-American heritage with a fusion of Western designs and silhouettes. Bhandari went from ethnic wear to having a couture/bridal line, a tunic line (which is carried in 400 stores) and a menswear line.
Using “nature’s color palette” and geometric shapes, Bhandari hopes her audience will appreciate taking centuries of old design elements by bringing them to life in a modern setting.
Self-taught fashion veteran, Charlotte Elliott, owner of the brand Yomono is a Pin Show veteran. With this being her sixth show and only the second time as an Established Designer, Elliott is appreciative of the Pin Show and enjoys the community of attendees support.
“The Pin Show has always spurred me to go bigger, better, edgier and rocket beyond my wildest expectations of myself,” Elliott said. “Though there are many long and stressful nights preparing for the show, seeing my designs walk down the runway and elicit a reaction from the crowd is the ultimate reward for my labor. The Pin Show legitimizes me as a Dallas designer and is the greatest press I could ask for.”
Elliott began her fashion career sketching apparel in middle school and fantasized about making corsets someday. She learned the basics by playing with her mother’s sewing machine. Her construction skills did not fully blossom until college. Soon after earning her Associate of Applied Arts Degree in 2006, Elliott began Yomono in 2009 with local bazaars and a micro-boutique at IndieGenius. Since then, Yomono has grown to a yearly runway collection and online store. Elliott challenges herself by being dedicated to women and menswear.
Her personal inspiration comes from the infinite search for wisdom.
“Wisdom to me is a culmination of health, morality, and the zen of perfecting my skills. In my personal life, this is embodied by striving to live a sustainable, responsible existence,” Elliot said.
Keep up with your favorite designers before the big event on social media as The Pin Show nears and tune in next week for a peek at the musical acts performing at this year’s fashion experience. Mark your calendars for Feb. 18 at The Bomb Factory and click here for more information and tickets.
Image 7 courtesy of Thomas Garza. All other images courtesy of individual designers.
This article was updated on 2/6/17 to reflect the removal of a designer.