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Category: Ashleigh Armstrong

USC Fashion Week Show

Models backstage in Laura McCall’s pieces
photo by Keri Goff/The Daily Gamecock

Hey guys I’m so sorry it took me soo long to get this video and coverage up but things have been hectic. Last Thursday was USC Fashion Week’s show. Fashion Board put on the show which is held annually in 701 Whaley. There were 8 retailers from Columbia including Britton’s, LaRoque, Coplon’s, Just The Thing, M Boutique, VanJean, DeLibel, and Bohemian. The featured student designer was Laura McCall(see the Tumblr for our review).

There were alot of people from the local fashion set like Jai Marshall of The Fat and Skinny on Fashion, Anne Postic of The Shop Tart, Cori Hanky of Garnet and Black, Dwaun Sellers of The Shopping Savage, Tracie Broom of Flock and Rally, Keisha Moore of UK Models, Alana Britt of Alana B Couture, as well as those involved in Fashion Board like Marquis Bias and Ashleigh Armstrong.


Photos by Keri Goff/The Daily Gamecock

Other Retailers

Photos by Clarence Jackson


Marquis Bias Interview and USC Fashion Week

Marquis Bias speaking with ABC at the USC Fashion Week Show
photo by Keri Goff for The Daily Gamecock
“Put both of them on,” Marquis Bias instructed handing the model two gold braided belts. She wrapped them around her waist and turned around for Marquis’s approval. He nodded, scanning the clothes carefully placed on the walls of DeLibel Boutique, “There’s alot of pieces here to choose from but it has to go with my story,” he said.

The story was told last night at 701 Whaley as the Fashion Board at the University of South Carolina put on their annual fashion show as apart of their fashion week. This year featured one student designer named Laura McCall, as well as 8 local boutiques, and was Marquis’s 3rd year putting on the event, his second as President. “I guess in a way it is [my grand finale].” He says looking down at his armful of bracelets, and idly playing with one of his most prized, an Alexis Bittar given to him by roommate and Fashion Board Vice President of Social Outreach, Ashleigh Armstrong.

A few days before the show, which boasted an audience of about 350 people, I sat in on one of Marquis’s many fittings and chatted with him about his life in fashion as well as the industry in general.

“I wanna be [Andre Leon Talley] when I grow up, I really want to be him when I grow up, he has so much power in the industry,” Marquis confided in me. Though he named names like June Ambrose, Nicola Formichetti, and Rachel Zoe when asked about inspirational people in the industry it was Talley who stuck out to him. Not only does the striking similarity in life stories impact Marquis(both were raised in small traditional southern towns where they were introduced to glamour, beauty, and fashion by their grandmothers) but also Talley’s way of doing things. He explained how Talley has a penchant for taking new industry personel under his wing. “Especially for the black girls in the industry: when they come in the industry with a bad hair weave he takes them under his wing, introduces them to Valentino , and goes and get their hair done.”

Having worked for Gregory Ellenburg of Gregory Ellenburg, Anne Postic of The Shop Tart, and Annabelle LaRoque of LaRoque, Marquis knows a bit about what it takes to be a success in the industry. “One of the key things to being a successful stylist is relationships,” says Marquis rotating Rocko, a green jeweled lizard ring, on his finger. Relationships with designers, models, photographers, and even other stylists all can benefit a working stylist. One of Marquis’s most cherished relationships is the one he has with industry stylist, Becca Alexis, who is a huge mentor of his.”I know she’s like crazy busy and yet she always makes time to respond to my messages and stuff.” said Marquis of the stylist who’s worked with Janet Jackson, Kanye West, and Trey Songz.
Marquis mainly stood alone as he hosted the fashion show last night. In a pair of sequined trousers and with an armful of new pieces, he thanked retailers and designers for allowing a “little boy from Timmonsville” to use their resources for year after year to put on what has become one of the largest annual fashion shows in Columbia. The show is Marquis’s last as apart of Fashion Board but we’re sure to see his Louis Vuitton monogrammed hold-all flitting around Columbia for at least a little longer as he continues on in his pursuit to “beautify the world one sequin at a time.”

The Tale of Orion

His name is Orion.
He is the cornerstone of my new look.

I traveled over the hills and through the alleys to a land called Devine Street in an attempt to meet Orion in real life after glimpsing a picture of him and his siblings on Shopping Savage. With the approval of a certain Duchess, I decided to walk about a mile each way in a thick v-neck and shoes that were definitely not made for walking because I thought Orion might be Just the Thing to start my new look.
When I tried him, he fit PERFECTLY! I actually tried him on in addition to one of his twins and their slimmer sibling, but in the end, it seemed Orion had chosen me as he wouldn’t loose my wrist. I walked out of the boutique with the knowledge this was probably the first of many purchases in a revamping of my image, but it was most certainly a step in the right direction.
Everyone welcome Orion to the family.
(silver piece all the way to the right)


SO… this is the actual first time I have tried to input pictures with a post from my phone so… I’m not sure how they’ll come out. Anywho the last few days have been full of meetings and experiences that I wanted to run through.

First I met with a local publication. The meeting took place out at the Village in Sandhills which is an uber cute spot. I love it and actually the first time i was there I wanted to get clearance to shut down one of the roads and put on a fashion show there…. Then again I want to put on a fashion show everywhere don’t I? Anywho meeting was great and got my creative juices pumping. Sadly for you that’s all I’m going to say about that.

A few days after that, I met with Keiko Limehouse from Mina/Mas boutique. We sat down at her boutique and I proceeded to engage her in an extended interview/conversation with her about her boutique, it’s future and why she does things the way she does them. The interview should turn up shortly but I’m currently transcribing it so I’ll have all the relevant details. Until it goes to print though, why don’t you head down to the boutique yourself and check it out. It’s located at 1624 Broad River Rd Columbia, SC 29210. Make sure to tell Keiko, Tara or Kayla(interns) I said hi. You can call to make sure they’ll be in at [803]772-7770.

Not too long after that interview I headed down to The Vista to stop at a little cute place called Nonnah’s for an interview with the Duke and Duchess. Nonna’s was so cute, artsy and low key that I immediately loved it. Besides the weird incessant glances I got from the well dressed gentleman sitting front and center, the experience was LOVELY! They even have a twitter account[@nonnahs_vista]. Anywho I’d sadly just stuffed myself with pizza so I did not partake in the yummy deserts that were on the menu but instead sipped my water in the gallery. We spoke for a little while before deciding that Starbucks would be more suitable for recording, so the Duchess got her cake to go.

We hopped over to Starbucks and we officially began the interview. Looking back over it even in speech you could tell the difference between the duo. The Duke’s diction was colorful, it created a mood a story, it was beauty illustrating a story of beauty. The Duchess on the other hand was very succinct, very to the point, getting at what she wanted to say and then readdressing the points maybe once to make sure I had them. BOTH were effective ways of communicating stories that I feel need to be told. HOPEFULLY… you’ll be reading said stories soon.

Well there was undoubtedly more to tell about but alas my self imposed bedtime… I must work in the morning… Don’t even ask.

PERSONAL: Coffee with the Court

Look from Dior Couture F/W 2010/2011
If you can’t guess what the theme was about… there’s no hope

Soo… I had a small night out with a Duke and Duchess of the Columbia fashion court, Marquis Bias and Ashleigh Armstrong. It was fun times fun times but I want to talk about a few other things first.

So first thing… last week I was involved with two photoshoots. After a series of unfortunate events I struck out on my own and began dreaming up the universe, and how to translate it to fabric so I could do something with it to progress my fashion career. The first look I decided to send down the runway was that of model coach. I think I did really well with teaching the model how to walk. She has a decent runway walk now, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say I was a proud runway coach… the test shoot… we weren’t so pleased with although much of it was on my part. The photographer was great but I didn’t pick the greatest lighting conditions.

Look from Dior Couture F/W 2010/2011
“If you see me in the street with cellophane on my head and tell me I’m trying to be Gaga I will call you ignorant and uninformed”

The second photoshoot was bigger… but was STUNNING! Uhm 5 looks, 5 locations, one model… one photographer, one MUA, two designers, one boutique owner and four pairs of heels staring back at me that can’t be returned.(if anyone is size 8 1/2 to 9 and is in need of heels… CONTACT ME NOW!!) I feel like the photoshoot went well, really the only novice involved was moi. I hopefully didn’t make it look that way though. I feel that I contributed but then again… I’m kind of biased. I did see some of the raw images though… HAWT!

Other than that though I’ve been doing alot of grunt work, behind the scenes stuff for those projects and others. My enrollment status for next year is in question but it should work out soon enough. But let’s get on to tonight with the Duke and Duchess.

Necklace: Isabella Wolf Fang by Wendy Brandes
Sweater: Izod Lacoste

So, of course it’s Sunday so I didn’t expect to be doing much, but I got a sudden itch to do something, see someone, and preferably someone of the fashion species… After a few tweets I decided to run over to Starbucks to crash Marquis and Ashleigh’s work hub… ohkay that’s not what I actually meant to do but that’s what happened :/ sawwy. I threw on my new Lacoste sweater(ugh LOVE IT) along with a few necklaces around my wrist, and my sweats. For the last piece I slung the Silver Isabella Wolf Fang around my neck from Wendy Brandes(sssshhhh!!! I was meeting local fashion royalty something had to set me apart from the bums). The piece is a little small to be a statement piece if you have alot going on with your top, but paired with a simple top, like a sweater, button up, or cardigan… it sort of sets things off.

Gloves from Dior Couture F/W 2010/2011
If only I can get my hands in a pair…

Anywho, I proceed down to 5 points and into Starbucks. After ordering an original doughnut(ohkay I will confess, the only reason I ordered it is because I didn’t feel right just walking in using their Wi-Fi and walking out…), I settled into a corner and began to work. Marquis was one one side of the shop and Ashleigh was on the other. I wasn’t sure how to strike up a convo, so other than a small wave to Marquis… I was at a loss. It didn’t take long though… we were soon all huddled around Ashleigh’s computer watching the Dior collection… UGH! Those gloves… and that hat… I’m going to have to borrow this one Rachel, I die!!

The night proceeded with us discussing a few things… a little business, but most of all kilts. Once we were kicked out of Starbucks(they didn’t really kick, just kind of nudged) we roamed USC’s campus. And then… we were unceremoniously chased to our cars by troves of roaches. Gotta love The South right?

Featured Piece:

Isabella Wolf-Fang Necklace
Designer: Wendy Brandes
Price: $550
Visit: www.wendybrandes.com

EVENT: UK Models Designer Debut Showcase

Opening Look from Indira’s Designs at the UK Models Designer Debut Showcase
Photo By: Mark Green of Mark Verks Photography
Model: Ashley(UK)
So, I tweeted about it, I’ve blogged on my personal blog about it and now I’m finally ready to bring the news here, to 803 Markese Street. On this past Sunday, I was in attendance at the UK Model Agency’s Designer Debut Showcase here in Columbia, South Carolina. Scheduled to start at 7:00 PM, the event took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Columbia Marriott, in the heart of our city. I sat front row, VIP representing the blog, and I must admit I did have a really nice time. There were four runway shows: Indira Designs, SC Exotic Creations, The Signature collection, and White House Black Market with a live band, Cassangles, that is based out of Columbia.

See the rest of our coverage below the clip

Look from SC Exotic Creations from the UK Models Debut Designer Showcase.
Photo By: Mark Green of Mark Verks Photography
Model: Lakenya(UK)
I arrived at the event at 7pm, and was shown to the front row. I made a little small talk before things got under way. The first designer was Indira’s Designs who showed a variety of children’s looks. There were a few teen looks and one look for boys. My favorite look of the entire show was the first look. The model, Ashley(UK), looks like a total doll, I just loved it. The second designer of the night was SC Exotic Creations. Models were clothed in all black with edgy earrings. I loved the piece above… you may be seeing them again soon 🙂 The third label was The Signature Collection, who is based out of NC. I was really kind a infatuated with his collection, and his first model, Tulane. She was so beautiful and as you can see she makes the garment move beautifully. The last collection was White House Black Market.

Look one from The Signature Collection at the UK Models Designer Debut Showcase
Photographer: Mark Green from Mark Verks Photography
Model: Tulane(UK)
At the show I met designers, models, as well as photographers and other industry personnel. Marquis Bias, a local fashion guru, was there with Ashleigh Armstrong, a PR girl. They are the President and Vice President, respectively, of the Fashion Board of USC. The organization really is working wonders on the local industry. In addition, I met up with fellow fashion bloggers Jai Marshall and Eb Looney. Jai is currently completing graduate work in addition to running a FAB blog, while Eb is a makeup artist in addition to her blog work. I met a few photographers and all the pictures you see are from Mark Green. We have something else in store for you guys though 🙂

Male look from The Signature Collection at the UK Models Designer Debut Showcase
Photographer: Mark Green from Mark Verks Photography
Model: Tim(UK)

Indira’s Designs:
SC Exotic Creations:
The Signature Collection:
White House Black Market:

PERSONAL: Meeting Columbia Fashion Royalty

My accessories for the night

So if you follow my tweets, or keep up with blog posts here, you may have noticed that I kept mentioning a fashion show that I would be attending. Well I attended and I’m back to tell the tale 🙂 The picture above is one of me modeling what I love to take pictures of after going to events, my accessories. I do need to add to my accessory collection but… that’s griping for another day. Plus it’s late… and there are meetings and internships to complete in the morning. On to the Designer Debut Showcase put on by UK Models.

Goody Bag from Designer Debut Showcase by UK Models

I was made of UK Models during my internship searching phase. Although I was offered an internship I turned it down in favor of the assortment I now have. [edited] I turned down the internship humbly and graciously in hopes of not burning bridges because I really respect the women behind the agency. Look what it’s gotten me… a goody bag! Oh wait do you know what that means?? Oh, I didn’t snap a picture of my front row seat with my name on it… sorry. (That means I was VIP for those not well versed in Fashion Show Seating 101)

The Goods inside the Bag from the Designer Debut Showcase by UK Models

Anywho, down to the actual event. It was at the Marriott downtown. I ditched the $10 valet in favor of parking my own car(uhm… college student here!) before finding the actual ballroom. I told the girl working the door my name, which she recognized and I showed myself in and to my seat. I arrived at about 7 and the show started at about 7:30, so not terribly long of a wait. Plus, I bopped around meeting new people like Teowonna(a political/current events blogger who was just back from a convention in DC), saying hi to associates like Marquis Bias and Jai Marshall(Jai is the fashion blogger behind The Fat and Skinny blog), while meeting people that up until today I had only known through Twitter, like Ashleigh Armstrong(PR Girl who also happens to be Marquis’s VP for the Fashion Board).

Indira’s Designs at the Designer Debut Showcase by UK Models

The showcase was divided up into three parts, the first one being designs by Indira. Don’t critique my video skills too quickly. I decided mid-show to switch to video and then I was kind of, not looking at the screen but in real life. I’ll get better. After Indira showed, the S.C. Exotic Creations line was shown. The designer of that line is Shafeka C. Carter. Afterwards was an intermission before my personal favorite of the night was shown, Signature. The designer, who’s name I got from Keisha from UK Models, is Anthony and sadly couldn’t be present. That’s a good thing for him because I was prepared to badger him until he let me take pieces home then. Last was an extensive selection of pieces from White House Black Market.

My notables:

  • Indira – Look one, I remembered I liked. Sadly, I didn’t capture it on camera. It was kinda like I looked up and said ooohh I likey, wait camera. When I was ready, she was gone. The only other one that stands out to me is the singular little boy. The white pants and button down shirt with the t-shirt underneath. It was surprisingly well down and it’s sad because it was the only one for guys but it looked really well done. I’d be interested in seeing more pieces for guys and more pieces for teens.
  • S.C. Exotic Creations – To be completely honest, I’d seen pieces from this collection when I did backstage work for Alana B. Couture last year. Now I’m not sure if it’s because I was younger and not as exposed but I do remember being alot more impressed by the pieces I saw then than the ones I saw today. That being said, there were these large geometric, silver earrings that came out that I took a liking to. I wanted to pull them off the model as she got to the end of the runway for a photoshoot concept I have. Hopefully the designer will just lend them though.
  • Signature – All I remember thinking was… how can I put that in a photoshoot, what concept can I build around it. And it happened piece after piece. First look out, I wanted it. It was so natural, so effortless, very… earthy like fire to me. Soo elemental. I think that I liked and respected this designer so much because he was the only one that I saw that went for it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes… like with the white jacket piece it didn’t quite strike my fancy. But I still respected him because he had the wherewithal to go for it.
  • White House Black Market – They are a household name. Who am I to judge? Lol