Phoenix Fashion Week Takes Emerging Designers Mainstream

Phoenix Fashion Week Takes Emerging Designers Mainstream

March 20132076Views


“We wanted to have a signature fashion event that would represent our industry.” ~ Brian Hill, Executive Director

PHOENIX — Each season as the fashion week frenzy commences across the globe in fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, London, and Milan; we clamber to get the latest deets on our favorite designers such as Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Burberry, and Versace. Seldom do we peer outside that fashion bubble to seek designers who steer too far off the “it” fashion path. But I’ve recently found reason to broaden my sartorial sleuthing.

In the heart of the Southwest, Phoenix Fashion Week (PHXFW) has risen. Since 2005 the burgeoning fashion event, founded by Arizona-based industry professionals, showcases emerging and established designers including Furne One, 7 Diamonds, Blaque Label, Stop Staring. The event is quickly gaining prominence with a mention in the October 2012 issue of Time magazine and garnering a celebrity audience including model Kelly Mittendorf, musicians Wyclef and Pras from The Fugees and Far East Movement, as well as actor Frankie Muniz – who have attended the event.

PHXFW has a unique niche and approach to the fashion week concept. Their mission of bridging designers and buyers is unlike any other fashion week since much of what they do is to support young designers, even offering a bootcamp where they teach designers how to build their brands.

“We wanted to have a signature fashion event that would represent our industry,” says Phoenix Fashion Week executive director Brian Hill. “It was really to put a credible stamp on the fashion industry here that would lead to more sales individually for our brands while pushing Arizona fashion forward.”

bri seeley phxfw

Diane Aiello, fashion and beauty editor for Arizona Foothills Magazine, credits Hill for Phoenix Fashion Week’s growth and describes the organization as being instrumental in helping designers develop their brands and increase exposure on a national level. “Brian Hill has a great ability to bring together communities and give them a platform as he has done with Phoenix Fashion Week,” she says.

More than 30 designers from around the country show their collections each October at PHXFW; some with notoriety, but for many it’s a first opportunity to showcase their designs.

“It has brought an increased visibility to my brand and opened a ton of doors for me,” says designer Bri Seeley (above right), who won Phoenix Fashion Week’s 2012 Emerging Designer of the Year. She now sells on and had one of her designs used on “The Bachelor’s Women Tell All” television special.


Co-founder Julie Cruz of Shawl Dawls (collection above), which is sold in 60 boutiques in 18 states, explains how Phoenix Fashion Week played a significant role in her brand’s rapid growth. “Phoenix Fashion Week helps emerging designers to become savvy business owners and to know the realities of running a fashion company,” Cruz says. “It requires your ability to make smart business decisions and to stay disciplined and accountable to the responsibilities of running a company.”

With 75% of the designers hailing from outside the Valley (PHXFW goes on an 8-city tour scouting up and comers), one has to wonder if the sartorial event is a contender for New York Fashion Week. But for those who shutter at the thought of any other fashion week being as relevant as the one in the Big Apple, Aiello puts it into perspective.

“I don’t think that Phoenix Fashion Week has to, or should be compared to New York. What they are doing now helps create awareness for emerging designers and educational programs for those interested in entering the industry.”


For more information about Phoenix Fashion Week, visit

Chicly Yours,
The Chic Spy

(Photo credits: Pictured above, Furne One at Phoenix Fashion Week 2012 and Bri Seeley, right, poses with model wearing her design at Phoenix Fashion Week 2012)

The Chic Spy

The Chic Spy

Hello Agents of Chic, I'm your source for chic style and entertainment intel on fashion, film, and pop culture. From fashion trends and beauty products to movie reviews and celebrity interviews, I'm on a mission to uncover the chicest. A few faves on my radar include whimsical clutches, embellished flats, and gourmet macarons.

1 Comment

  1. Seems like a lot of non-fashion cities are starting ther own fashion week. But these designers have nice collections.

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