Diverse Collection of Designers Bring High Fashion to Charlotte

By Jacob Pierce  April 24, 2015

Prior to a20150417_201111_resizedrriving at the 2015 Charlotte International Fashion Week event, I emailed specific designers whose collections I thought would be intriguing and beautiful to admire coming down the runway.  One of the designers was San Antonio based ready to wear and resort line designer Lena Timmonds.  Lena’s collection premiered on Friday and after the show I spoke to her about her back ground and if culture influences her collection, motivation/work ethic for the collection, what trends with women’s fashion she  sees happening now and how she would style someone who stepped in her store.

When asked about her background she reveals she’s an “army brat” from Fairbank, Alaska since it’s “the longest place I have ever been.”  Timmonds holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from the San Antonio Art & Design School.  She is currently a merchandising manager for Stein Mart (a more upscale and Southern version of Kohl’s.)  Timmonds does however feel the leather in her collection may be a Texas influence as she states “I would never work[ed] with leather.”

In terms of motivation for the collection shown in Charlotte, Timmonds states she tried something new but had fun with it.  Timmonds says she loves “things that are out of the extraordinary.”  This includes the fur20150417_201222_resized jacket, knee high skirt and the long flowing leather skirt I adored.  She states the “fur and fabric was meant for patio furniture.”

As far as her work ethic, she both sketches and creates yet for this p20150417_201300_resizedarticular piece, she sketched to give as she says “anidea of direction to where I wanted to go in.”  It took two days to complete the collection  and three pieces were from a recent collection.  She mentions how tirelessly she worked to complete this task.  “Seven of those eight pieces  [shown] were sewn in two days.  Starbucks all day.”20150417_200612_resized

When asked of trends with women’s fashion or accessories in the next few years she feels it is the high waist line.  “The sli20150417_201145_resizedming that it does to the women’s figure is going to pick up a lot.”  She also instill that its something very important she implicates in her line.  “When you see my line that’s one of the things that people notice that the waist line is very defined.”

And finally if someone were to walk in her store and ask to be styled, she would “always look at their personality.”  “I feel like their personality kind of ties with what they wear.”

Bernard Jackson of Semaj Clothing

Another designer from Charlotte International Fashion week is the duck and move Semaj Clothing from BaltimCBFF_6ore. I say this because he is so busy being a father, barber and designer at night that he has a busy schedule.  His designs were very interesting in terms of the different cuts and textures of the clothes.  Many were bright and vibrant cuts similar to a summer crop top or swimsuit while others gave flowing effects to the shapes of dresses you didn’t think could happen.  I caught up with him after his showing to talk about how long he’s been a designer, his inspiration, women’s clothing trends occurring in Baltimore and what he thinks a Baltimore woman would dress like.

Jackson started his collection sewing jean skirts which led to the attention of R&B Soul vocalist Sunshine Anderson.  “I did her skirts for the two years on tour.”

Vesela Zarankova of Zarankova             IMAG0568

Check out some of her designs along with Vesela’s answer to a questionnaire SOGAA gave her.

  1. How have you been able to add your Bulgarian culture through combination with prints and jewelry to contemporary fashion?

You are so well informed.. I’m from Bulgaria indeed:) My line is definitely a visible CBFF_6CBFF_1translation of my inner world, part of my Bulgarian origin, but also I was influenced by Dubai and Latin America and many other countries I have visited.

  1.   How would you describe or label your clothing? Evening, or casual attire?

I would describe it as a day to night women’s wear – high quality materials, elegant exclusive look, but comfortable at the same time, luxurious and high-end.Vesela_2

  1. I adore your overall skirt and blouse prints from last season. What worldly influences make up collection you are presenting?

This is so lovely, thank you. The collection is definitely about colors:) It was a project we did with my dearest friend Tsvety fashion. We mixed paints and chemicals and took many photos of the final product. Everything was printed on fabric, 100% silk. It has a very deep psychological meaning for me, because every print represents a human emotion. This is why the collection is called “GAMES OF THE HUMAN MIND”

  1.    Is there a clothing trend you see happening in the next few years? In the next few years or in the next year?

Fashion is about repetition.  Repeating something extraordinary and adding a very special new detail, contemporary or Vesela_4taken from the past trends.

  1. If a woman came to you asking to be dressed with your clothing, how would you asses the situation?

Oh this has happened before lol…I would suggest to go to ALETHEA SPECTACLE, Beverly Hills where my designs are for sale. It’s a new boVesela_5utique in Melrose Avenue and I love the concept, because they change the designer(s) every month and all designs areunique, just a couple pieces, which will never be reproduced again.

Also I’m selling my other collections in an online web store called 19th AMENDMENT. The office is in New York and it make[s] [it] possible for consumers to go to designers directly by giving them access to unique looks. It is [a] unique experience, because there are many celebrities designers and Project Runway designers, a good variety of a very high-quality clothing.

Gamakache Black

This designer was indeed the show stopper  – closing the show in a gaudy yet subtle fashion.  Gamakache Black meaning “glamour catches” unveiled a unique collection to an awe inspired audience.  After her showing on Saturday, I decided I had to interview her and she gave some very interesting insighst into her collection in terms of her inspiration, conception and future fashion trends for women.CBFF_1

Yet I must not leave out the exceptional jewelry which was by Charming Pieces of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Founded by Najauna Wilson and Charmaine Tyson, they “have rings and stones for the jewelry connoisseur” and every piece is done in “all types of imperials.”  And they can be found on all social media accounts by their name.

Margaret Persaud, Gamakache’s designer, lives in Queens and states that her clothing is designed based on what she dreams.  “I usually go to sleep and have dreams about what I want to do and then I find the right fabric to make it come alive.”  Her pieces involved what I call a beautiful nightmare with enchantment to it.  I am a big fan CBFF_2of jackets and she actually did a jacket with nothing but safety pins.  When asked about these dreams, she states “I can’t explain it” and it “was something I kept wanting to do” once she had the vision.

Gamakache’s visual collection is only black as evident she makes unorthodox colors/textures work.  “Going out shopping, I could never find the right garment in black.”  There were also pieces in her collection that some may find interesting.  Her first look was a tight black leather gown with gray feather sleeves and manipulated rose bottom to complete the dress.  Her head piece had feathers as well with gold chains.    This in essence represents her love for “textures and shapes” as she says.   She insists that with her designs she wants to “put a different spin on the fashion world.”

And in terms of a spin, she has a peculiar and enlightened input on how she addresses her client and fashion trends in the next 3-5 years for women.  Surprisingly in meeting clients, Margaret admits she doesn’t sketch but rather she assesses “what you don’t like” and if you are “flamboyant” or “safe.” But you will get to see your work during the fitting process but “won’t know until [you] come pick it up .”

Also if you guys are excited as much as I was about Gamakache, she has a few men’s design that  are available to view as well on Instagram.GBlack_4

Finally a fashion trend she reveals that will happen in the next 3-5 years is “a lot of stuff will be more futuristic and gaudy.”  And in terms of creating shapes for women’s clothing she reveals “I like to think things look well” and “I take my time.”


After this interview, Gamakache Black was shown in Albany, New York at the Boutique Couture event.


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