New Orleans Fashion Week Emerging Designers Competition 6, Recap

I am thrilled to have made it to the Top 10 of New Orleans Fashion Week Emerging Designers Competition, 7. Before we dive into my journey to this year’s competition I am doing a quick recap of what my experience was like being in last year’s competition.

The Application Process

New Orleans Fashion Week application process is very simple and easy. Tell them a little about your background in fashion and show them samples of present or past work. There's no application fee and last year it was free to participate. This year we have to pay a $100.00 fee. Before I begin with my journey, let me start by saying I almost didn't show. I got accepted but the acceptance email was undelivered so the date to accept the opportunity had passed and thank God Mrs. Tracee called me to confirm if I wanted to participate. I gladly accepted and politely explained that I had never received the first correspondence. Being active on social is a big factor in getting considered for the compeititon. As long as you’re visible on social media you have a good chance of making it. You have to be able to cross promote them, which is one of the requirements of being in the show. If you’re not active on social, don’t expect to get a call.  

There are no specific guidelines of the show. This I don’t too much care for. Because this is a competition where judges come backstage to get a closer look of your garments, how can the judges accurately and appropriately judge each competitor if everyone is doing something different? Last year, mostly everyone did RTW (ready-to-wear) but some people did night looks, some did day looks, some did work, etc. Maybe it’s because I am so used to the way things are done in school and let's not forget what we see on the hit reality TV show Project Runway. The only time the competitors are allowed to do whatever without any true guidelines is during the final show for those who have made it to New York Fashion Week. But that’s just my opinion.

The Preparation

Last year I was such an unorganized designer. In school your teachers give you deadlines, you have someone to “hold your hand” and tell you when things are due. Since I went into this competition almost a year after I had graduated from LSU, I was still in my transition phase and did not stick to the deadlines for myself. I completely threw my foundation out the window.  I started on my collection of 12 looks in February, a month before the show. I did not make muslin samples so I wasted money and fabric and I was simply just a hot mess. I was still sewing up until my garments got on the models bodies and one of the pieces wasn’t completely finished. Embarrassing, I know, but you live and you learn and trust me I’ve learned.

I can't say that everything about my preparation was bad. One of my good friends was my assistant. I delegated to her small tasks such as scheduling the models for their fit sessions, checking them in at their appropriate fit session time, backstage pictures, etc. For the most part I did many things that I remembered from my internship, I just had bad time management skills. I wasn't sticking to the deadlines I had given myself and I allowed outside influences to make me feel like I couldn't stick to my deadlines. 



The Competition

I competed against 9 other very talented designers. Everyone’s aesthetic was completely different which made the show very enjoyable--you either loved it or you hated it, no inbetween. Unfortunately, I did not win or place in the competition; however, the experience and exposure was definitely worth it. I made a few friends, and met this awesome model from Mobile, Alabama whom I adore so much, hopefully she models for me again this year! During the intercession of the show, the audience are allowed to vote for their favorite designer, The People's Choice Awards. The designer with the most buttons in their jar received a glass plaque. Hint: The more family/friends there to support you the better chance you have at winning this award. So come out and show your support for me if you can. :) 

What to Expect this Year

This year I am only showing 10 looks. I’m excited to show a Spring/Summer collection as most of my collections have always been Fall/Winter. I have come up with some pieces that are going to challenge my pattern making and sewing skills. My calendar for this year is full of deadlines I am going to stick to no matter what outside forces come to try and distract me. Plus I have you as my accountability partner to keep me on track. Releasing these blog posts every week will force me to work so that I can have something the write about. Let me know in the comment section if you prefer Periscope or Facebook Live. I will be incorporating some video content over the next few weeks documenting parts of my journey.



*Over the weekend I finally got a chance to get some professional images of my collection from last year. Visit my online portfolio for the final images. We had a blast!* 

Model: Charlie

Photographer: Caroline Captures 


KiYada Upshaw

24 year old millennial building an overnight success story 1 week at a time. Talking about building a fashion brand while being a young newly wed keeping God at the full font of the relationship and career.