Fashion, Beauty, Celebrities, Events + Things We Love

Friday, April 29, 2011

Celeb Buzz: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Royal Wedding Fashion Challange to all GPH Members

Blog reposted from:
Celebrity Buzz with Maile Cabral Hager

Covering A-Listers, Musicians, Actors / Actresses, TV Stars, Fashion Designers, Models,  Athletes, Locals, Bloggers and maybe even some D-Listers…

Kate Middleton's Wedding Dress Photo Courtesy of Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images

               The former Kate Middleton, now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Wife to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is perhaps the most watched female on planet earth since 3 am this morning. I couldn’t let the day go by without writing at least a short piece about this stunning woman for Seattle Celeb Buzz. Unfortunately my press pass request to cover the Royal Wedding, in person, in London was denied (just kidding) so I’m left covering it from the thousands of photos that have descended on the internet in the past 12 + hours.  I’ve found Kate’s first wedding dress she arrived at the abbey in, her sister Pippa Middleton’s white (gasp!) matron dress, and Kate’s second wedding dress for the reception most notable from the days affairs.  Of course, leave it to me to only notice the fairy tale gowns and over look the rest of the event.

                 Of course, most notable is Catherine’s wedding dress she wore to the abbey.  The gown, designed by Sarah Burton, who became the creative director of the Alexander McQueen label last year after Mr. McQueen’s suicide.  An official statement on the Royal Wedding site explains: "Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. [She] wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen's work." Erik Wilson of the New York Times writes that the dress “was well received not merely because it was pretty” but because it was “flawless, actually.”  Some have not received the dress as well, with some fashion bloggers commenting on the long lace sleeves.  I think they are very regal, and just darling. The v-neck makes up for the conservative design, pulling the entire dress together into a very stunning piece, certainly fit for a princess.
Pippa Middleton's Dress
Photo Courtesy of
Pascal Le Segretain/
               Most surprising is the white dress Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton wore to the wedding. It was also an Alexander McQueen dress designer by Sarah Burton. Pippa's dress had the same button detail and lace trim as Kate's wedding gown, according to PopSugar. The gown featured short sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and was form-fitting. I believe she looked quite stunning. I’ll leave it up to the etiquette experts to debate whether it was appropriate or not.  However, I am sure the color of Pippa’s dress was not a detail that was over looked in the extravagant wedding plans.
          My third and final dress I will comment on is The Duchess of Cambridge’s second dress of the day, also a very classic Alexander McQueen gown she wore to her reception at Buckingham Palace.  US Magazine reports that Burton called designing Middleton's dress "the experience of a lifetime" and explained that "Alexander McQueen's designs are all about bringing contrasts together to create startling and beautiful clothes."   Personally, I think the dress is just perfect for Kate, as it certainly accents her slim figure and I just love the reinstone belt.  I am sure in no time there will be knock offs of both gowns all over the world. I suspect due to the lack of popularity for long sleeves for American Brides, Kate's second dress will be the most sought after in the U.S.
Kate's Second Dress, Photo Courtesy
of John Stillwell/Landov
              I wish I would have attended a Royal Wedding watch party last night. I would have loved to wear an over the top headpiece to an extravagant party. Perhaps a crown with feathers, or a giant Kentucky Derby like hat. Instead, I fell asleep hours before the wedding began, and was left with a constant stream of photos flooding the internet. I leave you, the Girl Power Hour reader with this challenge: Please wear your most Royal Wedding-esque knock off dress, hat or hair piece, jewelry or any Royal Wedding fashion item to a GPH event.  I would just love to see a piece of London flood our group. If you aren’t brave enough to wear your Royal Wedding knock off fashion, at least Tweet Pic it to @GirlPowerHour and @SeattleCelebBuzz.

FASHION ALERT: Seattle Fashion Week 2011 Is Almost Here!

Seattle Fashionistas- Seattle Fashion Week is almost here and I can barely contain my excitement! Official events will run 5/4/2011- 5/15/2011.  This years shows are sure to be ones of classic fashion, haute designs, quality and just amazing talent.  Watch for proffesional models from SMG and Heffner Models on the runway, and get ready to be dazzled.

Below is the entire official SFW schedule, however, I'll give you my short list of what to watch for:
  • HOT MENS DESIGNER Jordan Klein  ( will be showcasing at Mens Night on 5/12. He'll be launching one of a kind leather jackets from Italian leather. I saw pix on my phone, and trust me, these are gorgeous!
  • HOT FEMALE DESIGNER Anna Dicklhuber ( will be showcasing at 5/13 Finale Night. She's the winning designer of the 2011 Comcast Student Designer Competition. Anna's designs are out of this world gorgeous, a mix between classic old world couture and modern funk.
  • CELEBRITY HOSTESS Lily Jang hosting Finale night on 5/13! Who doesn't love Lily Jang? Enough said :-)
  • Jennifer Newberry CD Launch Party on 5/15. Don't miss the launch of this highly anticipated album. Check out my earlier blog about Jennifer.


05-01-11 (Sun)
Models Rehearsal and Fitting, 2-6 PM, KING CAT THEATER

05-04-11 (Wed)
*Closed to the public
*1 PM Blogger Meeting (RSVP to

05-06-11 (Fri)
*Invite Only

SFW2011 Opening Party (21+), 7-10 PM

05-7-11 (SAT)

05-10-11 (Tue)
COST $10 Cash at the door
DESCRIPTION: A One-Of-A-Kind afternoon of fashion, shopping &
entertainment! Special performances By: The Post-Apocalyptic Circus,
presented by Gypsy Palace

SFW2011 Press Event (21+) 7- 11 PM, COPPER CART

05-12-11 (Thur)
*By Invitation Only
SFW Media / Press Manager is Emily Suen,
SFW PR Company is Cabral Edwards Management,

SFW2011 Men's Fashion Night (All Ages) 7-10 PM,

05-12-11 (Thur)
GA Tickets are $40 at the door, visit FB Page for Discount Codes,
Student Discounts and pre sale
Designers Include:
Jordan Klein, Built For Man, Darkhear Eco Apparel, The Finerie,
Voss Rock and More

Strive MC presents: SFW2011 Concert Night, 10PM-2 AM

05-13-2011 (Fri)

Artists Include:
Signed Label artist Adrian (sorry no link)
Jennifer Newberry (w/her band) Click Here 4 Jens Website
The Slants (Oregon St) Click Here for Slants Website

SFW2011 Finale Night (All Ages) 7-10 PM, , KING CAT THEATER
Designers Include:
Abi Ferrin, Alexandra Parry, Anna Dicklhuber, Elmidae, The Finerie, Heilyke, H.O.I.A,
Madina Vadasche, Yoana Barachi and more!
05-15-11 (Sun)
*Free and open to the public
For more information contact: Jose@SeattleFashionWeek.Net.


Seattle Fashion Week is a series of entertaining and high-energy events designed to propel fashion designers to the forefront of the national fashion spotlight. These events present an exclusive opportunity for designers and other artists to gain the necessary access to key opinion makers, such as buyers, media, fashion community and industry leaders, which are so vital to gaining a foothold on the first rung of a successful future career. Furthermore, Seattle Fashion Week provides a live arena for the buyer and boutique shops to seek out new designers and fashion-conscious consumers to get the early access and first look at emerging fashion trends.

Follow SFW on Twitter at @SFWTweets

General questions regarding Seattle Fashion Week, please email

Media / Press Inquires please contact our Media / Press Manager Emily Suen,

SFW PR Company is Cabral Edwards Management,

VIP & Celebrity guests are being managed by C.E.M., please contact them at for Celebrity guest information.

Mens Designer Jordan Klein
Photo Courtesy of Jordan Klein

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Local Celebrity Buzz: An Interview with Seattliete Blogger MollieInSeattle

Photo Courtesy of Mollie <3
Celebrity Buzz: Local Blogger MollieinSeattle
The definition of the word celebrity is very fluid to me.  I agreed on this blog to cover the “Seattle Celeb Buzz”.  To me that buzz included the heartbeat of downtown Seattle.  I decided to cover female celebs, not just AListers, but women who make a difference in Seattle, live in the public eye, have a fan base of followers and are thus considered local celebrities.  Ofcourse, I will occasionally cover an A-Lister like Jennifer Aniston, but to me it is the local women, who make a difference and are well known in Seattle, that the true story lies. 
This time, my celeb of choice is a local blogger with over 2,969 Twitter Followers, and over 1,100 Facebook friends.  Meet Seattle Blogger, MollieinSeattle, by Mollie Ruiz-Hopper.  I first heard about MollieinSeattle on Twitter.  I asked my own Twitter fans “who is your favorite Seattle blogger?” and  Mollie’s name came up, again, and again, and again. I began watching Mollie and her blog, and watched it go with amazing success.   When Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen visited Seattle to visit Nordstrom for their Elizabeth & James clothing line, you can be sure that Mollie was there, and was one of the first local bloggers to launch the story.  As a new Girl Power Hour blogger myself, I am inspired by Mollie’s success as a blogger.  
Recently, I reached to Mollie and she agreed to do a short interview with me about her blogger success. THANK YOU MOLLIE- for giving me some insight into your world! J I hope you enjoy learning from her as much as I will.

MC: Where do you get your inspiration to write from?
Inspiration really comes at me in various forms, shapes, sounds and experiences. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think of a topic, other times I’m hanging out with friends and notice something, maybe a skirt someone is wearing, a behavior I don’t like, other times I’m influenced by personal experiences from friendships to dating. Writing for me is really theraputic and something I enjoy very much.
MC: Do you remember your first blog post ever? What was it about?
One of my very first blog posts ever was about Tory Burch, her brand is one of my favorites and her Reva Flats are shoes that should live in the closet of every lady!
MC: What advice do you have for other women starting their own blogs?
The biggest thing is to actually start a blog, sign up with whatever website you feel comfortable using, create a name and start writing. I think getting started is the toughest part, once you’re all set just write about what you’re passionate about and your audience will develop.
MC: What is your most memorable blog post and why?
So far my most memorable and favorite blog post I’ve written was about my mom, it’s the most raw and personal I’ve written and I think it give people a direct look into who I am as a person.
MC: What would you like people to know about you?
I secretly have a crush on Justin Bieber.
MC: On this blog, I like to support strong, successful women that have a positive influence on their fans. Describe what being a strong successful woman means to you:
Being strong and successful to me means following your dreams, setting goals and doing whatever it takes to reach them. Not letting other people get you down or discourage you, having confidence in yourself that you can be whatever you strive for and that always staying positive will get you through anything. I hope all women know that they have the power to be strong and successful in whatever they endeavor. Having a role model, someone you look up to and aspire to be like I also believe helps in being strong and successful.
MC: What kind of positive impact do you hope to make using your popularity as a local blogger?
Through blogging I’d love to share with people how they can help give back to their community, there are so many volunteer opportunities out there to help others and I’d love for people to help learn how they can help contribute. I think if you’re able to it’s important to devote some time and energy to others less fortunate.
MC: Who is your favorite celebrity and why?
There are many people and celebrities that I favor and admire; Queen Rania of Jordan has always been a favorite of mine. She has terrific style and is a strong, successful and influential woman making a difference in the world.
Mollie with Mary Kate & Ashley Olson
Photo Courtesy of:
MC: I noticed on your blog you like to cover fashion!  Tell me a lit bit about your own personal fashion trends?
I love fashion! My personal style is usually changing, there are days where I love to get dressed up and wear my glitter high heels, and other days I like to keep it simple with some distressed skinnies and my Toms shoes. If I had to sum up my personal style in a few words I’d probably say, elegant, fun, colorful and feminine.
MC: What one fashion item can you not live without?
I can’t live without my Tory Burch Reva flats.
MC: Who is your favorite Seattle designer?
There are so many great designers out there my favorite Seattle Jewelry designer is ThinkNow, their designs are eco friendly and fabulous. For clothes I’m loving Cameron Levin’s new Chelsea Collection.
MC:  You mention charities on your blogs. What are the most important charities are you involved in?
The organizations I’m very passionate about are the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Mona Foundation and Team up for Nonprofits.
MC: What is next for you? What will you be covering on your blog next?
I usually have several posts going at once, as far as my next blog post I’m not sure yet! Usually I make those decisions late at night when the inspiration hits me! J
MC: Thank you so much for taking the time to allow me to cover you.
Thank you so much for this opportunity! I’m honored and flattered to be featured on your blog!
To visit Mollie’s blog go to
Follow Mollie on Twitter
Find Mollie on Facebook

Maile is a founding partner of Cabral Edwards Management, C.E.M.  She blogs for Girl Power Hour ( managing their Celeb Buzz Seattle blog. Her bi-monthly GPH blogs will not only focus on celebrities, but on their passions and the positive impact they have on the world. She will be covering female celebrities of all kinds that visit the Seattle and Pacific Northwest area.  Cabral Edwards Management is a Celebrity booking & event management company. Follow her on twitter at @mailehager, @CEMManagement and @SeattleCelebBuz.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fashion Buzz & Celebrity Alert: Famous Stylist to Open Fashionable Venue in Bellevue!

Fashion Buzz & Celebrity Alert: Famous Stylist Rosaline Hampton to Open Venue in Bellevue!

Rosaline Hampton Spring 2011 Campaign
Photo Courtesy of:
Celebrity Stylist Rosaline Hampton and her team of award-winning stylists will be opening a brand new location in Bellevue.  Her new location will include imported Italian furniture and crystal chandeliers. The new “Glam Rock” salon also features the full line of Davines haircare products and a beauty bar stocked with Senna Cosmetics. “We are so excited to be here in Bellevue and look forward to providing a one-of-a-kind experience to those who want a fresh take on fabulous,” says Rosaline Hampton. 

For the fashionista’s who read my blog, I found it fascinating that Rosaline Hampton and her team also go on location for fashion shoots, bridal styling, fitness shows, runway events and film sets. She earned her celebrity status when she was featured in Allure Magazine’s January 2011 issue and recognized as a “Top Make-Up Expert” and voted as the “Best Stylist” in the 2010 Seattle Magazine ‘Best Of’ Readers Choice Awards. Rosaline has traveled the globe styling photo shoots and doing hair, make-up and wardrobe styling for celebrity clients. Rosaline has even styled photo shoots for America’s Next Top Model. She loves helping clients achieve the “It” factor.

Need something to do between Seattle Fashion Week Shows (Friday 5/13 and Sunday 5/15) on Saturday night? A Grand Opening party is scheduled for Saturday, May 14th at 6pm and will feature a fashion show to celebrate each stylist’s signature look. Champagne and light refreshments will be served. A second showing of the fashion show and salon tour will be held at 8pm. To RSVP to the grand-opening party, receive details and attend as a C.E.M. guest, email us at 

Rosaline Hampton
188 106th Ave. N.E. Suite #400
Bellevue, WA 98004
                                                                425 • 614 • 6377
*Located in the 24 Hour Fitness Building on the corner of 106th and 2nd Ave. in Downtown Bellevue. Parking garage entrance located on 2nd Ave.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pink Energy Enter To Win Update

Thank you to everyone who has liked our Facebook pages or Twitter pages! During the months of April & May 2011, like any of our pages and get entered to win a Celebrity VIP Swag Bag. We'll be giving away 4 of them! 

So far there are this many entries to win:
160 have liked
164 have like
512 follow our Twitter @CEMManagement
406 follow our Twitter @SeattleCelebBuzz

Drawing will be held at random on June 1st and announced then.   Want additional ways to be entered? Blog, FB Post, Youtube, MySpace or Tweet the following for an additional entry:
"C.E.M. is a new Lifestyle & Event Panning company in Seattle. Follow #CabralEdwardsMangagement at and get entered to win a Celebrity Style Swag Bag June 1st!"

Celebrity Buzz: Anatomy of a Successful Celebrity Event

girl power hour

Fancy Frenchwood at Carmens Soiree
Photo courtesy of
Local party gal Fancy Frenchwood, was at Carmen’s Birthday Soiree.  Fancy was there with her reality TV cameras in tow, thanks to the highly accommodating manager Shawn, of Munchbar.   Fancy got to meet Carmen and spend a few minutes on camera with her, filming for her new reality series, “Living the Fancy Life”.  Fancy described her encounter with Carmen as  “a few minutes behind a roped area with her.  I got to tell her I am an admirer and a huge fan.  She turned, waved, and smiled to my cameras. She’s really very sweet.” When I asked Fancy what her overall impression of Carmen was, she replied   “she’s awesome, gracious and humble. She’s smaller than I expected, she’s very petite.”

Another party gal and Girl Power Hour (GPH) Member, Leah Santa Cruz attended as GPH Blogger Tricia Eastman’s special guest. Tricia had been reportedly promised a 30 minute interview with Carmen to cover the party for DLIST. However, according to Santa Cruz, that interview only lasted “4 minutes or so”. I asked her why the interview was cut short and Santa Cruz mentioned she wasn’t sure and that maybe “the environment was wrong” for an interview.  Either way, Santa Cruz assured me that Carmen spent quite a bit of time posing for photos.  I was relieved to know I won’t have a hard time finding photos for my blog.

So what is it that makes a successful celebrity event?  Below are my thoughts, on how to hold your Celebrity event and make sure that as a business, you get the most bang for your buck.

Anatomy of a Successful Celebrity Appearance
  1. Invest in your event- Hire a professional Booking Manager to manage all relations of your exciting event. If you’re already spent $15,000 – $45,000 or more on your celebs booking fee, why not make sure the event runs flawless? Let the pro’s manage pre-event press relations, transportation, security, flow, media management, green rooms and follow up.  It is definitely in your best advantage to be over prepared than under prepared.
  2. Allow Pre-Event Media Interviews- Write in pre- event media interviews into your original booking contract with your celeb and require a minimum of (2) 15 minute interviews prior to the event. That way, you’ll get local media buzzing before the event.  Make your venue managers, venue owners, etc. available for interviews too. They are a great media resource for media who are covering the event. They can report what they hope to accomplish with the event, what kind of mood they want to set, expectations they have, etc. Send Press Releases as early as possible with as much concrete info as you can provide. Prior to your event confirm your media list, and let them know when to show up, where, what to expect and what to bring. Don’t expect to communicate all this to your media the day of the event. This will only cause chaos and confusion while making your event look amateur-ish.
  3. Embrace Social Media- hire a professional social media company to run your social media. They can target the demographic you are looking for very easily. Above and beyond that, require your celeb to post at least once on their public MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, You Tube or Linked In pages regarding your event. When a celeb appears at your venue but never mentions it in social media, it comes across as in genuine. Social media will help your crowd feel connected to your special guest.
  4. Protect Your Celeb-   Beyond basic security; make sure you have an entrance and exit plan. Make your celeb comfortable AND don’t make them the “bad guy” to their adoring fans. This means have proper security and event staff in place to keep minglers and creeps away from your celeb. Don’t make the celeb ask people to take a step back, let your staff do that for them. Have a huge A-Lister who requires more help? Hire local police officers. Their mere presence is usually enough to keep the mood light and fun.
  5. Keep your celeb, like Carmen Electra entertained and happy!
    Photo Courtesy of
  6. Set the Mood for Your Celeb- Make sure that you seat them in a comfortable location, with a bit of privacy. Rope their table off if you must. Never sit your celeb in the middle of the room, even if it’s your “premium” table. This will leave your celeb feeling surrounded and make it easier for “creepers” to try to gain unnecessary access to your celeb. Unsure about what kind of crowd will show up? Invite some of your regular party goers that you trust as special VIP’s, and ask them to hang in the area directly near your celeb.  They will feel special, and will help protect your celeb as an additional layer of protection against inevitable “creepers”.
6.   Deliver What you Promise-  This is basic business, but unfortunately people all too often over promise and under deliver. Did you promise your local media 30 minutes of interview time? Over deliver and provide 32 minutes. Make a media plan, and make sure your entire team sticks to it. Did you promise and promote $10.00 cover? Charge $10.00, and not $20.00. Charging more will only leave a bad taste in your patron’s mouth. Can’t afford  to only charge $10.00 and need to charge more? Include a drink ticket, have door prizes from local businesses, or give your patrons something tangible of value, like a free appetizer card.

7.  Pre Organize Your Media- Want to avoid chaos at your front door from media requests? Accept media requests ahead of time and make media passes accessible for pick up prior to your event.  Recognize that ALL PRESS IS GOOD PRESS, and allow any and all Media coverage. Remember to treat your media well will complimentary bottles of water, an area to sit, etc. These are the people who are going to be covering your event and ultimately your venue, no reason to make them feel uncomfortable.

8. Take Care of Your Celeb-  Once you have a well staffed event, security, an adequate entrance and exit plan, media in place, the mood is set and all is organized, make sure your celeb is comfortable. Have a green room set up for their personal use, to use a private bathroom and take a break if necessary. You want to make sure your celeb has nothing but good things to say about you and wants to come back!
For more information on Munchbar you can visit
Carmens Official Twitter page is @CarmenElectra.

Have a comment about my blog or want to know more about Carmen Electra’s Bday Bash? Email me at

Maile is a founding partner of Cabral Edwards Management, C.E.M.  She blogs for Girl Power Hour ( managing their Celeb Buzz Seattle blog. Her bi-monthly GPH blogs will not only focus on celebrities, but on their passions and the positive impact they have on the world. She will be covering female celebrities of all kinds that visit the Seattle and Pacific Northwest area.  Cabral Edwards Management is a Celebrity booking & event management company. Follow her on twitter at @mailehager, @CEMManagement and @SeattleCelebBuz.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Battle to the Nines Fashion Competition Benefiting DSAMC

             Tomorrow night I will be attending a very exciting fashion competition, and you can be sure I'll be covering it right here on my blog.  Wednesday April 20th is the Battle to the Nines competition at Club Sur. Although I'm not entirely excited about fashion events held at night clubs, I am excited to support ANY opportunity that gives our local artists an opportunity to shine.  I won't have much original content to report on until after the event, so for now all I have is the information I wrote for the press release, compliments of Cabral Edwards Management.
Battle to the Nines (BTT9) Fashion Competition will be having their quarterly Fashion event Wednesday, April 19th, 2011 at Club Sur.  The city of Seattle was scoured for 20 of the most talented Runway Models, Fashion Designers, Hair Stylists, and Makeup Artists to compete in this event.  Battle to the Nines is a quarterly fashion competition and benefit for the Down Syndrome Association of the Mid Columbia. (DSAMC) - There will be a raffle hosted in benefit of the DSAMC with 100% of proceeds going to the Organization, as well as a percentage of proceeds from the door. The Down Syndrome Association hosts annual "Buddy Walk" to raise funding and awareness for children with Down syndrome.
Contestants will be divided into four teams that will be selected at random the day of the event.  Each team will be given one hour to create two complete fashion looks to hit the runway.   The looks will be judged by a panel of 6 invited guest celebrity judges. The winning team will receive an online spread with MF Magazine, a photo shoot with Gobo Photography, and will move onto the final round. All competitors will be receiving gift bags provided by the Producers and Sponsors.  For more information on the BTT9 sponsors,  please contact

 Designers will include KRISTINE HAWTHORNE , KIMMI DESIGNS8 , MEGAN CHEREWATENKO  and Sara Savino.

Competing Model Alyssa Russell
Courtesey of
Runway Models to include Alyssa Russell, Sayra Moran, Myschon Bales, Aubree Andersen, Raven West, Jenny Corcoran, Cori Ayers, and Melissa Laura. View competing model Aubree Anderson here... and view Model Alyssa Russells Website Here. 



Teams will be judged by special Seattle guest Celebrity hosts: Fancy Frenchwood (Internet Blog Talk Radio co- host for "Social Savvy" and Host of Sexy in Seattle), Scotty Hillstrand (Featured on "Deadliest Catch"), Dan Michael (Featured on Oxygen's "Love Games"), Lyssa Chartrand Becker (Celebrity Model/Designer for Lastwear), Elise Hamamoto (Miss Photogenic Washington, USA. 2011) and McKinley Smith (Miss Seattle 2010).
Tickets to this event are available for $10 presale at ** Presale Tickets: Doors will open at 7:30. Show starts at 8:00.  21+ After 10:00 PM.  VIP Tables of 4 will be available including light hors d'oeuvres and a bottle of red or white wine starting at only $100. Contact Becci at for reservations. This event is a collaborative of Gobo Photography, Active Entertainment, Surgz Events and Promotions, Vayn Productions, Cabral Edwards Management, and Aliyliyah Cosmetic Arts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FASHION Buzz: Seattle Fashion Incubator- Taking Steps to Create a Garment District in Seattle

Today I attended “Local Designers Need Local Manufactures” hosted by Steven Matsumoto, co- founder of the Seattle Fashion Incubator (SFI).  You’re wondering what in the world does this forum have to do with Seattle “fashion”?  And my answer to you, plainly put, is EVERYTHING.  With the outsourcing of most of the U.S.’s manufacturing to China, local fashion designers have found it hard to find local seamstresses to make their pieces.   They want their pieces made in the U.S., and specifically, in Seattle.   But finding a manufacturer is difficult and the process is extremely time consuming.  
Jesica Milton Piece at Vancouver Ecco Fashion Week
Image Credit: Peter Holst
Photo Courtesy of Jesica Milton Facebook
Upon arrival to the forum, the room was clearly divided, designers on one side, manufactures on the other.  It was a little bit awkward, kind of like a junior high school dance with boys on one side and the girls on the other. Both sides are passionate and have a story to tell, and both it seems are at wits end with each other.   This is where Seattle Incubator comes in, as “Switzerland”, to mediate between the two, with the hopes of putting Seattle on the International fashion map as its final goal.
Before I get into this highly complex issue, let be clear that I am by no means a fashion expert. I don’t have a fancy degree in Fashion, and I’m not a designer, fancy department store buyer, or anything special.  I’m just a girl who loves fashion and who wishes she could more easily buy local fashions.  I’ve been to a handful of fashion shows in Seattle, ohh’ing and aww’ing as the threads hit the runway. Never did I stop and wonder what in the world the designer went through to get their designs up there. Seems simple, design it, sew it, go? Right? No way.

Jessica Milton Asymmetrical Wrap Dress
Wrap dress with batwing sleeves and asymmetrical hemline.
Snap closure. 100% silk crepe de chine.
Photo Courtesy of

First group on the agenda is the designers.  They mention that getting threads and fabric in Seattle is a major problem, with lengthy application processes, credit checks and paperwork that takes months to clear.  Why not just order from China, when you can get a similar product, similar quality, without all the hassle?  But, that is almost the least of the designers concerns. Once they get their threads that have taken months to acquire, it’s now off to find a pattern maker, which is a dying art. Oh and by the way you can’t just Google “Seattle Pattern Maker”, nothing comes up.  There’s no Garment District in Seattle, no official fashion database (which Incubator hopes to create).  More on a fashion district later. Now, once the designer’s pattern is sized and production ready, they are ready for a manufacturer and the designers are not shy about expressing how frustrating this process is.  Local designer Jesica Milton mentions that often times, manufactures are so jaded; they won’t even call her back. Others mention that minimum orders are always a problem; the little fish feel like they get bumped by manufactures when larger orders come in.  Ordering samples is wildly expensive, and manufactures don’t like to create them as they are time consuming.  There is no trust from designers to manufactures, they claim that orders are often late and promises are made and never kept.  
The other side of the room, the manufactures counter that designers are flakey and disloyal. They are tired of working with local designers who order a few pieces, then outsource their larger orders to China. It takes a lot of time to take a design concept and get it production ready, and the manufactures feel like they are wasting time walking designers through this process, only to have them make their final order from China.  The manufactures are tired of poorly planned patterns from the designers, and as one manufacturer put it, “Garbage going in, garbage coming out”.  The manufactures talk about how they have to protect themselves, and evaluate each and every piece they produce, taking into careful consideration, “Does this item even stand a chance of being commercially successful?” If they believe it’s not, then they turn the designer away.   Their last complaint is that often very capable designers have zero business plan and zero idea what to do once their product is complete.  
So where do we go from here? Both sides make good points, and the problem is not easily solved. In comes Seattle Incubator.  Their goal is to provide emerging fashion brands with the ideal environment to develop and grow their businesses. More specifically, to revitalize a Seattle Garment District, a la pre-China outsourcing days. Where a designer can find a decent pattern maker they can trust, purchase fabrics with cash, have samples cut and made, and finished products manufactured, all in the same area.  The designers would be able to turn pieces out faster and much more affordably, and inevitably the manufactures would be able to keep more designers as clients, and prevent them from going off shore to produce.

Steven Matsumoto
Photo Courtesy of

Re-creating this district is a very lofty and large goal. But, if anyone can do it, it’s Steven Matsumoto. He’s determined. He’s a man on a mission, and he’s not going to stop until he see’s banners in SoDo marked “Seattle Garment District”.  Seattle Incubator is not the first of its kind, as like groups in LA, New York and even Chicago operate efficiently.   If you ask Steven, he’ll tell you that this fashion district is absolutely necessary to take Seattle to the International fashion map. I agree and sincerely hope that Seattle’s divided fashion community can rally together, to give Seattle designers the district and the tools they need to be able to compete and be recognized on an international level.

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Maile is a founding partner of Cabral Edwards Management, C.E.M.  She blogs for Girl Power Hour ( managing their Celeb Buzz Seattle blog. Her bi-monthly GPH blogs will not only focus on celebrities, but on their passions and the positive impact they have on the world. She will be covering female celebrities of all kinds that visit the Seattle and Pacific Northwest area.  Cabral Edwards Management is a Celebrity booking & event management company. Follow her on twitter at @mailehager, @CEMManagement and @SeattleCelebBuz.