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HIGH Event: Fashion Uncorked 2012 A Sexy, Sassy Success!

Cotrice Addison (Project Accessory), Donna Davidson (President of Easter Seals North GA), Sidratu Maju (Fashion Uncorked 2012 Winner), Monica Pearson (WSB-TV), Norma Center (Development Coordinator for Easter Seals North Georgia). Photo: Aldridge Murrell Photography

On Saturday, February 11th 2012, Easter Seals held its second annual design competition, Fashion Uncorked, at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center located 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. Fashion Uncorked is a design competition very similar to Project Runway, in which the designers were to come up with designs inspired by T. Howard Jewelry Collection. It was a stylish affair to remember! This beautiful and chic event benefits Easter Seals, an organization that assists individuals with special needs and disabilities to navigate through life and become more independent. According to the Easter Seals website, services and support are provided through a network of more than 550 sites in the U.S. and through Ability First Australia.

Fashion Uncorked 2012 designer Lakedra “Raquel” Reed and her models. Photo: Kun-Chan Chang Photography

Fashion Uncorked kicked off at 7 pm. Attendees were directed to a parking lot about two minutes away from the facility where shuttles were waiting to take event goers to the event while dropping them off right in front of the entrance. This was quite a plus for another reason other than not having to walk far – the temperature was a frosty 28 degrees!

Holly Firfer (right) wearing ADHC Designs by Fashion Uncorked 2011 winner Angelica Cuervo (left). Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

Upon walking inside, excited guests checked in at the front desk. From there, guests spotted several displays advertising the different sponsors such as Mary Kay, Chocolate Ink, James L. Young Photography, Nairobi Professional, and Girligirl. There was also a crepe maker on hand preparing tasty crepes for a small fee. Barefoot Wines was on hand for the wine tasting, featuring a variety of wines, including the crowd favorite, a pink sparkly citrus Moscato. While guests were mingling, they were also noshing on sushi, bite size cakes, and a delicious concoction of dressing topped with asparagus.

Theresa Howard’s (creator of T. Howard Jewelry) handmade jewelry was used as inspiration for each of the designers pieces. Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

Monica Pearson, Atlanta’s favorite news anchor from WSB-TV, hosted the fashion show and Jenine Cotrice Addison was the co-hostess. The fashion show was scheduled to begin at 8:15 PM but before it started, Monica Pearson announced the untimely passing of the incomparable Whitney Houston followed by a short prayer. After that, it was time for the show!

Photo: Baby Shopaholic

The finalists for Fashion Uncorked had to create four looks for the event. The first look featured child models, which the designers not only had to create outfits for the children, but for their stuffed animals as well! The kids were so cute! This very well may have even been the crowd favorite based on the various reactions I saw! After that, the designers had to create daywear and eveningwear looks. It appeared that even though everyone may have had their favorite picks, everyone seemed to fall in love with the white pin striped jumpsuit.

Fashion Uncorked 2012 desinger Annie Flynn and her models. Photo: Kun-Chan Chang Photography

After all of the looks were shown, the judges had the designers and models leave the stage while they deliberated, a move that has been seen on countless shows such as Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model. It should be noted that among those on the judging panel, Holly Firfer, a former CNN anchor, was a judge as well as Rafael Cox, a contestant on the current cast of Project Runway. Jessica Black, Miss United States 2010 was also a judge, as well as Courtney A. Hammonds, JaVaun Gorman (an instructor at the Art Institute of Atlanta), Marcus Jackson (CEO and owner of CALIBER Entertainment) and Dr. Melissa Manuel (the head of the department of Fashion and Retail Management at AIA). After the deliberation period, the judges brought the designers and models back to critique their collections as well as the individual looks.

Fashion Uncorked 2012 Judges: Marcus Jackson (Caliber Enterprises), Renee Knorr (19th Hole Magazine), Rafael Cox (Project Runway), Holly Firfer (CNN/Star 94), Jessica Black (Miss United States 2010), Dr. Melissa Manuel (Art Institute), Cotrice Addison (Project Accessory), JaVaun Gorman (Art Institute), Courtney Hammonds (Art Institute) Holly Firfer (Not Pictured) Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

After much deliberation and excited anticipation from the onlookers, Sidratu Maju was announced winner of the competition. The prize package included a spread in Sheen Magazine and a trip to LA fashion week! Sidratu hails from Sierra Leone and her collection featured beautiful and colorful African inspired looks.

Sidratu Maju was announced the Fashion Uncorked 2012 winner and presented with gifts. Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

Fashion Uncorked 2012 had an amazing turnout as it just so happened to be SOLD OUT! Everyone there appeared to have a fabulous time. The event was structured, well planned, and ran smoothly. Easter Seals and Fashion Uncorked are destined to continue to grow. And next year, the event will be even more monumental. Until then, stay fashionable!

Karissa J. Parker for The HIGH UP. Follow @CurlyRissa for the latest in fashion, style and beauty updates!

Fashion Uncorked: An Impressive and Stylish Affair

February 19, 2011 (Atlanta, GA) – ELECTRIC! The only possible way to describe the night… Models, designers, stylists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and executives – all commingling for a single, worthy cause.

FASHION UNCORKED is an artistic collaboration between Artist Trifecta and A Clothes Encounter to directly benefit Easter Seals Atlanta. The event’s organizers decided to integrate several fashion and art oriented ideas into a central theme based on the popular show Project Runway.

Our night began on the 3rd level of a condo development – adjacent to the evening’s venue – located in the Castleberry Point Development. Within the makeshift “headquarters”, the contestants (and their support staff) work at a frenzied pace to be ready for their call to the stage area. Clothing, shoes, accessories, makeup, models and stylists are literally all over the two preparation rooms.

As we descend to the main venue to prepare for interviews and the competition, we encounter boutique style shops, water works, dazzling architecture, silent auctions, appetizers and, oh yes, WINE– all within the confines of the development. Once in the main area, we are amazed to find that the entire show area is housed within an undeveloped area of the complex. Rocks, bare cement walls, exposed piping all give the event a very raw, edgy and urban feel. Additionally, the runway in is composed of artificial turf, laid directly over the loose rock foundation – apparently the models are being evaluate also. The edgy, yet simplistic, setting was apropos given some of the edgy and simplistic styles we were about to encounter.

En route to their seats, our host and panel of judges stop to speak with us and take advantage of the photo opportunity. Atlanta’s own Monica Kaufman-Pearson, the emcee, is elegant as usual. Our host of judges are no less stunning – Jessica Black (Miss United States 2010), Holly Firfer (CNN Anchor), David Goodrowe (Assoc. Dean SCAD) and Mary Jo Miller (Dept. Chair Fashion and Retail Art Institute of Atlanta). The evening was underway once our host opened with comments and introductions. Additionally, we were greeted by one of the founding partners, Actress Kaira Akita (of Tyler Perry film fame). Shortly thereafter, the show was off and running, as the beautiful models seemed to gracefully traverse the rough terrain set before them. In the end, Designer Angelica Cuervo outpaced the competition and left with the Grand Prize – with Shenelle Evans taking home the People’s Choice Award.

Check out the Spring/Summer Edition of “THE IMPRINT” for the full feature on FASHION UNCORKED.

See exclusive video interviews with Kaira Akita and Monica Kaufman-Pearson at The Spotlight.

– Jay Young