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 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!