Fern Mallis and Derek Blasberg front row at Charleston Fashion Week. Photo: Cyle Suesz

It’s relatively rare that South Carolina as a state is privy to the presence of fashion royalty.  So of course when I heard that Fern Mallis(one of the founders of New York Fashion Week), Anne Slowey(Fashion News Director at Elle Magazine), Alexis Maybank(Co-Founder of Gilt Group), and Derek Blasberg(Editor at Large for Harper’s Bazaar) would all be in attendance at Charleston Fashion Week, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.  When it slipped that David Yoo, the last winner of Elle/RISD’s Fashion Next award would be showing as well, my ticket was purchased, with me knowing full well that the week was set to be a treat.

Model in David Yoo. Photo: Cyle Suesz

The week, which is put on by Charleston Magazine and is the brain child of Ayoka Lucas, is five days consisting of retail shows (from the likes of Biton and Hampden Clothing), featured designers(like Jamie Lin Snider and Hunter Dixon), an Emerging Designer competition, and a very active night life scene.  On Saturday Morning there was also an amazing collection of bridal shows, as in the city of Charleston approximately 70 weddings take place per week.

Sandra West in Veritee Hill. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

The first night Veritee Hill was awarded the winner which meant that she was selected to show her full 12 piece collection of dark, flower inspired, couture-like garments on Saturday.  Sarah Parrott, who showed a very sensible color blocked collection for her Fall 2011 collection, won the People’s Choice Award and was awarded with $200.

Model in Stephanie Mejia Fall 2011. Photo: Cyle Suesz

The second night of the competition was a peculiar one.  While Cody Sai Adler-McAllister was awarded both the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice awards for his quirky, a tad bit off kilter collection, the Judges’ also announced Stephanie Mejia as a winner for her dark, deconstructed collection.  Cody said that his favorite piece from his collection was the first exit which was a black long blazer with a green print that resembled vapors but actually was a result of Sai making the garment on the wrong side of the fabric.

Ajang Majok, who won the Rock the Runway Model Competition, in Mystery School Fall 2011. Photo: Cyle Suesz

The third night’s awards both went to Michael Wiernicki for his print driven, architectural collection.  The label, named Mystery School, got more than one reference to Lady Gaga with it’s large oversized shoulders but was the first and only collection of the chosen finalists which included menswear.  Wiernicki confided to us in the press junket that on Monday, he thought he wasn’t going to win.


Model in isobel and cleo. Photo: Joshua Drake

The winner of the fourth night snapped up four awards. Charlotte Hess of isobel and cleo not only was awarded with the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards for her night, but also for the overall competition meaning she won a price package valued at over $4,000.  Her knitwear collection, which received a standing ovation from the audience, is already stocked in Ireland and I’m sure placements stateside are not far away.

Mikelle Street – Member