Chic haute couture is a description you might hear when it comes to defining fashion at its finest. This past weekend K Dock Media presented their 2nd Annual Pre-Halloween Masquerade at Crimson lounge in Sax Hotel. This event marked the end of the Chicago’s Fashion Focus week and featured seven of the city’s most talented and innovative up and coming designers. This was where chic haute couture met daring avant garde and fine fashion it was.
Each designer had a dedicated stage for their models to display their creations pose while the masked crowd sipped cocktails and snapped pictures on their cells eagerly devouring each piece in its turn. The following artists were featured at this fantastical affair: Hakeem Gayden – ( 2010 Gen Art Designer), Andrew Aubrey Osafo, Que Shebley (2010 Gen Art Designer), Maison de La Cour , Atha Sharod Bridal, St. Frimpong, and Alexandre N. Chandoha (2010 Gen Art Designer). NowYouKnow was thrilled to have been granted behind the scenes access for one-on-one, up-close-and-personal interviews with each of the evening’s apparel artists. NYK gives YOU the opportunity to get to know these fabulous fashion mavens below.
Andrew Aubrey Osafo, whose label is Kwabena Klassics was born in Ghana and spent many years of his childhood in London. His designs are inspired by his parents who have always been unique, especially in their sense of style. Still, he would get in trouble for taking ‘perfectly good clothes’ and “re-creating” them into more fashionable pieces. He focuses on using bright, vibrant, printed fabrics that he imports from Ghana. While these textiles are typically used to make dashikis, Osafo has, using his excellent sense of style, transformed African prints into wearable western fashion. He designs apparel for both men and women. Select pieces from his collection can be found in some of the finest boutiques including Panache on Southport and She Boutique in Highland Park.
Eugen Frimpong, the mind behind St.Frimpong, also grew-up in Ghana. As a designer he focuses on making clothes that reflect a woman’s strong and confident side while aiming to give men a softer, more feminine look. Men always have control so he wanted to give women confidence – give them the feeling they could do anything they want to do without limitations. The inspiration for his piece that evening a leader in 19th century British Ghana. He wanted to step outside his norm and bring out his darker side with this particular piece. He makes custom clothing and his works can be found on his website.
Alexandre Chandoha of Acosta was born in Brazil and raised in Chicago. He has loved fashion and creating for as long as he can remember. He designs to “make women feel beautiful and amazing. It’s not about us or me as a designer. It’s about the women wearing my pieces”. Alexandre is also a painter. It was his easel that provided the inspiration for his latest collection. He is currently working on launching Acosta with a full collection in Fall 2012. If you are interested in getting in contact with Alexandre Call at 1 773-396-2221 or facebook Alexandre Chandoha.
Que Shebley is originally from Michigan and moved to Chicago 3 years ago. His love of fashion comes from his father who specialized in wholesale Italian shoes. Que wants to change and expand the idea of ready-to-wear by adding elements of couture detail in all of his work. He enjoys making apparel for both men and women including bridal and is very interested in getting into film costume. While Que will occasionally make traditional apparel his forte and his passion lies in the avant garde. This piece come from his collection “Architectural Farmers World.” It’s about mixing extremes. The Farmer embodies nature and simplicity while the Architect is the harsh and structural modern world. He uses raw leather and mohair over metal forms to show how those worlds clash together. Que currently works with the Joffrey Ballet and is getting ready to launch his ready-to-wear line in 2012. Que Shebley currently does custom work and can be contacted at que-shebley.com.
Hakeem Gayden has been designing since his freshman year of high school. While at The International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago he did 8 fashion shows of his work including Fashion Focus 2009. He gets inspiration for his line Lavea Couture from nature and sculpture. He describes his work as, “very avant garde, haute couture, off-the-wall and crazy. I Love to take risks. I always do no matter what.” His piece was part of his Blades of Petals collection- blades for stress, flowers for being humble. Hakeem makes custom-made clothes and rarely uses patterns. He can be reached by email – firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook: mikeluke.
Robert Sharod is from Chicago and his daughter Atha is the inspiration behind Atha Sharod Bridal. When she was born he felt he could finally be free to explore his creativity. “It’s difficult to explore creativity when you are a black male with low-income parents, especially when you are intelligent. Being a fashion designer felt like I’d be wasting my life and I had to get over that and understand who I really was.” His decision to do bridal was an easy one. It’s where the money is. He’s very open and honest about that. Robert has three children and comes from a low-income family. He doesn’t understand how people create fashion for fashions sake. For him it just doesn’t make sense to design something that can’t (or wouldn’t) be worn in real life. The gown tonight was inspired by an 8 month stay in Paris (he speaks fluent French). “There are lots of prostitutes in France but they do it so beautifully and are so wonderfully decorated. They are some of the most beautiful women in the world.” “I’m in love with love… always in love. So bridal is perfect for me. I’m open – very open… that’s what my piece is about – being open.”
Robert’s new adventure will be opening a chain of African hairbraiding salons named Fanta Spa Hair Braiding Salons after his youngest daughter. He will also be moving into an office space in the Zhou B Art Center. If you want to see more from Robert Sharod don’t miss his Dec 8th event with Chicago Style Weddings.
Julius LaCour Jr. of Maison De LaCour was born in New Orleans, LA in 1985. From a young age, Julius dared to be different. He fell in love with fashion and wanted to dress like the models and icons he saw in magazines. Since he couldn’t afford the designer clothes he wanted, Julius decided to create his own designs. At age 13 he taught himself to sew, reworking the clothes he already owned and turning them into unique and daring creations.
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