Photos by Louis Tinsley
The fourth annual Bespoke Fashion Show, entitled Graffiti: Make your Mark, and proudly sponsored by TOPS, brings its groundbreaking, local designs to The Speed Art Museum this month. Here, a behind-the-scenes preview captures the excitement, energy and vision of this local fashion collaborative.
It’s quite fitting that an organization founded with the goal of empowering visionaries, challenging the status quo and promoting inclusivity would choose to celebrate the suffrage anniversary with its highly anticipated spring fashion show, Graffiti: Make your Mark. “The fashion show is going to be a great night of strength, empowerment and design,” says eveningwear designer Kimberly Phillips. “Fashion was a large part of the women’s suffrage movement,” adds board member Faith Yascone. “The first one-piece swimsuit was a catalyst that got the nation’s attention. Women were literally being arrested for new fashion choices, which really helped push the women's voter movement forward. This year’s show represents inspiration for people to take back their power.” It empowers women both indirectly and directly; the LB board members selected Dress for Success as the charitable beneficiary.
If supporting local makers and a charity that outfits women in our community for success isn’t enough of a reason to buy a ticket, the opportunity to witness a full spectrum of locally designed fashion including dresses, sportswear, hats and fascinators, eveningwear, athleisurewear, swimwear and non-binary-wear should do it. The designs push the parameters of the expected and rework the definition of southern style. “As a stylist and fiber artist, I look for ways to incorporate wearable art into everyday wear,” says Justin Keibler of Baz and Bea. “Creating this collection of brushed dyes... I allowed the dyes to work organically while coaxing them into the lush petals and colors of ‘My Floral Fantasy.’”
Other designers challenge cultural norms: “Being an Egyptian immigrant to the United State, I am proud of my Arabic Middle Eastern roots,” says Iten Khalil of i10. “I feel like I am breaking barriers and stereotypes by introducing an image of a modern Middle Eastern woman which might be different from what people have in mind.”
While each designer has their own aesthetic and business goals, they have a common mission of supporting each other and gaining Louisville’s fashion community a national platform. “We have the City Life aesthetic with all the southern charm anyone could ask for. We have a growing arts movement, a top-notch ballet and an increase in film production,” says Edward Taylor, non-binary clothing designer. “It’s time to be known for our fashion beyond our Derby attire.” Witnessing the electric atmosphere in their rehearsal space, it seems clear that the group is poised to shine a brighter spotlight on the Louisville fashion scene—with the help of the community at large who attends their shows and buys their creations. Founder Yamilca Rodriguez says it this way: “Louisville Bespoke is a living organism that grows and transforms as the community waters and nurtures it.”
Sheila Nobles, C.K. Nobles LLC; Jenny Pfanenstiel, Forme Millinery; Justin Keibler Baz and Bea; Kimberly Phillips, Kimberly Phillips Clothier; Renae Kotarski, Anatasi Clothing; Iten Khalil, i10; Christine Robey, Bare Naked Leather; Edward Taylor, Evangelique; Tammy Meadows, T Suzanne.
The Board Members
Allison Lewis, Absolutely Ali (blogger); Brelin Tilford, Media Pros (videographer);Gary Barragan, photographer; Kimberly Phillips, designer; Roxanne Dunaway, Stilettos with Soul (style coach); Fitz Fitzgerald, Dressed Behavior (stylist); Faith Yascone, Frankfort Ave Coach House (fashion influencer); Yamilca Rodriguez, founder; Mike Tomes, MADS Formalwear (fashion influencer): Madison Ewing, MADS Gallery (gallery/formalwear owner): Lisa Hillerich, Roxy Nell (designer); Alima Albari, Alima Industries (show producer).
IF YOU GO
The Louisville Bespoke “Graffiti: Make your Mark” Spring fashion show benefiting Dress for Success will be held on Friday, April 12, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at The Speed Art Museum. Tickets are $35 to $95 and are available at eventbrite.com or through Louisvillebespoke.com.