Thursday, June 2, 2011

Featured Designer: Belinda

Okay first of all, I work at a venue downtown that holds weddings, wedding receptions (among other things) every weekend so CONGRATULATIONS! YAYY!! I know how fun and exciting planning a wedding is and everything about it.
Which is why I will never get married.
Kidding... kind of.

Sooo, Belinda is the goddess behind the label Belindabilly and she will be showcasing the line Belinda by Belindabilly and the summer collection, Midsummer Night's Dream at La Vie: A Fashion Show TOMORROW. She got the idea of Midsummers Night's Dream because it is her favorite play (I played Hermia in my high school play, just throwing that out there) so not only did she structure her line based on the play but also her upcoming wedding!

I can tell she is thinking all white and flowers and sugar and spice and everything nice because when talking about her style she remarked that, "I always have at least one dress in my collections and it's always my favorite piece. I think dresses are the best piece of clothing women can wear!"
... I should have asked her who was designing her wedding dress. Let me know!! And although thoughts of her wedding were undoubtedly a factor in this current like, her background in designs holds a big influence on her creations. She says, "where I went to school, the fashion was very conceptual, like wearable art pieces, so even though I make ready to wear fashion for the most part, I can't get away from that conceptual background."
She also takes a lot of style inspiration from history, especially the 40s and 50s, but still checks out contemporary photographers and indie designers. Her designs are also totally eco-friendly! Badass!

About he eco-wear, she says, "I'm out to prove that you can have unique, interesting, fun style without hurting the environment. The gold sheer cloth in the collection is 100% organic American grown cotton that I dyed with onion skin (don't worry it doesn't smell like it), and the rest is all organic too. Organic cotton is a small but growing industry in America, if we invested more money into it, and more people requested it, there would be a lot of new jobs created, not to mention the international demand for it that would raise our exports. Anyway, I could go on and on, but it's just something to think about next time you go shopping!" Yeah, chew on that one.

She was very specific when I asked her what got her into designing. "I knew at age 4 that I wanted to be an artist, and at age 7 that I wanted to do fashion design, " she answers.
Must be nice to know exactly what you are going to be doing with your life at 7. Rub it in why don't you, Belinda. I still believe even at my 21 years of age that I couldn't possibly know what I want with my life. So don't ask.

Belinda however (showoff), got her start from her Gramma! She had given little Belinda a set of antique paper doll stencils that you could use to draw and cut out clothes for your paper doll. She says, "there were suggestions on how to color them in, but I went a bit crazy and started using the stencils to combine the clothes into new garments - that sleeve with that top and that skirt to make a dress. I didn't even care about the paper doll, I just wanted to design the clothing, and then I stopped using the stencils entirely. My parents encouraged it and got me drawing sets for fashion design and well, the rest is history." Seven year old Coco Chanel.

Well, the line Midsummer Night's Dream that all of you beutiful people will see TOMORROW at Blue Collar Crime in Raleigh, NC (tickets on sale at Nsalo and Dapper House) was inspired by Shakespeare's comedy by the same name. The style inspiration came from old Elizabethan clothing and shapes and contours similar to the early 1900's clothing. The fantastic colors (you'll have to check it out) and embellishments popped up from her imagination, but she admits that they were probably put there in part from the 1999 film version and Woody Allen's Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy. SO COME CHECK OUT HOW FANTASTIC IT WILL BE! Before the ticket sell out and you end up at home on a Friday night reciting Puck lines over a bag of popcorn wishing you were there. I can hear you now..
"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended.
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear..."

Nope, the show happened. And you're gonna miss it if you don't make moves quick ladies and gentlemen.

Much Love,
Mackenzie, D4L

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Featured Designer: Mathew Stewart

Are our promo designs and blog not amazing? They are, thanks to Mathew Stewart. He is the amazing and talented graphic designer that helps us out on our tickets, promo posters and website design.

So, Let's pick his brain. He has always really been into art (I see a reoccurring theme here with the designers I have interviewed, actually everyone I surround myself with...) and that got him into shooting and playing around in Photoshop then other design programs and then an eventual career kicking ass because he says, " I had a lot of support and encouragement to pursue it as a career from friends and family so I decided to go to school for it and here I am."

As a graphic designer, he has the ability to mold and form to any style depending on the project direction. He would describe what he is into artistically though as the Swiss minimalist approach to design. He is into old vintage looking letterpress right now and he also finds inspiration everywhere but particularly the designs of Milton Glaser, Matthieu Bessudo, and David Airey. Click on the designers to get a peek at some of their work.

He got the idea for the La Vie: A Fashion Show promo video from tons of research. After the brilliant team of Dance4Liberation decided on a French ce la vie, easy going theme style for the show, Aileen met with Matt and Matt researched French designs and came up with this perfectly fitting design.

So what is in store for Matt once he graduates and decided that he wants to begin getting paid for his talent and brilliance? "I just want to work for a place that does good work or that does work that inspires me to be better. I never want to work somewhere and feel bored, or like I'm not growing as a designer."

LAST CHANCE TO BUY YOUR PRE-SALE TICKETS FOR LA VIE: A FASHION SHOW!!! 3 days left to purchase them. Raleigh, hit up Dapper Style house, buy a drink, buy a new shirt, meet Julie, BUY A TICKET. Wilmington, hit up Nsalo Salon, get a wax, get a trim, get your hair dyed green, say what's up? to Robbie and Aileen, BUY A TICKET! See you beautiful people this Friday :)

Much Love,
Mackenzie, D4L

Thursday, May 26, 2011



Check out the sexy models and fantastic artistic talents of Aileen Haugh in the new Dance4Liberation promo video for La Vie: A Fashion Show in Raleigh, NC June 3rd at 8pm at White Collar Crime. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK AILEEN! And thank you for your dedication to all the people that went into making the video and the models, designers, volunteers, fans, members of D4L and Arts Access for being amazing!
Everyone is so talented and beautiful. Everything is just FANTASTIC! I'm having a happy overload! AHHHHH!!

Come support a very worthy cause. Check out the website for Arts Access to see the non-profit D4L is supporting this time and a blog about how amazing and wonderful they are will be coming soon. AMAZING. WONDERFUL. AHHHH!!!

Website for Arts Access: HERE
Our KICK ASS new promo video: HERE

I am so glad to be surrounded by such talent. It makes life so fun.
Much Love,
Mackenzie, D4L

Featured Designer: Lisa Wood

artinsomnia /ärt/ /inˈsämnēə/ (n) : Habitual sleeplessness brought on by not being able to stop thinking about the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Lisa Wood is plagued by artinsomnia. It is the name of her label and she says that it is a real problem she faces nightly. Laying down to close her eyes and visions of of textiles, colors, fabric run through her head until she has to jot the ideas and visions down before finally falling into a peaceful sleep. Thank god for her artinsomnia as well because it is what keeps the ideas and designs coming, and they are amazing. And look frighteningly familiar to all the boys out there favorite video game vixens. She has a thing for video vixens.

Her line for the Dance4Liberation La Vie show is called Second Soul. The name comes from the fact that she reuses worn and discarded clothing. Thrift, donated and old textiles... she gives them a "Second Soul". Her designs are inspired by what she likes to wear. She designs for herself and her friends. What looks good on her body and what is priced right is lost in the aisles of department stores, so she makes what she wants to see there. Makes sense. And you won't see her using polyester. We are both sick of seeing that in the stores. Yuck.

She has been an artist since forever. She started with sculpture and has touched on everything in between since but glass blowing. (You should try it out, it is SO much fun!) She is even a baker and a cook. Too bad she is wife-yed up, boys. She has only been making clothes for two years. Which is unreal when you look at her product and how amazing it is. But she says she looks at designing clothes how she had always looked at sculpture, manipulating a shape in a different way.

She also used to have a thing for Wonder Woman. Well, not exactly but she really wanted to rock a cute bathing suit for Halloween when she was a little kid and show up all the annoying girls dressed in the matching Tinker Bell costumes from Walmart. She had a vision of big boots, a cape and a bikini with the stars on it and wearing it proudly. Her mom thought it was too chilly in Buffalo, NY and got her a fantastic light blue jump suit, glued homemade felt boots onto her sweats, painted a bikini on the suit and black nylons on her head. I would go into designing my own clothes after that as well, rough. At least her mom tried?

Random fact: She once saved a pod of whales in Key West and apparently Marine Biologist swear that whales communicate in holograms and therefor can read humans minds. Hmm.

COME TO LA VIE: A FASHION SHOW brought to you by D4L!!!
check out the promo video just released posted on the blog

Much Love,
Mackenzie, D4L

Monday, May 23, 2011

Featured Designer: Carmin Black and Half United


I interviewed one of the three master minds behind Half United, Carmin Black. Carmin, with Christian Black and Danielle Garrow, put together Half United, a label of stylish classic and outfit basics. The staple of any wardrobe, the label consists of cotton tees, tanks, dresses and fun accessories. Carmin says that Half United, "hopes that people can either dress these items up/make them funky on their own by adding a great fitting pair of jeans, a cute structured blazer, or throw them on and lounge. Our business model is for every man- we want our clothes to reflect that same concept."

Half United is not just a hip, fun, funky clothing line with badass designs and great style; the team behind Half United are all philanthropist, and so are you when you buy an item of Half United's clothing. Half United's website says that, "HALF United was founded by a young aspiring entrepreneur named Carmin Black who had just returned home to North Carolina after traveling the country on behalf of TOMS Shoes. Inspired by the TOMS One for One movement Carmin joined forces with her brother and many of their friends to create a company that would feed children in need with every purchase made. The name HALF United stems from the idea that when you purchase their products that’s only HALF of what you’re doing- YOU are also personally feeding a child in need. At HALF our main goal is to unite our family, our friends, and supporters to peacefully protest global hunger. We realize none of us can eradicate hunger alone, but United there’s nothing we cannot accomplish."

Every time you purchase something you in turn are helping to stop hunger. Helping the world has never looked so good! Since their start in the summer of 2009, Half United has fed over 25,000 hungry little kids. Check out HOW YOU CAN HELP HERE, and get started doing your part.

Half United is inspired by everyone and anything. The kids are a big inspiration for all the hard work and long hours. "The more items we sell, the more people who are made aware or have an outlet to support putting an end to global hunger- we're fighting this thing and I love that fashion is our means for doing just that. " As far as style inspiration, they look towards Kors, Hererra (LOVE), Marc Jacobs and all the small up and comers are an inspiration for the dedication and hard work as well as some great designs.

Their easy going styles and chic designs speak to me LOUDLY. I love the prints and fun styles. I asked Carmin what she was into right now and it's so on. She apologizes for "getting all 1990's on [me]" (totally fine, I live for 1990's grunge) and admits that she loves that dirty, sloppy look. The hair roots, torn jeans, bangles and accessories overdone, tops that fall off your shoulder, combat boots... you know the style.

I can't WAIT to see what is in store for us at La Vie. Half United is showing INDIAN SUMMER at the show and I ADORE INDIAN PRINT!!!! YES! All about Native American culture, the line is, "Americana with a modern twist- we wanted people to feel warm, invited, inspired even when they wear our clothes." When I think I understand and know all about Half United, Carmin hits me with a shocker. What one celebrity would you like to see rock Half United, I ask. Tom Hanks? I love this girl.

Carmin wanted to leave you all with this, "HALF UNITED hopes to be more of a feeding company that uses fashion, than a fashion brand that feeds- we hope we catch your attention and that you purchase our products but our clothes are our means to our ends- we really do want to UNITE with you to feed the children we (as in our customers and us) support. We are so thrilled that we get to bring something like global hunger to light in a real and tangible way- by selling something that people can wear everyday- its an honor for us to work with our customers to help children in need. We love what we do!"

Come out June 3rd to La Vie; A Fashion Show at White Collar Crime brought to you beDance4Liberation and HELP STOP WORLD HUNGER! Check out their website at and see the amazing promotional video for the line and for the kids. Amazing line and amazing people.

Much Love,
Mackenzie, D4L

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Featured Designer: Margo Scott

The 50's are back, baby!!!
I checked out Margo Scott's label, Rocket Betty, on her WEBSITE and fell in love with the 50 and 60's inspired vintage wear! Margo was one of 15 designers chosen this past year to attend the first fashion show at SXSW in Austin, TX. The designs that took her there are so flattering and really extenuate a womans curves and natural lines. Although the designs are styled after the designs worn once in the Fab 50's, they still have modern pattern, fabric and feel.

The 50's are definitely coming back with a big swing too if you have been following the fashion (which I am sure you all have been, you fabulous D4L lovers)! The cropped tops, the big shapes, the billowing skirts. And Margo and Rocket Betty is RIGHT on trend! You can see it in the "New Looks" from D&G, Prada and Louis Vuitton autumn collections. Fabulous!

Margo says her inspirations stems from her love of old, "1940's and 1950's pin up style art, pulp art, vintage magazines catalogs and ads" because, "the lines are clean and the women are curvy." YES curves are coming back in as well! I don't feel so guilty for eating that leftover Wendy's Frosty for breakfast...

She started playing with fabrics when her mom got her into sewing and as a freshman in high school had created her first real clothing item. (sounds like two young designers that I posted about a few weeks ago....) Then she took that desire to create to a degree in costume design and "a life long love affair." Love her wording. Where is my love affair?

She says that her line for La Vie: A Fashion Show brought to you by Dance 4Liberation THIS June 3rd at White Collar Crime (tickets can be bought at Dapper Style House in Raleigh) will be summery, "sassy, fun and a touch of glamor." Don't be surprised is you see Katy Perry rocking her clothes, she rocks 50's inspired lines all the time! See you beautiful people June 3rd!

Much Love,

Mackenzie, D4L

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Featured Designer: Julie Kathrotia

Have you ever drunk shopped? It's so dangerous but also one of my favorite past times. Julie Kathrotia has a boutique where you can have a cocktail while you shop. It's a boutique bar. It's amazing. It's Dapper House. She was kind enough to let Dance4Liberation take over her shop for our model call and it was fabulous! Many empty Bloody Mary glasses later, D4L left Raleigh with a ton of sexy models and a new favorite clothing store not to mention an adorable new friend.

For La Vie: A Fashion show, Julie is showing her clothing line, Julkee. It is an edgy, but elegant, corset line. Oh-la-la! Her inspiration is rooted in many things. She says, "I wouldn't say I have obe single inspiration. I am inspired by so many things, other designers, color and texture, and the womans body shape and curve. If I had to name a few designers I admire it would be Alexander Mcqueen, Lanvin, Chanel, Balmain and Versace."
Her passion for clothes comes from her passion for art as a child. She has always enjoyed painting and art that love for art transformed into a designing talent. She stuck with it and keeps the motivation to continue to make the beautiful Julkee fashions because she says, "there is no better feeling than seeing a woman walk by in my designs and feeling sexy from head to toe. That is what makes all the hard work worth it."

The corset inspired line she will be showing at La Vie was natural for her. She says, "I decided to use this as my base for each design because lets face it who doesn't want a small waist and larger bust?" So right on.

I asked her what celebrity she would want to see walking down the streets of Hollywood with a Julkee design on. She is clever. Rachel Zoe was her answer that way everyone would be in her clothes. Smart Girl.

Much loveee, D4L, Mackenzie