Meet Two Emerging Designers For Memphis Fashion Week

Posted by Holly Whitfield | April 10th 2018 3029 0

Ed. Note: Local fashion blogger and photographer Kim Thomas has the scoop on Emerging Memphis Designers and Memphis Fashion Week, which is THIS WEEK (April 11 – 14). Her, she interviews designers Avianne Robinson and Casey Beck. Read more about Memphis Fashion Week’s schedule by clicking here. Check out Kim’s blog, KP Fusion, here.

Memphis Fashion Week is one of the city’s most anticipated sartorial events, and with it being less than a week away, the EMDP (Emerging Memphis Designer Project) participants are in the final stages of prepping their pieces for their individual presentations. Everyone looks forward to seeing what the local designers create; the buzz that surrounds the Emerging Designer Runway Shows is electric, and with MFW going into its 7th year, we’ve yet to be disappointed!

Avianne Robinson (2017 Teen Collections Winner, pictured below on the left) and Casey Beck (2017 Singles Collections Winner, pictured below on the right) took time out to chat with us about their design inspiration, what they’ve learned over the year of being involved in the EMDP, and tips for new designers looking to get involved with MFW.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

A.R.: I had always been interested in art from a young age. I eventually discovered the art of manipulating fabrics, and I have loved it ever since. I think I loved fashion design because it was so different from working with paper. It was like a whole new world had been opened up.

C.B.: As a kid, I always loved drawing and creating.  When I was in high school, I designed my dresses for different school events and worked with a seamstress to bring those ideas to life. A few years ago I was a volunteer at MFW and was inspired by the participants and wanted to give it a shot!

A post shared by Casey Beck (@caseybeck) on

You’ve shown during MFW previously; what was your design process for your collection leading up this year’s show? Where did you find inspiration?

A.R.: I always start a collection by brainstorming and sketching first. I know a lot of designers start off looking at fabrics and I almost never do that. I prefer to focus on my design silhouette then look for fabrics. This year I took inspiration from previous trends I had been seeing such as mesh clothing. I knew I wanted to implement some sheer components in my garment. I was careful not to make my pieces come off as too trendy. I like to think of runway wear as being something that can last through many seasons of fashion.

C.B.: I find a lot of inspiration from my friends and family. My friends are so fun, always trying new looks and trends. When I get a creative block, I talk it out with my friends, or my mom and sister. I like to hear what inspires them, and it brings my focus back.

Avianne Robinson

What have you learned since being a part of the EMDP Program, and what do you look forward to next?  

A.R.: I have learned a lot about the process of designing a collection. Before this program, I would just sew whatever I felt like when I felt like it. Being a part of the EMDP show really forces you to focus your design process. It really gives you a taste of what the fashion world is like. I look forward to seeing what other learning/mentoring opportunities the program will continue to offer. I have found the support for the designers to be one of the greatest things they offer us.

C.B.: Well, first I learned how to sew. I basically had zero sewing skills prior to EMDP. I also have learned a lot from my fellow designers. They are all extremely talented and have different perspectives. It gives me fresh ideas when I see their work.

What advice can you give to other young designers that want to get involved?

A.R.: I would tell them to start brainstorming/creating now. It can really take time to develop your ideas and find the best fabrics for the garment. This isn’t a process you want to rush since you learn so much about your design style during this part. Knowing what you like and what makes you unique from others is one of the most valuable tools you can have.  It’s important for your work to be an accurate representation of you. I would also tell them to stay updated with the fashion scene and take advantage of opportunities to observe shows.

C.B.: My best advice is to start anywhere, everywhere! Go to events or volunteer. Take a class at MCA or a private sewing lesson. Watch videos online on how to sketch fashion figures. Every little bit will push you in the right direction.

A post shared by Casey Beck (@caseybeck) on

Outside of showing your collection, what are your most looking forward to with this year’s show?

A.R.: I am very excited to see how the other designers’ garments have turned out. It blows my mind how creative everyone can be. Another thing I really look forward to is seeing what the crowd is wearing. People always wear their most exciting pieces to the shows.

C.B.: Seeing the other designers’ work – especially Mary Ambrose. Her stuff rocks!

Read more about Memphis Fashion Week’s schedule by clicking here.

Where can people follow you/see more of your work?

A.R:. You can find me at @xoavianne on Instagram.

C.B.: I occasionally post my work or my process (the craziness!) at @caseybeck on Instagram.

More links:
Memphis Fashion Design Network
Memphis Fashion Week
Memphis Fashion Week Schedule

About The Author/Photographer
Kim Thomas is a lifestyle blogger + photographer based in Memphis, TN. Launched in September 2010, her blog KP Fusion provides of-the-moment fashion, style and beauty tips + trends with a little Memphis, TN flavor thrown in. Whether it’s high, low, fast fashion, vintage, or something new, like a well-edited wardrobe, there’s a place for it on the blog.

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