Bermudian designs shoes for R&B star Brown
Opportunity knocks for talented designer
Creating fashion accessories for celebrities isn’t the only exciting thing to happen to local designer Alshante’ Foggo lately.
Ms Foggo was recently selected as one of two participants from the City Fashion Festival 2014 to take part in a fashion festival in Nassau, Bahamas. She was joined at the Islands of the World Fashion Festival by aspiring Bermudian model Sophie Adams.
The 28-year-old designer spent last weekend networking with designers and models; she also had the chance to see her creations modelled on the catwalk.
Still, her favourite part of the three-day trip was taking part in a resort shoot at the Melia Hotel.
“This was something that came about at the last minute and we were lucky enough to have the traditional Bahamian junkanoo dancers come out to show their love,” Ms Foggo said. “That was a moment I will never forget!
“Other opportunities that have come out of the trip for me was the opportunity to showcase my collection at the Caribbean Fashion Week next year, put on by May Wayne, publisher for She Magazine. I was also able to network with two amazing Cuban designers who would like to collaborate on some things in the future.”
Ms Foggo said she was ecstatic to have been picked for the exciting opportunity.
“I am not sure if it showed on the outside, but I was screaming inside [when I heard],” she said.
“I worked very hard on my collection [for the City Fashion Festival]. I love consistency and things to be very polished — from the model’s hair down to their feet — so I needed order. For this to all come about, after what was many sleepless nights for me, was incredible. I felt it was deserved by far.”
She said being a designer has taught her that everything takes time. “[Seeing that I’m still very new] to this I love to listen and take advice from established designers. It’s a very humbling experience and I feel blessed to see all of the opportunities that have come my way in the past year.”
The superstars are the limit for fashion designer Alshante’ Foggo.
The 28-year-old’s one-of-a-kind pieces of apparel and accessories recently caught the eye of R&B singer Chris Brown.
Understandably, getting attention from big names in the entertainment business is the highlight of her fledgling career.
“It has opened new opportunities for me, so getting recognised outside of the Island has definitely been huge,” Ms Foggo said.
“With Chris Brown, I had the opportunity to meet with him in New York two weeks ago and now I have some other projects coming up with other artists through to the networking with him. I may have a project coming up with rapper Fabulous and Musiq Soulchild.”
Ms Foggo had the opportunity to make two pairs of designer Timberlands for Chris Brown, after crossing paths with him through her Instagram page.
She frequently reaches out to stars on social media by tagging them in the photos of her best work. Last month the gamble paid off.
“Chris Brown got back in touch with me and asked me to make him some shoes,” she said. “I was excited and surprised and kind of wondered ‘Is this really him?’ because with social media you have a lot of fraudulent activity and fake pages.
“Initially I was shocked but he gave me his contact details and we spoke and he gave me his shoe size.”
Ms Foggo, who started her career as an artist putting acrylic paintings on canvas, was able to connect with the star over their shared love of art.
She said he gave her creative freedom to do whatever she wanted with the shoes.
“I wanted to take my time and do them right so it took me a couple of days to complete and probably around 20 hours of work,” the designer said.
“The good thing is he loved them and thought they were amazing and actually wanted to wear them to a Halloween party that weekend that he wanted me to come up for. So I came up to New York and joined him at two events — the Powerhouse concert in Brooklyn and another party.”
After the celebrity posted a photo of Ms Foggo’s creations on social media, it went viral. She went from having 1,500 followers on her Instagram page to 40,000.
She said: “I’m getting a lot of business outside of Bermuda right now and a lot of questions like ‘Where is Bermuda?’.
“So if anything I’m kind of putting Bermuda on the map.
“People want to know more about the Island so it has created a very large following out of Bermuda. Truthfully I can’t keep up with it.”
She woke up the morning after the picture was posted to find she had more than 200 e-mails from potential customers.
As a teenager Ms Foggo wasn’t even interested in pursuing a career in fashion.
She focused on business when she left for university in 2003 but ended up choosing art courses as her electives.
She soon realised that was her true passion and enjoyed wandering through thrift stores or attending art events in her area.
These days, Ms Foggo said she can’t turn off her creativity or ideas. As a result her personal style is always changing and evolving.
“I like to take something that is feminine and make it not so delicate, but more or less bold and striking,” she explained.
She said the enjoyment in designing comes from watching something ordinary come to life — with help from vibrant colour and interesting shapes.
“I see clothes as functional, and I don’t think everything has to be tricked out,” she explained.
“I’m trying to design clothing based on mood and atmosphere as people can see from my tropical collection, which is fun and lively.”
Ms Foggo said her ultimate dream is to design full-time and make a name for herself in fashion capitals like Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
Her advice to any young aspiring designer is to never give up.
“I work very hard and didn’t give up on what I wanted because it’s something I am passionate about,” she said.
“It hasn’t been an easy journey. I didn’t start yesterday. I have been interested in art since I was a child. But what I’ve learned is you never know what opportunities will come your way, so keep pushing.”
Follow her on social media: http://instagram.com/designsbyalshante.
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