Making a splash in New York
Two Bermuda designers took part in a prestigious New York fashion show this month.
Rene Hill and Anthony (Dean) Williams participated in Small Boutique Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.
Their designs were featured alongside the work of around 30 other emerging designers.
Ms Hill entered several of her woollen scarves, dresses and kilt creations as part of Rene Hill Originals.
Mr Williams, who runs a custom design and dressmaking service in Bermuda, said he first heard about the show on craigslist.org.
“They were looking for new, independent designers,” he said. “I just followed the directions on the website. We were asked to forward either photographs or samples of our work. I did this, and after four or five days they wrote back and said I was accepted, depending on the result of a meet-and-greet with them in December.”
Mr Williams’ work is from his line, Definitions by Deane.
He said it was his first time making an appearance on the New York fashion scene, and it was very exciting for him to be networking with other international designers.
“When acceptance to the show was finalised I started immediately creating new work,” said Mr Williams. “I did mostly day dresses. You could show a maximum of nine pieces, so I made nine dresses. The customer I picture is a very confident woman with a very definitive sense of style. It was all about marrying high-end fabrics such as silk, with lower-end fabrics such as cotton.
“I learned that the fabrics you choose can make or break you. I have made mistakes with that in the past; it is something that is very easy to get wrong.”
Ms Hill is currently building her business internationally on websites such as Amazon.com.
She designed several new scarves for the event. Being in New York in February gave her greater insight into the actual functionality of her designs.
“It was a determining factor on me figuring out what is cute and what is warm,” she said. “You can’t always tell what really works in snowy conditions when you are working from Bermuda. It was really good to be able to design a winter line in the actual snow.”
The runway proved a challenge for both designers. They said they worked frantically, trying to get everyone ready behind the scenes. The event organisers provided the models based on the designers’ requirements.
“I was behind the scenes, so I never got to see my work on the runway,” said Mr Williams. “I was pleased and proud after the fact.”
He said there were a few glitches, as he had expected.
A zipper failed on one dress, so it could not be shown, and when his models walked the runway, another designer’s chosen music was played.
“I picked a very seductive remix version of Grace Jones,” he said. “What they played was loud and noisy and had a totally different feel.”
Mr Williams said the experience was very encouraging, and he highly recommended that other emerging designers apply for the annual show.
As a result of the trip, Ms Hill has been invited to participate in two Bermuda shows and also The Emerging Designers Show in London in June.
“It was fun to meet designers from all over the place and also from right in New York and just to talk to them about their lines,” she said. “My Facebook page has blown up with messages from all these different designers and models from the show. It was a lot of fun.”
Useful websites: renehill.myshopify.com, definitionsbydeane.webs.com, www.smallboutiquefw.com.