Pictured Brandy Lee of Big Sister, the EMERGE II Designer in Resident | Image by: Meredith Mashburn
FOR RELEASE: MARCH 16TH, 2021
EMERGE II – the second season of Arkansas’ first designer residency program.
Springdale, AR – March 13, 2021 – This Spring marks the second season of Arkansas’ first ever Designer in Residency program, EMERGE II. The program is presented by INTERFORM, a Springdale-based non-profit with a mission to identify, incubate, and promote new fashion talent in Arkansas. Aspiring avant-garde fashion designers, artists, and other creative professionals in Arkansas will now have the chance to access education and professional development through the immersive EMERGE II program. By bringing together emerging regional fashion talent and leading industry experts from around the country, INTERFORM hopes to grow local talent, foster greater levels of creative production, and contribute invaluable industry knowledge to the community. Industry experts in the fields of fashion, sustainability, manufacturing, and creative design bring experience from top fashion houses such as Kennth Cole, Ann Taylor, Gap, Martin and Osa, Draper James, Ralph Lauren, DVF, and JCrew.
Experts will curate workshops and mentor one chosen designer in residence, Brandy Lee, along with six Arkansas-based designers referred to as the Designer Cohort. Brandy is the owner and creator of Big Sister. She has a BFA in Theatre and is mostly a self-taught seamstress and designer. She has over ten years of professional experience in alterations, custom clothing, costumes, bridalwear, and vintage.
Big Sister is a fashion design studio that creates one of a kind clothing for women and men. Brandy started Big Sister in 2017 in Austin, TX, but relocated to Fayetteville, AR in October of 2018. Brandy individually designs and handcrafts each piece. The attention to detail and highly skilled craftsmanship can be seen in every garment. Big Sister offers a range of styles for a range of expressive possibilities. She creates clothing that looks great, feels good to wear, and is quality made. Brandy founded her brand Big Sister with a mission to create a fresh perspective on the future of apparel.
The EMERGE II curriculum includes silk painting by Basana Chhetri – Director of Textiles and Apparel for INTERFORM, brand and fashion forecasting by Project Runway alum Brittany Allen. Classes in construction will be led by Subbu Sista who has over 30+ years of experience in the apparel and textile industry. The cost of setting up a business will be led by designer Telecia Bunch, a fashion industry professional with over 20 years of experience working as a Technical Designer for Gap, J Crew, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Martin and Osa, DVF, Kenneth Cole, and Draper James. Additional curriculum includes building a marketing strategy by Leah Yanez, a Product Strategist at Razorfish, part of Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest interactive agencies. The course work for EMERGE II that covers product development will be led by Nancy Fell, Production Consultant and Professional Development volunteer for the School of Fashion at Kent State University in New York City. Lastly, financial modeling by Dr. Cash Acrey, Clinical Assistant Professor of Finance and the Managing Director of the MSc in Finance program at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.
Designers for EMERGE II include Crystal Hamilton from Texarkana, whose Spring/ Summer 2019 collection “Crystal La’Shay ” made its debut in 2018 at New York Fashion Week. A’Lyece Lenae, who opened her own design studio in 2017; ALyece Lenae Designs and specializes in made-to-measure clothing and made-to-order accessories. Darcy Ames, a self taught seamstress from Fayetteville who uses vintage and upcycled materials to create her designs while incorporating embroidery and appliqué into her work. Elizabeth Koerner who studied fashion design and business in college and owned both fashion and interior design businesses. Latosha Cobbler, creator of ‘Madame L’, a line of sustainable and artisanal handcrafted womenswear and Shamirra Clark, creator and designer of Richie Clark clothing, who describes her design style as uninhibited, fearless, fun and free spirited.
Designer Cohort picture from left to right, row one to two: Crystal Hamilton, A’Lyece Lenae, Darcy Ames, Elizabeth Koerner, Latosha Cobbler, and Shamirra Clark
Along with the workshops, collaborations, and discussions with industry experts, designers will receive the resources needed to produce garment prototypes that are manufacture-ready during their participation in EMERGE. “As an organization we have seen so much rapid change and growth over the past two years in the areas of art and cultural experiences here in Northwest Arkansas. Launching this program was the natural next step for our community as we expand programming into brand incubation and small batch production” – CEO & Founder of INTERFORM, Robin Atkinson. Applications for the Fall EMERGE III program will be available soon at interform.art, designers from across the country are encouraged to apply.
For more information please Contact:
Rochelle Bailey (she/her/hers)
Communications Coordinator, INTERFORM
Robin Wallis Atkinson (she/her/hers)
Chief Executive Officer, INTERFORM
About INTERFORM (formerly known as AAFF): INTERFORM is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to educational programming and creative support in the mission of fostering the growth of the fashion and creative industries in Arkansas.
Learn more about INTERFORM, the nonprofit’s mission, and educational programming at: www.interform.art