EMERGE The First Ever Fashion Design Residency in Arkansas
EMERGE 1

BRUCE DAVIS

After studying the Periodic Table in Chemistry, one could engender similarities with chemical elements and fashion.  Bruce Davis received inspiration from the constituent of titanium, a lustrous and robust metal. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Bruce always had an appreciation for self-individualization.  22nd Element Clothing and Accessories is all about giving daring individuals a fresh perspective of what the future of apparel can be.

Beginning his designing journey with just bow ties on January 18th, 2014, with his companion, Ms. Keinona Neal, Bruce is steadily continuing to give fashion moguls a lustrous and robust image and is starting to make his mark in Little Rock and beyond. He is self-taught.

His aesthetic is ready to wear with a mixture of both edge and class.  Bruce believes that fashion should go beyond turning heads. It should be the manifestation of one’s true self. Having designed clothing items for a little over four years, Bruce is continuing to learn the art of fashion design and will continue to strive to give the world the look of Titanium!

emerge 2 launches

SECOND SEASON OF EMERGE : FEATURING BRANDY LEE OF BIG SISTER

DESIGNER COHORT

Our Designer Cohort is made of 10 up-and-coming designers from the Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. Their participation in the EMERGE program consists of one on one sessions with Designer in Residence, Bruce Davis, as well as group sessions every month with the Emerge Mentors. They participated in group critique sessions, as well as marketing training, and brand consultation. Their final project is five individual runway looks that will be showcased during the summer of 2021.

Brandy Lee

BRANDY LEE

Brandy Lee is the creative head at 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.  It’s clothing that looks great, feels good to wear, and is quality made. 

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The Proverbs 31 woman, who is “…clothed in strength & dignity” (Proverbs 31:25), is someone whom Karrie Aaron describes as “versatile with standards.” She views the Proverbial Woman as an aspiring reflection of herself with an authentic style.

Kerrie, an Arkansas native, grew up in a Pentecostal Christian home. Although there were restrictions on attire, being able to sew/create clothing was a blessing to Kerrie, allowing her to not only be fashionable but also have a unique style of her own. 

Kerrie learned her sewing skills, garment construction, and patterns from her mother early on in life. She also learned hand sewing from her paternal grandmother, when they would make doll clothes during weekend and summer visits throughout Kerrie’s youth.

Although she dreamed of moving to New York & becoming a fashion designer, her path instead led her to attend the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway, AR, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Family & Consumer Sciences.  After college, her family ultimately became her priority. 

In the Spring of 2019, Kerrie took a “leap of faith” and began her slow-fashion brand – ‘KLOTHED:31’.  Since then, she has coordinated and hosted her fashion show. In 2020, she had been accepted as a participant in the Memphis Fashion Week ‘Emerging Designers Project.’  She was also selected to be one of the Runway Designers for NWA Spring/Summer 2020 Fashion Week.

Argelia Swaffar

Hi, I’m Argelia Swaffar. I enjoy designing women’s custom clothing and aim to create casual yet elegant pieces. I want my products to be known for having a clean and realistic style suitable for daily wear.
I first became interested in custom clothing while in my birthplace of El Salvador, where I grew up seeing my aunts and local seamstresses creating a variety of custom garments. I emigrated from El Salvador in the late 1980s and have lived in Northwest Arkansas since the mid-2000s.

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CRYSTAL HAMILTON

Fashion designer Crystal Hamilton is the epitome of a woman living her dreams. Crystal’s Spring/ Summer 2019 collection “Crystal La’Shay ” made its debut in 2018 at New York Fashion Week. “Crystal La’Shay” is a vibrant ready-to-wear women’s clothing line.

Crystal is an Arkansas native who resides in Texarkana, Arkansas. She has been an Early Childhood educator for over 13 years, adults and kids sewing instructor at Texarkana College, youth mentor, and hairstylist.

Crystal studied fashion design at the Arkansas Fashion School. Crystal continues to design off-the-runway looks that are bold and fresh.

LaTasha “Madame L” Cobler is an American designer and her namesake womenswear label’s current creative director. ‘Madame L’ is a line of sustainable and artisanal handcrafted womenswear alongside accessories born from a passion and dedication to create designs that nourish and highlight the modern indomitable woman’s spirit, empowering her, elevating her, and supporting her through her everyday journey.
Each creation is exquisitely crafted, fusing artisanal techniques and carefully curated fabrics celebrating feminine spirit and individuality.

After winning the 2019 International Design Award for her Haute Couture and runway designs, LaTasha’s design career had successfully launched on the international scene. Her latest accomplishment includes the launch of her women’s handbag and accessory collection, featuring limited edition designs found exclusively in her online boutique at madamel.com.

Kathleen Schwarz’s interest in fashion and textiles began when she was nine years old. She spent hours perusing patterns, fabric, and notions while designing and sewing her wardrobe with her mother. This became a passion and led to a BS Natural Sciences degree in Textiles and Clothing from the University of Texas at Austin. Following graduation, she began a 40-plus-year career in the fashion industry that started as a buyer for Foley’s Department Stores. She was accepted as a graduate from UT into their renowned buyer training program. Here, Kathleen was a dress buyer for seven years.

In 2016, Kathleen and her sister Cheryl Kellar started Framed in Fashion, an art-inspired fashion/ textile clothing line. They have honed their crafts separately throughout the years and a few years ago came up with the brand idea, which is a natural synergistic project for them. For their brand, they print original art on high-quality textiles in a vast combination of wearable designs. Their motto is, “It Starts with the Art,” and it is the foundation of Framed in Fashion designs of “Art you can Wear.” The potential combinations are limitless since both are continuously creating, and each day brings a new merging of their two passions.

Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips is the owner and a designer of Off the Record. She handmakes everything that goes out on the runway and thoroughly enjoys the process from design to fabrication.

She is a trial attorney by trade and still maintains that as her day job. For her, creating and designing clothes has been an amazing creative outlet and a chance to be a part of a community so wholly different and unique from the one she immersed herself in day to day.

Elizabeth Koerner

ELIZABETH KOERNER

Elizabeth Koerner describes herself as an avid creative and a continuous learner. She began her designing journey at the young age of nine-years-old. She later studied fashion design and business in college and would go on to own both fashion and interior design businesses.

Elizabeth’s goals are to grow as a person and a designer. She is also inspired by nature, beauty, fabrics, and art. In her career she remains curious and excited about her future, while being constantly driven by her love of God, people, and design.

Alicia Crayton

Alicia Crayton is a licensed cosmetologist and fashion designer from West Memphis, Arkansas. She is currently a senior at the University of North Texas as an Integrative Studies major with concentrations in Business, Merchandising, and Sociology.

As the owner and designer behind the contemporary clothing brand, Exclusive the Label, Alicia aspires to educate and guide other young entrepreneurs. She is consistently inspired by her parents, close friends, and mentors who have played very prominent roles in her life. She is always learning and researching various ways to reach her goals. Alicia loves cooking, exploring museums, and spending time with her friends and family in her spare time.

Shamirra Danielle, a Little Rock native, has always had a love for creating from an early age. She went to a fine arts high school and studio art was her concentration. Shamirra also minored in studio art in college. When she was 15 years old, her mom enrolled her in sewing classes and her grandmother bought her a sewing machine. During college, she took more serious classes in sewing and construction, at the Jamileh Kamran School of fashion design.

Shamirra would describe her design style as free-spirited, fearless, fun, uninhibited, and more. Richie Clark clothing is designed exclusively by Shamirra Danielle. As an artist and designer, Shamirra draws inspiration from her surroundings and through her vision of the future of fashion. She is youthful and modern whilst keeping a woman’s sensuality at the heart of each product. The Richie Clark client knows who she is and is not afraid to show it. Never the wallflower, ever the free-spirit, Richie Clark ladies leave their mark everywhere they go.

MEET THE MENTORS

Our program mentors are carefully vetted, interviewed and selected based on a number of criteria including their industry expertise, career experience, willingness to collaborate and enthusiasm for teaching. During the selection process we mindfully consider the educational needs of our designers, evaluating what areas they seek to grow and refine and do our best to match their needs with the right mentors.

KERRY BAKER

Kerry Baker began her career in the fashion industry in 2008 after graduating from Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she majored in Design and Merchandising. She spent ten years of her career at the contemporary womenswear collection, Milly by Michelle Smith. Managing Wholesale and Merchandising for three of the brand’s collections, Milly Eveningwear, Milly Cabana, and launching the children’s wear line Milly Minis with the cofounders. After Milly, Kerry spent two years at Draper James, a lifestyle collection founded by Reese Witherspoon, joining their team to launch the wholesale division. Kerry is currently the Chief Merchant at EGG New York, an affordable luxury children's wear brand based in New York City. Additionally, Kerry founded her consulting business in 2020, Bakerry Brands, offering wholesale and merchandising consulting for emerging and established brands that need guidance for success.

TELICIA BUNCH

Originating from Galesburg, a small town in Illinois, Telicia would play dress up or make caftans for her Barbies out of fabric scraps or even tissues as a child. It was natural for her to get a degree in fashion. She studied at Iowa State University, graduating with a B.S. in Apparel Merchandising, Design Production. During her schooling, she did an internship in Merchandising with Joslin Department store in Denver, Colorado. She quickly discovered that was not the route for her. After speaking with an ISU alumnus who was working as a Technical Designer in New York, she knew this was the career path that was right for her. She moved to New York upon graduation, securing an internship at Gap Inc., which then led to a full-time position and the start of her career. Telicia Bunch brings 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. She is a well-rounded Technical Designer who has worked across multiple commodities gaining knowledge of fit and construction for knitwear, sweaters, swim, woven, and denim throughout her career. She has worked with Domestic and Overseas factories throughout her career by creating processes to ensure proper fit and construction standards will be for the company. She is very excited to share her knowledge and experience with aspiring designers. After Milly, Kerry spent two years at Draper James, a lifestyle collection founded by Reese Witherspoon, joining their team to launch the wholesale division. Kerry is currently the Chief Merchant at EGG New York, an affordable luxury children's wear brand based in New York City. Additionally, Kerry founded her consulting business in 2020, Bakerry Brands, offering wholesale and merchandising consulting for emerging and established brands that need guidance for success.

NIKKI MARTINOVIC
& KYLE NAUGHTRIP

// Nikki's passion for a creative design career grew as she earned a degree in Interior Design and Entrepreneurship from Miami University and studied abroad at the London College of Fashion. She then interned as a textile designer at an NYC startup fashion company, traveling to India to broaden her textile expertise. She relocated to NYC in 2009, lived as a nomad, and soon after landed a job at ALICE + OLIVIA, where she worked in various areas of design and development, including print, embellishment, apparel, graphics, and e-commerce. In 2012, Nikki joined the MILLY design team focusing on apparel, print, and graphic design. This experience expanded her interest in textiles and enriched her eye for color. // Kyle attended Miami University as well (hint: that’s where we met) and earned a degree in marketing and psychology. After school, he moved back to Chicago and focused his early career on marketing, working with an experiential marketing agency where he learned the importance of branding and client relationships. He later moved to NYC to be with Nikki, of course, where he landed a job with a startup that would later turn into a tech giant. He developed his startup business brain and always dreamed of being an entrepreneur.

BRITTNEY ALLEN

Brittany Allen grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and strives for perfection and excellence in her unique designs. After receiving her Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas and her MFA from SCAD, she moved to Austin, Texas, where she is currently an adjunct professor of fashion courses at a local university. She works on her brand full time and is simultaneously in the final stages of her Ph.D. in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design at Iowa State. Brittany’s designs mix powerful shapes with feminine prints, and she incorporates French seams throughout every garment to add couture refinement and emphasize her formal training and techniques. Brittany’s goal as a designer is to bring fun and excitement back into the fashion industry, and her designs are meant to make women feel more empowered and beautiful. She describes her brand as if Dolly Parton and Betsey Johnson had a baby raised by Anna Wintour. Her designs have been showcased at Austin Fashion Week 2017-2019, 2017 Houston Fashion Week, and September 2019 Style Fashion Week, along with WWD and Footwear News.