Westword's Artopia now includes Whiteout, our annual fashion show. In advance of this year's art extravaganza, which is coming down on February 21 at City Hall, we checked in with the seven designers and boutiques that will be part of the Alice in Wonderland-themed Whiteout to ask what they have in store for the show. Read on for the answers from Rachel Marie Hurst, owner and founder of Rachel Marie Hurst Designs.
Westword: How did you get into fashion/design?
Rachel Marie Hurst: In Boulder, I helped start and run the Fashion Design Student Association for people interested in fashion but not able to change over to a fashion school. We started with fifty followers and no voice on campus and grew to over 350 followers with a yearly budget from the school, an office space and one of the most sought-out events each semester. I am really proud of what FDSA continues to do for the Boulder campus.
How do you describe your style/work?
RMH melds masculine tailoring with feminine appeal to create perfect harmony that is sexy, edgy, flirty and chic. Rae Marie is youthful, playful and contagious, while Rachel Hurst is sophisticated, elegant and stunning. Those combining forces are bold, passionate and daring, making for the ultimate fashion seduction. With Rachel Marie Hurst, you will always dare to be fierce.
What should people know about what you'll be showing at Artopia?
In the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland, there is the heroine, Alice, and the villain, the Queen of Hearts. But as with many fairy tales, there are two sides to every story. This is the story from the Queen of Hearts' perspective, except we will fast forward nearly 150 years to 2015 to tell our story through the eyes of a much more modern and grown-up queen.
In fact, for this collection the story is centered around a former Korean KPOP Queen from the girl group Alice and the Hearts. Our main muse is known as the leader of her group, but is found always living in the shadow of the popularity of the beauty of the group, Alice. Often misunderstood and seen as a bit of a tyrant and rebel, our girl deals with shedding her Queen of Hearts nickname while finding her true identity by relocating to Paris to start anew. The collection will have fantastical elements as well as special tailored pieces and will be completed with beautiful gowns and dresses to befit a queen. [This will be ] juxtaposed with the youthful and playful vibe of KPOP styling. It is sure to be a collection full of imagination, creativity and fun. Each piece will have special details -- whether it is roses, hearts or thorns -- and the collection will be a sophisticated and polished representation of a modern-day Queen of Hearts.
What's your favorite thing about the Denver art/fashion/design scene?
Colorado has been such an amazing place to learn, grow and be a fashion designer. The community can be so supportive. It is really a unique perspective and allows a fashion designer to break out of the norm. I only hope that what I do in the fashion community can make a small impact in helping to define what fashion designers from Colorado are about.
What's the one thing that could most improve the Denver art/fashion/design scene?
I think specifically for fashion, we need to create a business mindset and really teach our designers how to make a living as a fashion designer. Furthermore, it would be nice to see more talent stay here in Colorado -- and to help with that, it would be great to have more opportunities that help the fashion design business grow. I think we have some amazing resources, but I feel that we need them to unite and really help foster the talent, and focus as a whole on the industry and not be so individualized.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
In 2012 Rachel Marie Hurst presented her collection at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, courtesy of Diet Pepsi, to a select group of celebrities and members of the press. The show was presented by Simon Doonan, creative ambassador at large for Barney's and celebrities including Mary Kate Olsen, Debra Messing, Angela Simmons and Kelly Rutherford, among others. The collection showcased her love of color, print and textures as well as her youthful, fun and charismatic charms. Following her NYFW debut, Rachel received the FGI Rising Star Category Winner for Women's Apparel in 2013. Her brand currently houses Rae Marie, her contemporary label, and Rachel Hurst, her designer label. Both are created and made in Denver, Colorado, by hand with love, care and amazing quality.
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