Westword Whiteout: Meet Common Era owner Debra Mazur

On January 30, the second annual Westword Whiteout will kick off Denver's 2014 fashion season at the McNichols Building. The evening -- which raises funds for the American Transplant Association -- will include live music, specialty vendors, classic cocktails and some of the city's top designers in a signature runway event. Over the next several weeks, we'll be profiling some of the creative people who are contributing to Whiteout, including Debra Mazur, owner of Common Era.

With locations in Denver and Boulder, Common Era is about cutting- edge fashion and, as its name implies, "clothes that represent the here and now." Mazur recently took a few minutes from her busy schedule to chat with us about the here and now of Denver fashion.

See also: Westword's Whiteout Fashion Show 2014

Westword:Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and how you got into fashion?

Debra Mazur: The uniform that I had to wear at a high school in New York City definitely had something to do with it. That, and the sewing machine that I got on my thirteenth birthday. What was the first thing you ever designed/made?

The second time I traveled to Europe was with a backpack, a boyfriend and many kind friends who opened their homes to us. While living on the Greek island of Ios, in a stone house with no running water or electricity, I made the most enchanting three-tiered skirt with lace... all sewn by hand.

What inspires you?

Every day I witness the transformation that fashion provides for so many. When a girl is dressed to her power... I SEE HER and I'm inspired.

What is your take on the fashion scene in Denver? What is good, what's bad, what needs work?

The fashion scene in Denver has often been compared to Portland and Seattle because of our mutual love of organic interpretations. But I think it's because of our love for the "local." Denver is the most supportive environment that a rising designer or boutique could hope for. Within a few months of opening my store on Platte Street in 2007, Fox News tapped me to do a fashion show segment, 303 Magazine wrote an article introducing Common Era, and Westword awarded my Boulder store "Best Boutique on the Pearl Street Mall". All of this happened because I opened a store in Denver.

Why are you looking forward to participating in Westword's Whiteout?

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Last year's Whiteout was a multimedia extravaganza. Unlike other fashion shows, the entertainment begins the moment you get near the building. Live art. Check your coat while they ply you with cocktails and serenade you with a sting quartet. So much is happening that you almost forget what you came for... until the fashion show begins. I couldn't be more excited for it to happen again!

What can we expect to see from you on the runway

I'm always seeking the balance in styling to provide the most wearability of any piece; that's where the feminine/masculine juxtaposition in fashion lends a hand. Powerful accents have the ability to turn a dressy dress into an everyday outfit. Expect to see short booties, faux leather and layers of texture.

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