Westword Whiteout: Meet designer Brandi Shigley

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 eight weeks, we'll be profiling some of the creative people who are contributing to Whiteout. Next up: Brandi Shigley, a creative energy force who can't be ignored. If you're in a room with her for five minutes she'll fill it with optimism, knowledge and lots of creative ideas. Shigley is not only a designer and a Westword MasterMind; her Fashion Denver is a base camp for emerging designers and other creatives looking to start or grow their businesses. See also: Westword Whiteout: Meet designer Mona Lucero

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

Brandi Shigley: I was born in the Philippines and made in Colorado. I've always been obsessed with handbags and began designing them just for fun when I was 23, back in 1999. My business ended up taking off and very quickly I had to learn the ins and outs of being an independent designer. Now my passion is helping other designers and entrepreneurs start their businesses, and I do so with my businesses Fashion Denver and B.23 Productions.

What was the first thing you ever designed/made?

A paper purse in second grade during FRED, "Free Reading Every Day." I made a paper wallet to go into my paper purse and paper money and ID to go into my paper wallet and paper lipstick and paper compact and thus began my obsession with handbags!

What inspires you?

People who are living their dreams, our beautiful city of Denver, music and just learning through doing.

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

Our fashion scene has been growing by leaps and bounds over several years! We have been coming together as a community but still need to strengthen our community by bringing as many organizations and independent designers together.

Why are you looking forward to participating in Westword Whiteout?

Whiteout is so much fun! I'm looking forward to sharing the stage with my fellow fashion MasterMinds as well as new upcoming designers!

What can we expect to see from you on the runway?

My latest inspirations created into a few handbags and my "Do what you love. Love what you do" T-shirts! Whiteout tickets are on sale now. Tickets range from $45 for general admission to $75 for VIP spots that put you right on the runway. Find more information on

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Tracie Keesee