Tuesday, May 14, 2013

brush of art: urban gold guerrilla fashion show

   As many of my readers can tell, I have been trying to push a more "local influence" on my blog as of lately. Which made me even more enthralled when a local art student/designer, Paige, contacted me about her upcoming fashion show "Urban Gold". I have never featured a fashion show before, so I figured this would be an perfect way to start. 
   With the quirky hand-made patterns, perfect make-up and styling, and vivid colors, "Urban Gold" was a collaboration of two talented student designers (Paige and Nicole) that shined through their pieces. The enthusiasm of the crowd that gathered made for the unformalism of the show itself, which is a personal believe on fashion of mine.. that it should be fun and not taken too seriously. Here is a bit about the designers that made "Urban Gold" possible. 

  (Lindsey) How do you define this city's fashion scene? (Nicole and Paige) "The Kansas City fashion scene is definitely a unique one. We see a lot of diverse wardrobes, especially within the artist community here. Its like people put their creativity into their wardrobe and use it as a way to become a walking art piece and define themselves. Another huge factor of the KC fashion scene is the idea of recycling and reusing fashion; whether it be a pair of pants from a thrift store or a killer antique purse from the 50’s." 

   How did you go about preparing for "Urban Gold"? "The whole process with Urban Gold was very free-form and relied heavily on communication and networking. We both had sewing skills and knew enough about fashion from our classes at the Kansas City Art Institute that we were able to help each other out with ideas and technical problems. It was really important to us, however, that we reach out into the community for help. We made sure to select artist friends that we knew from school and have them exemplify our ideas with their talents, hoping that we could all get our names out there in some way. We had illustration kids drawing up designs for our flyers, photography kids taking pictures backstage and of the show, cosmetology students did the models’ make up as an opportunity for adding to their portfolio—you get the idea."

   Where did you draw the most inspiration from for "Urban Gold"? "It all really just started as a crazy idea Nicole had gotten as she was working out at the gym one day, she came into studio and grabbed me and told me about how awesome it would be to have a fashion show completely on our own. We both got so excited about it and started brainstorming all these crazy ideas. The thing we really wanted to dwell on with our show was that it was supposed to be fun. Once we had established that, we took a more laid back approach and decided we would both create our own lines that were our own styles. To be honest, most of our inspiration came from coffee and feel-good songs that made us want to dance. We would grab Starbucks and dance around in studio to Die Antwoord songs and then sketch out outfit ideas. The best thing we ever did was not to set expectations for the show itself – it really took the pressure off and allowed us to have fun while planning and creating the looks."

 What are some of your favorite fabrics/colors to work with? (Nicole) "For the show I actually designed my own fabric. I was sitting around one day and started drawing these little sketches of lacy bras and thought “Hey I would totally wear this if it were on a shirt or dress”, so I went for it! I screen printed my bra drawings onto some fabric and experimented with coloring them in and decided that it was a really quirky pattern that I had never seen done before. From there I digitized my print and sent it into a website to be mass-printed on different kinds of fabric. I tried to incorporate the bra fabric largely into my collection, but also worked with bright, neon pinks and teals and also shiny golds. I love using what most people call “little girl colors” in my designs to achieve a mix of innocence and sexy. As for fabrics, I usually lean towards using cotton jersey or knits because I think being comfortable is a very big part in feeling beautiful." 
(Paige) "For my collection I used only fabrics that had been donated to the KCAI Fibers department, and stuff I had around my apartment. I love using free materials and things that someone else might consider junk. I don’t consider a lack of funding to be a limiting factor but an opportunity to get creative, make connections and reach out to the community. While I do love luxurious fabrics, it is just not practical for me to be working with those materials at this time. Due to my use of free or inexpensive synthetic fibers, I am drawn to the brighter colors, that shine, shimmer, and sparkle, because that just seems to be what they do best."

   What are some of your accomplishments so far, as a designer? (Nicole) "I am very new to the world of designing and fashion! This was my first-ever fashion show so I feel like the Urban Gold show may have been the biggest of my accomplishments so far! I have also been sewing dresses for girls as commissions on the side and making hand-made items like hair bows and tops to sell. I just scored an internship with a local screen-printing boutique this summer where I hope to learn the business side of fashion. But honestly? I really do believe the best is yet to come." 
(Paige) "My introduction to the fashion design world began during the summer of 2012 when I interned with one of the designers for the West 18th Street Fashion Show. This was my first experience with fashion shows, and designing and I fell in love. The energy captured my and inspired me to set goals of continuing with this type of work. During last summer I also worked on an independent film called Kick Me as the Wardrobe Manager on set. Working with both costuming and fashion really sparked my interest and offered me opportunities I never thought possible. Since this I have been working with special effects artist Tabatha Treml, learning the techniques of special effects in film. About this same time Nicole had approached me about organizing a fashion show, I had sent in my own application for the upcoming West 18th Street Fashion Show. I was accepted as one of the 18 designers for this show and have been working on my West 18th collection in conjunction with my designs for the Urban Gold collection. When I was younger I never thought any of the things could be a possible reality, but though the wonderful people I have met, hard work, and the opportunities that have been presented to me, my dreams are starting to become real." 

   What is your background, as a designer? (Nicole) "Like I mentioned before, I have little background in fashion. I went to art school thinking I would major in print-making or photography, but I ended up joining the Fibers department because somebody told me I would be good in there. I had no idea how to even work a sewing machine before I took my first sewing class this past September, and from that point on I have been focusing on sewing garments of different sorts. I’ve always had an interest in fashion though; when I was younger I would plan out outfits for my mom and friends and dress my friends up and have photoshoots with them. I have also accepted the fact that I am a shopping addict." 
(Paige) "Much of my design background form an education in fine art. When I came to Kansas City I considered myself to be painter, and had my heart set on the KCAI painting department. Though an introduction to different materials and several people who changed the course of my education and ultimately the course of my life, I grow to love designing for the body. I feel that painting will always be my first love, but the worlds of fashion and costume have captured my artistic energy for the time being."

To find out more from Nicole and Paige, find them on their Instagram accounts (Nicole & Paige), and be on the look out for their upcoming individual Etsy shops this summer. Contact Nicole (nleth at kcai dot educ) and Paige (pbeltowski at kcai dot educ). 


  1. Really cool post, what I like especially is the really sweet and unique prints.

  2. That blurry guy in the 4th photo is me. Had a bunch of fun at the show!

  3. The clothes are cute! And it's great that you are focusing on the local scene. Hope you have a great day.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  4. Hey doll! Thanks for visiting my blog. I really enjoyed reading about Paige & Nicole. Their show sounds fantastic and I loved seeing their designs. Wishing them both great success. I love learning about local artists. Can't wait to see who else you feature. :)


  5. Wow, I really love their work! I absolutely adore your efforts to push locally made goods, that is really honorable of you. All us small biz folk really appreciate that representation! I will have to check them out, they make really cool prints!


  6. Talk about a whimsical fashion show! I'm usually very picky when it comes to fashion shows. I try to find something to like but sometimes I can't imagine myself wearing any of the items... However --- I do want to wear everything I see in the photographs you took!

    The prints are fantastic & keep pursuing the local touch on your blog. I think it's great!


  7. Thanks for sharing such a nice post!
    Have a happy time!

    Best wishes, Alexandra

  8. this fahsion show looks really amazing. some of pieces are so unique <3 aw!


  9. I love this new feature!
    This fashion show looks like such a fun time.
    I'm in love with that bra print. so cool!

  10. This is awesome! I especially love the name of the show! I am running an awesome giveaway! You could win any item from one of my favorite online boutiques! I wish I could participate haha... Anyway, I thought you'd be interested, so I'm dropping the link here: Instant Milk giveaway
    I'm sure you'll love it!

    Come by soon!


  11. I wish I would have seen you there!
    Me and a friend of mine from school did the hair and make up for this fashion show!

    Haven't talked to you in forever though!
    LOVE this article!

    - Kailey Resinger

    1. oh gosh kailey, that's awesome! i didn't know you did hair! too bad i didn't see you, it has been forever!

  12. Haha yeah! I go to Paul Mitchell! I'll have to let you know when I plan a hair show and you can come!!


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