Miss A Columnist

I am a WHO DAT LOUISIANA transplant dwelling in the Big D and I can be described as a vogue-a-holic by default, a socialite by nature, and a shoe-preneur by trade. I delight in the unexpected, have a tongue in cheek approach to tradition, never wear just anything, miscellaneous is my favorite category, and lastly – am spoiled by all things fabulous and swanky. I absolutely love the Big D because there is always a wide array of people, places, and things to experience.

Miss A has a presence in 21 U.S. markets, and is the first and leading media outlet covering the intersection of charity and life. With a team of 30 editors and hundreds of writers, we write about charity meeting a part of life – fashion, beauty, sports & fitness, home, food, kids, men, entertainment, business, technology, travel, and education. We shine a spotlight on the best nonprofits, cause marketing products and services, corporate philanthropy and philanthropic people to inspire others to give as they live. Since so much of the Arts are supported by philanthropy, we love covering the arts – performing arts, music, dance, theatre and film.

Founded in 2008 by Andrea Rodgers who has a strong philanthropic track record of her own in Washington, DC, Miss A believes in the positive power of volunteering and charity — not only to benefit those less fortunate, but to improve the individual, business or brand that gives their time, talent and treasure to a cause. Our mission is to shine a spotlight on the best charity events, cause marketing campaigns, philanthropic people, businesses and brands to inspire others to get involved.

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Interview With Dallas Fashion Designer Isabel Varela

Isabel Varela, founder of Izavel (credit:Izavel.net)

Allow me to introduce you to one of Dallas’ hottest designers that I have had the recent pleasure to meet and interview during The Weekender, a luxury shopping and social event held at The W Hotel. Meet Isabel Varela, who was named one of the five designers to watch by D Magazine this year. Her exclusive fashion resume includes being a semi-finalist on Project Runway Season 8, runner-up in the prestigious Texas’ Next Top Designer and a finalist in the national reality television show, Fashion Star. This year, she returned to her own label and was honored at the Fairmont Dallas’ inaugural Artist-In-Residence with a three month grant from The Pin Show.

As we sat down in the interactive designer suite that allowed exclusive opportunities to engage with top-class fashion designers, including live modeling and mini expert seminars, we were surrounded by her latest creations hanging nearby on racks and adorned on mannequins. Right away, I could tell that I was embarking upon a designer chat with someone who is obviously very passionate about her creative gift of fashion design, as she was dressed in one of her head turning designs.

Elliana by Izavel (credit:Isabel Varela)

Q: What does fashion mean to you?

A: It is absolutely the love of my life. Although, when one thinks of fashion, it is normally associated with beauty, being sexy, or as an art form, yet besides all of this, I just really want to help others. I was always inspired by my grandmother who helped orphans, so I decided to donate a percentage of my sales to my foundation TITA, which its name translation means advancement.

Q: How would you define your city’s fashion?

A: Wow, Dallas is a mixture of sexy, sophisticated, influential and trendy.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to become a fashion designer?

A: (laugh) Actually, when I came out of the womb. I was always attracted to clothing, and my mother loved clothing, so I guess it is in my genes. I remember as a child attending swimming parties and being the only person there in a dress, matched with the fru-fru socks.

Q: What is your favorite part of conceptualizing a design?

A: The story line which includes the color, researching images and photos to create the design, as it’s during this process that I actually began to see the finished outfit.

Q: Define the style your clothing line exemplifies.

A: A strong, sophisticated and sexy woman who loves to stand out from the crowd. I love to be able to take her from her day at the office, to dinner or another less business oriented event afterwards.

Image from Izavel (credit: Sergio Garcia)

Q: What are your favorite prints and fabrics to work with, and why?

A: I design my own prints which comes from pictures I have taken with my camera, and utilizing Adobe Illustrator. (she stops to show me a picture in her camera of a fig from a recent dining experience and a road map, both inspirations for her next line debuting in the spring) My current line was inspired by chipped paint on shutter panels. I love working with leather and wools, because they are easy to shape and mold, and silk because it flows and lays very well on the body.

Q: What are your favorite clothing stores and websites?

A: I love Dolly Python, Uniqla, and my fave websites are Top Shop and Luisa Via Roma, which is like a European net-a-porter.

Later that evening, Isabel provided tips on understanding clothing quality and value so fashion lovers won’t become fashion victims. Following her presentation, “A Shopaholic’s Guide to Value,”  guests were custom-measured and purchased her IZAVEL Autumn/Winter 2012 collection before it hits stores.

Isabel Varela, one to watch and to keep watching — she has only just begun, so stay tuned!

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