#FBF Circa 2015: Rebyrth’s Reflections

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On the plane headed back to Louisville, Kentucky from Tiffany’s Fashion Week New York during New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016

Over the last eight years, I’ve covered fashion shows remotely during Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlantic City Fashion Weeks; been contacted about a former client taking part in shows hosted in London, Tokyo, and Cairo; and published in both print and online magazines nationally and globally. On Instagram, my work as both a Fashion Publicist and Creative Director drew the attention of designers, celebrity stylists, models, studios, influencers, founders, etc.

I have taken on additional roles such as Makeup Artist, Backstage Manager, Assistant Stylist, and Model Instructor. I have trained over 50+ models in Kentucky and worked with over 100+ models locally, nationally, and internationally. Additionally, I’ve collaborated with various designers, hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers, videographers, producers, promoters, entertainers, and additional persons within the industry on fashion shows, photoshoots, workshops/masterclasses, and related projects.

When it comes to any fashion project I’ve taken part in, I was either asked by a participant or an audience member. In most cases, referred to a potential client through word of mouth. I always ask, “What do you need? Explain.” My willingness to help, give of my talent and time so freely can be a double-edged sword at times. Nevertheless, I enjoy being of service, helping to bring someone’s vision to fruition.

Like others, I fell into the trap of believing my being from Louisville would place limits upon any opportunities outside of it, my potential to succeed. I will admit, at first, while attending virtual fashion events at the start of the pandemic, I would often remain silent. Neither wanting to mention nor anyone to discover where I’m actually from. A few instances in 2020, I remember seeing the host of an event turn up their nose as soon as “Louisville” appeared in the chat responses.

Louisville, the state of Kentucky, does have a history of fashion. The current fashion scene has fashion events during the regular fashion seasons, not just during the Kentucky Derby. The overall Kentucky Fashion Scene is steadily growing. Thanks to such organizations as the KMAC Museum (KMAC Couture), Louisville Bespoke, GEDDI (Black Fashion Exchange), and The Lexington Fashion Collaborative. Unfortunately, Louisville is not among the fashion capitals of the U.S. Louisvillians, Kentuckians overall, would often pursue fashion opportunities in cities in the surrounding states or relocated to those cities.

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Mini break at Red Eye Grill on 7th in Manhattan prior to Tiffany’s Fashion Week New York during New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016

Living in Louisville isn’t placing limits on my potential to succeed in the fashion realm. If anything, I have stepped out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions. Faced challenges head-on to see to it people recognize this Louisville born and raised “Blaze” has the heart and soul of any gifted creative from a big city. Honey, I’ve worn overalls with stilettos. I’ve walked barefoot across the grass to make sure I didn’t mess up my heels. And I’m proud of my Southern-Midwestern country twang, umm kay?

I’ve built myself a table, opened the door myself, and, as Forever First Lady Michelle Obama stated, held it opened so others can walk through it. I will continue to work towards solidifying my platform and presence within the mainstream fashion world. I refuse to accept one’s progression is based on the requirement they move where the jobs are. The money can reside anywhere. And, right now, it’s here in Louisville.

Oh, and yes, my heels are black like my square frame glasses. I’m a Geeky, Street Chic Goth who knows how to code and coordinate! *In my John Witherspoon voice*