*Taken on my way back from covering a fashion show during New York Fashion Week SS 2016.
Over the last eight years, I’ve covered fashion shows remotely during Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlantic City Fashion Weeks; contacted about a client (former) taking part in shows hosted in London, Tokyo, and Cairo Fashion Weeks; and published in both print and online magazines. On Instagram, my work as both a Fashion PR and Creative Director drew the attention of designers, celebrity stylists, influencers, studios, etc.
I have taken on additional roles such as Makeup Artist, Assistant Stylist, and Modeling Instructor. I have instructed over 50+ Models in Louisville, KY, and worked with over 100+ Models locally, nationally, and internationally; collaborated with various designers, hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers, videographers, producers, promoters, entertainers, etc. on photoshoots, shows, and fashion-related events.
When it comes to any fashion project I’ve taken part in, I was either asked by someone who was a participant or in the audience. In a few cases, someone refers me to a potential client. I always ask, “What do you need? Enlighten me.” 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.
Despite being locally, nationally, and internationally known, I remained “behind the scenes.” Of course, this has caused others to keep the extent of or my involvement altogether a mystery. Even in those times where I show my direct involvement, folks will still deny I took part, refuse to give credit where credit is, indeed, due. As of 2020, I was like, “Nah.” List my name in the credits. As a sponsor who probably did the bulk of the work, my name and logo are to be at the top where they belong.
Like others, I fell into the trap of believing my being from Louisville would place limits upon opportunities outside of it, my potential to succeed. I will admit, at first, when attending virtual fashion events, I would often remain silent. Neither wanting to mention or anyone discover I reside in Louisville, KY. A few instances last year, 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 here in Kentucky has fashion shows that occur during the regular fashion season, not just during the Kentucky Derby. The overall Kentucky Fashion Scene is steadily growing. Thanks to such organizations as Louisville Bespoke, The Lexington Fashion Collaborative, and the newly established The Black Fashion Exchange. Unfortunately, it is not among the fashion capitals of the U.S. Louisvillians, Kentuckians period, often sought out fashion opportunities in cities in the surrounding states or relocated to those cities.
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 that people recognize that 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 and have 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 that 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 fashionable geek who knows how to code and coordinate.