2016 Memphis Fashion Week EMDP Emerging Designers



As Memphis Fashion Week (MFW) celebrates its 5th year, the Emerging Memphis Designer Project (EMDP) continues the cultivation of local talent with more designers than any other year — 16 selected from almost double the submissions than last year.

“This year’s group has blown us away,” MFW director Abby Phillips says. “The age demographic is the most diverse that we’ve had, as is the experience level. All designers have worked hard to learn and become better at their designs and the sewing. The part that impresses me the most this year is how many designers are creating their own textiles through dying, painting, and weaving unconventional materials.”

These emerging designers will show their custom designs on the runway at the Memphis College of Art Saturday, April 9th at 8 p.m. Former EMDP designer/winner Tara Skelley of Dilettante Collection will also show her spring collection following the EMDP show.

MFW supporter and stylist Augusta Campbell will be this year’s guest judge along with designer Andra Eggleston of Electra Eggleston. They’ll decide which designers will receive a scholarship to the Memphis College of Art Continuing Education classes.

Tickets to this runway show and other MFW events can be purchased at www.memphisfashionweek.org.

Learn more about each designer below.


Concrete Rose is a love story. It's a visual expression of the process of love. Blending texture in sequin and soft flow-y crepe-back satin to visually express evolving and growing through love was the idea for my collections 

The Andrea Fenise woman is modern, unconventional, and contemporary. 

I want my designs to express what women love, what interests them — using personal style as an expression. It's my hope to design clothes for the fashion industry that tell a story not just hang on a rack. 

Years designing: 3 years 


My garment is a blend of the 1990s and 1800s fashion. I used elements of both eras to make a garment that pays tribute to history as well as incorporates some of the more modern-day looks.

I was designing for the modern-day online influencer. I could see a fashion editor or street style blogger wearing this.

I hope to bring a unique style of clothes that is able to incorporate elements of other time periods In a fashion-forward way.

Years designing: 5 years, but I have always done some form of art.


My pieces are simple, clean designs created from rich suede and silk. My pieces represent my personal design style which features simple, well-crafted staple pieces with sparks of intrigue and individuality. 

I design for a woman who is on-trend but adds her own individuality to achieve a personal style. She is always growing, meeting new people, and traveling to different places. Her style is simple but strong, and her experiences help add a uniqueness to her wardrobe. 

What I hopes to bring to the fashion industry? Staple pieces with hints of intrigue and individuality.  

Years designing: 1 year


I like cleanliness and structure. My mini collection has a lot of hard lines and color blocking, creating a nice pristine and crisp look. I like boldness and for things to make a bold statement because fashion is bold. It communicates with confidence. I played on hard and soft in textiles and color to maintain that spring/summer feel. 

[I design for ] definitely someone who's edgy. Someone who loves oxymorons and does not play safe. Spring/summer is often light and airy, and my collection is heavy with vinyls. There's no reason to conform; I like to have fun. 

Other than more originality, I hope to bring a new face to the industry. Especially within the ethnic community. Representation is so important to me, especially growing up in the U.S. from an immigrant family. It's nice to be able to look up to someone who looks like you and can relate to you and it's nice to be able to be that for someone. 

Recently, in the past two years, I've been trying to expose myself to the industry more in attempt to spark something. Although I've been drawing for a long time, my sewing/design skills are not as developed. Other than a home economics class in high school, most of my skills are self taught through books and YouTube. EMDP has allowed a platform for me to expose myself to fashion design more and provided resources to grow and develop professionally. 


My inspiration came from a book of medieval fashions. I borrowed some of the shapes and the idea of embellishment as a form of armor and made the look more modern and feminine. The sheer materials and pastel pinks soften the overall look for an almost ethereal feel.

My designs are more formal, but elements can easily be taken and worn more casually. This woman is feminine and enjoys following trends. She loves dressing up for special occasions, but also needs pieces that are comfortable and versatile.

I think a lot of modern fashion is more gender neutral and focused on comfort rather than style. I want to make clothes that are just as comfortable as they are beautiful, and I want to embrace and celebrate femininity.

I began sketching clothes sometime in middle school, around 12-13 years ago, doodling in my class notes. In high school I began designing in earnest, learned to sew, and made my senior prom gown in 2009. I decided to study Apparel Design at Purdue and earned my B.S. In 2013.


My theme is young ladies having a night out in town.

The person who is wearing the outfit should have a bold, strong, and confident attitude. The ideal person would be around the age of 18-25. Someone who loves bold and bright colors.

I hope to bring a sense of confidence, that you don’t have to dress trashy to feel good about yourself and fit in.

I have been designing for 9 years going on 10.


For EMDP 2016, I created custom, hand-dyed fabric and removable feather embellishments inspired by the Northern Lights.

I design for the sophisticated woman who appreciates one-of-a-kind statement pieces.

I hope to bring a positive light to the fashion industry.

Years designing: 3


Technique: bright, colorful embroidery

Theme: whimsy; based on woodcut designs found in the children's book "Drummer Hoff"

Designing for a bold woman on a day about town.

I hope to bring playful and imaginative designs that draw from nature and art.

Years designing: 3 years


The piece is designed for a night out. It is bright, bold, and edgy. However, the train makes the design more formal and also adds softness and a touch of femininity to the piece

My design is for a woman who likes to take risks with her fashion and standout in a crowd. 

I love designers like Mara Hoffman because of the bright and bold patterns she uses, and I love designers like Zuhair Murad because of the intricate and beautiful designs he puts on the runway.  I could only hope my design falls somewhere in between. 

This is my first year in design. 


Each design in my collection was inspired by birds, specifically the woodpecker, the jay, cedar waxwing, grackle, and the tawny frogmouth. Each bird is interpreted in the garment design by use of feathers or reproducing the feather somewhere in the garment. I also use a signature feature in all the garments through the use of bicycle inner tubes. Some garments are completely made of inner tubes with some fabric accents. I enjoy proving that inner tubes can be crafted into a beautiful garment that looks as chic as leather. 

This collection was designed for a confident woman. I like to incorporate elements of soft and hard, to create a sensual edgy look. She doesn't mind being different and wants a one-of-a-kind garment.

I enjoy creating the wow factor, so at times I have to edit so it doesn't go too costume. I really enjoy pulling out all the stops from the garment itself to the jewelry, shoes, hair, and make up. I love to see what Lady Gaga is wearing because it always has a wow factor. I love that the fashion industry is becoming more accepting of nontraditional materials. You see more and more designs using items such as pearls, drapery tassels, metal cuffs and eyelets, orange snow fencing, and even molded plastics.

My first designs where entered in Curb Couture and Trashion Shows two years ago. I have gradually incorporated more fabric into the design but using unconventional items really makes fashion fun and stretches the designers creativity. Just think outside the box. That's what I try to do with the rubber inner tubes. I love to see how amazed people are when the see a garment created out of something unexpected. 


The dress has many cutouts on the dress. The back has cutouts, as well as the side of the dress.

It's a formal dress for a girl who wants a high-low dress.

I hope to bring something different and creative to the fashion industry.

This past summer when I went to Scad [Savannah College of Art and Design] and I learned more about fashion design. This is my first real year of designing and making dresses, since I am only a sophomore in high school. This summer I am going to Parsons to further learn more about fashion design. 


All of my materials are either handmade or hand painted. I like to use recycled materials, when I can, and for this collection I used a lot of old t-shirts and recycled paper.

For this collection, I was thinking about a woman who is not afraid to be a little over the top. She always goes for one more accessory, one more print. She is comfortable with who she is and knows what she wants. 

I’m really interested in how things get made, and I like to innovate with new materials and new processes. 

I’ve been designing clothes since I started drawing. Fashion is my first love and it is what made me want to become an artist. But I’ve only been creating my designs for about two years now. 


My singles collection is inspired by mosaics and bright colors. For all the looks, I hand-painted silk.

The girl I am designing for is someone who has a unique sense of style.  She loves clothes that are classic with a modern twist.

I would love to bring a new perspective of design to the fashion industry.

I have been sewing and designing since I was 10 years old. I am so appreciative to Memphis Fashion Week for giving me the opportunity to showcase my designs on the runway.


The theme that describes my collection is youthfulness. 

I would be designing for a very fun and energetic person. Clothes that are not revealing, but where everyone can feel as equally beautiful covered.


I am designing for the ultra-feminine woman who wants designs that expresses her true eclectic self.

I hope to bring to the industry clothes that create a positive emotional response. Clothes that pull at your heart strings. 

I have been designing since 2011. 


Zoe Vu
Theme or technique that identifies my design: geometric shapes and a nod towards athleisure.
I am designing for a girl who loves style and comfort equally.
In the future I hope to create a clothing line full of pieces that are made from hand-printed fabrics and that can seamlessly transition between athletic wear and everyday fashion.

Years designing: 1 year


Photos by Faith Pool and Sophorn Kuoy. Shoot location: Memphis Slim House.
Congratulations and good luck to all these emerging designers. See you at fashion week!


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