WRITERS Deborah Harris Stephanie Annis
PHOTOGRAPHY Eric Ortiz
STYLIST Deborah Harris
MODELS Yvette Auger Derek Smoot Quest Gulliford
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MODEL: Yvette Auger 4
MODEL: Derek Smoot
38 PARLAY MAGAZINE
FROM THE EDITOR The apparel industry in the United States is a $230 billion dollar opportunity. An opportunity that frankly takes balls to try and make your mark in. It’s not for the faint of heart and timid. You have to be bold and gutsy but you can’t do it alone. You need people who can do what you can’t, platforms to showcase your wears and the right canvas to sell your brand. In this issue we feature three people who exemplify confidence and courage. They are the mavericks, the visionaries and the future of things to come. On the cover we feature a Las Vegas gem, Yvette Auger. Her Cosmopolitan Connections events has served as an artist showcase highlighting local designers that might not have an outlet to show their talent. Her brand has stood the test of time because it’s a direct reflection of her professionalism, integrity and all-around fun time presence. Then we have Derek Smoot, a designer/entrepreneur who had the audacity to pursue a dream. A dream that led to the establishment of a much needed and thriving manufacturing operation. And to close out we introduce you to Quest Gulliford, a tatted fashion model of the future. As skin art has grown in popularity and acceptance, so we are starting to see brands look for models that better reflect their image or market they’re wanting to target. As Parlay grows and we continue to highlight the great people in this city that define our local fashion industry, I’m always in awe of the people behind the scenes making things happen. People like Deborah Harris (stylist) and Eric Ortiz (photographer) who bring out the best in people. Yvette Auger has basically no modeling experience. She’s a dynamic personality who would never brag about her accomplishments and who’s humble in her mission. But Deborah and Eric were able to bring out a side of Yvette that I think suits her status and shows her importance to so many people. Great job guys. Thank you for reading and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Tevye Harper Editor-In-Chief
The gold stamp of approval and having ones name in lights, so to speak, tends to be the primary goal for any individual with a dream or great idea. What many fail to realize is that only seeking to have your name in lights can also be the very reason for an early downfall and never seeing ones dreams become a reality. The core of success in any area is remembering why you began the journey and keeping that passion through every twist and turn that may occur. Being willing to constantly reinvent, humble yourself, turn a few extra corners, and learn from others will generally yield the most promising results in most cases and especially when referencing the futures and current states of emergent designers of today. There seems to be a rampant misconception among the emergent designers of Las Vegas that the “spotlight” is where the Magic begins for budding and successful careers in the fashion industry. In reality, it’s the complete opposite. This stunted way of thinking could be due to lack of local resources that support growing careers 8
and business building tools that educate in the fundamentals of the ever changing industry. The majority of outlets that create exposure for emerging designers lye within showcasing’s and competitions. When one lives and breathes in a city that focuses on entertainment, it’s easy to idolize, praise, and become hypnotized by flashing lights, colorful catwalks, and high energized performances that surround runway events. Understanding that fame or the hopes of fame begin with an unrelenting faith in the power of creating and story-telling is what helps get you to the top. What does it mean to really “Have what it takes” in order to be the cream of the crop in fashion and gain the respect of your colleagues and those who will follow in your footsteps? What does fame really have in store for an individual and how do you stay relevant and true to yourself and aesthetic without compromising your vision are questions that every great fashion designer and fashion artist has had to come face to face with during the course of their career. In order to answer these sometimes haunting questions, fashion designers of today must learn how to fall in love with their craft, the unknown and unpredictable because treasures of inspiration and enlightenment dwell in these secret places. Understanding and respecting the power that fashion designers possess, gives newcomers and onlookers a new take on and love for the industry that they may have never encountered before. What’s so humbling outside of the glitz and glam is that designers have the amazing ability to create and offer people wearable art that contributes to an individual’s identity, pivotal moments in their personal life and in creating a person’s very own voice without the person even saying a word. The greats who sit in high authority know this is how you come to be famous or a legend not
and bringing a sense of wonder back to the for front of apparel design has been the underlying theme that drives revolution and innovation with the use of mere fabrics and various media throughout the ages. The behind the scenes struggles, mishaps, failures, and random inspirations are history making strides which set the stage for birthing forth pure genius and a common message that can span globally with a simple drape and stitch of the needle is the One cannot hope to influence an industry origin of fame and fortune. by simply producing a runway show, hosting a photo shoot, and knowing how to sew. Ask yourself this one question Vegas These aspects alone will not grant notoriety designers. Is it more important for people to in being viewed as an individual who will simply know your name, or believe in it? contribute to the face of history. There is a spiral of destruction that is associated with this lofty idealism and it kills away so many talented designers every year because they begin to lose focus and hope in the big picture. Such a small way of thinking can eventually disconnect you from true greatness and making an impactful mark upon everything around you. What future by artist and game changers in tech and Deborah Harris design of today need to understand is one fundamental truth. Every “somebody” in fashion started with an unshakeable vision and desire to create and be heard. just within your own generation but in those to come. Becoming this particular brand of legendary does not happen overnight, does not happen or unfold in the cheers of a final runway walk, and does not grow with profit margins or IPO’s. All of these things can and eventually disappear, but true legends are made between the turning pages of our history books, in the stories and shifts of our memories, and societal change.
Many emergent artisanal and ready to wear designers need to understand the story beyond a major designer label (such as Givenchy, Oscar de La Renta, and Dior), the red carpet, and Vogue editorials. What all of these persons have in common was and is their ability to create a never before seen channel of expression that carries the tales of beauty, triumphs and ruin using God given talent and imagination. Their creations gave people freedom to believe in the human spirit. Whether it be in the days past of Madame Chanel or the future Thakoon’s, the goals of changing the scope of how we view our selves in everyday life PARLAY MAGAZINE
E T T YVE GER U A E M O C M O D N E E QU INTERVIEW by Deborah Harris PHOTOGRAPHED by Eric Ortiz STYLING by Deborah Harris
The Rise and Reign of Las Vegas’ Networking Monarch In the beginning there were Vegas mixers and then there came the Cosmopolitan Connections and everything changed with the night life scene here in town for those looking to expand their business market and live the high life at the same time. The Cosmopolitan Connections does exactly that by combining savvy, glitz, glam, top execs, and business owners which lends to a truly unique experience in the business world. In this day and age more and more women, especially young women are stretching their stilettos into the entreprenueral arena and building a new generation “Girl Boss” movement that was so cleverly coined by lady business tycoon Sophia Amoruso. Vegas’ own leading “Girl Boss” has been consistently moving up the ranks as the most desirable connection in town and earning her well -deserved crown with every glittered high powered stride. Why the name and venture of Cosmopolitan Connections and what sets your business model apart from what had been previously done with business mixers in the valley? The name “Cosmopolitan Connections Inc.” captures the essence of the atmosphere that our free weekly mixers emanate. They are all about making connections over some lovely drinks and cocktails that we laughingly say are for “social lubrication.” Our free weekly events have food and drink specials to exude an atmosphere of relaxation and fun whilst networking and making friends. Cosmopolitan Connections events are geared toward business professionals, both local and those visiting. Had you always known you would give small business owners, local designers, makeup artist, Vegas Divas and so many more a platform to expand their market and have the opportunity to party at the same time? Certainly the goal since our inception was to help local businesses and business owners to gain extra exposure at no cost to them through showcasing them at our weekly events. We choose one business weekly and build a theme around their event which is specific to them which brings them extra exposure from locals who may not have heard of them previously. We have helped several different kinds of businesses in this way from local and national charities and beauty pageants, to local magazines BLUE SHAWL: Widow Den DRESS: Widow Den JEWELRY: Widow Den PARLAY MAGAZINE
and celebrities. We never really turn any business away as long as we can find a great theme that showcases them and inspires our guests to attend weekly. What was your biggest failure and biggest success in life that led to you knowing that becoming your own boss was the right path for you to take? I was a professional showgirl around the world from the age of 19-26. I danced in Branson Mo., U.S.A, on the Cruise Ships for 2 years, Portugal, London UK, Can Can Soloist in Paris, France and ultimately in Las Vegas with “Spirit of The Dance,” the Irish Dance Spectacular for my last 2 years. You can imagine during that time the amount of rejection and success I had being self-employed and having to do auditions to get my jobs. That pretty much set me up for life in terms of being self-employed and selfreliant. I have to say though, I love being my own boss -- it gives me the time to really be creative with my weekly events. If there was one part of the last 5 years in business that you could change, what would it be and why? Quite honestly I wouldn’t change a thing. I have leant from my mistakes (hopefully,) and I continue to be encouraged by really successfully busy events that were a hit! Sometimes the most random themes produce an amazing turnout; it’s sometimes hard to tell ahead of time which ones will be the most truly amazing. You just have to put it together to the best of your ability and fly it up the flag pole. Also I’m truly appreciative of our amazing weekly local venues, from the Las Vegas Strip, to Summerlin, to Henderson and everywhere in between. I’m most proud of the top caliber range of restaurants, bars and lounges that we have accrued over the past 5 years, which we are able to showcase to our local events guests at our mixers, and the wonderful F&B specials, hospitality and prizes they are able to offer us weekly. I have guests tell me all the time if they hadn’t checked the venue out with us they would never have taken the time to go there by themselves. I have heard a lot of mentions that we introduced them to their new favorite place! Living in Las Vegas and being part of the lime light can often times turn people into shiny, self- involved drones where they lose sight of the big picture. How do you stay grounded and true to what you believe in as a woman and as a business owner? I realize how lucky I am to be able to run my own successful business and have event our guests attend week after week, which is no easy task. It’s constant work but very fulfilling. I truly appreciate each and every one of them and consider them my good friends. It’s easy for me to stay grounded as I always think to myself you are only as good as your last event. I also met my husband Eric Auger, REALTOR and Honorary 16
Consul of France in Las Vegas, at one of my weekly mixers, so I know that they work. The people attending our events are honest, humble and very nice locals who work hard and like to enjoy a nice night out without the pressure of stuffy boring networking or pressure sales. That’s why our events are so different. I also like to say our events are geared towards singles, couples and business professionals. People make what they want out of each event, whether it’s for the social aspect or for business networking. I have made new best friends over the years at our events and I hear the same from our event guests too, which is the biggest compliment, as I know Las Vegas can be a lonely town. It’s also all about who you know here, which I think is why regular networking is so invaluable in Las Vegas from my own personal experience. What’s your best piece of advice for business and fashion for all the “Girl Bosses” out there wanting to create their own Queendoms? I would say from my experience if you have the opportunity to be self-employed and do what you truly love, go for it! It may seem scary at first but you can transition by working for someone and pursing your passion at nights and weekends. It takes work but working for yourself doing something you love is very fulfilling and the time just flies by. Our own fantastic event photographer Roger Bennett was inspired to do this by picking up a camera for our events, and eventually left his full time job to start http://rogerbennettphotography.com/ and living his dream of working for himself. When you look into your future, do you see yourself passing your empire on to anyone and changing your career path up a bit? I’m incredibly grateful to my husband Eric Auger, who has 13+ years of experience as a super successful REALTOR in Las Vegas for also getting me into real estate along with him 3 years ago. We work together as a great team, and he truly is my partner in life and work. We are building on our media empire together and we look forward to interviewing and showcasing more extraordinary Las Vegas locals so that everyone can benefit from their knowledge and experience, as we have done from them. We believe that success leaves clues. We are also co-creators of the book “The Warren Buffett Approach to Sell Real Estate,” and authors of the infamous report, “Frauds, Lies, Cheats & Unethical Scams.” We also founded the Las Vegas’ Teacher Only Program® with a mission to raise and donate over $10,000 to local and teacher-related charities each year.
GOLD DETAILED GOWN: Buffalo Exchange VEIL: Unhinged Boutique FUR CAPE: Couture Slave JEWELRY: Buffalo Exchange PARLAY MAGAZINE
Is there anything new that we can expect from you and the Cosmopolitan Connections camp this year as you continue your reign in Las Vegas? We are almost fully booked with weekly venues through the end of 2015 already, so we can safely say we will continue to throw the best mixers we can produce in the most enjoyable settings and with a format that promotes business and social synergies, culminating in valued contacts and a most enjoyable time for all. As always our events will continue to be at no cost to our event guests and business themes that we showcase as well. Iâ€™d love for anyone to contact me who may be interested in either, to get them signed up and attending regularly. PLEASE SIGN UP TODAY for our FREE Event Invites &weekly E-Newsletter: http://cosmopolitanconnections.com/ Cheers Yvette Auger
KIMONO: Avanseh Progressive Clothing Clothing EARRINGS: The Attic CHOCKER: Jessica Galindo 20
DRESS: Buffalo Exchange JEWELRY: Buffalo Exchange TUTU: Couture Slave
COSMOPOLITAN CONNECTIONS April 29
PHOTOGRAPHED by Roger Bennett Photography Parlay Magazine Launch Event @ Andreaâ€™s
DEREK T O O M S Y R T S U D IN F O IN A T CAP PHOTOGRAPHED by Eric Ortiz WRITTEN by Stephanie Annis
Derek Smoot’s story embodies all that is the modern American Dream. He had one great idea and he seized the moment not hesitating to chase his dream. He shares “I got the idea in the middle of a conversation…some random guy just said what if ties didn’t always point at the bottom…” In a matter of months his entire life was redirected into launching his new product. Dapper Industries started on the foundation of a unique high quality necktie designed by Derek Smoot. Derek spent almost a year, interviewing over twenty tailors and seamstresses. Going through the process of interviewing, having them sign non-disclosure agreements, showing them the sketches, but no one came back with a sample that had potential. Until one day a talented master seamstress applied. She produced the very first prototype. It was the follow through that had been requested and undelivered from so many others. “I remember the day, it was like having a kid being born for me.” While recounting the story, Derek proclaims proudly “I had a unique shaped tie. November 30, 2010 was the day she called and I saw the prototype.” It was a learning process. Derek had no formal training. The one thing he did have was a goal, market this new product. A necktie the world has never seen. He didn’t let his lack of knowledge stop him. He worked with his master seamstress on the designs; having her sew, one after another, in different designs, styles, and fabrics. During this initial phase of development Derek went to great lengths, even paying her to teach him to sew. In an effort to be more cost effective he explains “I started to sew” and that ability became vital to his success; allowing him to design and manufacture. Every area of business Derek learned on the fly, and he learned quickly, investing himself fully into every aspect. Like most entrepreneurs Derek started out wearing and promoting his product to friends, while working, and anywhere possible. At the time, he was selling hookahs in the Las Vegas night clubs where “the attire was a suit.” Derek recalls his first major opportunity to take his business from a hobby to a full-time career spawned from a random encounter; the lesson being that when destiny calls you can not hesitate to act. Derek was making a hookah sale to a woman in town for the MAGIC convention when she noticed his tie. She asked about it and he said “that’s a Dapper Industries necktie.” The lady asked to look at it and noticed the take which said “Hand Mad in Las Vegas.” She asked him where she could find his booth at the convention. However, Derek, still new to the business hadn’t considered the convention. The lady told him he needed to get a booth at the next convention. Derek took her advice and set out to get himself a booth for the February 2012 convention. He went to the wealthiest man he knew. After explaining what the lady had said to him
TRACK SUIT: Dapper T-SHIRT: Driven by Brian Tooley
he asked his potential investor “Do you believe in me? Do you want to do this?” and the response was “Absolutely!” The investor spent $7,000 to get a small booth for Derek and Dapper Industries. Derek explains “I do what my mentors teach me ‘if you’re going to build a business use OPM, other people’s money.” Derek confesses “I never went to fashion school. My fashion school was three days in a $7,000 MAGIC convention; where, if you didn’t learn you were out. “Learning on fly, the first day he says “I was ill prepared to say the least.” However, he was creative and relentless in his pursuit. He did what any true entrepreneur would do. He went home that night to regroup, recruit friends, and he went back to jazz up his booth. By the last day “we actually did $5,000 in business, we sold to five stores, we got a couple leads on other stores… and three days later as I’m frantically sewing in my home I got an email from a P.R. company, called Back Stage Artist Lounge, and they were giving me a proposal…” Derek wasn’t in a position to incur the large expense of a P.R. firm; however, Back Stage Artist Lounge saw his potential and provided him with a discount on their services. They were able to get him marketing materials at a price he could afford. As if reliving the excitement, he says “The artists were wearing Dapper. I got pictures of this happening.” The photos of major celebrities and bands such as “God Smack, and Neon Trees, and Rob Zombie” were important marketing materials and the experience was not only exciting and but also provided much needed validation for Derek. “The way that Back Stage Artist Lounge works is so innovative. They set up a gifting suite with hundreds of brands like Dapper…big companies, small companies, my company was lucky enough to be one of them.” Back Stage Artist Lounge approached him only three days after the convention. Things moved very quickly, Derek shares “2012, the red carpet started. They brought me out to Hollywood. They were doing parties with soap opera people, so I got to meet them in person, hang out, and stuff like that. Anything on the west coast they’d invite me to and I got to go for free. They always took good care of me, they still take great care of me.” Derek and Dapper Industries are unique in many ways. Derek, at Dapper Industries, is designer and manufacturer; wearing both hats. He explains “for me as a manufacturer, my biggest profit margin is a product that we made here retailing it, not selling it to a store for whole sale. Retailing it, either selling it in my storefront or selling it online.” Though an important part of his business is wholesale consignment. Derek’s Dapper Industries products can be found at Stitched at the Cosmopolitan one of Las Vegas’ premiere men’s fashion stores; an account which is very important to Derek. Sitting in the back of the Dapper Factory at the Boulevard Mall Derek breaks it down. “Right now the way I look at it, and the way I think, your under the roof of one business but you’re really under the roof of two because there’s a retail side.” He explains “I have jewelry in that case…that’s a business, a retail business. The factory is a different business.” PARLAY MAGAZINE
Derek Smoot was first successful as a designer, quickly became his own manufacturer, and now he is also a retailer. Many are watching his career unfold with great anticipation. While styling a Grand Opening for a hair salon at the Boulevard Mall one of the managers of the mall noticed the quality of the craftsmanship and asked “who made that?” As is the nature of life and business this one inquiry changed his path. It prompted the Boulevard Mall manager to pursue bringing in Dapper Industries to the Mall which was the quick solution to a variety of issues Derek and Dapper Industries were facing in their downtown location. The idea of having people be able to walk into his shop in the mall and see the craftsmanship of the products being made right there was “a weird idea” Derek recalls as his first instinct. After thinking about this proposal from mall management he said “I do love my business… this is an organic, American, root of the problem, creating jobs type of business.” The relocation was the perfect solution and the common sense next step for Derek and Dapper Industries. Derek shares “the one thing that is a blessing, is that when we do get a big job like uniforms for Hofbrauhous, Cosmo, SLS, Monte Carlo Casino, Rio, Westgate…when we get those contracts that’s when there’s some breathing room.” Derek knows “the success of their business is eventually the success of my business.” Being both designer and manufacturer may have some challenges however it has made Derek an icon of the Las Vegas high fashion and manufacturing industry. Derek shares his incredible story prefacing “I’m a new designer too.” Knowing, “I’m just one that had the right strategy and has a production powerhouse behind me.” His innovative ways have brought him leaps and bounds and now he’s ready to take the next steps for business independence. He is now a designer, a tailor, a manufacturer, and a retailer. Derek shares that his goal is to return to UNLV so that he can earn a degree in business. “I’m interested in that especially being in such a corporate position now.” Derek Smoot’s success with Dapper Industries has been fast and furious. His talent is unquestionable, his skills are growing exponentially, and those watching his career are on the edge of their seats. “I’m in the middle of a great reconstruction on the front of my store.” The only hit he gives, leaving us on the edge of our seats. What can you expect to see from Derek Smoot? Not only a new look for the location in the Boulevard Mall but also a name change for his business which will define his brand and distinguish it from the many other products he will produce. His new way of incorporating design, manufacturing, and retail has the power to redefine the industry. He embodies all that is the pursuit of the American Dream.
The modeling world is changing. People are getting sick of seeing the skinny female models of the 80’s and 90’s in favor of models with more shapely curves. Now we’re starting to see more models with skin art as a reflection of a more tatted society. Men’s clothing is the rise and next face of fashion might just be this guy, Quest Gulliford. Is the fashion scene ready for tattooed models? Yes definitely, high fashion heavily tattooed models like Stephen James, Daniel Bamdad, and Jimmy Q paved a pretty nice path for future alternative models like myself. Just takes ALOT of hard work and dedication. Men’s clothing is on the rise. Who are you favorite designers? Lately I’ve been wearing, Nick Robertson’s, ASOS and Cena and Niema Pink Dolphin. Love the way their clothes fit me. Do you feel that you’re judged more because of your tats? Yes I definitely do get judged more but it’s getting a lot better. Society is definitely starting to accept it. In my eyes being “tattooed” is practically a new race and shouldn’t be discriminated against. What made you start getting tattoos? My very first idol Allen Iverson was my first influence then I was influenced by Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa and I felt like they were powerful every time they took their shirts off. How does your parents feel about your tats? My first and second tattoos my mother was very angry about and she kicked me out at the age of 17 to my father’s house. But now all three of my parents (mother, father, step father) are very accepting and proud I’m using them for something positive. How much do you workout and how is your diet? I Lift weights every morning and occasionally I’ll do 2 workouts a day. Each work out is about an hour to 2 hours long. I eat anything in site, fast food, candy, protein shakes, anything.
L E B E R N O GULLIFORD PARLAY MAGAZINE
What was your first tattoo? The cross on my left chest with “God First” written with it. What portraits do you have tattooed on you and why? Ice Cube, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre they are all my west coast heroes and I love all their music. Lil Wayne because he is a big inspiration of me getting tattooed and love his music. And Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. I just love Johnny Depp great actor love the art he produces. My sister because she’s my sister and I love her with all my heart. Why face tattoos? Face tattoos is my way of showing to other people and, in a way , proving to myself that I love this modeling industry and I will die chasing my dreams if I had to. Plus it’s bad ass. For Bookings: quest@ortizproductionscom
Las Vegas Fashion Design, Business and Persons of Interest