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Get the Spring look with fun Style Tips!


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2017 Knoxville Fashion Week

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Guide Inside!

knoxville fashion week 2017 PROGRAM GUIDE

[17] baylea parrott, sheyenne hembree [18] bing fu [19]kfw schedule [20] style watch make a splash [22] leighann marie word, frank harley jr [23] sophia lasorsa [24] designer watch giancarlo gedler, cserri, xen by rachele, alexis montclaire, jennifer hock [26] style watch pretty in pastel [28] drake light, reagan mckinlee light, olivia rollins [29] retail spotlight kristi [30] angel blanco [31] behind the scenes with gage and sarah merrell. all kfw editorial written and provided by sarah merrell of gage.


modelspotlight bayleaparrott For cover girl Baylea Parrott, modeling is an obsession. It all started when she found out about Gage Models & Talent Agency through a few friends who signed with the agency, and she thought she would give it a try. After gaining valuable and relevant industry experience through classes, and a photo shoot, she was booked on the shoot for HUSHH. She looks forward to walking the runway at Knoxville Fashion Week and to meeting new people. “Modeling ahs changed me in so many ways,” said Parrott, I used to be very shy and have no confidence. Now I have more confidence!”

Age: 16 Height: 5'6" Hair Color: Brunette Eye Color: Blue

She has lofty goals--she one day hopes to be on the cover of Vogue, but in the meantime she continues to work on her skills as a model. “My favorite thing about modeling is how you can show off someone’s artwork that they worked very hard on and see it all come together,” she said.

At the age of three, most children are playing at being models, but for Sheyenne Hembree,

sheyennehembree she launched her modeling career. After starting out on the runway at a Dillards fashion show, Sheyenne signed with Gage Models and Talent Agency at the age of nine. She fell in love with the runway and flash of the camera. “It was a pure rush of excitement,” said Hembree. “Stepping out in front of an audience and modeling all the beautiful clothes.” Now 18 years old, Hembree has important roles under her belt, like hit television show Snapped. “The highlight of my modeling and acting career,” said Hembree, “is every job I’ve ever participated in.”

Age: 18 Height: 5’4” Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown

“My primary goal in the modeling and acting industry is to continue working hard and receiving more jobs in the process.” Eventually, Hembree hopes to be able to work on a national level.

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By Sarah Merrell [Public Relations Director for Gage Models & Talent Agency]



films like The Leisure Seeker and Jacob’s Ladder and television shows like Murder Comes to Town, Age: 43 MacGyver, Snapped: Killer Couples, The Originals, Height: 5'7" Fatal Attraction, National Enquirer Investigates and Hair Color: Black Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda. Eye Color: Brown bingfu It often takes actors many years to achieve this kind of success, but for Bing Fu, the roles began to pour Being an actor certainly has its rewards. Fu enjoys hanging out with Fist-bumping actor Tom in quickly. “Right from the beginning, my agent, Holland, watching Zendaya Rachele Bailey, was able to book jobs for me. It’s the people on-set and meeting new people. It also provides a boost in perform on-set and seeing been steadily moving in an upward trend ever since,”confidence, “My first job was a speaking role on Homicide Hunter and my agent has steadily booked me ever since. It’s given me the confidence to try stunt and special effects said Fu. “Signing with Gage Models and Talent madebigger and bigger things, and has really shown me that there’s opportunity if teams in action are just a few me believe that I could actually make money as an I’m willing to work for it.” of the memorable experiences actor and commercial model.” The future is bright for Bing Fu. With a solid resume of films and television Knoxville local Bing Fu Being an actor isn’t always easy and takes shows under his belt, his primary goal is to land higher paying jobs that can enjoyed while filming Marvel’s dedication and hard work. “One thing that is Spider-Man: Homecoming. consistent for films and TV shows is that there are lead to a full time acting career. “I still have a day job and also have to care for my children, so it’s important for me to be able to be around and provide Bing Fu’s list of credits is a lot of very long days, especially for the crews, for my kids,” said Fu. “But I’ve started having some bigger auditions recently, extensive. While one his said Fu. “Those people put in a lot of work. 12-15 and I’m really hoping that this will be the year that I can take another big most prominent bookings hour days, back-to-back, isn’t unusual.” And it were a television commercial isn’t always glamorous he confided. “Summer is step. My dream is like other actors—I’d really like to land a recurring role in a series or feature film that can provide stable employment and increased for ORNL Federal Credit the biggest time for filming, so it can be pretty hot exposure.” Union and a short film for on set, especially if there are outdoor scenes. But the Yamaha Corporation, he everyone is generally very nice and accommodating Maybe someday we’ll see a star with Bing Fu’s name on the Hollywood walk of fame. can also be seen in feature if you stick with your job and don’t cause any trouble.” 8



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The Kickoff Event - Hard Rock Café 2050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 The Emerging Model Runway - Emporium Center 100 S Gay St, Knoxville TN 37902 Couture Hair & Special Effects Makeup on the Runway Relix - 1208 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917 Swimwear, Couture & The Men’s Show Relix - 1208 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917 The Grand Finale Runway Event - The Mill & Mine 227 W Depot Ave. Knoxville, TN 37917 3pm Doors Open 4pm Children’s Runway Event 5pm Emerging Model Showcase & Style Runway 6pm Finale: Knox Rocks Runway 7pm Cocktail Hour 8pm Grand Finale Couture Runway

[1] General Admission – $30 - VIP – $75 [2] General Admission – $45 - VIP - $75 [3] General Admission – $45 - VIP - $75 [4] General Admission – $45 - VIP - $75 [5] General Admission – $45 - VIP - $75. VIP – Guaranteed Front OR Second Row seating LIMITED and will sell out – must be pre-purchased, not available at the door. $75. All event tickets are FINAL sale and non-refundable. Tickets will not be available once a venue has sold out due to space limitations and following Fire Code specifications. If you do not purchase a ticket prior to the event and it is sold out we will not be able to sell a ticket at the venue door.


make a spl ash (of color) with Swimwear Styles for Spring

Set the dull winter blues aside— Spring swimwear is hitting stores, and By Sarah Merrell [Public Relations Director for Gage Models & Talent Agency] this season’s looks are anything but bland. As spring break vacation plans Where You’re Seen Her: Fashion Correspondent for WATE Channel 6 are made, it’s the perfect time to revamp your pool or beach-side wardrobe. The fun, vibrant styles and colors for swimwear and accessories will make et the swimsuit shopping an enjoyable Look diversion from winter weather. Look for Love the these colorful trends and easy styling swimwear? tips as you make a “plunge” into this All swimsuits year’s spring shopping. featured are Top Colors for Spring 2017 by designer As you choose your swimwear, opt Rachele Bailey for one of the trending colors for this with Xen spring. The spring 2017 Pantone color by Rachele. report names this season’s colors a Learn more mixture of vitality, relaxation and the about her great outdoors. Colors range from a swimwear vivid Primrose Yellow to a bright orange at www. called Flame, along with strikingly facebook. bright Pink Yarrow and deep Lapis Blue. com/ These are balanced with soft pastels xenbyrachele/ and earthy greens and beige. A swimsuit in a solid, lovely color will stand out and allow for endless options when accessorizing. Wrap It Up


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A wrap is functional as it can provide coverage or some added warmth when outside the water, but it can also be a beautiful style piece. Choose a wrap that complements your swimsuit either with a bold print or a dynamic pop of color. If you have lightweight scarves or pashmina wraps used during winter, these can often serve as a swimsuit wrap in summer. Stylish Shades Like a wrap, sunglasses are a useful accessory and a must-have at the beach or pool. Sunglasses are a great opportunity to add a pop of color or interesting shape to your outfit. Choose a pair of sunglasses in a color that stands out—you can even choose a color that matches your wrap or a color in your swimsuit. A more basic color, like black or white, can look great, but choose a fun, retro shape. Next time you step out at the pool, you’ll feel like a starlet. Haute Hats Every pool-side outfit needs a stylish hat. Wide-brimmed sun hats provide Hollywood-style glam while also keeping the sun out of your eyes and can prevent sunburn. If your swimsuit is a neutral color, or black or white, try giving a bold color a try and pair it with an equally bold hand bag or beach tote. Jamming Jewelry To complete the look, add a little sparkle and interest to your attire with a necklace, earrings and bracelets. Layering bracelets in different colors or textures



et the Look Want pool or beach-ready hair? Braids and high pony tails, as shown on our female models, are “in” this season. Hair styles are all by Hair by Whitney Adkins.

provides nice style and can bring out some of the colors in your attire. For earrings, a classic hoop is always simple and stylish, especially if it provides a added color. If your swimwear has gold or silver embellishments, choose complementing earrings to add some extra shine.


et the Look Desire brand name style on a budget? All accessories featured can be found at Gabe’s located at 9333 Kingston Pike in Knoxville.

Photo Credits: ¶ Creative Director - Sarah Merrell - ¶ Photographer - Sonja Weisman - ¶ Swimwear Designer - Rachele Bailey - xenbyrachele/ ¶ Hair Stylist - Whitney Adkins - ¶ Makeup Artist - Cailee Dyke - Instagram @Elaine_effects ¶ Models - Jewel May, Baylea Parrot, Damonique Givens, Frank Harley ¶ Agency - Gage Models & Talent -


Age: 30 Height: 4'11" Hair Color: Brunette Eye Color: Green

Age: 33 Height: 6' Hair Color: Black Eye Color: Brown

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modelspotlight leighann marieword For Leighann Marie Word, the inspiration to pursue modeling came the week she turned 18 years old. After initially turning down the offer to do a photo shoot with a photographer friend, she finally agreed. After seeing the stellar photos that resulted from the shoot, she was hooked, and she hasn’t looked back since. Today, Word is a working model and actor. She’s been published in over a dozen publications—some even international—along with website features. She’s walked in six fashion shows and has appeared as an extra on TV shows. “I have yet to see myself in anything I’ve filmed for, but I will continue to keep trying!” said Word. “I put everything I have into everything that I do. I am beyond blessed that I have the resume that I do, and cannot wait to continue adding to it.” Just as models encouraged her at last year’s fashion week, Word is an inspiration to the young girls who follow her career. “Knowing they want to be a model because of me, I don’t think I could put into words how great that makes me feel,” said Word. “I try my best to lead a proper example for who I am, who others can be, and what they can accomplish. I know I will always have people watching, so I would love to keep their interest, especially if I am becoming a role model for someone. It’s worth it all!” Known For: Recurring Model in Power Systems Catalogs - Lead in Nashville Music Video - Knoxville TVA Credit Union Commercial - Acting Roles in True Crime Dramas for National Television Series

frankharley jr When Frank Harley, Jr. walked into the Gage Models and Talent Agency office with only a picture asking to be a model, little did he know the success he would soon have. “I remember people telling me I should be a model,” said Harley. “I had always wanted to be in the entertainment industry ever since I was a kid. I remember random people in public telling me I should be a model when I was in my teens. Plus, I’ve been working out for the past 20 years, so eventually I was like, why not? You only live once.” Frank feels Gage Models and Talent Agency has played a huge role in his success. “I’d be lying if I said otherwise,” said Harley. “If it weren’t for Gage, I probably wouldn’t have gotten all my gigs.” Frank’s first Knoxville Fashion Week was in 2015, and he has participated every year since then. He most enjoys modeling swimwear by designer Xen by Rachele, simply because it allows him to showcase the hard work he’s put in to working out. His main goal as a model and actor is to live comfortably from it, “My dream is to score a recurring role on a TV show or a commercial.”



sophial asorsa A year and a half ago, Sophia LaSorsa liked to do photo shoots with friends. She quickly realized she wanted model as a career. Since then, she’s graced the runway in New York and a premier fashion show for a top brand in Knoxville.

Age: 17 Height: 5'7" Hair Color: Auburn Eye Color: Brown

Her highlight so far was going to the International Models & Talent Agency event in New York City. “When I was there I got to meet so many big agencies and figured out what the business was really all about,” said LaSorsa. She feels her career really began with her agency. “Without Gage Talent, I really wouldn’t be in the business. They’re given me great opportunities that I couldn’t have gotten without them,” said LaSorsa. Her first time at Knoxville Fashion Week, LaSorsa feels pumped. “I’m looking forward to the designers and hair this year. I think it’s always fun to get crazy hair for the day,” she said. Her primary goal for modeling is to travel as much as possible and to establish herself in the industry.

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Giancarlo Gedler with Haus of Gedler Modern, clean, bold and luxurious are just a few words to describe the work of Giancarlo Gedler, a Venezuelan-born fashion designer traveling all the way from Miami to showcase at the 2017 Knoxville Fashion Week. ¶ Gedler’s resume is impressive, having designed garments for celebrities like former E! Entertainment host Giuliana Rancic and Design Genius reality show host Dan Babic. His swimwear was used in a commercial in Puerto Rico with Colombian actor William Duarte, and several telenovela actresses have worn his clothing during a fashion show and private event in Miami. His clothing has also been used in pageants including Miss Guam, Miss Venezuela, Miss Ecuador, Miss Canada and Miss Israel. ¶ Gedler’s talent stems from his extensive education and experience. He studied architecture at the University of Caracas and later graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He has also studied fashion design at Miami International University of Art and Design, and the Style Design College in Milan, Italy. ¶ Seeking to make clothing that all women want to wear, Gedler plans to present a contemporary line with luxury and quality at an

attainable price point for all types of women. ¶ About His Knoxville Fashion Week Collection: Knoxville Fashion Week attendees will enjoy the ready-to-wear Haus of Gedler Fall/Winter 2017 Collection called Nocturnal Eclipse. The garment detail, construction and color are inspired by the notion of an eclipse—light colors gradually overshadowed by dark and vice versa. The collection has night shades of purples and mixes color in mysterious ways: An elevated red, emerald and blues, with an acid golden tone accent color suggesting the moon and the transition from day to night. ¶ Gedler looks forward to Knoxville Fashion Week. “I want my clients to express themselves and feel comfortable in my garments without losing my identity as a designer. I look forward to sharing my line with women in Knoxville,” said Gedler. ¶ With attention to detail fueled by a fascination for clothing and construction, Haus of Gedler provides an aesthetic richness or diverse heritages and environments. This extraordinary line can be seen during the Knoxville Fashion Week Grand Finale event on Saturday, March 4, 2017. ¶ Learn more about Haus of Gedler:


Photo by Johnathan Staves



Cserri An Atlanta and Nashville based designer, Cserri is the work of Ashley Burks. After showcasing at the 2014 and 2015 Knoxville Fashion Week events, Cserri will be returning for another year for the 2017 show. This year, Burks will be teaming up with designer Amanda Callis. ¶ When it comes to fashion design, Burks and Callis make a great team. The two Tennesseans are collaborating on a collection for Knoxville Fashion Week called CLESTIAL, inspired by everyday magic. The collection embraces movement and flow, balanced with power and energy—encouraging us to embrace the inner divine. ¶ The two designers have their own aesthetics they’re meshing together to creat CLESTIAL. Burks’ aesthetic consists of feminine clothes that are a mix of classic silhouettes and modern design. She views clothes as costumes for everyday life and believes that women should feel glamorous and empowered by what they wear. Burks looks at each outfit as a character for a day. She credits this philosophy to her passion for theatre, television, and performance. ¶ “We look forward to presenting a collection designed specifically for this year’s [Knoxville Fashion Week] show,” said Burks. “We are also excited to see the continued growth and creativity of Tennessee and surrounding designers.”


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Xen by Rachele Fashion designer Rachele Bailey knows how to make a splash. Her remarkable line of swimwear, Xen by Rachele, wows on the runway with striking designs from sporty one-pieces to daring bikinis. ¶ Bailey’s love for fashion design began as child. “Remember the old school game of Girl Talk? You could choose your profession for when you grow up and I always chose fashion designer,” Bailey reminisces. “I loved designing as a kid and I still love it now.” ¶ Born in Torrance, California, Bailey was familiar with the fashion industry from a young age. “My mom was a model/actress and got me into the industry as a child,” she said. “I had my first magazine shoot before I was a year old! I have literally been in the industry my entire life as a model, actress, makeup artist or as an agent.” ¶ She’s come a long day since her days dreaming of fashion design as a child. Xen by Rachele has been featured in multiple print magazines, online magazines, promotional shoots, and runways in New York City, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Los Angeles. ¶ Her collection for Knoxville Fashion Week will make for a stunning show. Her new collection that will be shown features black and white designs mixed with pops of color. ¶ More information can be found on Facebook at


Jennifer Hock, Art Fashion Creation Drawing women beneath parasols and hats in long, bell-shaped dresses and gloves, Jennifer Hock had a passion for design since a small child. While visualizing and drawing fashion was instinctive, she didn’t learn to sew until her mid-twenties. She began by taking a clothing and textiles pattern course from an encouraging professor and mentor, Joyce Baldwin. Essentially, her knowledge of fashion construction was self-taught through voracious reading of sewing pattern instructions and numerous library visits. ¶ As an artist and designer, her work is informed by a love of reading and research in art and history, and by travel and observation of people and culture. “I’m passionate about color and I’m always amazing by color’s reaction to atmosphere, light and other colors,” said Hock. “Anatomical structure is another fascination, generated by years of studying people dancing, moving and stretching. I enjoy fine tuning a garment so that it enhances the structure and movement of the person within it.” ¶ From Asheville, North Carolina, Hock will be traveling to Knoxville to showcase her designs in the 2017 Knoxville Fashion Week. “It’s a landmark moment for me as it will be the first time I’ve shown a collection on girls and women.” She finds this delightful since her previous models were ceramic dolls or paper. “Surprisingly, smallscale sewing is often more tedious and complex.” ¶ Look for her designs on the Knoxville Fashion Week runway, or follow her Art Fashion Creation blog at https://


Alexis Montclaire Shattered Stitch Cosplay Chattanooga, Tennessee Where You’re Seen Her: Anime Weekend Atlanta - 2005 Judge’s Favorite KajiCon - 2009 Best in Show IronClad - 2013 IronClad Cosplay ConNooga - 2014 SFX Battle Dragon Con World of Warcraft Content 2015 Best Likeness After 15 years of cosplay and costuming work, fashion isn’t always about function for Alexis Montclaire—sometimes it’s about the concept or a message. “I’m always eager to see how what I’m trying to say is received.” ¶ This year, Montclaire will be participating in Knoxville Fashion Week. “The line is a fusion of Disney themed pieces with Rococo styles—caged skirts, bustiers and colors. It’s 100% about fun.” ¶ She describes her work as fashion meets fantasy. “Everyone wants a little magic in their lives—there’s no reason we can’t be the things we dram about in our day-to-day life. Subtle or bold. Make your clothes your armor,” said Montclaire.


pretty in pastel a Romantic Style Trend for Spring

By Sarah Merrell [Public Relations Director for Gage Models & Talent Agency] Where You’re Seen Her: Fashion Correspondent for WATE Channel 6


Springtime conjures images of rosy, budding flowers, pale blue skies and soft green grass. This spring, these beautiful pastel colors are all in vogue, combined with an elegant, romantic flare. The look is idyllic, timeless and subdued. To showcase this on-trend style, we looked to Azzure Couture, available at The Gilded Gown, and Regal Tuxedo, both located in Knox Center Mall.

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stylewatch Lovely Lace Lace provides a beautiful, romantic texture and never goes out of style. Look for head-to-lace lace on gowns and dresses, or lace cut-outs or sleeves. In pastel shades, lace looks event more elegant and luxurious.

Pearl Embellishments Like lace, pearls are classic and ageless. While pearls will be prevalent in jewelry this season, they’ll also be found as embellishments on gowns, dresses and tops. Strings of pearls on dresses, especially across the back or chest, are stunning and glamorous.

Soft Floral Patterns Floral patterns are often a springtime trend, especially when softened in lighter shades. A popular evening wear trend this season is floor length floral skirts paired with a cropped embellished top.

Voluminous Sleeves and Skirts Sheer, voluminous sleeves are another romanic look this season. Dresses and tops will have bell sleeves, or sleeves that are tapered at the top and then flare towards the bottom. Volume can also be found in dresses and skirts. For evening wear, the mermaid-style cut is popular or an A-line or princess cut.

A Lighter Touch to Men’s Style Men can have the soft, romantic look while still remaining masculine. Light gray suits or tuxedos are a great look for spring, especially when paired beside a lovely woman in a pastel gown. Men can accessorize this look with pastel bow ties or neck ties and brown dress shoes. See More of This Style at Knoxville Fashion Week To see more examples of this romantic spring style, be sure not to miss Knoxville Fashion Week. The Gilded Gown and Regal Tuxedo will be showcasing at the Grand Finale event on Saturday, March 4 at the Mill and Mine in downtown Knoxville. Tickets for the event are now on sale. Visit for tickets and more information.

Photo Credits: ¶ Creative Director - Sarah Merrell - ¶ Photographer - Sonja Weisman - ¶ Gowns - The Gilded Gown - www. ¶ Tuxedo - Regal Tuxedo - ¶ Hair Stylist - Whitney Adkins - ¶ Makeup Artist Cailee Dyke - Instagram @Elaine_effects ¶ Models - Jewel May, Baylea Parrot, Damonique Givens, Frank Harley ¶ Agency - Gage Models & Talent -


modelspotlight reagan mckinleelight At only 7 years old, Reagan Light has quite the modeling and acting resume. She’s appeared in a music video for “There’s A Girl” with American Idol winner Trent Harmon, and traveled all the way to Miami for the Petite Parade Fashion Show. She’s even appears in national campaigns for Cracker Barrel and the television show “Mother Goose Club.”

drake light

Age: 12 Height: 4'4" Hair Color: Red Eye Color: Blue

Age: 13 Height: 5’4” Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown

Age: 7 Height: 3’9” Hair Color: Red Eye Color: Blue

I saw my big brother doing it and I thought it was really cool, so I started doing it. My big brother, Drake, inspired me,” - r

At the age of 12, Drake Light is already achieving celebrity status. Best known for his role as A.J. Ford on Season 5 of the Walking Dead, he has also appeared in multiple seasons Mother Goose Club and the CMT show “Still the King.” Acting has led to many fun experiences for Light. “One of the coolest jobs I’ve had was getting to work with Shaquille O’Neil on a commercial a few months ago for WIX and Age of Beard. He is so tall! And lots of fun,” described Light. “He played basketball with us all day in between takes. It was epic!” He was inspired to pursue modeling and acting since he likes to make people smile. “It makes me happy when I can entertain others, so I’m always acting silly or trying to cheer someone up,” said Light. You can follow Drake’s, and his sister Reagan’s, rise to stardom at or on Instagram at

Known For: Fashion Board - Claire Quiesser Runway Events Fashion Shows - Poto Shoot with Photographer Ali Daugherty From the time she was a young child, Olivia Rollins dreamed of being a model. “I would find oliviarollins myself watching fashion shows and then recreating them, said Rollins. “This dream continued to be a passion of mine. I was given the opportunity by Gage Models and Talent Agency to work toward fulfilling my dream…and took it.” Rollins feels that Gage Models and Talent Agency provided the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to be successful as a model. “I completed the Model Development Program at Gage, said Rollins. “Through this program, I gained confidence in myself and the ability to reach my goals as a model.” New to Knoxville Fashion Week, Olivia looks forward to being in front of an audience and gaining more runway experience. She also is excited to wear clothes by the talented designers showcasing their work.

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A primary goal for Olivia is to gain more runway and fashion modeling experience, and she feels Knoxville Fashion Week will enable her to fulfill her dream while having fun at the same time.



By Sarah Merrell [Public Relations Director for Gage Models & Talent Agency] Where You’re Seen Her: Fashion Correspondent for WATE Channel 6


Knoxvillians can have a taste of high fashion New York runways without making the 700-mile trip. KRISTI, a multi-brand boutique on Kingston Pike, has been breaking the model for over 18 years. ¶ The clothing, hand-picked by owner Kristi Ogle, is cutting edge in terms of high fashion. A Knoxville native, she grew up with an eye for style and envisioned bringing New York and European designers to her home town. ¶ She has been recognized in Women’s Wear Daily as “Rising Star of Retailer of the Year 2001” and in Southern Living magazine has “Fashion Maven.” She has always been in the forefront of educating customers on new collections and fashion labels. Visitors to her store will find names like Rachel Zoe, Calvin Rucker, Ramy Brook, Mara Hoffman, Generation Love, Frame Denim, Mason, Stone Cold Fox and Thomas Wylde. ¶ She’ll be returning for the 2017 Knoxville Fashion Week and will be showcasing her apparel in the Saturday, March 4 Grand Finale show at the Mill and Mine in downtown Knoxville. “This year,” said Ogle, “I look forward to showing at the incredible event space.”

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By Sarah Merrell [Public Relations Director for Gage Models & Talent Agency] Where You’re Seen Her: Fashion Correspondent for WATE Channel 6


This year at Knoxville Fashion Week Week, attendees can expect a taste of international fashion design. Born in Venezuela and having spent time in Hong Kong, designer Angel Blanco brings a fusion of art and fashion to this year’s runway with his Hello New York Fashion Collection. Blanco’s work is inspired by conceptual art. “Fashion is fueled by the desire to be different enough to stand out, but similar enough to belong to the group that your clothing helps identify,” said Blanco. “I always wanted to express myself, who I am, and my creativity. In fashion, I found it because I have the ability to express many attitudes and values.” After studying business administration, Blanco turned his aspirations towards art and design. During his time in Hong Kong, he finally decided to pursue his career as an artist, and from there, his abilities as a designer grew. The final push from his friend Dina Ruta finally got him into the fashion world and enabled him to get his start. 3 0

angel blanco

Angel Blanco’s design work has received international acclaim, appearing in magazines, news and television outlets like El Nacional, El Caribazo, Diverso Magazine, Profiles y Estilos, Suroeste Magazine and El Nuevo Dia. His work has also appeared locally in the Knoxville News Sentinel, WVLT Channel 8 and regional magazines like Sophie Magazine and Hola Carolina. Staying very busy, Blanco has had numerous projects recently. “Last month I was named the Venezuelan International Fashion Designer of the year by Premio Venezuela de Oro,” said Blanco. “I will be traveling to Mexico in March to be part of the Second Latin-American Itinerant Art Exhibition with a talented group of artists from Latin America and Curator Dina Ruta. I also busted launched my fashion promotional video, produced by Elevo Cluster Media, for my next futuristic fashion collection called EVOLUTION.” At Knoxville Fashion Week, his Hello New York Collection will showcase contemporary and elegant styles expressing emotion and creativity. The look is refined yet comfortable. His designs will be showcased in the Saturday, March 4, 2017 Grand Finale event at fashion week. Attendees will enjoy the thought and creativity that makes his designs a breathtaking and stunning runway show. As for his future plans, Blanco feels blessed to work with a talented team that understands artistic language and professional work. “My future goals as a fashion designer are plentiful, but one of them is to have my clothing line in places such as Paris, Italy, New York, Venezuela, Hong Kong, London and even in movies,” said Blanco. With Angel Blanco’s dedication to his work, and his creative talent, we may very well see him achieve his dream of gracing international runways.


behind thescenes

Photo Credits: [1] Courtesy Gage [2] Courtesy Gage [3] Sonja Wiseman [4] Courtesy Gage

[2] [1]


brent hemsley jaimehemsley

Behind the Scenes Spotlight


Gage Models & Talent Agency and Knoxville Fashion Week Public Relations Director As public relations director for Gage Models & Talent Agency and Knoxville Fashion Week, Sarah Merrell merges multiple passions: modeling, acting, fashion and writing. ¶ “Knoxville Fashion Week is a fantastic event that provides a relevant outlet for the fashion community in Knoxville. It’s meaningful to so many different individuals: designers, models, hair stylists, makeup artists and photographers. It’s important for people to be aware of this event,” said Merrell. “That is my role—to gain publicity and raise awareness. It allows me to be immersed in the fashion and modeling industry and requires a lot of writing, which I love.” ¶ As Knoxville Fashion Week preparations are underway, the team is hard at work—and Merrell is diligently working to garner press for the event. “I wish people could see all the behind the scenes work that goes into producing a fashion week event. Working with Jaime Hemsley and the team, I see all the intense coordination they do. It’s a lot of work, but we love every minute of it,” said Merrell. ¶ Sarah Merrell’s mantra is to dream big. “Don’t ever let anyone squelch your dreams or desires. If you believe you can do it, and work hard, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”

Jaime Hemsley, Owner of Gage Models & Talent Agency and Founder/Director of Knoxville Fashion Week ¶ While attending a magazine launch party in New York City, Gage Models & Talent Agency owner Jaime Hemsley lamented the lack of a fashion week in the Knoxville area. To her surprise, her colleague, how had landed the Austin Fashion Week contract for his models said, “Why don’t you do one?” And Knoxville Fashion Week was born. ¶ Hemsley spent a year traveling to 10 different markets like Charlotte, Phoenix, New Orleans, Washington DC and more to see how different markets, outside of NYC, hosted a fashion week. After that first year of research, she chose leap year 2012 and kicked it off Knoxville’s first fashion week on Feb 29. ¶ It’s rare for first-time events to be spectacular, but for Hemsley, Knoxville Fashion Week was more amazing than she could have imagined. The buzz afterward was so strong, her excitement led her to planning a fall fashion week that same year, and she even added Chattanooga Fashion Week to the mix! For the first time, the Knoxville fashion community had a networking event that enabled models, designers, hair and makeup pros, photographers and more to meet each other, work together and promote the fashion arts in Knoxville. After that first year though, she decided to narrow it to Knoxville Fashion Week in the spring and Chattanooga Fashion Week in the fall. ¶ Planning a fashion week is not for the faint of heart. A lot of the work goes into the event: finding the talent like designers and model, matching them together and planning a production with 500 moving parts. ¶ “There is also a ton of administration planning that starts a year prior to showtime, as there are thousands of details to cover in the 5 days of shows,” said Hemsley. “Live events have a life of their own, and after adding on Asheville Fashion Week in 2015 we have now had 12 fashion weeks under our belt and we learn something new every year.” ¶

For Hemsley though, the work is well worth it as the show is fashion for a cause. “We have benefited such great charities over the years - Scarecrow Foundation, Autism Speaks, individual autism programs and this year Autism Site Knoxville. The events are built to highlight our thriving fashion community while also raising awareness and benefitting charitable organizations,” said Hemsley. ¶ One of the most rewarding aspects for Hemsley is seeing her Gage Talent models on the runway in their biggest show yet. Many of these models she’s known from the very beginning of their modeling careers and she finds it rewarding to see them and all their hard work in the Spotlight. ¶ She’s had some exciting moments: Her husband celebrating their anniversary on the runway and her own sons surprising her by walking the children’s show at Asheville Fashion Week. She even recalls getting the phone call from TIME Magazine to interview her for an article about Knoxville Fashion Week. ¶ Hundreds of models, designers and industry professionals are thankful for the work Jaime Hemsley has done to bring a fashion week to Knoxville. For the talent, Hemsley has provided them a platform to live their dreams and has provided lasting memories. 3 1

Knoxville Fashion Week 2017 Program  
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