Studio Days // Reflecting on the Second Half of 2016


My second half of 2016 was busy, busy, busy. I designed two more collections for HOWL for two more fashion shows. I also moved from Columbus, to Dayton, and finally to Cincinnati, which is my new home. If you ask me, that's plenty of stress already over six months' time, but the crazy part is that originally none of that was in the game plan. But in the spirit of my word for 2016, "NOW," to prompt less thinking, more acting, I went with it. And then some. Here's a little recap of some of the highlights from the last six months.

2016 in three words: Exciting, challenging, and sleepless!

My common state of being: Tired, but focused and moving. I pulled a lot of all-nighters and created an ever-growing to-do list (I still don't even have all my boxes unpacked). I'm ending the year absolutely exhausted, but even more in focus with my 2017 goals.

Favorite accomplishments: If you remember back in June, I had the opportunity of showing a collection for Alternative Fashion Week. It was such a cool experience, and to my surprise it led to an invitation to show at Fashion Meets Music Festival and Fashion Week Columbus. All of these shows were on my brand bucket list for HOWL, but I never expected to have them all happen in a matter of months! That took a whole lot of work, but was a very happy and unexpected surprise. Here's a peek at both of those shows.

Photo creds from top left:  1 + 4, Kris Misevski  |  2 + 3, Tony Bentivegna

FMMF, the Fashion Meets Music Festival, was such a cool experience. It's basically a weekend of concerts and fashion shows in one place. Highlights for me included the fashion shows by local designers/friends, the coolest-ever finale show by Project Runway All-Stars winner Michelle Lesniak, and of course, having my family there for my first ever solo show. Plus, it was just so cool to be having a show in the same venue as some really big-name musicians, including one of my all-time favorites, BORNS. I even had my models walk to his song, Electric Love, to show my admiration. This collection was called Moonbow, and was basically just a bright, festival-ready take on the Alternative Fashion Week collection.

Photo creds from top left: 1, 2 + 5, Lauren Ashley  |  3, Stephmina Photography  |  4, Kris Misevski 

Fashion Week Columbus came as a total surprise to me this year. It's been a long-time dream of mine to have a collection at this event. I used to go to the runway show as a blogger every year and my mind would just spin with ideas of what I would want to do one day. Well, back in the beginning of 2016, when HOWL was just the tiniest, newborn brand, I auditioned and ended up being the runner-up for the final place in the show. Little did I know, due to a couple twists of fate, there ended up being an open spot and, all of the sudden, a years-long dream was becoming a reality! The rest of the designers had already been working for months and I had just a few weeks, so it was stressful to say the least, but it all came together in the end.

The show was called, Red Moon, and was a spin on the Little Red Riding Hood. I always love to mix masculine with feminine styles, so this collection really expressed that, with half of the models walking as "Little Reds," complete with fresh flower baskets from Dummen Orange, and the other half walking as the wolves in masks that my sister put in hours to help me get done, God bless her. They were full-face masks worn backwards, so it came off as a little surprise on the runway when the girls turned. It was my personal nod to the wicked side of an otherwise romantic collection. 

Not bad for the brand's first year, huh? I'm looking forward to continuing the momentum in 2017, but working to be ahead of it and in control of it, rather than frantically riding the wave. 

Lessons learned/skills strengthened: I've gotten more draping and construction experience this year than ever. I also learned that I can make pretty much anything happen in crunch-time. There were times leading up to Fashion Week Columbus where my workload was seemingly impossible and the pressure was really overwhelming, but I stayed focused and made it happen. Was everything perfect? Not even close. But I kept trying to remind myself about the value of imperfect progress, something that kind of stays on a loop in my head. I also got a little better about the on-camera interviews/public speaking that goes along with all of this. I even presented as a featured speaker at an event after FWC, and I didn't die! This has always been the hardest area for me. I've worked on my on-stage nerves for years with little-to-no progress, and I finally feel, dare I say, slightly capable in this area. Not great by any means, but capable. This is major for me. 

Little things I've loved: Spending more time with both mine and Zach's families than we've been able to in years. Finding new places to love in Cincinnati. Shopping for decor for our new place. Taking walks to our neighborhood library. Making about 100 bracelet sets as thank you gifts. Meeting so many new people and having so many thank you's to give. 

It's been a big year and I can't wait for more in 2017. Check back in tomorrow for a goal-setting checklist to get it started off strong! 

 

What were some major moments in your life this year? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear them!

 

Happy New Year, friends!