On a bright, beautiful day in early July, I arrived at Muggs coffee anticipating meeting Ryan and Erica. I knew just a bit about them beforehand; mainly that they were the minds behind CFG Style Week. Their first show back in March, turned out to be a huge success for the Charlotte fashion community. I wanted to know more about them and the work they are doing to create a robust fashion scene in Charlotte. When they walked in the door I immediately knew it was them. Dressed chic yet casual, there was something about them that just radiated style. As we greeted each other, they both gave me friendly hugs as if we knew each other already. From then on, I knew this interview was going to be a success. We settled in at a corner table and the conversation began to flow…
Me: How did Charlotte Fashion Guild get started?
Erica: We wanted to reinvent the way Charlotte sees fashion and saw a need in the community to have a platform for artists and individuals. Until until then, there was no community presence. We think of ourselves as the chamber of commerce for fashion.
Ryan: We also provide education for fashion and style.
Erica. We are not here just to do a show, but to change minds.
Me: How long have you two been doing style week and what inspired you to do this in Charlotte?
Ryan: This is going to be our second show. We are really excited about it.
Erica: Working backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week inspired us to re-create that same feel here in Charlotte.
Me: Having the experience backstage can really change your outlook on how a proper fashion show should be exxcuted, for sure. Tell us about the upcoming September shows. What designers will we see and what can we expect.
Ryan: There will be 24 total designers. This is the first show in Charlotte to concentrate only on designers. We have so much talent. Each night is mind blowing fashion, even from international designers. We have 6 New York designers, 1 Chicago designer, 2 Los Angels designers, 1 from Atlanta, 1 from Maryland, 1 from Trinidad, and 1 from Sweden. We will also have local Charlotte designers and 4 former Project Runway contestants. We were every selective about the designers we are including in the shows. For our first night, we are featuring 5 students from The Art Institute of Charlotte; Young and creative talent.
Me: I love that Art Institute students will be on the first night. Students have such a fresh perspective on fashion. They think outside the box!
Ryan: Yes! There is so much talent at the Art Institute. You are going to love it.
Erica: The show will be at Label House because it has that open warehouse feel. The space is incredible.
Me: This is exciting. The shows are going to be wonderful! So lets switch gears a bit and talk about where do you see Charlotte in terms of the fashion landscape in 5 years.
Ryan: We want to continue to grow it into having multiple shows during Style Week, perhaps some overlapping due to the amount of designers we will have showing.
Erica: We are focused on growth. As the city grows, we want Style Week to grow along with it.
Me: I think you two definitely have what it takes to achieve growth in Style Week! This is only the beginning of greatness to come! I have to ask about personal style. Ryan, how would you describe yours?
Ryan: Street wear, urban wear, edgy. Think harem pants, high tops, layers, asymentry, and androgynous menswear. I like playing around and having fun. Style is about having fun! I love thrift shopping. It’s fun not having a defined style, but knowing what you like.
Me: And Erica, how about for you?
Erica: For me, Black is the new black; I love wearing black. No accessory is too much and no high heels to high!I am big on proportions. I like taking risks. Fashion doesn’t have a price tag. I am also big on high low looks. I like taking something boring and making it exciting. I like having a complete look and a mood for each look. I am all about representing for the best you!
Me: Last but not least, what advice would yo have for aspiring fashion professionals?
Erica: Have the confidence to go after what you want.
Ryan: Be Yourself!
Me: Perfect! Thank you both for meeting with me. What a fun interview!