Emerging Perspectives: Barbara Riordan

Alas! The Inaugural Indiana Fashion Week is upon us! All of the engaging festivities, from the conferences to special guests, and  networking to building lasting connections, have been quite the highly anticipated buzz throughout the Midwest!

Although this week’s lineup of events will be a “must do” for all fashion enthusiasts, what would fashion week be without an extraordinary fashion show? The 2019 Emerging Designer Competition, held at the Crane Bay Event Center, Indianapolis Indiana on June 22, is one that will give fashion in the Midwest a fresh perspective.

With that said, there is much knowledge to be gained and imparted in regard to fashion. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing our featured IN Vogue Designer. Hailing from the state of Indiana is renowned fashion designer and phenomenal woman, Barbara Riordan of Pariah 5k Clothing.

Although she is an Indiana native, she has a decorated portfolio that deserves acclaiment.  She has been published in issues of UK Vogue Magazines, and participated in the VFW (Vancouver) Fashion Week in 2018, amongst a plethora of fashioned accomplishments.

During our interview, I loved her zeal for fashion sustainability, but also her thriving heart to give back to those in need.

Join us in an emerging conversation:

Kevina: Barbara, as you know, and can be seen from your beautifully made lineage of clothing – is that Fashion is Art. What is your inspiration as you create?

Barbara Riordan: Basically, I just look at a fabric and say, “this is what I want to wear”, and I just start working it up from there!

K: Absolutely wonderful! How do you feel the Midwest represents fashion?

BR: Most of the general population in this region do not want to stand out. They’d just rather blend in. But I can say, there are pockets of people who express themselves through fashion. They are willing to wave that fashion flag (of uniqueness), and are bold in their choices of garments. That is to be admirable, especially in the midwest.

K: So in your opinion, what’s the next wave of fashion?

BR: I am all for the classic silhouette. The untraditional print. I do not identify nor am accustomed to trends. I’m an outlier, and just as some things wouldn’t work for me, there are a population of fashion enthusiast that the trends will not work for either. One must understand that fashion is not just a look, but a philosophy. My hope is that designers will make sustainable and ethical choices and while creating, and understand that it takes hard work and effort…

K: This is amazing….

BR: Yes, the cost of looking fabulous should not be at the expense of someone else, or the planet. If a garment lives 60 to 70 year,s it’s sustainable. That’s a wave.

K: How would you describe your fashion in 3 words?

BR: Premium, Whimsical, and Classic.

K: Yes! I can agree with that!

K: What advice would you give to younger emerging designers who aspire to develop a decorated portfolio such as yourself?

BR: I would tell them to keep at it, no one is an overnight success. Get broad shoulders, and be ready to take rejection. It took Moses (in the bible) several times to free the slaves of Egypt. So if you have to, you’ll have to keep going back until you succeed. Network and meet everyone that you can. Work for someone who is established and put in the time. Last but not least, Keep pushing, pushing, and pushing. Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

K: Those are some great words of wisdom. My grandfather used to tell me the latter as a child and now I understand what that means. I admire that.

BR: I love giving advice or helping those who are willing to learn. I have never turned an internship opportunity down. I invest in them not because it’s free work for me, but they get value in the things that they learn for their fashion journey.

K: You have a beautiful spirit and I’m so excited to see what you will bring to the runway!

At the close of our conversation, there was laughter, words of wisdom, and the importance of faith in God on our paths exchanged. I had an amazing time learning more about this designer and her perspective on and off the runway. When Barbara is not IN fashion, she loves to read and socialize with her friends. She also enjoys boating, traveling, and meeting new people. She enjoys her pets, and gets into some yard work when she can!

You can find out more about Barbara Riordan and her clothing line: PARIAH on her website

Last but not least, I have some exclusive information to share! A little birdy told me that Barbara Riordan will be showcasing new designs as she is the feature IN Vogue designer at the 2019 Indiana Fashion Week Emerging Designer Fashion Show! You don’t want to miss it! There is still time to get your tickets at See you there!

Emerging Perspectives: Codi Banks

Codi Banks

When you see a vibrant, royal, and chic ensemble full of color and life, you may elude to faction that is a Witty By Codi piece. In getting to know this emerging designer, she is full of passion to create, innovate and execute style in the fashion industry. Codi has a humbling heart and infectious smile, but her drive to succeed is just as impressive.

Kevina: Fashion is art. What is your inspiration as you create your art?

Codi: My thought process is organic. I’m inspired by a plethora of things. I’m also inspired by other designers.

K: In your opinion, what is the next wave of fashion?

C: I’d say bringing fashion concepts to life with 3D fashion printing!

K: How often do you create?

C: I create everyday! At the least, 6 times a week.

K: If you could meet any fashion icon, who would it be, and why?

C: Tracee Ellis Ross. Her style resonates with me. I will reach her acquaintance someday.

K: Yes! I can see her in a Witty by Codi piece!

K: What type of garment best describes your personality?

C: A fun, flirty, waistline skirt!

K: You most definitely can piece a skirt with anything and it comes to life!

K: How do you feel the Midwest represents fashion?

C: I feel like we don’t express life as much through fashion in the midwest, and we should!

If you’ve ever seen a Witty by Codi piece on the runway, she most definitely knows how to make a statement of expression! We are so excited to see what she brings to the Emerging Designer Competition!

If you haven’t already done so, purchase your tickets at so that you to can experience the magic that Codi brings to the runway!

The Indiana Fashion Week Runway Shows are on June 22nd, 2019 at the Crane Bay Event Center, Indianapolis Indiana. Visit our website for more information.  See you there!

Emerging Perspectives: Yemisi Sanni

Yemisi Sanni

Sky is not the limit for fashion to Yemisi Sanni. She shares her art as she roots for art in the community and beyond. Her designs are one that is a blessing to the eye, but it’s her faith that makes way for the path she is paving in the fashion industry. The inspiration of her brand named  designs, Stylenspire, coined from a blog in 2015 that was entitled, “Style and Inspire”. What a way to bring that to life. With that said, Yemisan eloquently expresses, “God used fashion to write my story.”

As I interviewed this emerging designer, I learned more of her culture and inspiration of fabrics that reveal her passion for art.

Kevina: Yemisan, what is your perspective on fashion?

Yemisan: Fashion is Impressionable. From a child I embraced fashion through trade and culture. My family showed and taught the significance of a fabric. We’re from Lagos, Nigeria, and it’s a tradition and culture of the Yoruba people to celebrate life or death and embracing family and culture. In celebrations or gatherings, we come together and the families will have specific fabric we’d wear in representing this expression. God used fashion to write my story.

K: Amazing. What is your workflow?

Y: I’m inspired by art, style, and energy. This caters to my work flow. Confidence keeps flow ripe and fresh.

K: How do you feel the Midwest represents fashion?

Y: The percentage of creativity seemed limited, but within the last few years this has changed. A rise in the Midwest has happened. It went from being dormant and mundane to open doors through various outlets. Everyone is rising and developing fashion through growth. Indiana Fashion Foundation has contributed by creating this opportunity for professionals to network, learn, connect, give, and grow in the fashion industry. It’s a blessing to see this change.

K: In your opinion, what’s the next wave in fashion?

Y: Countries such as Africa, Russia, Soviet Union, and China are all about cultural fashion. The ethnic enlightenment will wave to display what it really is, aside from what is shown in the media of these countries.

K: What is an unknown gift or talent you’d want to expand on outside of fashion?

Y: I have a gift of writing. I have a book in regards to love in which I plan to publish.

It was a great time had learning more about Yemisani, behind the sew. It will be just as great to view her cultured designs as they hit the runway!

We are just countable days away from the Inaugural Indiana Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition June 22nd. Purchase your tickets today at! See you there!

Emerging Perspectives: Chloe Greenwell

Chloe Greenwell

” ‘CHLEEN’ Exploring the unbridled, graceful strength of a woman.”

This motto will speak for itself at the 2019 Indiana Fashion Week Fashion Show June 22, as this Emerging Designer is one to create for the woman whose frame is of unconventional size in fashion.

“I want to cater to women with larger frames. I make ensembles that have a natural feel and are accessible pieces that women can wear in their everyday environment,” Chloe expressed during our interview when asked her fashion perspective.

She describes her fashions as classic, feminine and unbridled. When asked how often she creates, I learned that she has a very specific strategy in creating. “I like to strategically think before action. I, at times, may have designer’s block but [can] create more intuitively when I have something specific to do such as the brand that I want to launch in the fall.”

Chloe believes that the next wave of fashion is now with the plus size market, in which she plans to accommodate. Because fashion is art, what has inspired her to cater mostly to the plus size market is the personal accessibility to the women in her family. “The women in my family are not in the typical sizes of fashionable clothing. So I’ve adapted more to the business side of not only creating garments for them and myself, but making it available to the public.

This collaborative opportunity with fashion professionals has impressed Chloe. And the fact that it is a competition makes it more intriguing. She is happy to be part of a display that will help to bridge the fashion community in this region more closely to the larger cities where there are broad streams of fashion. “Fashion exists not only in cities such as Chicago in the Midwest, but vividly in Indiana.”

During this intriguing interview, we chatted, we laughed, and shared moments of excitement for what she will display on the runway June 22nd! The CHLEEN line of clothing is of the ready to wear, and can be coined as wearing a collage of life moments.

Chloe shared with me her philanthropic efforts to teach classes on sewing as well as designing. When she is not designing, she is a homebody who enjoys eating sushi!

Indiana Fashion Week is swiftly approaching! Get your tickets today — you don’t want to miss it! Go to for more information or to purchase!

Emerging Perspectives: Jenn Felts

Jennifer M Felts

Let’s unwind behind the designs of Jenn Felts. This multifaceted artist expresses her gift of art by way of garments for the skin, or colorful drawings on thin paper. “Tokyo Twiggy” was coined from a nickname she inherited back in high school. As we conversed two and two came together, and the inspiration behind her titled designs was revealed.

She traveled abroad and lived in Tokyo for a season, and because of her thin frame, “Twiggy” was the tweeny hip name that those who knew her called.

Her knack for experimentation of fashion has inspired the styles and designs that she will display at this years Emerging Designer Fashion Show. I was honored to learn more about Jenn during our exclusive interview:

Kevina: So, Jenn, at what age did you create your first garment?

Jenn: Although I always drew as a child, it was actually late in life, my mid 20’s and mid 30’s when I first designed. My whole life I wanted to design but my family was not into fashion much. It was when I went to college, one in particular, the Art Institute, is where I first made designs physically come to life.

K: How do you feel the midwest represents fashion?

J: It’s pretty interesting.I was raised in Dallas, TX and came to Indiana about 10 years ago. Living in Muncie, I saw  there was a lot of trend dressing. I’d say Winter fashions are predominant. It’s great to see that creatives are wanting to expand, [thus] creating opportunities for designers. It’s amazing.

K: If you could give any advice to your younger self on this fashion journey, what would you say?

J: Don’t doubt yourself. Just keep pushing. I’d tell myself that my ideas are good enough. If things don’t turn out the way [I] intended, use that as a learning experience, and don’t give up. Most of all, just create.

K: Where do you see your fashion career going over the next 5 years?

J: I’ll be progressed forward in textile fashion. DIY style. (Do it yourself) From the ground up. I’m interested in making my own fabric and designs instead of fabrics that fit vision. I will incorporate more textile designs, travel, teach, and show how this can be done. Progress outward to change pattern and style. This will help the industry with an added fresh pair of eyes in this arena of fashion.

It was an amazing time chatting with Jenn. When she isn’t creating eccentric designs, she enjoys painting, and playing a plethora of games she’s collected on her PS4 (Playstation 4 game console).

Come out and see Jenn’s amazing creations at the Inaugural Indiana Fashion Week, Emerging Designer Fashion Show. Get your tickets today you don’t want to miss it! Go to for more information or to purchase!

Emerging Perspectives: Misty Dodson

Misty Dobson

Rebranding. Fashion trends revolve in time so much that the eclectic styles of the 70s and 80s are back in style fresh as if they were never yesteryears’ hot topic.


In speaking with one of our emerging designers, Misty Dodson of Apgar Fashions, I was intrigued in discovering that a fresh perspective is on the horizon in how she communicates her works of art to the fashion community. She currently is rebranding Apgar Fashion to Bond Girl No. 9.

“As a Bond Girl, you will feel beautiful, confident, sexy, and empowered,” says Misty. Check out her perspective on fashion and more as we conversed behind the sew:

Kevina: Misty, what’s your perspective on fashion?

Misty: I have a dynamic goal. Because there is a lot of fast fashion, it’s hard on the economy. I am an independent designer that will create ways to streamline creating customized garments. All while simultaneously using less waste that will positively impact climate change.

K: Wow, that is amazing and gave me a different outlook and perspective of creating  fashion. So what or who inspires your art?

M: I’d say it is a family trait. My Dad was an upholsterer. He cut fabric and made couches, etc. I was going to be a lawyer but changed [my] career to fashion. I received my first sewing machine at age 12. At that point, I decided to just go for it.

K: Where do you see your career in fashion going over the next 5 years?

M: I see my company up and running, I will start in Indy, and then expand. My goal is to be flourishing with the rebrand, Bond girl No. 9. I’ll be full span and operating eco friendly as to help the environment as well.

K: What type of garment or fabric expresses your personality?

M: I’d say a lion print saffron. When I look at a lion in its beauty, it’s gorgeous. This garment is soft and beautiful and flows. I can be a strong woman, soft, beautiful and elegant in its likeness.

K: Indiana Fashion Foundation is all about serving the community. What philanthropic efforts would you like to have with the community?

M: I definitely want to get more involved with the community. I’m very political. I believe this to (segway), as fashion will be so huge in the future. As noted before, I have a passion to help environmentally within the community as well in creating fashions that are minimally harsh on the economy.

When Misty is not in the studio creating, she spends most of her time with her 8 year old son. Quality time with family is amongst the most important things for her. After all that we’ve shared, I’m excited to see what she brings to the runway!

Now that you’ve learned more about this emerging designer, come and see the creations live at the 2019 Indiana Fashion Week Emerging Designer Fashion Show! Tickets are now on sale for this extravagant event.

Visit to secure your tickets to the Making it IN Fashion Industry Day Conference & The Runway Shows. INDFW19 June 18-22nd, 2019.

Emerging Perspectives: Unfollowed Creators

Dontae and Chey

Asymmetrical. Street Wear. Unique. This is how Dontae and Chey, the emerging designers of Unfollowed Creators, describe their trend setting fashions. This dynamic duo hail from Kokomo, Indiana — where they fuse together the love of fashion and style that puts the collab in collaboration of art! Dontae acclaims his passion of fashion as being more than just a brand but a community effort of creators coming to gather with an opportunity to “not” be unfollowed.

Dontae has an eye for the Japanese Fashion world, as he states that it’s amongst his favorite. Believing they are “ahead of our time” in the fashion culture, his style of creativity leans toward this frame of expression on the runway.

“Fashion used to be copy and paste in the Midwest, recycled, but it’s now starting to be more unique and diverse, fashion and style as a whole, is getting better” quotes Dontae. Within the next 5 years he plans to venture his fashion career to the west coast, and eventually Japan.

During our interview, I was intrigued to find out that Dontae is an avid sports player and he even taught me a thing or two in regards to football and the “707” play! What a treat!

Now that you’ve learned more about these emerging designers, come and see the creations live at the 2019 Indiana Fashion Week Emerging Designer Fashion Show! Tickets are now on sale for this extravagant event.

Visit to secure your tickets to the Making it IN Fashion Industry Day Conference & The Runway Shows. INDFW19 June 18 – 22, 2019

Emerging Perspectives: Monique Burts

Monique Burts

Unconventional, Bold, and Sculptural. This is how our next highlighted emerging designer describes her pieces of designed art. The excitement I have for Indiana Fashion Week has been catapulted into the rushing desire to experience what they all have to bring to the competition! Monique Burts, of “Mo Gio”, and I had a few moments together, check out our dialogue:

Kevina (K): Monique, what is your perspective on fashion?

Monique (M): Turning anything into something fashionable! Whether it’s computer paper…

K:  Wait, PC paper??

M: Yes, creating sustainable fashion. PC paper, cardboard, any old thing to turn into a new piece.

K: Wow, absolutely wonderful. So with that being said, in your opinion, what’s the next wave of fashion?

M: Sustainability. I’d like to be amongst the pioneers to take old pieces, such as the restoration done to a TOMS shoe, and recreate them. This actually started for me in college. While having low income, I’d go to Goodwill and get fashionable items to make, thus sustaining fashion.

K: I’m just so amazed how you say you make fashionable items out of old items.

M: *chuckles* Yes, yes!

K: So Monique, next question: what type of garment would you say best describes your personality?

M: I’d have to say my first garment made at Herron School of Arts.

K: How old were you?

M: I was 19.

M: It was made of computer paper. It was fun, sculptural, colorful, and had a presence about it. That’s me. A walking exhibition.  See, fashionable art can come from anywhere, you don’t have to spend thousands.

K: This is so true!

K: If you could meet any fashion icon, who would that be?

M: The Dutch fashion designer, Iris Van Herpen. I love her work. She works with 3D technology, dramatic shoes. I actually drove to Ohio in inclement weather to one of her exhibits. It changed my outlook on fashion. Inspiring.

K: And that’s awesome how you manned the weather to go see her exhibit in another state.
So, where do you see your fashion career going in the next 5 years?

M: I’d like to break the platform for wearable artwork. Especially for young African American girls to express themselves in this way. I’d like to bridge the gap between sculptural and wearable art.

K: It was grand speaking to you and learning more about you! I’m excited to meet you in person!

M: Likewise, I’m excited as well, thank you all so much for this opportunity!

Monique is not only an artist in the land of garments, she is also an enthusiast and maker of visual art. In her spare time, she loves to paint, cook, binge watch her favorite TV shows and, most of all, spend time with family.

At the conclusion of our interview segment were laughs, and the high anticipation of seeing how this wearable, sustainable fashion will hit the runway on June 22nd! Get your tickets today — you don’t want to miss it! Go to for more information or to purchase!

Emerging Perspectives: Maria Mauro

Maria Mauro

As the highly anticipated inaugural Indiana Fashion Week is swiftly approaching, I’ve decided to learn more about our 2019 emerging designers. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to do brief one-on-one interviews with them. Over the next several weeks, I will unveil these talks about fashion − on and off the runway − and perspective.

In this segment, I had the chance to sit down with designer, Maria Mauro, of Mau et Cie, LLC. Her designs reflect not only her passion for garment construction, but a deep-rooted heart effort to develop women and children into believing in their best selves. She emphasizes her strong belief that, regardless of their background or what they’ve had to overcome in life, women should not only look the part, but be the part.

Maria Mauro is motivated by being a beacon that mirrors hard work and dedication — showing that integrity and hard work put into the arts is a dynamic ripple effect that can be echoed into the dreams of younger generations.

Check out some of our exclusive dialogue!

Kevina (K): Maria, what is your perspective on fashion?

Maria (M): “My perspective of fashion is it’s something that lifts you up. Sometimes people go with [the] flow of style but don’t wear something because it is in style. You should wear it because it compliments and makes you feel good.”

K: Ok, that’s amazing! What’s your workflow? What’s the quickest you’ve made a garment?

M: I’ve made a garment in one night. I had all of the pieces but [needed to] put it together. I’m very creative..and creators should be creators, not followers or copiers and have material of their own to build from.

K: Describe your fashion in three words.

M: Empowered. Fulfilled. Elegant. I’m so excited to display this all on the runway. Confidence is so necessary. You don’t just feel it you, become it. You’ve got to be it, and just go! As a teacher of English, I tell my students to go in [the] direction that they want to be, and never look back. This is also displayed in my fashions.

K: Outside of fashion, what are some of your hobbies?

M: If you look at my Facebook account, you will see the photos I took of my beautiful garden. I’ve created a dream garden. I’ve planted 500 tulips on hands and knees — different perennials and sunflowers. I’m all about pollinators, butterflies and bees. A bee hive was created in my garden and made me feel empowered. I’m in love with spring and my beautiful garden.

It was a pleasure spending time talking with Maria Mauro. Her fashion journey is of one that is a result of independence and the belief that you can achieve anything, even without the support of others. She believes the bounce back from any hardship and to pursue goals comes from within and is handed down from God. It is her belief that through this, we can achieve all things.

Maria’s expression of creating a garment can be seen in essence as she quotes: “Everything is made from something. Go back to the elements, and make it different. Be a creator. In doing that, you reinvent the wheel and make it something that is useful, valued, and that makes you feel good”

“When women wear a Mau, I want them to feel that they have made it. I want a Lexus, and when I purchase one, I will know that I’ve made it.”

Maria Mauro coins her brand as a walkable piece of art that is unique and shows off confidence of the woman in which her brand will help exuberate their innate value. Her ideal customer is a 35 to 55 year old woman with a college education. Her targets are successful women who do not settle for less than a one of a kind look and are willing to pay for it. These women are ambitious, and haute couture is their passion as she prides her designs.

Now that you’ve learned more about this emerging designer, come and see the creations live at the 2019 Indiana Fashion Week Emerging Designer Fashion Show! Tickets are now on sale for this extravagant event.

Visit to secure your tickets to the Making it IN Fashion Industry Day Conference & The Runway Shows. #INDFW19 June 18-22nd, 2019.

Addressing Community Concerns

Addressing Community Concerns

April 22, 2019

Dear Indiana Fashion Community,

Recently, our team has received an influx of inquiries following the release of details for upcoming model castings for our June event. Many of these inquiries have been included concerns from the members of our community regarding the application fee requirement. I want to reiterate that the work we are doing at the Indiana Fashion Foundation and Indiana Fashion Week is community-centered and it is the community’s interests that we have at heart. After much consideration and internal dialogue, we have collectively decided to waive the $10 application fee to ensure that all interested individuals are able to take advantage of this opportunity.

We understand that trust is the key ingredient in our building recipe. It is paramount to our mission of mobilizing the fashion industry in Indiana that we establish and maintain trusting relationships with the individuals and organizations that make up the fashion ecosystem in the state. We endeavor to achieve this by keeping the lines of communication open so that we can hear from you. I want to encourage you to continue to share your thoughts, concerns, and opinions with us as they are what help us to most effectively serve you.

We would like to thank Indianapolis-based company, T-Cuts, whose generous donation covered the expenses associated with the model castings. The Indiana Fashion Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates thanks to the generosity of community partners such as this one. We look forward to your engagement as we continue to build a platform that serves you in excellence.


Denisha “Dlang” Ferguson
Creator & Executive Director, Indiana Fashion Week

Those who have already submitted payment for the application fee can expect a full refund within the next 72 hours