“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
This post started out the same as every Inspire N Style article. One with professional syntax — with every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed to journalistic perfection. But then it dawned on me. The Pin Show was more than just an event to attend, more than just another article to write, and more than just a fashion show — it was inspiration.
For a show that breathed life into the Dallas fashion industry, it occurred to me that at the helm of its 10-year anniversary, a recap of its meaning and impact to the community needed to forego the newsy references and come straight from the heart.
This year marked my fifth year of reporting on The Pin Show and I can remember my first year in attendance like it was yesterday. I was one of the newer reporters for DFW Style Daily, under the direction and guidance of veteran writer Lisa Petty. Out the gate, she made it known that The Pin Show was a show that we (The DFW Style Daily crew) did not miss, and that as writers it was our mission to carefully analyze the show and highlight those designers who were stellar. Here we are five years later, and I still take that delegation very seriously.
For the 10-year anniversary show, The Pin Show crew held nothing back. The designer talent was elevated, as was the overall flow and synthesis of what arguably may be the last of the iconic showcase.
Just prior to the event, Pin Show Founder and The Folksie Way owner Julie McCullough took to her personal social media to announce her retirement. Met with a heartfelt response, it came as a surprise to those who have cherished the growth of what has been coined as one of Dallas’ best fashion shows to attend, year after year.
“I will be retiring from The Pin Show and passing it on to someone else (not yet decided),” McCullough wrote. “It’s been 10 years, and I believe every good thing needs a fresh set of visionaries to keep it going. This seemed like the right time for someone else to take it over and do their thing.”
While a recent meeting with the veteran fashion guru still arose questions as to the “who” would carry on The Pin Show legacy, we rest assured that maybe it will not be the last. As for Julie, her recently opened Bishop Arts store Harkensback with partner Mike Arreaga, will now be a center point of focus. Despite its success, The Pin Show has touched many, and it’s through this impact that we pray that it continues.
“The Pin Show created opportunity for young talented independent fashion designers in the DFW metroplex who mostly graduated from college and didn’t have a big enough platform to start their own business. It gave designers a voice to keep pushing for your dreams and to never give up because this is the moment you’ve been looking for.” ~ Designer Radkeem Sims
“The Pin Show means independence and change. It was an amazing platform that helped groom my production and organization skills. It opened the door for me to showcase amazing talent with J3 Productions, as well as the other great agencies in the city.” ~ Stylist Willie Johnson
“I love that The Pin Show has continued to be a platform and vessel for designers to show versatility, and experiment with concepts in this hyper-fashion reality. Creative perspective is appreciated and welcomed at The Pin Show and that’s what sets it apart from other fashion events in North Texas.” ~ Christian Craven of Style Crave
“The Pin Show means an opportunity to discover new and emerging talent right from the heart of the city. A chance to see these new voices of fashion and style say, ‘I am here.'” ~ Stylist Courtney Walker
“The Pin Show means having an established local platform for local designers to showcase their collections to the DFW community.” ~ Jewelry Designer Charmaine Marshall
“The Pin Show is such an important platform for both emerging and established designers in Dallas! Julie and her team should be celebrated and awarded for the invaluable contributions they have made to helping fuel and expose all of these designers. I am very grateful for the experience and to have been a part of something so monumental in the Dallas fashion community.” ~ Designer Memory Jora
“The Pin Show is like a bolt of lightning: energy and electric and inspiration for every artist and designer, as well as anyone with dreams of creating. It encapsulates the concept of expressive freedom through the development of the big ideas and utilization of diversity. It’s magnificent!” ~ Veteran Hairstylist and Long-Time Pin Show Supporter, Gary Walden
“The Pin Show is Dallas’ most innovative fashion show. I say this all the time when describing The Pin Show because it takes you into the creative mind of Dallas’ top designers. I love to watch these independent designers’ art form hit the runway. It’s a breath of fresh air. They aren’t succumbing to commercializing their creations. This is the only show in Dallas by designers, for designers — in order to encounter a professional fashion experience.” ~ Fashion Blogger Vanna Collins
This year The Pin Show plucked the best of the best from the DFW Metroplex. With a strong start by University of North Texas senior, R’Bonney Gabriel and her label R. Nola, I just knew that epic levels would be attained.
Seamlessly moving forward, the fashionable envelope was pushed by my new Inspire N Style faves RKJ Designs, Parker Couture and of course Smith II with his memorable “Do Not Touch” collection. These designers knew of no limits, and captured an aesthetic that is easily adaptable by those relative to uptown to downtown to the city and beyond.
Bold, vibrant, and playful marked a number of trends, as my taste for all things vibrant and cultural were satiated by Inspire N Style friend Memory Jora of Mory Jay and new to our radar, Candace Collins of Wonders. My natural attraction to African-Inspired prints and patterns was undoubtedly ignited, so look to see more from these two designers gracing the Inspire N Style pages.
Minimal is always the new black as brands Folksie, Valerie Garmino and Erica Dawn Woodmore of EDW declared — striking the runway with coveted looks spanning figure-flattering overalls and kaftans, to elegantly crafted staples by Garmino, to wearable black on black styling by EDW — a little bit of “something something” for all of my multiple personalities.
Of course tunes by Pin Show veterans Zhora and Sam Lao pumped the adrenaline, but it was the jaw-dropping accessories collection by JLR Designs that lit my handbag addiction on fire.
Oversized but with a statement, the awe-inspiring pieces by Jesse Roberts featured backpacks to shoulder bags — immediately teasing my pocketbook with an instantaneous drop on my radar. Noticeably made of the finest of materials, the JLR collection channeled exquisite perfection, transitioning from the runway to the closet with powerful ease.
While more could be said to the quintessential trends, styles, and best-of discussions, the true unspoken conversation at The Pin Show was its in-your-face theme of inclusiveness — as models of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and conditions graced the catwalk. If this was ever to be the end, then this would be the way to end it. A finale of inclusion, excellence, hope, and grace.
And while many of my peers expressed sentiments to this mega-affair, for me it is all but simple. The Pin Show, is and will always be — a place where designers (emerging or experienced) can thrive. It’s a platform that not only showcases them in one main event, but assists them throughout the year on business and design principles that reached well beyond any classroom — it spurred motivation, and cultivated a family.
I think it’s best to leave it the way that Julie McCullough intended by parting with her words:
“For one night, we changed the way designers could showcase their looks. We changed the way a fashion show looks. We changed the way people often see fashion….and we hope we have made all of these changes in the name of progress that will continue to move forward and grow.”
Photo Credit for all images (with the exception of Julie McCullough’s headshot) to Radz D. Photography.