Hometown Designers Tie a Bow on Fashion Week SA

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Designers Valerie Perez, Blanquita Sullivan, Bruno Horwath, Joey Ramirez and Christian Alonzo take part in the MODA Next Showcase debuting their latest collection at the Texas A&M-San Antonio Educational and Cultural Arts Center. Photo by Kristian Jaime.

The latest incarnation of Fashion Week San Antonio is in the books, but not before hometown designers stamped their presence on the most fashionable seven days in South Texas that came to a close Friday evening.

Joey Ramirez, Christian Alonzo, Valerie Perez, Bruno Horwath, and Blanquita Sullivan are better known as the talented designers behind the Moda Next Showcases. Yet their design aesthetics were as unique as the ensembles on display recently at the Texas A&M- San Antonio Educational and Cultural Arts Center.

“I’ve seen Fashion Week since it first started to what it is now,” said Ramirez, a Laredo native. “To be able to showcase on such a platform is an incredible feeling. I moved here five years ago and if you had told me I would be here right now, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Honing his skills at the International Academy of Design and Technology-San Antonio, the limelight wasn’t far behind. Ramirez was the personal stylist to Devyn DeLoera, a contestant on season three of “The Voice.”

Joining Ramirez was Perez, another Academy of Design alumna, sporting Verseau, her prêt-á-porter women’s line based out of San Antonio.

While Perez has appeared in local runway shows, morning shows, and fashion magazines, taking part in Fashion Week San Antonio was a singular honor.

“For me, I’m just trying to learn and grow constantly as a designer and show different dimensions of what I can do,” Perez said. “(My style) has always been known as feminine and flirty, so this year I wanted to do something different and be more edgy and challenge myself.”

The Moda Next showcases are about more than just seeing emerging talent. By offering financial support for a collection and show costs, they turn sketches into clothing lines. Next year they will offer business and mentoring support via the newly-minted San Antonio Fashion Council.

One designer benefiting from the patronage is Christian Alonzo and his urban-inspired ’91 Authentic fashion line. Tailored, street-smart, and simple was his calling card for this year’s fashion week debut.

“This is the beginning to something big,” Alonzo said. “There’s New York, Paris, and San Antonio is up and coming. We’re finally getting the support we need and we’re really getting recognized now.”

For as much as Fashion Week San Antonio is about showcasing the accessible, it also prides itself on highlighting the world of the private atelier.

For Angelina Mata, growing up around art and fashion went hand-in-hand helped her evolve into a successful, self-taught designer. For her growing clientele, that meant an increasingly sophisticated sensibility to her fashion line.

The Texas native and mother of three has made a name for herself by providing unique garments with designs influenced by her clients. With her growing status in the fashion industry, the spotlight on San Antonio – where she is based – also intensifies.

“We have a lot of support in the community from other creative fields. More women are able to see high-end fashion, where as before you would have needed to go to a (fashion) house or atelier. So there is that interest,” Mata said.

San Antono is not on anyone’s list of fashion destinations, but Mata is doing her part to ensure the city makes its way into the conversation.

“As you work in this industry, there so many opportunities for growth,” she said. “I’m constantly learning new techniques … so the quality of my product has grown over the years.”

Fashion Week San Antonio is growing, each year building on its slow but steady success. The city likes it and wants more.

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