Tree branches coated in a thick layer of ice glistened in winter’s brilliant but unforgiving sunlight as cars drove carefully on frozen, streets in Downtown Flint. The temperature hovered in the teens. Yet there was a tiny glimmer — a promise of spring in the air at the Trend Volume II Fashion Show. Held at the Masonic Temple, this year’s second annual show highlighted the collections of fashion designers in the Flint and Detroit area. The event was the brainchild of Flint native Shatarian (Shay) Oliver. A graduate of Flint Central High School, Shay comes from a long line of seamstresses. “My grandmother, Esther, was a seamstress, and later, my mother, Florenda, was always making dresses for people in the community. She would even sew in the mornings before she went to school, making things for herself and her friends!” Shay exclaimed. Even Florenda’s dad’s side of the family included needle experts, as his sisters were also seamstresses. “I just grew up around it,” Shay laughed.
Shay began drawing dresses when she was just ten years old; but she really became interested in fashion design when she was a sophomore in college. At that time, she began to notice that many of the women’s dresses at retail shops looked unoriginal and redundant. This inspired her to create fashions that were unlike anything else. “I wanted to be different, so I designed my own,” she says. Now, Shay’s line of original clothing includes creative women’s apparel, night wear for special occasions and business casual wear. “It all depends on what inspires me at the moment,” she said with a playful smile. Shay started her formal business in 2011. The Dress House, as it is called, is an online boutique specializing in women’s apparel and accessories. Shay designs the dresses and her mother, the skilled seamstress, brings the clothing to life. “I love using my creativity to design a piece and then watch it come to fruition!” she exclaimed.
At the runway show in late December, Shay’s own Spring and Summer 2014 collection was featured as the models gave a preview of upcoming spring and summer trends: bold prints and colors. Elegant, classy and sassy describe the models as they displayed the work of the talented designers. “Camo will be big this spring,” Shatarian says. Also popular for the spring are vibrant colors and bold patterns reminiscent of the 60s.
The work of other designers included Gorgeous Junk, which designs apparel for kids; West Side Society, an urban designer; and Nirre Collection, with a selection of bow ties. Designs from 786 Retail of Arizona were also featured at the show, along with Sannie Lucille. “Our runway show was elegant and fun,” says Shay. “It’s an opportunity for people to get to know what’s going on in Flint as far as fashion.”
“It was amazing!” exclaimed Crystal Demps, Publicist for the runway show. She said the event brings many people back to Flint to visit and to see something good going on in their hometown. “While some of those who participated cultivate their talents elsewhere, their work truly represents what’s good in Flint,” she added. “The show highlighted the very talented designers in Flint and much of their work exemplified what this area is about,” says Crystal. “Their designs were very innovative. It speaks of the rebirth of Flint.”
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL GLEASON