As part of Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum’s educational mission, we initiated our first designer cohort for the Fall 2019 Shows. Eight designers were selected to participate in the first cohort to grow their brands and help them develop their collections.

These designers attended a Designer Cohort Day on August 31st, 2019 where they presented part of their Fall 2019 collections to Gabrielle Korn, former Editor in Chief of Nylon Magazine, for individualized collection critiques. They also had workshops taught by industry experts including:

  • Small Batch Manufacturing: Sequoyah Collective, Raney von Gremp & Ryan Dossey
  • Body Positivity & Casting Diverse Models: Sarah Conley
  • Runway Hair: Montinique Davis & Rebecca Kessler (NWA Fashion Week Co-Directors of Hair)
  • Runway Makeup: Vanessa Moates & Sam Weidman (NWA Fashion Week Co-Directors of Makeup)
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing Strategies & Tactics: Rachel Fox
  • Budgeting for Small Businesses: Dr Cash Acrey
  • Runway Styling: Katie Marquess


*The application to participate in AAFF’s Spring 2020 Designer Cohort is now closed.

Designers selected to compete in the cohort will work directly with the AAFF Team as well as professionals from the fashion industry to develop the strongest collection possible for the NWA Fashion Week Spring shows. 

Cohort Workshop Dates are mandatory for all designers and are scheduled for March 14 and 15, 2020. Collections will show on Thursday, April 16th 2020 in Downtown Bentonville and compete against each other for a cash prize to be given to the winner.  

Designers will meet with Refinery29 Director of Fashion and Culture Gabrielle Korn as well as other industry experts Kerin Rose Gold and Brittany Allen. Gold is a NYC based artist and accessories designer who had worked with Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez among many others. Allen is Austin based designer currently competing on Season 18 of Project Runway. These guest mentors will provide feedback on the designers’ progress.

Designers are expected to have completed a minimum of five complete runway looks by the workshop dates.

If you are interested in being notified when AAFF’s Fall 2020 Designer Cohort application becomes available, please contact