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 Future of Fashion was the Opening Night of NWA Fashion Week | Fall 2019 with runway shows benefitting Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum.

A one of a kind event encompassing The Future of Fashion, featured 7 brilliant designers’ collections that were developed during the first-ever NWAFW Designer Cohort Program. This was the first runway show that is a COMPETITION between designers and a fundraising event for Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum.

Deanah Baker- Senior Vice President of Walmart Apparel US, Jayne Harkness- President of J.H.G & Partners and Business Mentor for the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Gabrielle Korn- Fashion Writer, Editor and former Editor in Chief of Nylon Magazine, were guest panel judges at the event.

Deanah Baker and Gabrielle Korn also spoke on the impact of fashion on the culture and industry of the heartland, the current state of fashion, and more.

The winning designers of the event were Brandy Lee of Big Sister and Markia Herron of Herron Hats. Brandy Lee will have her most commercially viable garment produced in limited quantity for retail in the NWA area. Both of these designers will also have the educational opportunity of a lifetime with a mentorship with Jayne Harkness.



Rosie Rose, Head Designer & Seamstress

Rosie is a clothing designer from Northwest Arkansas. Her line is size-inclusive and celebrates diversity among all people.She also offers custom tailoring services. Find the pieces from tonight’s show at www.rosierosedesigner.com

Shelby Graff, Fabric Designer

Shelby is a surface designer and illustrator based in the Ozark Mountains. She has a BFA is Fibers with a minor in Fashion from SCAD.

Aubrey Costello, Design Assistant

Aubrey is a fashion and costume artist from Wesley, Arkansas. They have a BS in apparel merchandising and product development from the U of A.

Jewelry by Clayholtz Jewelry

Eyeglasses from Uptown Eyes



Here you see designs from the Eastern and Western worlds fuse harmoniously and impercetibly to create unique masterpieces that are incomparable to the contemporary ones. The clothing at Ethwes is as versatile as your imagination. Ethwes provides rare collection of multilook and reversible clothing easily accessible. The winter coats showcased at this NWAFW are versatile, unique and one of a kind and can be worn both in fall and winter. Ethwes also provides custom designing based on clients’ preferences and occasion. Feel comfortable and confident at Ethwes.com



Inspired by young professionals, entrepreneurs, creators, and divergent thinkers willing to push the envelope, Herron Hats: Unorthodox Tops was created for the fashion forward who dare to think beyond the brim. Trends are ever changing, but through centuries, the classic dress hat has withstood the test of time. Today, Unorthodox Tops blurs the lines of professionalism and creativity to bring to you, timeless pieces that can be worn for work or play. With each handcrafted hat, Herron presents a novel twist to an age-less design.

The creator, Markia Herron is the sole designer, creative mind, and maker for Herron Hats. She first decided to create her own business when faced with the daunting task of finding an accessory that paired well with her unique style. When this proved unsuccessful, she set out to make her own.

Self-taught, Herron dedicated countless hours watching tutorials, disassembling old hats in order to understand the lost art. Her shop has become her sanctuary, filled with hat blocks of various sizes, felts of different colors, and tools that the greatest of craftsmen would be proud of.

Today, Herron has created many designs of diverse colors and styles ranging from bold yellows to muted neutrals, each topped off with her signature penny. Her love of fashion paired with the art of the timeless craft has allowed Herron Hats: Unorthodox Tops to construct an eclectic spin on a classic design that transcends generations.



“Royalty: Royalty in Every Woman”

I decided to use this title for two reasons; firstly, few things interested me more than royalty as I grew from adolescence to adulthood. To this day, I lunge at every opportunity to visit any displays of royal fashion. For example, the Hamandhoka Royal Museum in Kathmandu, Nepal, the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, and the Victoria and Albert museum in London are a few of my most favorite museums.

Secondly, I want to celebrate the power of women in the modern age. Nothing quite inspires me to design more than being able to show the power of women.  In my opinion, every woman has the potential and power to make an everlasting positive change. The fragility of every detail and yet the stability these women showed inspire me to no end. With that said, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to showcase my own ideas of diverse royalty in modern women.



Robbie’s Era is a fashion brand that uses the influence of fashion as the conversation starter for effecting change in community and gender empowerment. Our aesthetic or point of view is an imaginative approach to business wear and tailored fashion. We defy the rules that casual, business, and formal attire live in completely different worlds.

Robbie’s Era designs for the woman who speaks with her presence, and we create statement pieces that compliment her lifestyle and character. Our goal is to simply empower her to tell her story with confidence, and “Fashionably Leave Her Mark.”



Big Sister is a Fashion Design studio that creates one-of-a-kind clothing for everyone. Started in Austin, TX in 2017 by Brandy Lee, Big Sister is fashion that feels good for everyone. Brandy, who is now proud to call Fayetteville home, designs and handcrafts each garment with an attention to detail and highly-skilled craftmanship that can be seen in every piece. Big Sister embodies what fashion stands for: unique, quality, creative and cool.

Videos produced by Christopher Smith of Rumwolf Video Productions. https://www.rumwolfvideo.com/