5:00- 8:00 pm

Location | AAFF OFFICE
203 E Emma Ave, Ste A
Springdale, AR 72764

ĒLXR Yoga Lounge and Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum partnered to present our first edition of ‘Conversations for Change’ – A Film Screening and Group Discussion to take on the topics of inclusiveness, anti-racist practice, and white privilege.

We aim to create a thoughtful workspace for women of color and white women to join together to discuss how we can work as a community to fight oppressive social norms and better understand each other. Most especially, we want to create an entry point for white women who want to participate as anti-racist allies but may not have the right tool-kit or know how to enter the conversation.

We are here to talk through it! We screened Chelsea Handler’s Netflix feature ‘Hello, Privilege. It’s me, Chelsea.’ and used it as a jumping off point for a group discussion.

People brought their own beverages, snacks, and open mind. Everyone came prepared to speak openly and honestly about their questions and experiences. This event helped expand our vocabulary for discussions on inclusivity and the importance of anti-racist practice.


On Wednesday, December 4th, at Dry Storage in Rogers, this panel met to teach the community about their experiences as a few of Northwest Arkansas’s local influencers. The panelists included:

Dominique Blake – Olympic Medalist and Founder/CEO of The DVB Group
Nicole Calhoun – PhD/ ERY, Yoga Enthusiast and Owner of ELXR Yoga Lounge
Sarah Conley – Content Creator, Marketing Consultant and Published Writer
2 Locas Brand – Jennifer Evans and Blanca Maldonado, Entrepreneurs and Community Leaders

Moderated by Rachel Fox Kipphut, Founder of NWA GIRL GANG, we learned from our panelists about how they became an influencer and how adversity pushed them to become who they are today, how they market to their target audience but strive to reach people who are different than them, how they continue to learn and grow as individuals within the community, and how they see the creative landscape developing and changing in our region.


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.


The Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum is pioneering a new way to envision the fashion industry in Arkansas. In June 2019 we hosted a five designer pop-up shop in Downtown Springdale to give our audience an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of their favorite designers custom pieces. Following the pop-up shop our CEO, Robin Wallis Atkinson, sat down with the five designers to discuss their practice, the state of the growing fashion industry in Arkansas, and the potential future for micro-batch manufacturing based in our state. Designers A’Lyece Lenae, Sindhu Varagani, Brandy Lee, Alyssa Graves, and Shamirra Clark joined us for this lively and in-depth discussion.


The Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum aims to promote inclusion, diversity and change to industry standards by rethinking the process of image production. As content creators, we have a privileged opportunity to change norms through thoughtful content production. Four of the most well respected photographers in the area discussed the importance of image making and the responsibility of being an a creative figure in our community.

Our panel of photographers Brandon WattsJessica WhalenMeredith Mashburn, and Miles Witt Boyer, led by marketing expert Stephanie G Funk, discussed how the photography landscape has changed since the re-emergence of NWA Fashion Week and how their practice has grown or been influenced by their collaborations with it.

They shared insight into the hard work and intellectual processes that have helped them rise to the top of their industry. Additionally, this panel provided insight into how Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum is working with creatives to change the image of Northwest Arkansas.

From Left to Right: Brandon Watts of B. Watts Photography, Jessica Whalen of Jessica Whalen Films, Miles Witt Boyer of Miles Witt Boyer Collective, Stephanie Funk (moderator), & Meredith Mashburn of Meredith Mashbrun Photography


Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum partnered with BlakeSt. to host an afternoon with Nylon Editor-in-Chief Gabrielle Korn. The editor shared her journey and led a group exercise in editorial content selection.
Watch the entire event here:


Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum partnered with the University of Arkansas and Crystal Bridges Museum. Net Impact is a nonprofit membership organization for students and professionals interested in programs and networking events centered on topics such as corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development, and environmental sustainability. Dr. Lance Cheramie of University of Arkansas, Shaul Cohen of Jordache (NYC), Gerson Fajardo of Walmart, Inc, and Alyssa Bird of Regenerous Designs shared how to make the fashion industry more sustainable in terms of design and product development, manufacturing, retailing, and education.


Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum hosted an evening with Designer and Motivational Speaker Linda Rowe Thomas. The designer shared her amazing story as well as one of her most recent collections.
Watch the entire event here:


Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum hosted an evening with Project Runway Alumni Korto Momolu. The designer showed a selection of works from a recent collection inspired by her frequent collaborator Michael Knight.
Watch the entire event here:

Korto Momolu (pronounced Cut • Toe – Mo • Mo • Lu) is a Liberian-born fashion designer and stylist is stamping her global brand on fashion-forward women’s wear and accessories. Korto is inspired by her African roots and celebrate the essence of her rich heritage through the use of traditional, luxury fabrics; skins; mixed prints, etc. A graduate of the L’Academies des Couturiers Design Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Korto also studied at the renowned Parsons School of Design in New York City while working as an independent fashion designer. Prior to arriving in Canada in 1990, Korto and her family had to flee Liberia following a civil war. In 2014, she competed on the third season of Project Runway All Stars and finished in second place. Most recently, Korto unveiled her spring/summer 2019 collection during New York Fashion Week – which was a tribute to her late friend, and former Project Runway All Stars castmate, Mychael Knight, who passed in 2017. Momolu was highlighted as a ‘Top 5 Designers to Watch’ by New York Magazine, and presently makes her home with her husband and two children in Little Rock, Arkansas.

All pictures taken by Joshua Sagar.

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