Phoenix Fashion Week, the Southwest’s leading fashion industry event, returns October 20-21 at Chateau Lux. Today, meet co-designer Alexis Williams of Aloha Glamor, the only African cultural fashion brand in the world.

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hometown: Gulfport, Mississippi

Your first job in fashion: Founder of Aloha Glamor

How would you describe your personal style and brand? I would describe my style and personality as a combination of timeless elegance, cultural appreciation, vibrancy, inclusivity and creativity. It is a brand that not only offers beautiful fashion, but also tells a story of global exploration and celebration.

When did you know you had a passion for fashion? In the midst of my grief and deep need to improve my mental health, I stumbled upon a transformative journey that would become my lifelong passion for fashion. Amidst the storm of emotions, I found solace and inspiration in the vibrant colors and intricate patterns offered by Hawaiian and African cultures. These cultures, with their rich tapestry of traditions and visual stories, became my refuge. They taught me the powerful language of self-expression through clothing, allowing me to heal and rediscover myself. With every design I create, I pay tribute to the healing beauty of these cultures, infusing my creations with the therapeutic essence of their colors and patterns. My fashion journey is not just about aesthetics; It’s a testament to the power of great clothing to repair the soul. It is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and an enduring commitment to supporting others on their own journeys toward mental health and self-discovery through the transformative power of fashion.

Your biggest achievement in fashion so far and why? My biggest fashion accomplishment to date was receiving a $10,000 grant from the NAACP and the one and only Beyoncé the same week I was featured on as a small business in Mississippi to watch. This remarkable sequence of events represents the pinnacle of my fashion career, for several compelling reasons. The double achievement represents the fulfillment of my fashion aspirations on a personal and societal level. It has solidified my commitment to fashion as a force for positive change and set a new standard for the impact I hope to continue to make in the fashion world and beyond.

Biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? Although Mississippi is rich in cultural heritage, it has not traditionally been at the forefront of the fashion and cultural innovation scene. This historical background presented me with the dual challenge of leading a cultural movement within a society that has not yet fully embraced the depth and diversity of world cultures. The change I want to see has already been an enormous undertaking. That meant challenging the status quo, breaking stereotypes, and opening hearts and minds to the beauty and importance of cultural diversity through fashion. I often felt like I was pushing against the grain, but I was steadfast in my belief that Mississippi, too, could be a center for cultural expression and fashion excellence. Mississippi is not only my home, it is also a canvas on which I continue to paint the vibrant colors of culture and fashion, reshaping its narrative step by step.

Which designer inspires you and why? The famous Betsey Johnson. Her fearless use of bold and unexpected colors brings her creations to life, infusing them with a sense of energy and excitement that is simply contagious. Her desire to break free from the constraints of traditional color palettes has always been a bold move that inspires me to push the boundaries of my creativity. Also striking is its innovative approach to design. She’s a true pioneer when it comes to pushing the envelope in fashion. Characterized by their playful asymmetry, unique silhouettes, and unexpected details, her whimsical and unconventional designs have an innate ability to dazzle and surprise.

Advice for someone looking to work in the fashion industry as a designer? To those embarking on the exhilarating journey of working in fashion as a designer, I offer this honest advice:

  1. Cultivate your unique voice: In a world of trends and styles, your unique perspective is your greatest asset. Don’t be afraid to stand out.
  2. Learn constantly: Fashion is an ever-evolving field. Stay curious and open to learning. Take courses, sign up for Designer Bootcamp.
  3. Intern and Network: Building relationships in the fashion industry is invaluable.
  4. Accept constructive criticism: Feedback, even when it’s difficult to hear, is a stepping stone to growth.
  5. Passion and patience: Fashion is a labor of love. Be passionate about your craft and be patient with yourself.

Remember, your fashion design journey is not just limited to designing beautiful clothes; It’s about telling stories, evoking emotions, and leaving your mark on the world. Stay true to your vision, and let your passion lead you towards the amazing possibilities that await you in the world of fashion.

What can fans expect from your set in October? Picture this: a runway lined with glamorous models showcasing our amazing clothing and accessories, each piece meticulously designed to make you feel like a true trendsetter. Aloha Glamor’s 2023 “Married with Culture” collection aims to celebrate and blend diverse cultural influences, creating a harmonious blend of styles and traditions. The goal of this theme is to highlight the beauty of cultural diversity and emphasize the power of unity through fashion. I envision the audience gaining a renewed appreciation for different cultures, as well as inspiring you to embrace diversity in your own life. The success of the collections will be characterized by their ability to spark conversations about cultural inclusivity and leave a lasting impression of the beauty that can emerge when different cultures come together.

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