Fashiona loves fashion and she love loves what she calls " fashion with a purpose." The concept of fashion with a purpose is an event that highlights a greater need than the need of being always well dressed. Fashion Fights Cancer is one such cause; the 5th annual event includes a trunk show and will be on April 21, 2009. Fashiona sat down with one of founders, Tyree Canty and his business partner, O'Neal Wyche last week to find out more about the event.
Alicia "aka" Fashiona: Thanks guys for meeting with me. Please tell me more about how you got involved with Fashion Fights Cancer.
Tyree: Hope Meredith Nam (read her story here) and I have both had personal experiences with cancer and we wanted to do more to highlight both the disease and charities that help patients and their families. The proceeds from the event go to St. Jude Hospital.
Alicia "aka" Fashiona: I am looking forward to next week's event. So how did you and O'Neal meet and start working together? Did you go to school together or work in a company previously?
Tyree: Actually that is an interesting story. Kimberly Ward, an interior decorator knew both of us and thought we should meet. My degree is in Art History from University of San Francisco. I approach fashion from a merchandising and business angle.
O'Neal: We met and vibed and our heads were in the same place. We work differently but our styles compliment each other. I am from Atlanta and went Bauder College. My first love happens to be theater and I worked heavily in womens wear and costume design. Later I worked with Betsy Johnson. She was great to work for. She is a mom and nurturing but she also does cartwheels in the design area and has a contagious youthful energy.
Alicia aka "Fashiona": So in addition to launching a clothing line and hosting the annual Fashion Fights Cancer, what other business plans are you working on?
Tyree: Both of us are based in Atlanta and are committed to having a presence there and in New York. We really like working with kids both in middle school and high school and helping them find their voice in the arts. Since a lot of art and music programs are being cut in school, we wanted to fill that void.
Alicia aka "Fashiona": I agree with you. It is so important especially during tough times for kids to have a constructive outlet. Both of you have been in the industry for a while so what would be your "reality" check to upcoming designers?
O'Neal: Staying focused in violate industry. It is challenging being a black man in fashion and the "red" carpet isn't rolled out despite your level of talent. When I wasn't finding the staff jobs I wanted I freelanced and found my opportunities that way. Regardless of your entry, you have to crawl before you walk and pay your dues.
Tyree: It is also very important for aspiring designers to develop a business sense.
Alicia "aka" Fashiona: It is refreshingly obvious that you two have a great working relationship and respect each other's strengths. So O'Neal tell me about Archives, the line that you guys are debuting next week?
O'Neal: It is a womans line geared to women from 25-40. She can be a corporate or a creative type and doesn't mind making a statement. She cares more about being unique than wearing "labels". She is very detail oriented and chooses quality over quantity.
Alicia "aka" Fashiona: Can't wait to see the line in total! How long are tickets on sale for the Fashion Fights Cancer event?
Tyree: Tickets are on sale until April 20. They are available on the website: www.fashionfightscancer.com. Again the proceeds go to St. Judes Hospital.
Alicia "aka" Fashiona