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Arizona Fashion Foundation: The Latest Resource in Independent Fashion Design

by Elizabeth Armentor

Scottsdale, Arizona native Angela Johnson returned to her hometown after earning her degree at a prestigious Fashion design school in Los Angeles. Moving to the land of cowboy boots and turquoise jewelry is an interesting move for an independent designer with a punk aesthetic.

Funky chic from Angela Johnson Designs
FrostFrench lingerie
on the catwalk

Bringing Fashion Designers and Fashionistas Together
Knowing that in fashion it's not only what you know, but also whom you know, Angela and her business partner Rhonda Zayas launched the non-profit Arizona Fashion Foundation (AFF) as a way to bring designers, models, make-up artists, and hair stylists together for networking purposes. There's an online directory where fashion industry types can list their services free of charge. And for $50, AFF will send an email blast to its entire database to publicize an upcoming fashion event.

Capitalizing on Indie Status
Rather than writing off a fashion career in Arizona because her style doesn't fit into the local conservative western mold, Angela Johnson brought what Contact Magazine dubbed her "punk-nerd" line to the niche market of young urban professionals. Independent designers are business people as well as creative types and must be able to find the underserved markets and figure out how they can fit into them. If you're the only pearl in a sea of turquoise, you're sure to stand out.

Creating a Market for Fashion
By holding events like fashion shows and trunk shows, and making opportunities for designers and other important fashion people to work together, Arizona Fashion Foundation has made a climate favorable for expansion of the local design industry. If the creative portion of the industry is available in force, then manufacturers will find the area more attractive, improving the possibility that Arizona can develop as a thriving Southwestern fashion center.

Make Contacts in Fashion design school
If you're interested in returning to your hometown after school, you should consider attending a program close by. There are great schools available in most states. Networking with your classmates can make it easier to have a fashion career in a smaller city.

Sources:
Angela Johnson Designs
Arizona Fashion Foundation (AFF)