The Indiana Black Expo Inc. Summer Celebration Fashion Show is an annual event that will showcase 14 designers and boutiques from around the United States. For the Expos’ 48th year, attendees can expect to see lots of edgy looks. Nicole Freeman, Executive Producer of the Fashion Show, said everything from street couture to elegant couture will be shown, along with handmade leather pieces and fun accessories. “I just think this is probably going to be one of the best shows that we’ve done,” Freeman said. The show will take place at the Indiana Convention Center’s Entertainment Stage at 4:30pm on July 21, 2018. This series of stories highlights designers, boutiques and creatives that will be participating in this year’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration Fashion Show.
In this day and age where it can feel like everything you see in a store window is made for a 6’2, leggy blonde model, inclusivity and body diversity is such a necessary and welcome attribute to clothing brands. For Briana Davis, creator and designer of First Impression, body diversity is a large part of what inspired her to start the brand.
“Me being a plus-sized girl myself, I’ve always had trouble with going into the store and finding exactly what I like in my size….,” she says. “I think it’s important when people are putting on a piece of clothing, especially something that I’ve made, first I want them to feel confident and I also want them to want to go out for others to see.“
Eschewing the traditional route of fashion education, she taught herself how to sew on a sewing machine that was gifted to her by her godmother. She felt that the kinds of clothing she wanted to buy in store were not always made for her, so she sought to make them herself. This type of initiative is an important part of her brand’s success, as she mainly works with clients to personally design items that fit their specific body shape. In doing so, she can work with the client from concept to the final product, offering a truly unique garment made to fit her clients’ individual needs.
As far as expanding her brand, she says that she’d like to include more ready-to-wear items like the ones on her website, as well as continue with her client-based designs. For the Black Expo Fashion Show, her main goal is to show viewers that anybody can wear anything at any size. There are no limits or rules that dictate what you can and cannot wear, and this can be seen through a wide range of diverse models used throughout the fashion show, whether it be body diversity, race, ethnicity, or gender.
“I do believe that with First Impression, the first thing we see about somebody is obviously their outward appearance,” she says. “That’s why I feel like connecting to the people is so important, and that positive message behind it is more important than anything.”
While she acknowledges the trial and error of creating the First Impression brand, she maintains the belief that anybody can follow the path she took with any of their passions. Despite not following the traditional path to success, she has been able to create a brand that she is proud of and that she can continue to grow and expand through perseverance and a vision conceived from a childhood interest in designing.
“If things are placed in you, if you feel like this is your calling and you have to figure it out, I feel like always go with that voice,” she says. “It’s definitely been a trying process but it’s also been worth it because I’ve met plenty of people that I wouldn’t think I would get to be in a room with otherwise.”
For the future? Davis says she can see herself moving to Houston, where she says she sees a lot of up and coming creative individuals. She’d like to move into building wholesale relationships with boutiques in areas that aren’t so “ahead” with fashion as New York or Los Angeles. Check her designs out at the Black Expo Fashion this Saturday!