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Fashion & Art Gala Fundraiser for Flood Relief
By Jose Gomez on Monday, June 30, 2014

We're celebrating the presence of a fashion industry in Tampa, Florida by holding a Gala Fundraiser to benefit relief efforts for Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian flood survivors. Come, show your support, and network with others in the Tampa / St Petersburg area.

My Thoughts On Fashion Month 2012 in Tampa Bay
By Jose Gomez on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It was an action-packed September this year for those of us that are involved in Tampa Bay's fashion scene. I was honored to be involved in one of the larger events of the month and was able to experience the excitement, frustrations, and pride one feels in playing his part to put such an event on. This year, we also saw several smaller scale events that showcased local clothing and accessory designers. It felt like it was nonstop, and I am sure I missed a few events simply because of the time commitment it requires to attend all of them!

We also saw the two area fashion weeks - Tampa Bay Fashion Week and St. Pete Art & Fashion Week - pull off entire week-long events, which makes for the most aggressive attempts yet at transforming the month of September into strong venue for local and national designers in Tampa Bay. The verdict: I think we pulled the events off. At the very least, the combined efforts of every organization that held even the smallest event demonstrated that Tampa Bay fashion event promoters are committed to the vision of making our area a Fashion mecca.

Are we there yet? We're probably further than we'd like to be, but closer than we've ever been.

I was inspired by some cross promotion between the events. The cooperation between the technicians - photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and even designers was also fantastic. But, I strongly believe that we would have a stronger footprint if the fashion event promoters would start working together to preplan Fashion Month and make the transition between events cohesive. This year, there were a few things I saw that turned me off - all of it had to do with an unhealthy spirit of competition, lack of professional courtesy, and posturing. I personally know of at least several attempts to work together behind the scenes. Some of them went well. Others, not so well. But, we have an entire year to get it right, folks!

The real question (politics and judgments to the side) is if the people creating the products that we claim to promote really got something out of it. Designers: did you sell garments and/or meet new prospective clients? Models: did any new doors open up for you? Stylists and makeup artists: did you get your business card in the hands of new potential clients? Photographers: have you sold any pictures? Media: did you capture and capitalize on the events?

September 2012 is gone, but I would love to hear about how it marked history for the many professionals that put their blood, sweat, and tears - the REAL stars of the show - into making their mark. Tickets sales and sponsorships are great for event producers, but did we truly encourage commerce? Did we inspire a fashion feeding frenzy? Did we put Tampa Bay on the map?

Let me help you along - here is what one designer, Troy Anthony, had to say about his involvement in St. Pete Art & Fashion Week: "Wow - what a great fashion show with a great response! Woke [up] this morning to 41 emails, 19 text messages, and a whole lot of new friends! Shout outs to Francisco Azucar for giving me the opportunity and Dona Crowley, Arlene Williams, Mayra Gomez for putting on a faboulus show and StudioInque Prod for the hard work and all the beautiful Models who walked for me, and everyone who came out to support me...”

I'd love for others to share their experiences and success from any and all of the events that happened in September of 2012. Please share your success stories - the good and the fashionable. If you have a complaint, please do not post it here, but be encouraged to contact the event organizers of the show you have a complaint about and give them your feedback directly. I know everyone involved in these events, and how such feedback helps to make events better year after year.

New President of FIA
By Jose Gomez on Thursday, March 01, 2012

To the Tampa Bay Fashion Community,
"In a developing market, let us resist the urge to act like divas, and let's remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and no one is too big to fail. Just ask Sears."
I am honored and thrilled to have been named the successor to Alma Vidovic as the new president of The Fashion Industry Association. I first learned of the FIA about a year ago, and have been in love with its vision ever since. In the last several months, I have participated as a board member in the restructuring of our goals and initiatives. I am happy to say that we now have a strong board, dedicated to the task of making the FIA an important part of what will be the story of Tampa Bay’s rise to becoming a viable and important fashion market. But, our goal is not just a local one - it’s an international vision that I am convinced will be achieved through the use of media, the internet, and the passion of our membership base.

Alma’s vision of bringing industry professionals together to help educate and develop their businesses and careers will continue.  But, our goal this year is to focus on the real needs of our fashion community and meet them in a way that is both unique and relevant. Our Business Seminar Series is just one of several initiatives that you will see from FIA. However, in order to have the impact we are envisioning, we need the participation of our local community. In addition, partnerships with other similarly-minded associations and major fashion events in our area are also absolutely crucial to the mission. I am convinced that a united market is infinitely more powerful than a divided, competing, conflicting one.

I am not alone in this...

So, on my first day as president of FIA, I am issuing a challenge to the Tampa Bay fashion community as well as every other developing fashion market in the world. Find ways to bring the community together and promote your local fashion market as a united front instead of segmenting your community and making people choose between groups. Identify the strengths of the various groups and welcome new groups. Begin creating a framework for cooperation and mutual interest. Have zero tolerance for gossip and encourage face-to-face business interaction.

Above all, find a way to help everyone succeed, especially if it promotes healthy competition and increases market awareness. At the end of the day, fashion without art is emotionless. But, fashion without commerce is invisible. Let us foster a vibrant environment that forces us to continually raise the bar for everything from the garments we create to the events we promote. In a developing market, let us resist the urge to act like divas, and let’s remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and no one is too big to fail. Just ask Sears.

With that, I want to end by thanking all of our members, associates, the board of directors, and the Tampa Bay fashion community for giving me such a warm welcome. So many exciting things are on the way this year, especially during September. I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve you, and I look forward to networking with every one of you.


Jose Gomez, Jr., CEA, MVTA
President of the Fashion Industry Association

The Power of Networking for Models
By Jennifer Adams on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

With the year 2012 in full effect, we all need to remember the power of networking. Networking itself can be used in many forms - in person meetings, conference calls, industry events, and of course internet media such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and countless others.

When you first meet someone, especially clients- you have ONE chance to sell your product - You! When it comes to modeling, how can you successfully convince a client that you are that special something that they need? Here are a few tips on how to do just that!

First, be on time. This first step is crucial because it shows respect to the potential client you are meeting, and also let's whoever you are meeting know to take you seriously. Second, thank the client for meeting with you and make sure you are prepared. For a model, this means to have your portfolio, complete with updated pictures, comp cards, polariods and if necessary, resumes.

When it comes to casting calls- runway or commercial work- always leave either a comp card or headshot with contact information on it. Even if they don't give you a call back, if they are impressed with you, they DO keep your information for future possible work.

The last tip is to make sure you are appropriately groomed in hair, makeup and clothing. Models, I CAN NOT stress this enough! I have personally been to and assisted at several different types of castings, and I can tell you that clients do look at how you present yourself. When it comes to castings, bring a hair tie to pull hair back if requested, limit your makeup - minimal amounts of foundation, concealer, chapstick and a little mascara is perfect. Clothing should be of a solid color, appropriate for your age and flattering to (and showcasing) your figure.

These three tips, if you take them seriously, will put you ahead of the modeling competition! For more information or questions, I can be contacted through Facebook at or on Twitter at !

Jennifer Adams, Modeling Co-Director

How To Get LOVE and Fashion
By Tamy Lugo on Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The day of Love approaches us and sooner than expected! Guys did you think we'd forget? May I clarify this day is not only about lovers, but about friendships, family, all whom we cherish and hold dear to our hearts. That's Valentine's Day…

Speaking of friends, a close friend of mine recently asked me the following question. So for all single ladies reading this, I decided to answer her question here:

Would guys prefer to see us in dresses and skirts vs. dressy pants on Valentine's Day? What styles would be appropriate?

Well, I took a little poll on Facebook and discovered that 10 out of 12 guys prefer to see us as the beautiful, feminine, goddess-like creatures we are. There's no better way to portray that than with dresses and skirts. The appropriate styles would depend on the location.

On Valentine's Day, if you want to grab a man's attention, take a vacay from your basics and slip into something with color. Perhaps even candy colors, such as hot pink, blue, purple, lilac, or yellow. Pants on a date are fine too, especially when paired with a couple of girly pieces.

Whether you're single, in a relationship, or married; do mix your top with a sparkly piece (i.e.: sequins), and do not hesitate to show your waist! It's the best way to accentuate your figure. Cinch a tunic top or a body skimming styles at the waist with a belt or sash, and va va voom! Instant body flattery.

To top off your looks, I would suggest try these for your hair:

  • Loose waves
  • A chic bun
  • A messy bedhead ponytail
  • Undone updo

These are supposed to look effortless, yet gorgeous.

As women, one of our strongest wants is to Love and be loved. So to the single ladies, and those that are involved in a relationship, I want to say that you don't have to do or wear what you see in lingerie ads or magazines that advise you to flaunt your goods to capture the man you want. Think about it - what is the type of Love you want to attract?

From my experience, I know that what most men do like are women who make their assets a mystery, which leaves more to be desired.

I hope you find what you're searching for this Valentine's Day. Do celebrate Love. But, do not compromise your integrity. Because after all is said and done, it is all you have.

Meet the FIA's new Fashion Director, Amandia Reese Craig
By Amandia Craig on Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello lovely fashionistas and gentlemen of the world!

I am Amandia Reese Craig, freelance fashion stylist and creative director, and most recently, Fashion Director of the Fashion Industry Association.

If you're anything like me, you are absolutely obsessed with all things fashion. There could not be a more fun career choice then making the best look better through the expression of wearable art, a colorful personality, and continious style. The mere thoughts of texture, stunning silhouettes and, most importantly, others who enjoy fashion just as much as I do, instantly put a smile on my face.

Here at The F.I.A., we strive to bring excellent networking, education and business opportunities to fashion industry professionals. As your Fashion Director, I am here to bring you news from the cutting edge of fashion, advise you on your fashionable ventures, and to ensure you always have a friend who lets her fashionable flag fly!

On that note, feel free to share your feelings, opinions, and questions - I am an open book, and will strive to be your ultimate fashion dictionary. Until next time, indulge yourself in the world of fashion and let style be your life and fashion be your love.


Amandia Reese Craig
Fashion Director of F.I.A.
Fashion Stylist/Creative Director

February Letter from the President
By Alma Vidovic on Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello Fashionistas!

February and September are biggest months for the world of fashion. New York kicks off the series of fashion weeks, followed by London, Milan, Paris, LA, Tokyo, Berlin and Cannes. The designers quickly coordinate the backstage teams to ensure the shows are seamless, while the models effortlessly strut down the star-studded catwalks, and the buyers write up wholesale orders for boutiques and mega chain retailers. After the shows, the chic fashion crowd flocks to sparkling after parties and gets up bright and early to attend the next day of shows.

While the fashion week is the most glamorous event of the season, at the end of the day the designers' goal is to fill orders. And that is where the FIA comes in. We are here to keep our members in the know on the latest in the fashion world, but more importantly to help them become and stay profitable. So this month, we are kicking off a three-part Business Seminar Series.

The first session starts off on Wednesday, February 29th 2012 at the chic new Ceviche's location in south Tampa on 2500 W Azeele St. We have partnered up with Fee & Jeffries to introduce our members to the basics of drafting a business plan and business formation. Mr. David Jeffries, an experienced corporate attorney, will cover the basics of sole proprietorship, partnership, incorporation, and operation agreements (LLC, LLP, S. Corp, C, Corp). Space is limited, so tickets are first-come, first-serve. The $25 admission fee will also include soup/salad, entree and drink at Ceviche. We hope to see the local fashion entrepreneurs take advantage of this incredible value and join us for the event.


Dressing for the Occasion
By Farah Qureshi on Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No matter the lifestyle we lead, every morning we think about the day ahead and plan what to wear accordingly. Some lead a more casual way of life as a student, some a more formal lifestyle as an industry professional. However, everyone encounters situations in which the way you are dressed is important, such as interviews, fashion shows or industry events. There are a few simple guidelines to remember when dressing for these occasions that will make the decision process stress-free.
Interviews - A dreaded situation for many people. The interview itself can go either way, but one thing you can nail right off the bat is your appearance. Always dress professionally. This means a suit and tie for men and a suit for women as well. Often times, people seeking a job find it appropriate to wear a nice pair of pants and a collared shirt, leaving them with a half-done look. Wearing a full suit shows your potential employer that you respect their company and are willing to bring a professional work ethic to the office each day. Choosing a neutral suit color such as black, navy or grey with a more colorful collared shirt can add a pop of color that will still show your personality.

Fashion shows can be used as an arena to take some chances with what you're wearing. If you're going to an established designer's show, it is usually customary to wear something from their collections. This may seem like it limits your choices, but it actually gives you the opportunity to wear something of theirs in a completely off-the-chart way. Looking fashion-forward at a fashion show almost goes unsaid.

If the fashion show you're attending is lower-key and for an up-and-coming designer, it's a bit different. Get a feel of the designer's style beforehand and try to mirror that in your dress. For example, if the designer is more Bohemian chic, wear a maxi skirt with an oversized top and of course tons of jewelry.

Industry events for a fashion professional are somewhat a cross between an interview and a fashion show. You're still making the first impressions you would in an interview, but at the same time, you're not in an office atmosphere. Proper style at these events is subjective, but it's important to understand the purpose of the event to gauge the degree of formality. Dressing business professional is still a must, but having fun with accessories and color is acceptable.

Not Just Another Pretty Face (Part 2)
By Mayra Gomez on Saturday, January 14, 2012

If you thought that a pretty face was going to get you a modeling job…think again. In our last article we talked about how a model needs to be well rounded in every aspect of her job. Clients want models who can do a job and do it well.As promised we asked several industry professionals the question, "When booking a model for a photoshoot, TV or runway show, what do you look for? (besides the obvious 5'10" size 4 etc.)This is what they had to say:

"Well let me say we all like them to be 5'10” but I have to be real … I look for a model that I can talk to, communicate and that she is receptive to directions. Also she has to be assertive educatedand her vocabulary needs to be good. It's very important that the model is professional, not showing up late to the appointed time, and looks fresh.”

Designer, Zhanna Kens

"I don't normally have a long term working relation with models, but I have to say that it pleases me to hear that 98% of all my models go to school andI hear them say " I need a back-up plan should modeling not pan out"

Designer, Jacqueline Saldana, Jacka Designs

"When booking models into a project, I look for a look in their portfolio which is what the client is looking for (sorry about the puns on looks). Laymen believe in the industry myth that all models are drop-dead gorgeous, which isn't true. It's about marketable looks which will sell a product or service. In fashion, though, there are a higher proportion of beautiful looks.”

Photographer, Chris Passinault

"Because of my style of shoot... I look for posing in their port first and foremost. Next I look at overall beauty and appeal. And lastly I look for confidence and camera connection. In conclusion...if they blow the phone interview... they blow the chance. I need to hear intelligence, ability to understand and grasp concepts, and excitement! This is my general take on a photoshoot consideration.”

Photographer,Tommy Post

Models, it looks like Knowledge + Beauty = Paid Jobs. Let's get smart in 2012 you don't want to lose out!
By Mayra Gomez

Face the Music
By Danielle McFarland on Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy 2012 fashionistas! It's a new year and with that, comes new goals. Get  in killer shape, get in style, get outta debt, get a man...and the list  goes on and on. Perhaps one of the majors on your list this year is to  get it together with your skin care. If this is you, welcome, we've been expecting your visit. No need to rush to your dermatologist and blow  your paycheck on product after product when there are affordable and  easy solutions to achieve the results you want. So check out these  babies and stock up for your best skin year ever!

First things first - start off with a facial cleanser morning and night to  keep your skin looking clean. Makeup, dirt and residue can build up  within your pores and, well you know the rest. Try Philosophy's Purity  Made Simple.  Not only will you rid your face of the grime of a long  day, but your skin will feel soft and look youthful with this  best-seller.

Follow that with the sweetest treat you'll have all day:  Bath &  Bodyworks' True Blue Spa Really Refreshing Face Scrub in peppermint.   The tiny granules will take off dead skin without irritation like other face exfoliants.  And, the menthol sensation will leave your face  feeling revived and refreshed.

Moisturizing is key, as sun and cold weather can dry out skin. No one product is  suitable for every skin type, so the most important part of selecting a  moisturizer is finding the one right for your skin. I recommend a trip  to your local Sephora for a free appointment with a Sephora Skincare  Expert (there is one in every store). They can determine the right  treatment for your specific skin type and budget. And don't forget,  they're required to give you a small sample for any product you'd like  to try.  So to prevent breakouts, allergic reactions or irritations,  take a bit home to test it out first.

I'm completely at peace with being thirty-something, but not with the way  my eyes can scream my age! Solution? Ole Henriksen's Ultimate Lift Eye  Gel. Just a tiny dab underneath your eyes and on the lids before bedtime can make a drastic change quickly. Better yet, keep it in the fridge  for that cool, soothing feeling on your sleepy peepers.  For a boost of  morning energy, Sephora-brand Instant Depuffing Roll-On Gel can take  your eyes from drab to fab before you walk out the door.

Next, if your lips are anything like mine, they tend to get chapped and dried out during the winter months. Blistex can only get you so far, so how  does one rid the lips of this seasonal faux paux? Try this simple DIY  remedy:
  1. Mix a pinch of brown sugar to some Vaseline or clear gloss in a small container or anything with a removable lid
  2. When doing your nightly ritual (wash face, moisturize, etc), apply the scrub to your lips
  3. Massage in a circular motion to eliminate flaky skin
  4. Sleep with a moisturizing balm (Burt's Bees 100% Natural Lip Balm works well)
In the morning you'll wake with soft, kissable lips!

Another key ingredient to keeping your beautiful face looking gorgeous is  obvious…sun block! Most moisturizers contain some form of block these  days and if you're worried about the sun's harmful rays, add some  additional block of your own to your moisturizer. On that note, get  enough sleep, drink lots of water and limit alcohol - your skin will  thank you.

It's never too late to start taking care of your skin because whatever you do now, will pay off in the long run.

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