Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Local designer finds a new way to market fashion

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 1:11 PM

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Have you seen my fab cover story in this week's issue? Yes, friends, fashion gets the cover this week, and it's about time, no? I chatted up local fashion designer Cigi Guzman, creator of The Flock, as she gushed about her upcoming event Public Photo Shoot Project. Here's an excerpt:

At last September's Charlotte N.C. Fashion Week (think New York Fashion Week on a much, much smaller scale), Guzman did something a little unorthodox: Instead of contracting too-thin-for-their-own-good models from an agency, she asked average-looking (but incredibly interesting) people in the Charlotte community -- like Jody Sullivan, owner of The Breakfast Club; Brian Bouwman, a local furniture designer; and Tonia Bendickson, anchor for WBTV news -- to walk her designs down the catwalk.

The stunt at Charlotte N.C. Fashion Week wouldn't be the only unorthodox move we'd see from this budding designer. Last October, Guzman orchestrated the first ever Public Photo Shoot Project ... right smack in the middle of Uptown Charlotte. Held at the corner of Trade and Tryon streets, the Public Photo Shoot Project was an opportunity for regular citizens, regardless of their size, style or look, to model pieces from The Flock and have their photos taken by a professional photographer. Guzman worked with photographer Sara Renee that day, styling people in her signature simplistic clothing and accessorizing as she saw fit -- and 58 regular joes became models. The photos were then used in The Flock's advertising and marketing campaigns and also given to the models for their personal use.

How's that for straying away from the stereotypical elitism associated with the fashion industry?

That's part of the reason why Guzman says she created The Flock in 2004 -- to distance herself from the typical fashion diva mindset. "I was getting sick of looking at these ads of absolutely beautiful people," she says. "I know how to use Photoshop. I know what it takes to make things look perfect. And these people didn't speak to me -- they didn't feel real to me. And so I wanted to create a line that embodied everybody, like all shapes, sizes, every walk of life."

With the spring collection of The Flock ready to be unveiled, Guzman has decided to host another Public Photo Shoot Project. This time, she's collaborating with local photographer (and Creative Loafing contributor) Jasiatic to present the project on Feb. 21 at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. Starting at 6 p.m., Charlotteans, with or without professional modeling experience, who have signed up on the PPSP site ( and paid their $20 modeling fee (which ensures the time slot, styling, the sitting fee and two professionally edited photos) will get the chance to rock one of the "five must-have pieces" from the spring collection of The Flock. The model will be styled by Guzman (and her second-in-command stylist/intern Chanel Price) then photographed; about a week later, the photos will be released to participants at a photo release party.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

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