Raleigh, NC - September 24th.
September 24th. at 6:00 pm.
Date & Time:
Video by Jackie C. Simpson
Meet our Fashion Designers
Rustic Passport Studio by Nikki Namrata Chhatbar
There is much more to Nikki's designer apparel than multi-purpose pure-cotton clothing that is hand-block printed with eco-friendly dyes. Nikki's lineup revolves and evolves around mission CARE: (C) Creating awareness about sustainability,
(A) Assisting artisans
(R) Reviving age-old art
(E) Empowering women.
Born and raised in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat in India, Nikki has been designing and creating clothing jewelry handbags the home decor since she was a little girl. Her artistic talent knows no bounds. After studying fashion and business, she moved to the US but her immigration status put a significant pause on her plans.
She wanted to rejuvenate the dying handmade and sustainable art, along with the artisans that create it, and counter the mass-produced clothing that is becoming a norm in the fashion industry. Nikki persisted and is now getting ready to offer her brand Rustic Passport to connoisseurs with the slow fashion that is handmade and sustainable, with biodegradable materials and natural and sustainable dyes. Even the buttons she uses are made of wooden or coconut shells. Her fashion line reflects her beliefs in conscious choices and fair trade, offering one size fits most, reversible, and gender-neutral designs. Nikki lives in Durham with her husband and a 10-year-old boy. Her talents extend beyond fashion - she is an excellent cook, a great interior designer, and a meditation teacher for a decade. Nikki strongly believes that it is up to us, individual citizens, to serve our communities with the best that we have.
Itala Flores' Biography
Itala Flores is a mixed-media Artist and fashion designer. A native of Venezuela, Itala earned a degree in Marketing in her native Country, while always keeping her passion for art alive. As time passed she realized the need to come to the USA for her to follow her dreams. After some time she met her husband Luis, also an Artist. Seventeen years later they are raising their two boys in NC. As an artist, she is the creator of a new pottery technique called DRYPOTT. In 2017 she became an alumnus of ArtPop street gallery in Charlotte NC receiving as an award a billboard displaying her artwork for the entire year. In September 2017 she was invited to participate in her very first fashion recyclable runway for Charlotte fashion week winning first place by both, judges' and people's choice, which help her find the artistic direction to continue following her dreams and progress her skills. In March 2018 she presented her first showcase in La Mode Seen in Charlotte, NC, receiving positive acclaim. The same year she showcased her collection at New York fashion week and Paris fashion week featuring her dress in Harper Bazar Magazine. At this time Itala is a designer for Opera Carolina recyclable and a designer for ArtPop recyclable Fashion show and different National Fashion shows.
In 2020 Itala was selected as an Emerging Artist of the Year, by con A de Arte/ Art SI, Orgullo Hispano Award 2021 by Progreso Hispano News and nominated as a Designer of the Year by Level 21 magazine in Charlotte NC. As a community member, Itala is part of a board of directors in a local nonprofit called Teamtopher and a designer at I’m Possible nonprofit organization helping special needs children.
At this time Itala is a student of visual art, an Active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a student ambassador at Charlotte Piedmont Community College central campus, in Charlotte NC, and Steeplechase SC. Itala Flores was one of the featured designers of the 2022 Highlight Concepts Fashion Show in Raleigh NC.
Venancio Tadeo's Biography
Venancio Tadeo, originally from the Philippines, came to the United States in 1978, with very little money in his pocket but a big dream in his heart to become a fashion designer. His eyes were focused directly on Hollywood. After spending a few years in the West, Venancio felt a strong desire to travel and dive deeper into the fashion show industry, while studying fashion in real-time, up close, and personal, learning directly from the culture around him, through his adventures around the country.
This was just the platform Venancio needed, as he was now designing and exhibiting on some of the most incredible catwalks, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Montreal, New York, Miami, and Atlanta positioning him as an internationally recognized designer.
Venancio's journey is not close to ending; he has now decided to call the Charlotte area home, which is one of the most significant powers in today's fashion industry.
Venancio is synonymous with authenticity, creativity, extravagance, and elegance. Each of these adjectives is delicately captured in his designs.
Renowned for his professional career in the world of fashion, creativity, and design, Venancio Tadeo displayed his innovative creations at the 2021 and 2022 Highlight Concepts Fashion Shows, showing his exclusive collection in Raleigh NC.
Malou Tabada Cordery's Biography
Malou has had a flair for fashion since an early age. As a young girl growing up in the Philippines, she would cut paper or shape banana leaves to create dresses for dolls.
After starting her own family in the United States, she made her daughters play clothes and designed outfits for them as they were growing up, including costumes Malou and her daughters, wore while performing traditional Filipino cultural dances.
While Malou works a day job as a “frontliner” at Carolina Medical Center/Atrium Health, she has also pursued her creative talents as a recyclable designer since 2012 for CharlotteSeen, which includes Passport for Fashion and Charlotte Fashion Week and has won 1st Place by the judges and People’s Choice awards multiple times for her designs, including 1st Place, Best Recyclable Designer in 2015 for The Giving Tree, 1st Place, Best Recyclable Designer in 2016 for Carousel, and 1st Place, Best Recyclable Designer in 2018 for her Nordstrom design (commissioned by Nordstrom for Charlotte Fashion Week and exhibited at Nordstrom South Park). Malou has also participated in many other fashion shows, including the first upcycled fashion show, Color Me Goodwill, held at the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville North Carolina, where she won the People’s Choice award for her “Blue Collection. ” She has also been a participating recyclable designer for The McColl Center for Art and Innovation and Opera Carolina, for whom she designed recyclable gowns for La Traviata, The Marriage of Figaro, and Turandot.
These gowns were displayed in the lobby of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and featured in the Elysian and Carolina Women magazines. Her Marriage of Figaro design was also displayed at ImaginOn in downtown Charlotte.
One of the highlights of Malou’s career was going to New York City to participate in New York Fashion Week 2017, where Opera Carolina featured designs created by local Charlotte recyclable designers. In 2019, Malou’s Egyptian-inspired design for the opera Aida caused a sensation on the runway at Paris Fashion Week and was featured in Harper’s Bazaar magazine. She also participated that year in the International Fashion Show held at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, as well as Charleston Fashion Week. She has continued to showcase her designs to raise funds for charity, participating in the I’m Possible Fashion Show at Discovery Place, Pearls of Hope Foundation fashion show, and Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful. Most recently, she teamed up with Berhan Nebioglu and Christina Melassaris of 811 Gallery in Charlotte, where Malou showcased many of her award-winning designs in a fashion show to raise funds in support of Ukraine.
Malou’s designs have been featured in numerous fashion magazines and her designs are the subject of photoshoots by prominent fashion photographers, including Daniel Valverde for Boho Chic, Shawn Nguyen, Raymond Patrick, Max Ganly, and Anthony Bolds.
She has also been featured in numerous editorials and interviews about her work, including World Class Designers Magazine, and her designs have traveled extensively to Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Charleston, Las Vegas, Montreal, and Paris for various fashion shows and pageants.
In 2022 created the national state costume for Miss Teen North Carolina USA and won 2nd place.
In 2023 created the heritage costume for the USA National Miss Teen,
her creation was awarded 1st place in the competition.
Malou participated in the Highlight Concepts Fashion Show 2022 Raleigh edition and 2023 Charlotte edition, and now Malou is coming back to the 2023 Highlight Concepts Fashion Show in Raleigh.
Jonathan Runciman's Biography
My name is Jonathan Runciman, and I’m a fashion designer! As a child, I was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's autism. It was a struggle, especially when I wanted or needed to communicate with others. My word alone tended to fail me, but creating fashion feels like I’mcreating a whole other language. Every detail I am putting into my designs is an extension of my creativity. As I have evolved in my work in illustration, sewing, and pattern making at the Art Institute of Charlotte. By design, I have discovered ways of expressing my emotions in a new way. I was able to graduate in 2015 with an associate's degree in fashion design. Every day I am pushing toward my future by continuing to design and create every unique piece of artwork. I will always head toward my dreams of being a designer. My inspiration comes from mainly music! Being surrounded by musical talents in my family, hearing every note is like sewing fabric into position in creating a garment. I always listen to music while I go out looking at fabric, I feel a fashionable symphony that tells me the idea. The vibration rhythm describes color in full detail that flows around me, and I can decipher it through my illustrations. My passion is in my heart, I feel the ideas for my design in where to create the seams, style lines, and beadwork. Sewing the single strand of bead to create the intricate design to make the design its individual stand, is what I live for. It's the greatest foundation I ever use to show my beautiful vision for fashion that I’m able to translate, it's a perfect blend in harmony! Every design I do, I believe shows our inner beauty. I see that every person deserves to wear what they feel on the inside, beauty, grace, confidence, fierce, and sexy. Every single detail helps brings out who they are, the beauty that people see in them.
Menia Paige's Biography
She is MENIA, the creative force and fashion designer behind MENIAPAIGE. Menia firmly believes in the transformative power of fashion to inspire and empower individuals. As a seamstress, designer, inventor, and visionary, she is dedicated to crafting high-end fashion pieces that exude luxury, elegance, and individuality.
Menia’s journey began in Jackson, MS, where her passion for fashion blossomed from a childhood dream into a purpose-driven vision. Guided by the mentorship of a local seamstress named Ms. Janie at the age of 14, she embarked on a path of discovery and creativity, mastering the art of sewing and striving to reach her full potential.
During her high school years, she became known for donning custom-made wardrobes, paired with chunky or tall heels, which showcased her unique sense of style. Not only did she express herself through fashion, but she also took on the role of a stylist, designing fashionable prom dresses for my friends and sister.
Her dedication to pursuing a career in fashion led her to enroll in Fashion Design at Alabama A&M University in 2015. Throughout her academic journey, she served as a leader and mentor, holding the titles of Miss Junior and Miss Ward Modeling Troop. While studying, she actively networked and learned from celebrity designers and tailors in Huntsville, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, which later prepared her for tailoring singer-songwriter Ashanti's attire at the 2018 Espy Awards.
Building her business acumen, Menia co-owned an on-campus alterations business and gained valuable experience working with prominent fast fashion retail companies like Forever 21 and globally renowned luxury brands such as David's Bridal, Nordstrom, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch.
In 2019, Menia graduated and fully immersed herself in creative pursuits, operating as Menia Paige LLC. Her array of services encompasses designer work, wardrobe consultation, tailoring, creative direction, and set design. Embracing her alter ego, Menia, she pays homage to her late grandmother, Wilhelmenia G. Reeves, and channels her subtle yet eclectic spirit into her creations.
The women Menia has encountered and the experiences she’s had serve as endless inspiration. Each fashion piece she creates tells a unique story, inviting women with a lifestyle of eccentric minimalism to embrace their individuality and wear garments that reflect the narrative of their lives.
Now residing in Charlotte, NC, Menia is determined to continue the path of making Menia Paige an international, renown fashion company!
Mistress of Ceremony
I am from Virginia Beach, VA, and have always had a deep passion for all things music. I began training on piano at the age of 4 and have trained with many schools with vocals, violin, and guitar over the years.
I share my love of music through teaching and performing across the east coast. I find my inspiration through the pioneers of blues, jazz, and rock. I look up to artists such as Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Reading, and alternative artists such as Fiona Apple, Amy Lee, and Nora Jones.
I have over 10 years of performance experience with various bands in the rock, R&B, and alternative genres. I am always looking for new ways to express myself through music and bringing my love for music to the public.
My name is Alexandria Julian and I was born in Charlotte NC, and raised in Jacksonville Florida, for most of my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a huge passion for music. My mom and grandparents noticed my passion for music and put me in vocal lessons when I was just four years old. I have performed at various shows all over Florida. This includes the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Clay County Fair, Daytona Beach, and much more. I also performed in an off-Broadway show in NYC when I was 15 years old. I grew up singing all genres of music, but the ones that have inspired me the most are different types of pop and country music. I look up to
many artists, such as Billie Eilish, Lana Del Ray, Carrie Underwood, Illenium, SZA, Taylor Swift, Tate McRae, and many more. I am beyond grateful that I can share my love for music with everyone, and I hope to inspire all of you.
Shelby Maynor's Biography
Alexandria Julian's Biography
My name is Larissa Melville and I’m from Lugoff, SC. I have been singing since I was a little girl. When I was four months old, I was placed into foster care and the three years of visitation caused me to develop selective mutism. I have worked hard to overcome that and singing in front of audiences has helped. When I was little, I was always singing around the house putting on little performances for my family, I was serious about my performances. When I perform in front of people, I get nervous, but it pushes me to perform my best.
When I turned 16 years old, I started to take singing more seriously. When I listen to music it makes me happy, it’s like therapy for me so when I sing, I look to share the emotions in my voice. When I perform in front of people sometimes my nerves get the best of me, but as I grow more, I hope that I become a better performer. I have performed at various venues and musicals at my local fine arts center. I am excited to be participating in the Raleigh show.
Larissa Melville's Biography
Live Music During Cocktail Hour / Red Carpet
I was born in the city of Cuautla in the State of Morelos in Mexico. Since I was little I have had a penchant for music and although I was involved as a voice in different choirs and even sang as a soloist, it was at the age of 17 I surrendered my passion and studied to become a proficient saxophonist. The Saxophone has undoubtedly been the instrument that healed my heart and my only intention is that others may experience the same as me. Today I perform at weddings, fashion shows, romantic dates, birthdays, and many other occasions. My music is more focused on romanticism and everything that has to do with bringing joy to the heart. There's nothing better than leaving a memory with melodies of the heart interpreted by a saxophone.
Enrique Silva's Biography
It is a musical duo conformed by Gabriela Marcano and Pedro Sojo (Gaby and Pedro), two Venezuelan singers living in Raleigh and Cary a few years ago, with more than 20 years of experience on stage, who decided to unite their talents to offer the North Carolina public, the best musical experience with a wide variety of musical genres such as bolero, merengue, salsa, bachata, ballads, reggae, cumbia, pop, rock, and reggaeton, as well as other musical genres in English.
Gaby was part of the musical trio “Las Cherries”, with which she represented Venezuela at the “Viña del Mar Festival” in Chile and shared stages with Venezuelan singers such as Kiara and Diveana, as well as participating in countless musical productions for “Venevisión”, one of the Venezuelan channels with the highest rating nationwide.
A format that we hope will continue to grow and produce good music for its audience. Part of the vision is that good musicians are added and to be able to make LATINBEATS a very versatile band that will continue to offer the best possible musical experience.