Denver Fashion Weekend fall 2015, presented by Schomp Automotive, officially kicks off tonight. The four-night event will feature the latest trends in hair, makeup, artistry and fashion. Taking place at City Hall Event Center on Broadway, DFW is a collection of Denver’s and the nation’s most talented designers, artists and models.

Tonight will be Denver Fashion Weekend’s first-ever non-traditional runway show. The event will showcase plus size fashion by AnnaFesta and petite fashion by Inspyre Boutique, as well as tattoo and 30+ model presentations.

To kick off the big event, 303 Magazine interviewed three of the “non-traditional” models walking in tonight’s show.

Tickets are still available, but purchase them NOW before they’re gone. 

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Amanda Straw, Plus Size Segment

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How long have you been modeling for?
I just got into the industry. I was in a modeling contest for Torrid this summer, and I made it pretty far. Torrid told me this is something I should pursue and chase after modeling. I then reached out the the Donna Baldwin Agency in September, I met with them and I got signed. I am really fresh to the industry and I am really excited about what the future has in store for me.

What kind of modeling do you focus on?
Being as new as I am to the industry I don’t feel like I have a focus yet. This is because I want to try everything I possibly can. I am very open to working with whoever I can and trying different styles of modeling so I can to further my professional career.

Why did you want to attend the casting for DFW?
I went to the casting for DFW because I think it is so amazing there is a non-traditional show this year. I was so excited when I saw that and I literally said out loud “I want to be a part of this.” I think it is wonderful that different men and women are getting modeling opportunities that they might not have had in the past.

How does it feel to be walking for the plus size show?
Honesty it feels pretty damn good. I think it’s time that plus size women are getting the chance to show just how beautiful we all are. It feels good to break stereotypes of what models “should” look like and prove that we are equal.

amanda2Is it tough to be a plus size model in the industry? 
Growing up I was always “thicker” than most of my girlfriends. When I was younger this used to really bother me. No matter how much I worked out or dieted I never could get as skinny as my friends. Finally it hit me one day that my body isn’t supposed to look like that and I won’t ever be super skinny. From that moment on I have worked on loving myself and my body at whatever point it is at. I focus on being healthy and happy now. So to answer the question, no it isn’t tough to be a plus size model. This is how my body always has been and probably always will be and I am happy and confident. If I can be a role model for young women and women of all ages who have the same body type as me and make them feel proud of their bodies I have done my job.

How are you going to prepare for the big show?
I am going to do a couple things. First, I am going to practice my walk and make sure that it is polished and sharp. Second, I am going to live my life how I typically would going to work, hitting the gym, playing with my dog. Third, I am going to get super pumped and invite as many friends as I can to come to the show!

How does it feel to be involved in the fashion industry in Denver?
It feels really good. Like I said I haven’t been a part of it for very long, but from what I have experienced thus far it seems like everyone I come across is really nice and excited to have me be a part of the industry. It is really fulfilling to finally be pursuing a dream I have had for a long time and I feel very fortunate to meet new people and do what I love.

What advice would you give someone to empower them to want to put themselves out there in this industry?
The advice I would give is to just do it. Really, it is that simple. If you want to try it go for it. If one person says no there will be someone out there who will say yes to working with you. You will never know what the answers will be until you try. You can’t be afraid of the roadblocks that may happen, those road blocks are put there to make you work a little bit harder.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I am incredibly grateful for the experiences and opportunities I have had so far. I am so thankful for the support and encouragement I get from my friends, family and boyfriend. I would also like to thank Anne Fanganello and her brand AnnaFesta for letting me be a part of her shows and representing her brand. I don’t know where the future and my career will take me but I am ready for it.

Chu Ming Min Luftig, Petite Segment

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Photo by Candace Peterson for Crave Magazine.

How long have you been modeling for?
I have been modeling for four years but only seriously modeling for two years. In my first two years I was just dabbling in the art of it. When I got discovered by Charlie Price at the DFW casting, that is when my passion and modeling career got serious.

What kind of modeling do you focus on?
When I first started modeling I focused on alternative modeling because I wasn’t tall and I had/still have tattoos. Now I strive to be a high fashion model. I know I still have a lot of obstacles in front of me (height, tattoos) but Charlie Price has given me many amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t have had. I was able to walk in the International Beauty Show in NYC and Vegas for Beauty Underground.

mingWhy did you want to attend the casting for DFW?
I attend the casting every season because I want to see the industry models, improve my walking, and get my name out there.

How does it feel to be walking for the petite show?
It feels great to walk on night one and four as a petite model. Night one is very important to me because the show embraces the different body types which are generally viewed as a disadvantage. I am walking this season for reasons I don’t get cast for other shows

Is it tough to be a petite model in the industry?
It is very tough to be a petite model in this industry because a lot of people request specific heights (5’9″-5″11). When they review my submission and see that I’m 5’3″ they throw out my submission before they look at my photos.

You’ve walked in the Hair Show before. How do you prepare for a big show like DFW?
I honestly don’t do anything special before a show but drink lots of water, and to relax I play games on my iPad or mingle with other models.

How does it feel to be involved in the fashion industry in Denver?
It feels amazing to be in Denver’s fashion industry. I studied fashion merchandising in college up at CSU and interned for Vanessa Barcus of Goldyn and Tricia Hoke in high school. I remember helping Tricia at a fashion show and wanting to be up on stage modeling her designs and now I’m doing that. It feels good to have my name recognized in such a tight-knit community and I’m continuing to push myself as a model

Anything else you’d like to add?
“Go blonde. Eat cereal” -Daul Kim

Lindsay Lee, Tattoo Segment

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How long have you been modeling for?
I have been modeling for just over a year now. I stumbled upon modeling by a good friend that suggested I give a local photographer a call and ask if he’d be interested in shooting. From that moment I fell completely in love with the art.

What kind of modeling do you focus on?
I try to focus primarily on the type of modeling that empowers me emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have a great passion to produce actual pieces of art in my photos. Through creative collaboration with several local photographers I have been extremely lucky to be a part of the creative process in which I can make a difference in people’s lives through a simple yet complex image.

Why did you want to attend the casting for DFW?
I attended the casting call for DFW because I also love the runway. I have walked in several other shows and find it just as empowering as modeling in photos. I get to be the display for the art that the designer has compiled.

How does it feel to be walking for the tattoo segment?
I am extremely excited to have been chosen to walk for the tattoo segment, primarily because my tattoos are another form of personal expression and I am able to express things that I cannot seem to express in words through my tattoos. I am really excited to be a part of a movement that makes an alternative model less taboo. By getting to walk for the tattoo portion I get to help show the world tattoos are art too.

LindsayTell us about your tattoos.
My tattoos lay out my life – it’s that simple. They do not define me, but they are a life long story of my ups and downs. Each tattoo has a specific story and deeper meaning than just what they visually appear to be. My most recent and largest tattoo on my left leg is an abstract version of sacred geometry. It describes me perfectly: perfectly complicated. I have experienced some of the most wonderful moments and some of the worst. I have captured these moments on my body so I may always remember them.

Is it tough to be a tattooed model in this industry?
In some ways, yes it can be. Some designers don’t want models with tattoos, some agency don’t want tattoos either. So yes it can be difficult to find work because of them. However, there are a lot of tattoo-based companies that do in fact want their models to be heavily tattooed. Having so many tattoos does make it harder for some people to take my passion for the industry seriously. Tattoos have been labeled as taboo for so long in our culture that it is at times difficult for people to see passed the ink, but see talent with ink. It’s a free addition to the photos in my opinion. More visual appeal and interest.

How are you going to prepare for the big show?
I have been practicing my walk ever since auditions. I may have or may have not even brought my heels to the gym to walk on the treadmill.

How does it feel to be involved in the fashion industry in Denver?
It feels amazing. I love the collaboration and the community involvement it brings. Having so many people with the same ultimate goals in one place is a very powerful experience.

What advice would you give someone to empower them to want to put themselves out there in this industry?
Do what makes you feel good about yourself. People are quick to judge, but if it makes you happy then you are doing it right. Stepping out of your comfort zone is not always easy but can lead to some very exciting opportunities that you may have never guessed would be possible.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to everyone involved with DFW and letting me be a part of this exciting, ground breaking day. I appreciate everyone’s hard work for this event and can’t wait to wear my designer and my TATTOOS with pride!

Tickets are still available, but purchase them NOW before they’re gone. 

About The Author

Lindsay is the former Editor and Fashion Editor of 303 Magazine. She loves brunch, vintage leather jackets, a good pair of heels, and traveling all over the world looking for a good lede. Contact: lindsay@dev-303magazine.pantheonsite.io | Follow on Instagram: @303lyns

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