What You Missed At DFW’s Second Annual Designer Emerging Challenge

This past weekend, Denver Fashion Week (DFW) hosted its second annual Designer Challenge at the Thompson Hotel where five designers competed against one another. The chosen winners will present their collections during the spring DFW show. 

Hosted by 9News anchor Erica Lopez, audience members had the opportunity to vote for their favorite designer. The other was voted by a panel of judges that was composed of Lead Producer Hailey Hodapp, Creative Director David Rossa, 303 Magazine Fashion Writer Lauren Lippert and two designers, Tyne Hall and Matilda Marginal

Competing designers included SPYTFUL, Dramé Apparel, Hyacinth and runway winners InspireD’Signs and La Adorna. Each presented a collection that best represents their brand and aesthetic.

Judges Tyne Hall, Lauren Lippert, David Rossa and Matilda Marginal


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Designer Faye Ashwood of InspireD’Signs presented first. Whether it be the fabric dangling from the model’s arms or the texture of every look, it was evident that each intricately detailed garment was carefully crafted. The flowy and velvety fabrics brought a mystical illusion to the runway — it’s no wonder why InspireD’Signs was a judge’s favorite. While the clothes spoke great volume, the hair done by Darrel Dewit and the makeup created by Sienna Guerrero perfectly encapsulated the fine garments. 

From flowers clipped into models’ hair to pearls decorated on their faces, it tied in the esoteric vibe in the most beautiful way.

La Adorna

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Bold, colorful, sheer — these are a few words to describe Brittany Schall’s La Adorna collection. While each look was extremely daring, the complexity of each look was one that left the audience in awe. Rainbow colors dripped from models head to toe and the vibrancy of the paper-like material made it nearly impossible to turn away. Hairstylist, Mae Jones took the extravagant garments and created hair pieces that reflected the flamboyant in the best way possible while also tying in the makeup look done by the designer herself. 

Between the hair pieces, the makeup and the playful colors, Schall truly brought wearable art to the runway in a way never done before making her an audience favorite.


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Designer Darlene Cancino brought a spicy twist to typical evening wear. Combining the simplicity that everyone loves in a going out look with a sleek but sexy vibe, each dress proved why SPYTFUL is the perfect place for a go to gown. Between the cutouts, the texture and the primarily neutral color palette, it’s evident why each look had the audience in awe. Hairstylists Noemi Vegara and Tania Latson kept the sophistication of each look by creating lustrous curls and updos while makeup artist Brianna Deleon created simple smokey looks that emphasized the beauty of each garment even more. 

Needless to say, Cancino brought glitz and glamor to the runway in a saucy yet delicate way.

Dramé Apparel

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Spring came early for designer Jaida Fatou’s collection. Filled with heart shaped cutouts, laced up garments and pastel colors, each look had a streetwear undertone with an overall classy feeling. Each look had its own special detailing whether it was delicate fabric intertwined with each other or the Dramé Apparel logo on the waistband of a band and top, it’s apparent just how much thought went into each look. Combined with hairstylist Kymmy Perry-Mazion’s sleek ponytails and braids and makeup artist Britney Ware’s bold eye, helped create some of the best sexy but playful looks. 

Because of this, Fatou’s collection was certainly noteworthy.


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Upcycled designer Rachel Hazelwood combined streetwear with glamor using denim and sparkles. Whether it be a tie dyed denim set or a string of sparkles handsewn, every look was intricately crafted. Though denim may seem redundant, Hazelwood proved that denim can be more than just typical blue. She combined bold colors with traditional chic monochromatic looks. Hairstylist Sara Zask took the ruggedness of the outfits and applied it to each hair look by intertwining the same sparkles seen on the outfits in each model’s hair. Similarly, makeup artist Donald Teran created dark eye looks emphasizing the boldness of each outfit.  

With that being said, Hazelwood created some of the most prominent looks of the night.

Though there were only two winners, the energy of the evening was full of eagerness and anticipation. It truly was a night to celebrate and see what Denver’s emerging designers had to offer. 

All photography by Roxanna Carrasco. 

Hair: Darrel Dewit, Mae Jones, Noemi Vegara, Tania Latson, Kymmy Perry-Mazion, Sara Zask

Makeup: Sienna Guerrero, Brittany Schall, Brianna Deleon, Britney Ware, Donald Teran

Models: Akinda Johnson, Jasper Farrington, Sida K, Ryan T Parker, Michelle Holmes, Hannah Lucero, Maia Gonzalez, Kaia Gilfert, Noah Burgan, Andrew Galan, Imari Ross, Devan McSwain, Bobbie Jean Lawson, Janyce Villa, Jamie Exxum, Talia Vetaliah, Shanae Lontine, Shannon Diggins, Madison Marsh, Michelle Holmes, Maya Otoum, Tyler Raymond, Saide Morales, Nylah Langford, Hailey Sorensen

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