Current Issue

Fashion Week Draws Controversy As Grows, Changes

Posted by tbaker |
Fashion Update

Photo By Celi Birke
Danielle Vaughan, Milo and Jade Terminella pose for a photo at Lola Boutique. Jade’s concept of fashion for philanthropy was inspired by her love for animals.

By Terrah Baker

What began as a fleeting conversation between boutique owner Jade Terminella and former Celebrate magazine advertise sales person Danielle Davis Vaughan, has become the NWA fashion event of the year in what seems like overnight. After just one year of fashion frenzy and collaboration, their donation goals tripled — from $35,000 to $100,000 — models had to pay a registration fee, they added eight benefitting nonprofit groups, and prices to show the same amount of looks as the year before increased times three.

For the founders, large sponsors such as Mercedes-Benz of Northwest Arkansas and L’Oreal, and some small boutiques and designers trying to get their name out there, the growth is a welcome change. But a small group of local designers say they’re not happy with the direction Fashion Week took in its second year, and want to keep their artistic voice heard in the community. Something they said they weren’t allowed to do within the fashion week planning committee, chosen by Terminella and Vaughan.

“We got involved last year in fashion week because it was the first year and we thought it was a great opportunity,” said Wayne Bonner-Bell of BonnerBell designs. “We thought it would be a great avenue to launch our brand.”

Terminella and Vaughan think it did that, and Bonner-Bell said along with his artistic creations, he agrees. He gained three long-term and two one-off accounts following last year’s show, along with name and logo recognition throughout the community.

But when it came time to start planning for 2013, Bonner-Bell said he and others were told to leave the planning to the committee. So, when the website was launched in October, Bonner-Bell and several designer colleagues were surprised to see such a large price increase for a full show from $500 to $1,500.

Terminella said at one of the final pre-fashion week meetings they never expected to please everyone, and the main focus was on the customers, who will ultimately be paying the nonprofit groups through their ticket purchase. The argument by several local designers was they did this at the expense of local artists that were such a large part of why the original show was so popular.

“The pricing structure going up coupled with the fact that our requests to be accepted on the committee were never answered. The fact that models were being charged (a $20 registration fee) to walk …” Bonner-Bell said. “These are the things that bothered us.”

To determine the price for designers to have a full line, Terminella and Vaughan took the worth of all donated and purchased items needed to put on the show, and divided it by the number of participants — all of which Terminella and Vaughan said benefitted from the exposure. This, coupled with shows running too long, an abundance of models, designers and boutiques wanting to participate, choices had to be made to narrow down the selection, they said.

For Lauren Embree of Lauren Embree Jewelry designs, the high price and lack of inclusion also made it hard for her to be involved. At least three local designers who participated last year chose not to be included in 2013 because of the changes.

Organizers set up a tiered system for those who couldn’t afford the full show fee, but the options didn’t allow designers with smaller budgets a chance for decent exposure — for $500 a designer would get eight looks that lasted only minutes on stage, Embree said.

“Very few people make money (designing). We do it because it’s our passion and it’s our art,” Embree said. “They said if a boutique can afford it, then you should be able to also. Myself … Wayne, we’re doing everything from conception to purchasing materials, to manufacturing and creating and marketing and putting together an entire collection. It’s not comparable.”

Others still worry about the designation of Fashion Week as a Limited Liability Company instead of a nonprofit group, meaning any money made is claimed as personal income to the owners and can be used for a large tax write-off, especially if the $100,000 donation goal is met.

Terminella and Vaughan said all of the profit after costs go to the charities and nonprofit groups, originally chosen by the planning committee, and numbers will be made available following the show.

The two offered their assistance in finding business sponsors for designers who couldn’t afford a full show, but designers who chose not to take part went back to having their own show for 2013 — what designers were doing before last year’s fashion week (Terminella said there had been about 32 shows in 2011).

While these local artists wish it had stayed focused on the art of local designers and open collaboration, for the over five designers, over 22 boutiques, 26 sponsors, photographers, film crews, organizers and nonprofit groups involved, this will prove another successful year, as the first night of the show was sold out two weeks prior.


Sarah Fennel March 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

As a charity that has benefited from last year and again this year, I have tried to stay out of this disagreement because everyone involved has helped us out. However, I have to say something at this point because there are some portions of this article that are wrong. First, the $20 registration fee that models had to pay, they paid last year, secondly the general tickets this year are $35 and last year they were $25 (not much of an increase). It also important to point out that the fact that they are not a non-profit themselves does not make it questionable where the money goes. They cover expenses and then give the proceeds to the 10 charities that are participating–just as every other charity event does. Last year they gave around $4000 to each charity involved, which is incredible! This year they hope to double that, so they changed how they operate. I hate that some local designers and boutiques were not able to do it this year–our artists make up the heart of our community. However, I just needed to clarify a few points in this story and also say that the money we have received has been REALLY helpful and it is an awesome event. A lot people are volunteering their time–and others paying to participate–all to support the 10 charities that benefit. I think it is pretty awesome.

Reply to this comment
Terrah Baker March 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Sarah Fennel, thanks so much for your comments, and for correcting the $20 registration fee error. However, we were told by several models/ participants that they paid no registration fee. We didn’t mention the ticket increase in the article because it wasn’t that significant. The article does address who the organizers say are paying for the expenses — sponsors, donors and the designers and boutiques involved who paid their registration fees (taken from the portion that mentions when Jade and Danielle talk about how they came to the price of registration). And we didn’t mean to imply that because some people don’t like the way the event has gone, it can’t have good points. With that said, being for charity does not automatically make something an altruistic, pure entity. Congrats to all who benefited, artists and nonprofits, from the event! Thanks again!

Reply to this comment
Josh Carroll March 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I went all three nights last year and it was kind of a mess. The only really good night was the designer night because thats where you could see actual talent. The other nights were like a mall fashion show and the food ran out quickly, the event was unorganized, and you could barely see.

My cousin participated as a model last year, and the article is right…there were no fees last year and to be honest…there shouldnt be. It reeks of those talent agencies that charge for the right to be included. Its a cattle call.

I understand the lady with the concerns over her charity. But lets remember, her charity is benefiting from this event. Therefore, she is in an odd place. Of course she wants money for her charity. Who wouldnt. However, its not clean money. What kind of process do charities go through to get accepted. My instructors wife at the university runs a non profit that tried to be involved and never got her emails returned. I guess they werent the “in” charity. It sounds alot like BBand BBQ.

Lastly, regarding Mr. Howard, why would we not welcome a difference of opinion on the matter. Its an ignorant thing to post something like that. But then again, if my cousin was right, Mr. Howard benefited quite a bit from the event last year, as his photography business booked most of the gigs. Interesting.

I say–continue to support local designers. This thing is an excuse for a bunch of girls and hipsters to get together and drink and pretend like they live in NYC. This does nothing for the artists. If you believe the website, the organization is supposed to help organic designers. Nice work greedy board!

Reply to this comment
Lisa March 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I modeled last year and we didnt pay a dime. I also know of both of the designers mentioned in this article and cannot begin to express the personal tole this whole mess took on them. The women who run this organization became bullies and seriously tried to screw people over. They could not care less about designers and talent. It is all about making lots of money and making sure their boyfriends, friends, (who are on the board) stores etc. make as much profit as possible.

What I dont understand is why designers would have to pay anyway? They are the reason for the event. Is that not what sponsorships and ticket prices pay for? Why would you charge the talent to participate? Of course, with it being an LLC, they dont have to disclose everything and can only share what they see fit. Its a very convienent option for them.

Reply to this comment
Lynn March 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm

As a retired law professional, ill give my two cents. The question is not about greedy non profits. Of course there are always bad 501cs. However, to become a 501 c, you have to go through a difficult and costly process. The benefit, however, is transparency, You have to keep your records for public inspection and have a governing board that answers to the donor.

If you are an LLC, you answer only to yourself. Even if you release numbers, they can be adjusted. You don’t have to have approval on spending, hiring, etc. Therefore, you can hire a board of your friends, spend money in areas others deem inappropriate, and hide it all under the LLC umbrella.

Even if these people are doing really good work, I can’t imagine why they would make these choices. It taints the look of an organization and puts a dark cloud over it.

There’s no doubt that these people’s chosen charities benefit, and that’s great. But the same could be said for a lot of other fundraisers who have the same cloud of doubt over them. It all seems very odd.

If I was in fashion or owned a store, I wouldn’t want my name associated with that sort of thing. The same could be said about the non- profits. These things always find a way of creeping out and this is probably just the first inquiry.

By the way, as mentioned by the author, this is only a tax ride off for the principals in the LLC. Therefore, all those people making donations to NWA Fashion Week need to know that they are simply doing a personal or business expense. Don’t think you are getting a charitable donation. If you want that, write your donations directly to the charity of your choice. I bet even the previous commenter would agree that she would always prefer a sustaining “actual” donor file over a on- up that remains unknown except to a third party, in this case, the board of NWAFW.

Reply to this comment
Carson March 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Mr Carroll,
Sounds like your just mad the buffet ran out.
Your comments are belligerent and absurd.

Reply to this comment
Carson March 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I think it should be reiterated that this is a privately organized function. Every complaint about transparency, selection criteria, and management have no role in the debate.

Reply to this comment
Lisa March 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Congratulations NWAFW…I think Carson has made your mission statement for next year…”We dont have to be transparent, we are a private organization…so get over it”…Good PR work. Very mature and respectful (snark).

Reply to this comment
Carson March 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Lisa, I am in NO way affiliated with NEAFW…2here are you getting these “we” quotes? Certainly not from my post.

Turner Atkins March 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Here’s the question, did the stores and non-profits stand up for these artists when given the chance? Were they given the chance at any of planning things? If they didnt, then shame on them as well. What good is a fashion show without all the designers that a region has to offer?

It doesnt suprise me. Have you looked around Northwest Arkansas? Try finding more than one or two stores that actually carry locally made goods. They all carry the same stuff from China. I hope these stores stood up for the artists. If not, I hope they do.

Reply to this comment
L Srume March 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

My husband and I moved here last year for a vendor’s job from NYC. We were really active in the non-profit world there. I also love and appreciate beautiful fashion. When I heard about this event last fall, I thought it might be a great way to donate to a variety of non-profits and be involved in fashion. We always try to donate about 10% of our annual income. Then around Christmas I started hearing about some of the problems mentioned in this article. I am so glad that I did not get involved or give money to this group. I want control over where my money goes and how it is spent. I hate when my donations go to operating budgets.

For the people who do participate, I will fair warn you, this is the sort of thing that takes down good non-profits and business in New York all of the time. You have to know “who you are in bed with” if you accept money that is handled in this way. It may be enticing to work with these people for short term money but its the long term implications of working with these kinds of people that destroy support for an organization.

Reply to this comment
Perspicacity March 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Mr. Howard, would you please clarify your position? It is unclear as to whom you are referring in your post, nor what you mean by the phrase “people like that.”

Ms. Fennel, I agree wholeheartedly that the charities receiving donations are deserving. I doubt anyone here is questioning their merits.

In this situation, what I find most regrettable is that the members of the LLC benefit financially through writing off donations from others.

Many of us in the local creative community have reservations in calling this “NWA Fashion Week”, a moniker that should be associated with showcasing the talents of designers, when the event has so little to do with those in NWA actually designing. Perhaps “Boutique Week” would be more apt, even if it doesn’t have as nice a ring to it. Buying wholesale from manufacturers abroad is incomparable to the art of designing and manufacturing locally in such a small market.
I hope the organizers seek to better showcase our NWA talent, should they attempt this endeavor again.

That said, I’m delighted that locals Leslie Pennel of Esque and Kata Marie Designs are able to participate. My comments should in no way be interpreted as disparaging them, as my intentions are quite the opposite. My best wishes to both of them.

Reply to this comment
emily smith March 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I am a local artist who looooooves all things fashion, but to fork over $1500 hard-earned dollars just to participate in such an event?? NO WAY. I enjoy being independent and original and I don’t need a local fashion show/week to determine my individual success or worth. I never had any intention of participating in FW this year, and while I am friendly with both the founders AND the naysayers, I think the way the local artists/designers were mishandled says it all. I will donate my $$ directly to the charities I choose all while staying true to myself and my art, AND I just saved myself $1500 and a whole mess of trouble in the process. Boutiques require a fashion show like I need another hole in the head– I say, just go shop their racks directly (duh) and leave the fashion shows for the fashion designers.

Reply to this comment
Katie March 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I just got back from opening night. I left early. The first girls show was nice, but really short. I would say that half the chairs were empty. I felt so bad for her. I went last year and people were crowding for chairs. This time it just felt sad. With some of the designers gone from last year, it just felt weird. The emcees didn’t work the room very well and other than a cool floor, everything looked really amatureish. Lots of white sheets and sloppy signs. They also had booths. It was like the sad bridal fairs in Springdale but without the free cake. Last year, the space looked really cool and urban. This year just looked rough and I just felt bad for the participants. Empty chairs is never fun.

Reply to this comment
Citizen March 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

All this negativity reeks of jealousy, spite, and bitterness. If you don’t want to participate, FINE. are you unable to support those who choose to do so? The point should be that money is going to charity! Shame on you for speaking ill of something so many worked so hard on for the right reasons.

Reply to this comment
Katie March 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

I’m sorry “citizen” but the free weekly supports public discourse. Yes, it may be run by a bigger paper, but it is an independent news paper. I am sick of reading about how we can’t voice our thoughts because the money goes to charity. However, it has been debated as to the LLC status and what exactly goes to charity. Throwing the word charity around as a blanket to lay behind is immature and weak. Nobody here questions that charities deserve money. I personally appreciate the work they do. But, throwing that word around as an excuse is just silly. The truth is, this idea clearly backfired. It did not go as smoothly and seemed amateurish yesterday. Even if all of the money is raised, what was the point. I’ll stick to my original point—- it seems like a bridal fair or a show like they used to do at the mall. It is silly. It in no way is supporting local artists. It is supporting charity (in theory) by showcasing a bunch of stores that for the most part have imported goods.

Reply to this comment
Daniel March 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

I think it is important to remember, whether you are pro NWAFW or against, we are very fortunate to live in a place where there are so many great designers, boutiques, and charities. All of which rely heavily on the support of our community. Whether you are going to NWAFW or not, make sure you show your support by shopping at your favorite local boutique, buying from local designers like BonnerBell, Esque, or Lauren Embree Jewelry, or volunteering or donating to a local charity.

Reply to this comment
DrAlpha Aescher March 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

Funny. I had a conversation with a few apparel science professors last week and heard similar from them. It’s just a silly little fashion show. What a shame people are letting it go to their heads.

Reply to this comment
Citizen March 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

Katie, just as you can voice your displeasure with the event and its organizers, I can voice my disgust for the tone being set on this comment board. Ah, the beauty of free speech. Do you truly think the individuals behind the event are using this as some guise get a profit rather than support charities? But hey, if you have any spare tickets for Friday or Saturday I know plenty of people who would love to attend NWAFW since the event was “amateurish” in your opinion.

Reply to this comment
Josh March 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Citizen! This is not a Threat but its a Warning. SHUT UP. You have NO idea what you talking about. I’m Sick just reading all of this MESS! I have information that will blow your mind about the people you’re protecting and what happened last year. So please go back to you Shit of a show and believe ME All of you will answer questions when it’s done. You will need a GREAT PR person to spin this story.

Reply to this comment
Kyle March 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

While the flyer undoubtedly supports public discourse, I highly doubt that it supports the baseless allegations contained herein. Let’s get a few things straight on the facts. Comments, concerns, or critiques pertaining to the event’s professionalism, event operation, or catering choices are fair, welcome and to be expected. Perhaps those involved in the event will even take note for future changes, even though most of the criticisms here are anything but constructive. That being said, I find it rather appalling that so many have made allegations that the financial structure of the event presumes impropriety. From merely a quick review of the comments, people seem to think that the event’s LLC status is a license to hide profits and engage in back-door bargaining. As mentioned above, obtaining and maintaining nonprofit status is difficult and costly. LLC status, on the other hand, is simple and effective. If you don’t want your donations spent on operating costs, the LLC avenue can conceivably represent a better option due to forgone compliance costs with the tax code. While the trade-off is indeed less transparency, automatically assuming impropriety is an unfair ploy to tarnish the goodwill of the event. If you don’t want to spend your money by participating, that is by all means your option. But by voicing unsupported concerns that the money is “unclean” or otherwise used for improper gain may unjustly influence others from participation, thereby causing real harm.

While I am unaffiliated with the event, I know that it is an amazing opportunity for local business, including but not limited to local designers, to extend on Northwest Arkansas’s growing reputation nationally as a haven for small business. I sincerely wish the event and everyone involved the best. This is a real opportunity to bring good to the community.

Reply to this comment
Local Designer March 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I’m a local designer who tried to get in the show and like it was stated above they asked for $1500 + $20/pc for my models, I had 10 models so $1700 total. What struggling local designer can afford that? I had to decline. Later I find out that 3 local designers I know got to be in it for free & their models too because they knew someone on the inside!!! Kinda unfair don’t ya think? After hearing from friends how cheap & sparse feeling the actual fashion show part of it went I’m happy I didn’t attend. All icing and no cake as the saying goes.

Reply to this comment
Jennifer March 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’m with Citizen.
Look, if you guys would spend half the energy working on some sort of event that you can get behind that will accomplish all of the things you are so boldly and gallantly voicing here, you would probably have a pretty amazing event that would do just what you are all arguing for…supporting local designers.. You’re talking a lot (a whole lot) of talk, but can you strut the strut??
And Turner, yes….many of they boutiques and sponsors did support and speak up. Wayne Bonner Bell turned down sponsorships from two different parties that really wanted to see him continue the momentum that he gained from last year’s fashion week. He has talent. But he declined them both.
Lastly, I’m really confused on why Wayne and The Free Weekly are continuing to stir a pot that they have no interest in eating from. You don’t like NWAFW. We get it. But maybe it’s time to get over it.

Reply to this comment
DR March 15, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I know the founders personally and they worked hard on the planning of this. So what if they get a piece of the money raised. I doubt the non profits care if the board gets paid here and theyre. Who really gives money to a thing like this and doesn’t expect the board to get paid. It is not like the non profits are doing anything to raise they’re own $$$.

Who even cares about a bunch of designers anyway? Stores make the money. What do designers do anyway? Don’t they just sit around and sew and draw dresses? This just seems like a bunch of “artists” sitting around getting their panties in a mess.

Reply to this comment
Ashley March 16, 2013 at 9:16 am

Kyle said it best. Whoever this Josh is sounds like a CRAZY person. Can’t wait to see what big revelation you have! Ha! All these naysayers need to get a life and find another cause to try to spoil.

Reply to this comment
Lynn March 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Everyone is missing the point here. The fact that this is an LLC means they don’t have to report anything. They are clearly concerned about money, and not the artist community. Real fashion events would laugh about something like this. True fashion events raise money for the artists. The minute non-profits got involved, this became a fundraiser, not a fashion event. I would think that those designers who rejected participating, probably made the correct decision. This all sounds very fishy.

With regards to “DR”, your comments are offensive and sexist. However, thank you for clarifying what we all thought. Good job! I think the previous poster is correct, these NWABoutiqueWeek people should get some PR people quickly. The people speaking for them are making a fool of themselves. It’s just a matter of time before more inquiry’s start uncovering the truth.

Reply to this comment
J Field March 17, 2013 at 1:08 am

This is kind of scary. there is this “dont question it” mentality, similar to Bikes and BBq. We have all seen this before in XNA. In about a week or two, they will release some crazy huge number and try to save themselves by making these big write off donations to charity. However, we all need to remember the truth about this event and the way that they treated the talent when they start begging for money again next time.

After all of this, I wonder…why don’t the stores and businesses just write the checks directly to charity. They could even classify how they want the money spent. Does that not make more sense and take out any sense of impropritey? I guess it’s just an idea. I know when I make donations to PBS and NPR, I make them directly and dictate how I want them spent. It’s sensible policy and helps at tax time. I can’t imagine the stores that are participating are really making a ton of business of this anyway. They already have their return customers. This would potentially get them their new clients, but that would be temporary at best. If I see the same outfit over and over, maybe I would buy it. However, I would be interested to know how often it turns into long term customers. Outside of surveys, I’m not sure how we could monitor that,but it’s worth considering. Plus after all of this, why would stores and non profits want to be associated, even if it is clean. They could remove this variable and have completely clean hands.

The point of true fashion weeks is to connect buyers and tastemakers with artists and craftsman. If many artists and craftsman don’t participate or choose not to participate, what is the point? I guess it becomes about the stores, but I just have a hard time believing they are seeing long term ROI. If its about charity, I think we could cut out the middle man. Just two cents?

Reply to this comment
Switzerland March 17, 2013 at 5:06 am

This whole article seems to be so poorly construed that it leaves nothing but conjectures. Everyone obviously has already taken a side and not bothered to, I don’t know, use the internet for proper research. It just seems that there are a few issues that people are circling around.

One, the topic of maintaining a 501(c)3 status vs that of having a LLC. These were decisions made by a Board of directors of NWA Fashion Week. If anyone was interested or had the time they could simple ask the Board of Directors to release the Board minutes of which the discussion of switching to an LLC was formally assigned to an agenda and voted upon. Or if no one wants to even bother simply asking them for that – which if you feel that it is too much then you should just step away from the conversation until you have something insightful/intelligent to say – then they could easily contact the State of Arkansas and request the file date of NWA Fashion Week conception to the point they requested to be filed as a LLC. Seriously people, stop making rants about people and their organizations if you don’t want to even bother doing proper thorough research.

Two, the other issue seems to be all the work that went into this event. Has anyone either from NWA Fashion Week Board or from the volunteers talked about the tireless work that actually goes into throwing an event? I can honestly say that having to plan and work a 10 year high school reunion that lasts only a weekend was tiresome. I couldn’t imagine all the work that goes into almost an entire week of prep. So, could someone show all the manpower and money that went into setting up this event? I mean, as everyone knows, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Three, the issue of money. No one likes to talk about money. Especially when it comes to events. Things are either overpriced or come under-budget. But, I guess to quote the poster DR who said, “So what if they get a piece of the money raised. I doubt the non profits care if the board gets paid here and theyre. Who really gives money to a thing like this and doesn’t expect the board to get paid.” Which brings up a valid point. If the Board of NWA Fashion week truly is doing this for the local designers and to give true charity to non-profits then why should they receive any sort of profit from the event? If there is any money left over should it not perhaps be divded further up to go to the charities or perhaps go back to the volunteers as a gift? Not only that, but I’m sure that with NWA Fashion Week being a non-profit last year they have all the correct documents for showing proper handling of all money collected during the event and proper distribution towards all parties involved. And to prove to all the nay-sayers out there who just want to tear people down that the individuals who put on the second fashion week have a proper, licensed accountant to oversee all funds that have been paid into, given out, promised to any party involved.

Four, I find it completely lacking in tact that the “Freeweekly” would limit this article to naming on Ms. Terminella and Ms. Vaughan as the sole instructors behind NWA FAshion Week. True, they are the “co-founders” but I find it highly odd that the author seems to ignore that there is a Board of Members that oversees NWAFW. Could not the paper – yet again – do a proper search and see that there are other people involved in this? It is of poor taste, and lacking journalism, that no one sought out the opinion of the other seven (7) Board members; Dylan Ralston, Martin Tinnin, Kasie Yokely, Leslie Zanoff, Chris Glover, Tyler Brown, Jena Koller. I mean if anyone has any questions about this years events just inquire about what they were assigned to do and how they were chosen to be on the board.

Seriously, everyone, if this magnificent event is to continue then all this squabble, banter, and backbiting has got to stop. At this rate it might as well be turned into the Hatfield & McCoy Fashion Week as we couldn’t look more disorganized and malicious towards each other compared to other fashion shows across the country.

Reply to this comment
Local owner March 18, 2013 at 10:24 am

Perhaps before you lambaste others for not doing their research, you should do yours. According to the AR SOS, the 2 co-founders (business owners) filed their LLC in March of last year, just after the first NWAFW ( They never have operated as a non profit, therefore they have not been required to keep a proper board or minutes of meetings, much less releasing any of it to the public. Try asking for those records, since you’re so keen on your research. See what kind of response you get…

In regards to money, no one is questioning the fact that it takes time and money to plan an event like this. However, after looking at photos of this weekend’s events, the production value for the price point was laughable. As a local store owner, I would have been infuriated to pay $1500 for 4 par lights on a small runway. So where exactly did the money go? We’ll never know for sure, because as an LLC, the owners are legally protected from having to release that information to the public. It is also important to note that in a proper 501c3, the board members do not receive compensation for their work, nor are their businesses allowed to profit from their work with the non profit. It’s called conflict of interest, something NWAFW seems to care nothing about.

Lastly, in regards to the board, I heard from several who tried to be involved that their input fell on deaf ears, that the decisions were made by the 2 owners. As mentioned in the article, when others asked to be involved, they were told to “leave the planning to the committee.” 

What sickens me most is that this event operates under the guise of philanthropy, when the biggest payout of all will be to the owners through their tax write offs. 

Reply to this comment
LOL! March 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

DR…as in DR Design Firm, as in Dylan Ralstan, NWAFW board member who no doubt profited greatly from this fiasco? You should be taken out behind the barn and….well, I think we all know what. You’re an idiot.

Reply to this comment
Lindsley March 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Events are hard. Plain and simple. It is clear after reading this and these posts that this event needs some serious investigation. There have been rumors flying around NWA about this event. Do not get mad at the FREE WEEKLY for being the first source to report on this. It is widely known that the board consists of these two women and their friends. Intact, one of the members is the boyfriend of one of the chairs. The other runs a design firm that profited off of the event. This is public knowledge. It is also public knowledge that a number of people involved with this event fired this design firm for unprofessional and unauthorized business practices.

Like stated, events are hard. At this point, I think the board should resign. Someone who doesn’t have an interest in benefiting stores or non profits should take over. Then the board should do all the nasty work to get 501 status. It seems like intentions might have been pure, but this has gone too far. It’s time for a change.

Onto the Free Weekly…you and your parent paper need to dig deeper into this. I am so pleased to see such pro/con discussion on this board. It is clear that this is a topic that needs to be analyzed more. I personally would like to see financials from the first two years. We’re their outstanding debts? How were the taxes paid? Where was the money spent? Where are the contract bids? When were the two artists in this article interviewed? Was it months, weeks, or days ago? What is their stance now? When were the founders interviewed and did they comment on the publication of the story? Did they grant or refuse pre publication Interviews? Why were there no artists or non profits on the financial board? There are so many questions that the media need to figure out.

Reply to this comment
Don March 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Congratulations to Ms. Baker for providing the most color and energy that this periodical has seen in years. It is always important to test the waters and not just bow down like some of these posters would like. Give this woman a raise! This is the real spirit of an independent type paper. You have provided a well-balanced and respectful article.

Congratulations to the people of Fayetteville. You have overwhelmingly shown your support for the struggling artists who made a brave decision to speak their mind. We are lucky to live in a town that supports its artists like this. Most of these posts should prove very encouraging to local talent.

Reply to this comment
emily smith March 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I’m with Don. Cheers to the tiny lady with the gigantic balls @ the Free Weekly who refused to be bullied into not printing her article.

That being said, I want to add a vote for revamping Art Amiss– easier said than done since it is an all-voluntary board. I am not sure their affiliation with NWAFW actually benefits we local artists/designers in ANY way. The intertwining of it’s non-profit vision and a local business trying to constantly advertise (namely, mayapple salon) is in poor taste at best. I found the incessant self-promotion and ill-placed advertising of mayapple and Art Amiss together crude enough to pull my own line from the store in September 2012.

I approached the president in December 2012 asking how a local designer (like myself) would go about showing my designs under Art Amiss for FW 2013 without affiliating myself with a local business (mayapple.) I was given a 4-page “tough titty” email letting me know that if the owner of mayapple (conveniently also the “fashion director” for Art Amiss) spends her own $$, she can do whatever she pleases. Now, how is that for supporting local art/talent?

Just some more food for thought since we are laying it all out there. (I can share thread of convo with President if necessary.) :)

Reply to this comment
emily smith March 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I should also say, the conversation/email was very pleasant and Mr. Counts (AA pres.) was very cordial, but it does not change the fact that business promotion and philanthropy just. don’t. mix. Art Amiss should go back to being it’s own entity. that is all :)

Reply to this comment
emily smith March 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm

sure :) it is long and thorough…just warning ya :) here it is in its entirety:

Emily Onemanband Smith

hey bo! got your name from my buddy leslie pennel— i wanted to touch base with you about Art Amiss. I had some questions about the fashion arena and thought i would give you a shout Specifically, about upcoming shows, events, and possibly contributing artistically or as a board member. I am a local artist and design jewelry and clothing… sending you a link to my vintage web store for the hell of it thanks for your time, bo. look forward to hearing for you

emily smith
Vintage. Vintage. And more Vintage. Oh, and plenty of original onemanband. designs to get the party started. Let me outfit you in some of the

Bo Counts

Hi Emily! Great Etsy shop! (I really like that grey suede sweater jacket)

What questions do you have about Art Amiss? I do recall you being involved in one of our older fashion events at Matt Miller studio a while back, correct? Our current Fashion director is Melissa Arens, who I think you already know…and in the fashion realm, most of our upcoming fashion events are centered around the looming Fashion Week. We have some other stuff planned for our other areas (Visual arts, music, film, etc) if you want any info on those, I’d be happy to fill you in.

We’re always looking for awesome people to help out, as we are a completely volunteer board. Thanks for looking me up and I look forward to hearing your questions


Emily Onemanband Smith

sweet! thanks bo i DID participate @ matt’s studio last year. good memory. yes, i knew mel a. was currently in charge of fashion. i actually used to have a handful of my designs in her store but am no longer as of September actually, my main question regards the affiliation of Mayapple as a business with Art Amiss the philanthropy. I thought it was a little TOO incorporated at the show I participated in last year, but, and thought it was a fluke, as I see on fb, Art Amiss is involved with FW again (fun!) and it seems that she is advertising her store every time along side. I want to be a part of the whole Art Amiss program, participate as an artist and maybe even volunteer, but wanted to ask you your professional opinion as the head of it all See, I am friends with Melissa, and have not found a way to approach her for fear of further ruffling feathers… other people have mentioned it to me, and i thought I would see what you thought… I know there are other designers and artisans who are eager to get into Art Amiss but are confused by the constant affiliation with her salon/boutique. Does it seem weird to you?

Bo Counts

I can definitely see where your question comes from and it’s something that we’ve addressed at meetings before. Conflict of interest is always a sticky subject in the world of non-profits, and public perception is always a delicate thing in the world of conflicts of interest.

However, in the Mayapple/Art Amiss sense, we look at it a lot like the primary sponsor for the Art Amiss evening event. Similar to the Mertins Eye Care sponsorship to the overall FW event, Mayapple is the biggest contributor of time, money and resources to make the event happen. Mayapple does not receive any payment or proceeds from the event. Any thing that is purchased to promote Mayapple comes from Mayapple funds. Also, seeing as how (unlike all of the other non-profits benefiting from fashion week) we have no paid positions on our board, Melissa is not gaining any monetary compensation from her Art Amiss involvement. So there is no double dipping in that sense. We also felt that since Mayapple is a place where many of the designers that were featured in the show were also sold at the boutique, it seemed like a good fit.

It can be very confusing, even for us. We are an interesting case, especially for fashion week, as we are the only benefiting charity that’s also an arts organization…so we actually have a visual presence at the show. Which also causes us to have an actual overhead for production in addition to the participation fees, unlike most of the other benefiting charities. So that makes the lines even more confusing…but also makes it a necessity to partner up with places like Mayapple to make things possible. Without that sponsorship, we might not be able to be involved. Art Amiss gets 100% of its funding from donations and people paying admission to our events (which, being in the arts community, I am sure you can understand how small a number that is). Also, since we have joined the NWAFWW ranks, it has limited us in the number of fashion events Art Amiss can do in a year, due to FW participation agreements. Again, the confusing part of being a benefiting charity as well as a group that has a visual presence at the show.

I really appreciate your concern and the willingness to ask questions. Let me know if this didn’t answer your questions and I’ll be happy to try and answer more, or clarify a little better. We try to be as open as possible to anyone that is curious, but many people never take the time to ask and sometimes never get all the info. I only receive updates from our board members on their various projects in our monthly meetings, so I have not been to the FW meetings this year. If there is something that I may not be hearing about in my meetings, please let me know so that I can address any problems that might be taking place that the rest of the board is unaware of.

Emily Onemanband Smith

no, thank you… very good answer i appreciate you getting back to me and I understand where you are coming from on all levels. My conflict lies only with the fact that Mayapple (i.e. Melissa) and I do not share the same idea of fashion. Art Amiss is the only non profit organization that is a good fit for me, my business, and what I do. However, I just was not comfortable @ Mayapple and didn’t feel i fit at all with Mayapple’s aesthetics. Nothing personal, just business. I think it would be a shame , thought, to ask other emerging designers/artists to do the same when participating in Art Amiss events- otherwise, it’s just a big, long stream of Mayapple shows. Essentially, if she is running the show, she can advertise her business as much as she wants to and that’s fine by me. I will make sure to let others know when they ask the affiliation. thanks, bo! you rock. -emily

Bo Counts

I’m glad I was able to answer some of your questions. Also, I forgot to mention that all of the designers involved with the Art Amiss evening of Fashion Week are encouraged to get hair and make up from any salon they choose and will be credited appropriately in the show / credits…in case anyone was thinking that they had to be only affiliated with Mayapple. Perhaps it might make things clearer if I ask the people doing the images and marketing for FW to have wording to the effect of “Art Amiss fashion : sponsored by Mayapple” ?

Art Amiss is always up for other shows spotlighting anyone that wants to work with us. If there are ideas you have for doing a show that isn’t tied to the evening at Fashion Week, let me know and we can see what we can come up with. It’s just now that we have become a part of FW, all the politics and paper work got a little more complicated for things involving fashion.

Emily Onemanband Smith

yes– i think the “sponsored by” would answer all questions.

and, heck yeah to #2 part of email– i just had baby #2 so i am nutsack crazy, but i would love to eventually do something! thanks bo.

and, i am going to make a point to NOT tie myself to FW

(i dont have $1500…), but let me know if you guys do anything else please!

Reply to this comment
My Take on NWAFW March 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I was peripherally involved in two ways with NWAFW 2013. First, as guest for Thursday night’s designer show. I’m close with a designer who decided to show her work and it was 100% her work – her own designs that she sewed all by herself. That work is very different from “curated” outfits from local boutiques, so I am also in agreement with those who believe that boutique shows and designer shows should be separated. I think it was confusing and created an unfair environment for evaluating each look. That’s not to say I didn’t fully enjoy the shows put on by shops (Himalayan Mountain Shop I think was the only one I saw Thurs night) because they were just as colorful and fun and creative. I just think it would make more sense if only designers showed together. I was also disappointed to see how sparsely attended that night’s show appeared to be. I would think that would be the biggest draw – What is coming from the creative minds of our own community?

Then Saturday I participated as a volunteer because I strongly believe in the community groups NWAFW chooses as its beneficiaries. That is a very cool aspect of this bigger, more organized effort – the proceeds go directly back into the community. I’m fully on board with that part!

I was a little taken aback by how the non-profits (staff & volunteers) were treated by the event organizers. In my observation, the women in charge were dismissive at best with the people who were there to work for free! An event of this magnitude is not possible without good volunteers. If the people in charge don’t change the way they talk to or treat the volunteers they’ll be lucky to get willing help in future years. As much as people who volunteer might enjoy being a part of something fun and fashionable like NWAFW, they won’t put up for long being treated disrespectfully or dismissively.

Obviously when you’ve got this many big personalities and egos conflicts will arise. It’s HOW the conflicts get handled that reveal people’s true character. I witnessed some pathetically cliched diva behavior on Saturday night. Originally I had planned to stay beyond my 3 hr volunteer shift but I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Reply to this comment
Perpective March 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I will never go to any NWAFW event again? I went on two of the nights. On Thursday night, it was half empty. It was really disrespectful to the few designers who did show. I went last year and although also unorganized, it had a great sense of community. This year was really sad.

On Saturday night, I went again. I witnessed the two chairs and one of the board members being complete bitches to some of the store owners and even models. I love fashion, but these ladies and their “board” need to go! THATS ALL!!!

They were so rude to models and even help. I will never shop at the stores that I witnessed in this situation. The tall long haired lady who is in charge was awful. I have been to Dallas and Miami fashion weeks, and she is by far, the iceist woman I have ever encountered.

Reply to this comment
Volunteer March 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I too volunteered on Friday and Saturday night and had the opposite experience of “my take on nwafw”. I was treated very nicely, given a t shirt, and never felt as if the organizers were dismissive. Myself and my daughter were thanked on more than one occasion. Overall, great experience. Also, Emily, I’m confused…is your problem with nwafw, Melissa at mayapple, artamiss…or just a little bit of everyone? Just seems a bit dramatic.

Reply to this comment
kali aman March 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm

let me see if i have this straight….

ms. terrah baker wrote and published an article in our little town where everyone knows everyone else that is full of inaccuracies, accusations and personal negative innuendo about the founders of this event which was founded to promote local businesses and charitable giving?

ms. baker, you make insinuations about real people with real feelings that are just not so. with breathtaking arrogance and ignorance you ignore the effect of nasty words implying that someone is dishonest and underhanded. its hurtful, very. and damaging to reputations.

shame on you and your poison pen. bet your mama is mortified, she thought she raised you better.

i hope a real journalist will step forward and tell the whole story of what its like to volunteer one’s time daily for an entire year to make something like this happen, to see it grow so quickly its hard to keep up, to realize its impossible to make everyone happy and give everyone the special individual attention they want and deserve, yet try and then be criticized in the local rag for it.

no more free weekly for me, the kitty box gets it all from now!

Reply to this comment
Becky March 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm

This is all so silly. Sounds like someone didn’t get the position they wanted and it hurt their feelings. In the emails, it is completely obvious that this has nothing to do with Fashion Week, but with some sore designers who want to take over, and obviously are not adult enough to move on rather than starting petty drama.

Reply to this comment
Jarrod March 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

So it appears now that Terrah baker is getting the same “shut up and deal” shit that the designers got. Very mature. This proves everything true. Ms Baker…fess up, we’re you asked /threatened to not run this article? Wouldn’t surprise….

Reply to this comment
Hadley March 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I attended Saturday night’s runway and enjoyed the event overall. The positives: I thought the decor, runway, lighting (more would have been better), seating (we were front row, “bought” tickets for donation to Children’s Shelter via Mertin’s) and cash bar prices were all good. The models all did well given their experience (which I’m sure was limited). The negatives: poor styling for anything other than the sorority girl look generally speaking, unimaginative and disjointed order of runway looks, repetitive looking clothing from multiple designers, distracting rather than complimentary or thought-provoking hair & makeup (although very well executed).

Another couple issues: runtime was too long. You don’t need two 20-minute intermissions and the charity spotlights need to be 1 minute long – period. And, there were a fair number of empty seats. That’s unacceptable with a “sold out” event. Next year, make vendors confirm they are using seats 3 hours before show. If not confirmed, sell them at the door. And be stingy with seats given to vendors…they want people to see their stuff, right? So don’t worry about showing off to people you know or competitors. Put “buyers” in the seats.

Now for the great: Rock City Kicks was hot! Fun, quirky, energized, good styling, A breath of fresh air. The male swimsuit line was fun too.

There were a few good clothing pieces here and there but overall, I was left wanting. I give small props to those who chose to use “plus-size” models but the clothing choices for them were especially bad.

Bottom line: I will go again and I will bring lots of fellow lawyer-ladies with me, but if I see another night of bad styling, overly and not especially cool hair or makeup, embarrassing use of plus-size models, or useless clothing that I can’t pull a piece from here and there for a real wardrobe – I’m out. Not tht this matters much :)

Reply to this comment
Berry March 18, 2013 at 10:58 pm

The tall long hair lady that is in charge is a shop owner that could careless about the community and local artist. She does it to help her ego and get people through her doors. I donated my time and money last year and I knew that would be the last after the second night. She was a complete nightmare to work for and had the worst attitude towards us. You don’t treat volunteers like that. This event has potential to be great for local artist and designers but the whole board needs to be replaced from the top to the bottom. Turn this event into something that can really get local talent noticed. Not some spoiled rich girls runway show.

Reply to this comment
Boutique Owner March 19, 2013 at 12:11 am

My boutique had a show in NWAFW, and after reading this, my excitement over what I thought was a great show has completely gone away, and I feel awful. I wanted to get my name out, and thought this would be a great way to do so while also giving to charity. I showed pieces that are popular with my customers and that sell well- not that are necessarily “cutting edge” or that will are comparable to major city runway shows. I wanted to have a fun, light show, and let local girls get dolled up and have fun modeling. I guess it wasn’t up to the expectations of some, and others evidently feel like boutiques shouldn’t even have a part in the show. I had nothing to do with the behind-the-scenes happenings, but feel like some think I did something wrong simply because I showed a collection. Not all boutique owners are “spoiled rich girls,” but some of us are hard-working women trying to support ourselves and our families. I enjoy my job, and have gotten to meet a lot of wonderful people through it. Sorry for rambling, I’m just at a loss for words right now. I am very disappointed that something I put months of work, thought and time into was seen by some as poorly executed. I know I shouldn’t take the negativity personally, and there will always be critics, but I guess it just puts a damper on what I thought was a great show.

Reply to this comment
Boutique Owner March 19, 2013 at 12:46 am

By the way- if you have a show, you only got two tickets, one for yourself, and one for a helper. I was also disappointed the show was “sold out” but 1/4 of the room was empty. Especially when show photos were posted and half of the front row is empty.

Reply to this comment
Melissa Arens March 19, 2013 at 5:22 am

I enjoyed getting the opportunity to show case my art. I enjoyed all the people that I met, I enjoyed all the hard work put in to it, even the sleepless nights and long hours at the shop , the meetings etc. Thanks to everyone who made it possible to express my art and experience others….
Thanks for the opportunity Universe!
i have resigned from my titles with in nwafw AND Art amiss, not for any reason , other than the fact that i just want to be myself: , Melissa Arens = Mamma, hairstylist/makeup Artist, Salon and boutique owner and friend. I will always enjoy styling and the art of photo shootin, the art of fashion show throwing and I do and always will appreciate everyone i have had the opportunity to meet and all the people i yet have to meet ,as well as my future endeavors! Much Love community…

Reply to this comment
Sarah B March 19, 2013 at 9:09 am

For all concerned about the author of this articles safety, tires, etc. it seems most in favor of nwafw are upset with the COMMENTS, vehement comments, made by various posters…not the actual article. The article itself, while clearly slighted, doesn’t do much for me…its the insanity that ensues afterwards that is the most troubling. It’s not hard to decipher which side, pro it con nwafw, is acting the most belligerent. Lots of talk about impropriety but not a single fact. Unless you count “my feelings are hurt because someone didnt say hi to me, looked at me wrong, etc. Move on people.

Reply to this comment
Devon March 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

Its very clear after reading this and its comments, that serious mistakes were made here with the planning of NWAFW and its treatment of designers and even participants, volunteers, and models. I hope that this event gets new direction and leadership and recommits itself to the true artists of the community. The same could be said about ArtAmiss (as well as some other organizations).

The event also needs to probably start back at square one and go through the proper process of becoming a 501C. That will really end all of this.

That all being said, this board is getting a little crazy. It apparent that these organizers have enemies. That has been made very clear. Lets stop and put our energy towards these designers and local artists who need our support. If we turn all this negativity toward positivity for our artist community, it would be so nice.

Finally to the boutique owner. The truth is this—you probably put on a lovely show and shouldn’t feel bad for that, especially if you were unaware of some of the background story. That being said, please understand that the reason that the shows all look the same is because very few stores are actually making a choice to be different. The stores on the square carry very similar merchandise and even their brands look the same. Everything is of lesser quality and seems to be made overseas.

I have seen a few stores like Good Things, Terra Tots, and MACA who have tried to carry local designer pieces. Mustache also carries the jewelry artist mentioned in this article. Perhaps we should try to support these stores. However, as a store owner, if you want to distinguish your show and your store, you have to make a commitment to carry more local, and more domestic brands. Otherwise, we wont have a community. I am sure that you put in a lot of hard work, but in the end, it has to support the community of people who truly represent fashion.

I too am sorry for the low attendance. Even if those seats were paid for, they should have been filed. I cant imagine how hurtful that must have looked to see the pictures.

These women may have actually had good intentions, but money clouds everything up. I hope they take a long look in the mirror, and I hope that we (NWA) can move on and truly support our local artists. Lets move forward.

Reply to this comment
My Take on NWAFW March 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

In reply to Sarah B – I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. I have read these comments and they seem free of slander or belligerence. The comments contain facts and personal observances.

I also must make very clear that in NO WAY do I think local boutiques should not be able to show their wares – of course they should!

But the designer shows, where a local designer is able to show looks that are completely designed and made by hand, should be separate. At “real” fashion week shows in NYC, Paris, Milan, etc. they don’t have designers’ lines shown at the same time that say, Macy’s or Bergdorf’s show their seasonal looks. It takes the attention away from the designers, who are doing the original creative work.

NWAFW is a good thing that benefits our community in many ways. I want it to continue, but I just think it can be organized in a better, more fair and equitable manner. And speaking of manners, the organizers might want to remember the importance of treating everyone, no matter who they are, with the same amount of respect and kindness.

Reply to this comment
Sophia Rose March 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm

A heartfelt thank you to Ms Fennel, Kyle, Citizen, Kali Aman, and others whose comments were sound and thoughtful. Perhaps this sounds old-school but those of you who insinuate or blatantly refer to the organizers and core group of volunteers as untrustworthy, malicious, mob-like and numerous other characteristics — THINK before you speak! Your immature and emotional-laden language reveals your lack of reasoning (Alli Jensen, Tammi, KB and others). Personally, it blows any credibility you hope your comments will have but publicly, you are accountable for what comes out of your mouth the same as if printed in the newspaper, i.e., slander, defamation of character. Though I am not involved with NWAFW, after reading these posts I have great compassion for them! Having done many fundraisers for nonprofits, it is common but no less frustrating when people say they’ll help with a task and then last minute bow out, or venue issues come up that, no matter how many times you asked beforehand, you were never told about.

To denigrate another’s character — or their family — is shameful and ridiculous. Accept that you are either part of the solution or part of the problem! — jump in; work for a greater good than self; learn to compromise, and play nice at recess.

Yes, I’m sure some things went wrong at the event. Some things went wrong last year, too, most likely. So what? The big picture is a) that some really deserving causes will get some needed funds and b) that learning occurs so that future NWAFWs will steadily grow. I grow weary of those who sit back (especially at their keyboard) and throw dirt after an event. Nah. You don’t get to complain. Only those who put in all those hours and gas and extras for probably the better part of a year get to complain.

And after all that, they get to read that folks out here think it was lousy and that they’re self-promoting??

If you planners are reading this thread, don’t be discouraged. It’s a great concept and deserves your effort. I’ll make sure I attend next year.

Apologies for the long post —

Reply to this comment
jaberdean humperdink March 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

all i saw at the show was pretty girls and a few gay guys having a great time. i saw some talent but nothing that would ever get to make it to nyc, paris, or milan. everyone with a digital camera set at auto, thinks they’re a photographer. everyone with a laptop thinks they’re a dj. everyone is going to think they’re the best artist and deserves their name in lights. which is ridiculous. well, i am, but i’m a film and chemistry photographer, or what i call “real photography”.
i do like “the free weekly”, but you need a real photographer and graphic designer. your photos are all red because you didn’t hit the switch on your camera to tungsten light. the layout looks like i’m at the mall shopping at “forever 21” with the colored weird shaped framing.
i am a little depressed with nwa, with half of everyone being douchie, but that gets me doing art, which i love and wont give up. i’m glad there is an art community here.
i do wish there was some real controversy, as this i could care less about. i’m just happy you worked hard, deserve some praise and tell you not to worry about it.
please note all comments on this will probably not be read or replied to as i don’t care what anyone thinks.
lord voltron

p.s. no p.s.

Reply to this comment
What will make you people happy? March 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

What is NWAFW never happened? Would that be better? Would that be better for local designers and local business and local charities?

Also, I think this article is one-sided. Did the author even get an interview with the people she’s villianizing?

Plus, I heard from several people that these complaining designers who opted out of being involved were given an option to have it all paid for by “sponsors”. Sounds like a free handout to the local peeps, to me.

It also sounds as if some of the people who where helped a lot in previous years by Jade individually as well as the LLC have stabbed in the back because they expect handouts.

If you are one of the people naysaying I leave you with one last question- what have you done for the community? For local business owners? And for local charities? And would you like all your hard work to be gutted like this?

Please point to the benefits of this event- we need more uplifting dialogues – the positive is the story.

Reply to this comment
Wayne Bonner-Bell March 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

Hello everyone,

I have tried to reserve speaking on this topic, because clearly…everyone knows my company’s opinion, and my computer was broke:). However, this discussion board has taken a really dark tone towards some of the non-profits, stores, designers, volunteers etc. There are a few things that have been brought up that I wanted to clarify.

The Free Weekly interviewed me for this article around October. Other than a follow up interview a few weeks later, I have not continued to bring this up, as one of the posters commented (refer: Jennifer 3/15 2:10PM). It was the choice of the Free Weekly to run this article, when they did. I think that they have presented a pretty fair and balanced article, to both sides, which is a credit to the author.

Regarding having our show paid for (refer: What will make people happy? 3/19 10:23PM and previously mentioned Jennifer), it is very true that around Thanksgiving a kind sponsor (1) of the event offered to pay our registration fee. However, we choose to decline their generous offer. As stated in the article, our issues with the event ran much deeper than simply the fee increase. It was a deeper issue with board selection, model fees, accountability, and general direction, as the article outlines. Plus, we couldn’t accept an offer, knowing that other designers might not be afforded the generous offer.

I do, in my heart, believe that the founders of this event had very good intentions when the event started. I don’t support attacking them as people, as some of the posters have done. The event has some major issues, but it is my hope that all intentions are pure.

Although I do not support many of the ideas for the second year of the event, I ask you to not take out frustration on the benefiting non-profits. Some of the posts have been very upsetting regarding non-profits. Many of the benefiting non-profits are causes that I believe in. Ms. Fennell did an excellent job in her post of clarifying how much donations mean to her organization. Therefore, frustrations towards the event should be directed toward the event, not the volunteers, stores, and/or especially charities.

I cannot express to you how pleased I am with the amount of support that we have been shown in the past week regarding our attempts to step forward for local artists. When we first decided to question the practices of NWAFW, it felt like going out on a huge limb (and was scary). This is an organization that we really loved being a part of the first year, and it deeply hurt me to not be a part of it. I could not fundamentally agree with some of their practices. However, the level of support that we have been shown since this article ran has helped with some of the feelings. That being said, many of these comments are so negative towards board members and stores, which is really missing the point? There are a lot of talented people who chose not to participate in this event. There are also talented people who do participate. Many are my friends. They are good people trying to make the best business choices for their establishments, and shouldn’t be punished.

The comment from the store owner (Boutique Owner) and some of the comments about stores have really got me thinking. It is true that the majority of stores in this town (and this country:)) are buying their goods from out of the country. Its a sad situation. However, when goods are purchased at low prices, the profit margins are higher.

That being said, it takes a special customer to seek out quality, local or domestic made goods. It also take a special store owner to make a commitment to carry them (because profit margins are lower). I cannot produce a shirt for under $30 (and that’s wholesale). Therefore, that can sometimes be 10 times what China can do. However, (I hope:)), quality and craftsmanship are better. I also know that people are employed here in Fayetteville to make that shirt. Its a benefit to the higher priced garment.

Would I love it if more stores would make a commitment to carry local made goods….SURE! However, we cant make blanket statements. Brits and Turks, Mustache, She Said Yes, Terra Tots, Good Things, and others, have made an attempt to carry local inventory. MACA is one of our biggest accounts and she does an excellent job of helping out BonnerBell and Emily Smith. Yes, we would love more stores to make the commitment, but there are some great stores that are trying. Hopefully the culture will change.

Everybody knows that some artists (including us) have had some serious issues with the direction of NWAFW. However, hopefully now we can move on to solutions. I think the organization could really improve after seeing some of the constructive comments. In the end, I hope positives come out of this situation for everyone involved.

Thanks to the Free Weekly for letting me give my two cents. I think it is awesome that we have a forum to discuss these things.

Reply to this comment
MizzBoots March 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I don’t care about fashion or fashion week, but if this is the same Ms. Terminella that has done SO much good for homeless pets in NWA (inculding spay arkansas and strut for a mutt to name a few), then I find it hard to believe that her intentions were anything but good. Keep up the good fight Ms. Terminella. Spay and neuter you pets ~ Peace!

Reply to this comment
Tammy March 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

hearing some horror stories from models and photographers, I would suggest that we take MizzBoots suggestion and support Ms. Terminella in her pet endeavors, and pray that she keeps away from the human variety.

Reply to this comment
Jarrod April 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm

So it was a little less than 9000 from last year. Yet stores paid three times as much to participate, models had to pay, sponsorships were more, and vendor booths were available for a hefty price. I think this answers the question about mismanagement. All this additional income and only a reported 9000 increase. Free weekly, PLEASE INVESTIGATE.

Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.