by MIKE CHAIKEN
Connecticut fashion designer Chinnyere McPherson will be burning the style candle at both ends this month.
McPherson’s line FASCHINN will be part of the third edition of Hartford Fashion Week on Friday, April 20 at the Colt Armory East in Hartford. But before that McPherson has her own event, Wild Heart Experience, on Saturday, April 14 at the Dirt Salon in Hartford.
Wild Heart Experience will feature the work of four different artists, including McPherson’s fashion. Additionally, there will be a live painting by Andre Rochester; Studio A-Lala (Alexia Lalande) will be creating a 3D art instillation; and Elisa Tenanbaum will debut her latest project in gallery one at Dirt Salon.
“Fashion is something I’ve always been drawn to,” said McPherson in an email. “It started with long shopping trips with my grandma. I would draw and craft, which then turned into fashion sketches. I still have color coordinated books full of fashions without the heads because I was purely interested in drawing the clothing.”
She learned to use a sewing machine in her junior year at Bloomfield High School. She then studied fashion design and merchandising at Fisher College in Boston for two years.
For McPherson, fashion runs in her genes. “My grandmother and great aunt were seamstresses… I recently found out that my great grandfather was a master tailor in Jamaica.”
In terms of design aesthetic, McPherson said, it “can be described as classic with an edge. Classic silhouettes, timeless styles with unexpected fabric choices and colors that make you look twice. I am actually introducing some menswear this season. The FASCHINN individual is fearless, confident, and has a limitless perspective. The FASCHINN individual commands attention when they walk into a room.”
For the Wild Heart collection, McPherson said she is telling “a story of an individual who has a vibrant soul and identifies as a free spirit.”
“By definition,” said McPherson, “a free spirit is one who is not restrained, as by convention or obligation; a non-conformist.”
“Going back to our original design roots, vibrant, saturated colors will the forefront of this collection with black and white as the foundation,” said McPherson. “Playing with texture and movement, Wild Heart will bring an authentic, flirty and classic vibe.”
“This collection is my story of where I am in life right now,” said McPherson. “I am ready to take on new challenges, take leaps of faith and trying to embrace a new level of confidence.”
Fashion fans, said McPherson, “will be excited about the new collection because it’s really so much fun and they’re pieces you don’t really see in the store but they are very wearable at the same time.”
“I like making clothing that you can wear to real life events,” said McPherson. “When I’m designing, I think about my personal life and friends and family because that’s real life and relatable.”
“There will be some show pieces mixed in there for fun,” said McPherson, “but for the most part (it’s) realistic fashion for real people.”
At both Wild Heart Experience and Hartford Fashion Week, guests will see mostly the same pieces. However, the presentations will differ, said McPherson.
“I will be previewing the collection with 12 looks at the Dirt Salon, exhibition style,” explained McPherson. “This means models will be standing as statues and the crowd will be able to interact with the models as well the art installation by Alexia Lalande and art gallery by Elisa Tenanbaum.”
At Hartford Fashion Week, McPherson will be closing the Friday night installment with a runway show featuring 20 looks.
McPherson said she is excited about the return of Hartford Fashion Week, an event organized by Naugatuck, Conn. native Katrina Orsini.
“Hartford Fashion Week is an event that was long overdue for Hartford,” said McPherson who has participated in the capital city event before. “There are so many amazingly talented designers and we finally have a strong community platform to share it. I feel honored to be apart of it.”
McPherson said, “My personal goals for being a part of HFW is to share my vision as a designer, meet new people to do business with and gain new clientele.”
When Wild Heart Experience and Hartford Fashion Week is done, McPherson will not have much time to rest before she gets back on the fashion bus.
“I have a show at the W Hotel in Boston the following day after HFW,” she said. “April 26, I’ll be showcasing at JL Studios (85 Arbor St.) in Hartford at the 4 Days of Fashion.”
With all of these events, said McPherson, “My main goal is to fill orders for clients and focus on expanding my brand to new heights. I want to sell to my clients directly for a while then hopefully b the year 2020 my goal is to sell to small boutiques nationwide.”
Wild Heart Experience will be at The Dirt Salon, 50 Bartholomew Ave., Hartford on Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit https://wildheartexperience.splashthat.com.
Hartford Fashion Week starts Thursday, April 19 with a launch party at Chango Rosa, 1 Union Place, Hartford from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with drinks, music, dance, food, and more. Runway shows are Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21 at the Colt Armory East, 150 Huyshope Ave., Hartford. Doors open at 7 p.m.
On Friday, there will be a fashion presentation by Rachael Karrington and runway shows by Styled by Jazz, RoundTableClothing, Troy Anthony, and FASCHINN. On Saturday, there will be a presentation by Taj Mirage, and runway shows by LaMoo, Brian Hernandez, Animated People, and Toshaz.
On Sunday, April 22 for Hartford Fashion Week, there will be a vending event at the armory featuring local designers such as milliners, jewelers, etc. who will be displaying and selling there pieces.
On Monday, April 23 as part of Hartford Fashion Week, there will be a panel discussion, “Culture and Community Through Attire” in partnership with the UConn School of Fine Arts Alumni Association at the UConn Hartford branch, 10 Prospect St., Hartford. The event runs 6 to 8:30 p.m.
For more information about Hartford Fashion Week and tickets, visit Hartford.Fashion. Tickets start at $35.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN