The Pin Show has a reputation of being much more than your average fashion show and the 2015 event on April 4 will be no exception. The brainchild of Dallas designer, Julie McCullough, The Pin Show features independent, seasoned designers whose works range from swimwear, to women's ready to wear, to jewelry.
"Anyone can come to this. It's street level fashion," McCullough says. "Most people who come to The Pin Show have never been to a fashion show but this is not a sit down, stuffy thing; this is a two hour party with fashion."
The show is in its 8th year and has grown significantly since the first event, held at The Door, almost a decade ago. The Pin Show will be among Deep Ellum's The Bomb Factory's first events after opening March 26. The Bomb Factory is a 50,000 square foot space so McCullough naturally had her hands full with designing an event to fill the massive space.
"It's going to be a huge show. We have 65 to 80 models, 160 walks this year and two 40 minute sets," McCullough said. "You can scale this venue to be any size you need it be and we're going to use the entire thing."
McCullough says that about 10,000 of The Bomb Factory's square footage will be used for the back of house team. The Pin Show serves as a platform for not only designers, but also photographers, stylists, artists and retail buyers to make their mark on the fashion industry. There certainly won't be a dull moment in either set as the models will walk the u-shaped, multi-level runway to live music by Zhora and friends.
McCullough says that she is ecstatic about having Zhora, the Dallas electronic pop, high-energy duo, as part of the show, as well as being able to collaborate with Taylor Rhea. McCullough has no doubt that Rhea, the vocalist behind Zhora, will create an amazing package of music and visuals that will add an extra special element to this year's presentation.
McCullough notes that The Pin Show is about the designers though and would be nothing without them. When the show began, she had to search for those willing to participate. This year however, McCullough and team received over 55 applications for 22 spots.
"We don't know where it came from but we're super excited," McCullough says of the explosion of applicants.
Featured designers typically have a connection to Dallas and all have fascinating stories and backgrounds. Participants are required to create new works for The Pin Show so even if guests to the show are familiar with the designers and their collections, all pieces will be fresh.
Three weeks prior, the designers drop off their work to The Pin Show team and then sit back and enjoy the show as McCullough's team of photographers, makeup artists and stylists handle the rest, even on the night of the show.
A few of this year's designers include Sacred Heart Collections by Brandi Russell, who McCullough says has a modern but luxurious mix of everything from rompers to eveningwear. Russell says that her collection is inspired by her recent trip to the White House and the First Lady's inaugural "Celebration of Design".
Also featured is Elle Luxx swimwear by Jacqueline McCann, who says she's known since she was a little girl that she wanted to be a costume designer.
"It wasn't until I visited my uncle's workshop that I knew I could turn my ideas into an actual lifestyle," McCann says.
McCann's uncle was a well-known drapery designer that ultimately inspired her to take her dreams and turn them into reality. McCann moved to Dallas from Austin to attend the Art Institute of Dallas. It was then that she began working at Varsity Spirit, a company that makes cheerleading and dance apparel and other athletic wear.
"For the past five years I've had the privilege of designing for some of the largest all-star gyms around the U.S.," McCann says. "It was there that I got my passion for stretch fabrics and subliminal printing."
McCann, who says she has been to The Pin Show many times and looks forward to sharing in the energy and passion that radiates from the show, will showcase vintage high-waist bikini looks and "one of a kind magical galaxy prints designed in house."
Elle Luxx is not the only swimwear being featured this year. Mahogany Blues Swimwear by Whitney Bracey will also be taking center stage.
"I always knew that I would be doing something with fashion design but I didn't think I would be doing swimwear," Bracey says when asked if being a fashion designer was always part of her plan. "I started sewing when I was about 6. I would hand sew clothes for my Barbie's because my mom wasn't able to buy them.I would cut up socks and t-shirts to make different skirts and shirts for my dolls. Once my mom figured out why my clothes kept disappearing, she taught me how to correctly hand sew and then she taught me how to use the machine when I was old enough."
Bracey says that her designs for The Pin Show will feature unique stitching detail and flattering silhouettes in rich, regal colors. She plans to begin offering custom designs in California and Miami in the near future.
Copper Signatures by Deirde Hardin, whose copperwire jewelry line was created while she was waiting for a heart transplant (and is completely handmade by Deirde herself), will be part of the show, as will Thrlll by Russell Bell. Yomono by Charlotte Elliot, who McCullough says did something completely new and different with her collection this year than in her past years with The Pin Show, will be another highlight.
"We've got so many new people this year." McCullough says, mentioning Melissa Hover, whose line is called EcoAmoire. "She committed this year and really nailed it. Ladies will go nuts this collection; it's like a cross between Anthropologie and Mod Cloth."
McCullough's own line, Folksie, will also be featured in the show. McCullough says that she had to apply to be in the show just like everyone else and can't wait to see her menswear line walk the runway.
Megan Surber, another menswear designer, is also excited to see her traditional but interesting pieces on display. Surber says she spent 10 weeks designing the six wearable looks that will be featured. Surber entered the world of fashion design when pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Texas.
Surber has high hopes for her future as a designer, looking to finding a job in the industry that will allow her to design full time. "I work in production and graphic design at my current job," she says. "My plan for the future is to find a place where I can design menswear and still pay my rent. New York is the dream, though."
The show last year drew around 2100 guests and McCullough expects this year's show to be equal to or to even surpass that capacity because of The Bomb Factory's size.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show at 8. All 22 of the designers bios, along with tickets to the show, are available online at ThePinShow.com.