The Finals & The Winners: Belk’s Southern Designer Showcase
“I have a confession to make,” began Arlene Goldstein, the Vice President of Trend Merchandising and Fashion Direction at Belk. She is on the clean, white stage placed in the middle of Belk’s headquarters. On her right, the 15 finalists in the Belk Southern Designer Showcase wait anxiously to know who won. The winner will receive a cash prize, their work sold in select Belk stores and on Belk.com, media coverage, and they will be featured in Belk’s 125th Anniversary advertising materials. The finalists certainly have something to fret over.
They didn’t have to wait long as Arlene went on to announce that ALL 15 of the finalists had won!
Confetti was shot from a cannon and fell down as music played and the whole room burst into applause. Each contestant celebrated their victory; a few hugged, two started dancing, and one let loose a few tears.
One of the dancing contestants, Kathleen Murphy, a jewelry designer based right here in Charlotte, told me, “I’ve been doing a lot of dancing lately, because I’ve been very excited.”
She wore a white dress to the finalist ceremony, making her custom jewelry stand out. The dress is from Belk. “I had to,” she said with a big smile. It does seem rather fitting.
“I think I passed out,” Kathleen explained about her reaction to receiving the email informing her she was in the top fifteen of the competition. After she recovered, she immediately told her mom and husband. “I think a tear dropped, a single tear, in hope to win,” she said about the conversations.
The tear certainly did its job. Kathleen says her collection consists of bright, statement pieces that can transition from casual to dressy. She accomplishes that by using a mixture of classy crystals and acrylics in her designs.
When she first heard about the contest, from Arlene Goldstein’s twitter, she thought, “There’s no way they could pick me, but, you know, you gotta play to win,” and set out to create the perfect collection. Gathering inspiration from Pantone’s color wheel, she spread out all of her favorite pieces on the kitchen island and proceeded to make 60 pieces before she narrowed it down to a cohesive collection.
Her favorite piece in the collection is the ‘Gold Hampton’ earring. “Those are always like my go-to pair that I’ll put on for almost anything and everything.”
Perhaps Belk shoppers could pair Kathleen’s ‘Gold Hampton’ with Hannah Goff’s tropical inspired clothing line. Hannah recently got her master’s from the Savannah College of Art and Design and just moved to NYC to further her fashion design career.
She made the prints for her collections as well as the patterns for the clothing pieces.
“I take just images that I like… and I cut them up and then add my own graphics and I compile them kind of like a collage,” explains Hannah about her process. She makes the prints in Illustrator and Photoshop before merging them into her clothing designs.
After the ceremony for the 15 winners and some photographs for Belk and the media, the designers stayed at Belk HQ for meetings with the merchants where they’ll begin to hash out the plan for their collaboration with Belk.
Personally, I’m waiting impatiently for Spring 2013, when I can buy each of their designs at selected Belk stores.