The burgeoning fashion scene in New Orleans has attracted the attention of designers and fashionistas around the country. Runway events and fashion soirees are slowly becoming the norm among the young and hip around the city, so it was a privilege to attend the debut of Invade, NOLA magazine’s new fashion issue.
The party was hosted by the top editors at the magazine, and featured plenty of local models and fashion designers. As a friend of a friend of the stylist, I was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fashion.
About an hour into the party, I met with the magazine’s founder, Justin Shiels. He attends the same university as I do, so he was very easy to talk to and extremely willing to discuss his incredible knowledge of men’s fashion.
This is in contrast to many New York designers who do not give clients the time of day. Shiels claims in the magazine that “fashionistas have discovered, that despite the sweltering heat, New Orleans has style both enduring and cutting edge.” He claims that over the last decade he has seen New Orleans flourish as a creative mecca in a way that has not been seen in many years.
In New Orleans, the word fashion is not synonymous with expense. Clothes designed locally tend to be less expensive than their international counterparts. As with most things in New Orleans, passionate (and often eccentric) locals are inspired by the surrounding colorful creole cottages and innovative New Orleanians for their designs.
Especially in the area of men’s fashion, the prices are low, and the clothes are fantastic. In fact, two New Orleans natives in attendance developed a unique shopping experience. On their blog, Candy Apple, the Bienvenu sisters create a shopping list of must-have items for that week. What makes their blog unique is that no item is ever priced over $60.
Of the different New Orleans designers highlighted at the event (and in the magazine), Brennan Manuel is one of my favorites. Owner and designer of Camrich Mann, Manuel saw a gap in the men’s fashion industry. He designs clothes for the modern man who wants to look stylish, without spending thousands of dollars on an outfit.
Another, kitschier, design brand in New Orleans is the Shultzilla clothing company. Although not high fashion, their witty, creative, and colorful clothing designs are inspiring. The themes of the outfits all revolve around New Orleans cultural tid-bits, like humidity, French culture, and the New Orleans Saints. Their t-shirts costs only around $20 and are definitely conversation pieces.
Of notable mention is also the local chain, Jean Therapy. This high-fashion store has opened several stores in south Louisiana since 2002, and furthers fashion in the Gulf South on a yearly basis.