The Collegian
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Fashion Review: Pins and Needles

Ten Richmond-area indie designers displayed their fashions at an unlikely venue for the Pins and Needles fashion show Friday night.

The models walked down a runway constructed straight through the New York Deli in Carytown, and stopped in front of the big glass window before walking back. The show started at 10 p.m., drawing a crowd left over from First Fridays downtown.

The fashion show's organizers, Erin Taylor and Ono Mangano, were the last two designers to show their garments to a packed restaurant, so packed some had to stand outside. The crowd was mostly young, between the ages of 18 and 35.

To be considered indie, the designers had to have made and designed all the looks from start-to-finish. The design-range was wide, from '20s-influenced hats to boldly patterned dresses that looked as if they were something Betsey Johnson had designed.

Philissa Williams, the designer of Thembe Fashions, had the most fun designs, which were mostly dresses. Her bright Betsey Johnson-esque dresses looked as if they would be fun to wear. Williams has been designing for about 10 years, she said.

Ra Jang, another featured designer and a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, said her designs were inspired by nature but also said she drew inspiration from the history of fashion. For example, she might take inspiration from the shape of a silhouette or the iconic person of an era.

Taylor and Mangano are very involved in the indie craft scene, Mangano said. The two decided to put on the show because they had seen a lot of indie fashion, but not many indie fashion shows.

Mangano said being an indie designer was more of a lifestyle choice than anything else.

"It would be contradictory to make it mainstream," Mangano said.

It's more about being against mass production, Tayor said. Taylor and Mangano had their own fashion show last spring. The pair wanted to organize something that would incorporate multiple local designers and give fellow Richmond designers a platform to showcase their talents.

The women modeling the designers were all average-sized, not super-thin as models might be at mainstream shows. The models were chosen at a model call at VCU campus.

The designers were, in order, Hats by humblebumbleb, Megan Schuler, Beth Allums, Thembe Fashions by Philissa Williams, Make by Kate by Katie Bruce, Julien Archer, SCO Rouge by Sasha Corrodus-Odom, Ra Jang, Erin Taylor designs and Sew Ono ap*par*el.

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Sasha Corrodus-Odom, the designer of SCO Rouge, is from Washington, D.C., and has done two other fashions show during her career. Her biggest show was at VCU earlier this year, she said.

Contact reporter Alexandra Varipapa at

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