By ARLAETH RAMIREZ
Quinlan Wilhite, Pima Community College student and owner and designer of QMULATIVE, is one of 15 designers participating in the Emerging Designer Bootcamp.
Phoenix Fashion Week brings national and international designers together, premier retailers and fashion media, with the goal of gaining global exposure to Arizona’s Fashion Industry.
Wilhite, 28, will showcase his line Oct. 5-7 during Phoenix Fashion Week at Talking Stick Resort.
There will be three categories — contemporary, couture and lifestyle — with five designers in each. Wilhite will compete in the lifestyle category.
The designer of the year will be announced during the event and receive a $10,000 prize package.
Wilhite said he was taught to sew by his grandmother in 2013 when he asked her to sew one of his handmade shirts.
He then started taking fashion design courses at PCC and founded QMULATIVE shortly thereafter.
“It’s everything that I embody as a lifestyle brand — automotive, scene, skateboarding, music and art,” said Wilhite of his company’s name.
PCC offers a fashion design certificate and an associate’s of applied arts with fashion design electives.
“Pima opened my eyes to the fashion design industry,” he said. “I had the ideas, but you have to know how things should go together, how it’s going to wash and what textiles are going to be too heavy.”
Wilhite plans on graduating soon and is thinking about pursuing his career through Arizona State University.
He heard of Phoenix Fashion Week from a friend that tagged him in a post on Instagram. He applied in December and found out he was chosen in May.
“I’m super excited, it is a big stage and a big opportunity,” Wilhite said.
“I want to do this as a career, not just a hobby.”
– QUINLAN WILHITE
Wilhite has been busy doing projects and putting his Arizona signature tees out there at places such as farmers market booths and in two stores, Mocha and Pop Cycle.
“Half of this industry is street smarts,” he said, “If you don’t put yourself out there and send emails, make calls and get good connections you won’t really go far.”
He has dedicated these past three months to putting together his line for Fashion Week. The final project was due Sept. 20.
With everything that’s going on in the world, Wilhite tries to help as much as he can not only in Arizona but all over the globe. He teamed up with World Care, an organization that deals with disaster relief, and made pocket tees. All proceeds went to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
“I wish I could do more, but being out here makes it hard,” Wilhite said.
Wilhite is focusing on Fashion Week but also lining up orders for spring. He strives to provide a fresh approach to fashion.
“Overall, I’m super excited to bring Tucson with me and showcase my line,” Wilhite said.
Brian Hill, executive director of Phoenix Fashion Week, has put together a big event in the Southwest.
“Through educational fashion seminars, year-round fashion events and charitable partnerships, Phoenix Fashion Week is gaining rapid acclaim for its community-service efforts and for infusing world-class innovation into the Southwest,” Hill said on the event’s website.
Hill is a self-taught designer who focuses on the business side of fashion.
His website continues: “I pledge to continue pushing Arizona, fashion forward from the ground up, while being inspired by young designers that want to succeed in this tough industry.”