The Music and Fashion Expo took place Aug 8-10 at a new venue for 2014: the Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas. The Expo included showcases for musical talent, including singers Jennifer Clark and Ron Knight. They also included a beauty pageant for the first time as part of the event. But the primary focus was on fashion.
There was a competition for Las Vegas fashion photographers, who were present at the event to meet designers, vendors and media. There was also a fashion show put on by students of the Nevada Association of Fashion Design. Of most importance, however, was the competition for the fashion designers. Of 14 nominees, seven were selected to show pieces from their collections.
Each of those designers showed two outfits: one “casual” and one evening wear. As you would hope for an event like this, the styles showed a diverse range. Designer Mauricio Felipe chose two traditional dresses, one long, the other short, both featuring pink floral imprints. Oladipo Alabi, with Afrik Expressions, showed colorful African-inspired prints, while designer Bunker Bradley of Cobra Culture chose two modern-art patterned prints on his proprietary fabric. Some of the designers chose “casual” outfits that were recognizably casual: Maverick Perez, Nancy Zapata and Rae'Unia Pressley. Winner Rosario Guerrero also made that choice, with a sunny, flirty bold print dress and a formal sheer-and-lace black dress. All the designers and their models are shown in the slide show that accompanies this article.
The expo also introduced the Miss Las Vegas Classic beauty pageant for the first time. Participants competed in two age groups 12-17 and 18-30. Contestants were judged in three different categories of outfit: casual, swimwear and evening wear, as is common in beauty pageants. The slide show includes a picture of the top six finalists in the pageant. From left to right: Miss LVC 1st Runner Up Naomi Roopchand, 1st Runner Up Miss Teen LVC Liberty Pfeffer, Miss Teen LVC Title Winner Mone' Downs, Miss LVC Title Winner Savannah Knight, Miss LVC 2nd Runner Up Jessica Corona, Miss Teen LVC 2nd Runner Up Lordis De Piazza, and Entertainmentfirst Showgirl Krissy Sutphen.
The pageant offered winners in each division a crown, title and group of prizes donated by the sponsors. But as their website makes clear, entering a “natural” pageant like this one is not so much about glitz, glamour and winning as it is about learning self-presentation skills, being confident (even in swimwear) in front of a critical audience, and making connections to other people. A great example of this is Liberty Pfeffer, first runner-up in the teen division. She did not walk away with the title, but she did get noticed, and has been chosen to be one of the featured models in Fashion Week Las Vegas as a result of being in the pageant. Other contestants were offered magazine appearances.
The value of connections at these kind of events did not stop with the pageant contestants. At least one of the fashion models will be featured in a custom fashion and portfolio shoot by a professional photographer. One of the photographers who entered the photography competition was offered a paid job on the spot for that evening, and another was hired to be a staffer for a magazine based on connections made at the Expo.