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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Thriving passion for fashion
Published Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:00 am
by Ryanne Persinger

A few years ago Adrienne Adams needed a dress for her sister’s wedding.

Models Sheris Dawson and Ryan Howell in Foxx Skynz by Designs.

She wanted to wear something unique, one of a kind.

A friend of her husband suggested someone who could create a dress.

“I was questionable about it at first,” Adams said. “But the dress turned out fabulous and I had so many compliments about it. The only thing I hate now is that I can’t wear it anymore.”

Adams described the dress as an olive, apple green color made in stretch satin. It is a bubble dress, strapless, with a wide waste band.

“The workmanship is wonderful,” Adams says. “I’m impressed with her designs and creativity.”

The designer of that dress is Melissa Davis of Foxx Skynz by Design.

A bank employee by day and fashion designer during the rest of her time, Davis started her clothing line in 2003.

“I started out making clothes for myself,” Davis said. “Initially they were clothes that I would call risqué. They were clothes my father would not approve of, but they were eyecatching.”

Between 1999 and 2003 she made clothes for herself and friends, before getting the courage to start her business.

She dubbed it the name Foxx Skynz for a reason.

“One of my favorite animals is a fox,” Davis said. “I identify with a fox. I think we’re both small and smart.”

The name Skynz came from a rapper friend and she put the two words together.

“To be foxy is an attitude and the skin is how you wear it,” she said.

Davis creates styles for men and women in sizes 4 to 14. She says she used to make clothing out of faux fur, now she uses real fear, cotton and silk.

The Boston native turned Charlottean doesn’t necessarily create clothes for people. Instead she has already designed pieces and if clients like them they can request she make them in a specific size.

“My comfortable span (for making clothes) is two weeks,” she said. “But  I have done things under pressure before.”

Interested clients can visit her website.

“The fact that I wasn’t schooled in fashion gives me an edge,” said Davis, who wears her own designs to work. “I don’t follow the trends. I’m a trendsetter if nothing else.”

Davis, a 1995 graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, was featured in Charlotte North Carolina’s Fashion Week last year and will be showing 30 designs from her new collection “Business as Unusual,” Sept. 23-25 at Founder’s Hall at Bank of America Center, 100 N. Tryon St.  

The theme for this year’s CNCFW is “City Confidential: the Fashion Chronicles.”

“City Confidential will highlight the city’s growth and budding fashion scene and those within the community who have helped shape the city’s growth in the areas of fashion, art, culture, and entertainment,” said CNCFW director Anthony Simons.

Davis is one of 13 designers and four boutiques showcasing during the three-day event. Guest hosts include “Fox News Rising” anchor Anna Kooiman and WSOC-TV anchor Erica Bryant, along with former Mrs. North Carolina Debra Kennedy.

Charlotte’s fashion week was created in 2008. LaShay Jackson bought a dress from Davis at last year’s event.

The polka dot dress has an A-line skirt. It’s dark blue, baby blue and coffee brown, Jackson said.

“I still wear that dress and a lot of people love it,” she said. “It’s very unique and different.”

Jackson, who said she’s used to earth tone shades, decided to step outside her comfort zone with regard to pattern, fabric and colors.

“(Davis) definitely made me branch out,” Jackson said. “I feel just a little more eclectic.”

Davis has even made a dress for former Charlotte Sting player Helen Darling.

“She ended up approaching me to make a garment for her,” Davis said. “It was a skirt and top.”

These days Davis is pushing to get her clothes into boutiques and plans to host a trunk show in Charlotte in 2011.

And remember, she adds, when you see her clothing on the runway you don’t have to purchase the whole ensemble.

“You don’t have to get that shirt with the skirt or that skirt with that shirt,” Davis said. “You can just get one. You can definitely mix and match with other things.”

Other designers/boutiques showing at CNCFW:

• Banana Republic
• Aldero by Andrina (South Carolina)
• Bill Evans Designs (N.C.)
• Jen Jessica S. Designs
• Alana Couture (Columbia, SC)
• Gina by Elizabeth (N.C.)
• Odelia House of Style (Concord)
• Green Label Designs
• Republique Rouge by Kristi Stewart (Raleigh)
• Sam Randolph NYC
• SACHHI Designs (Charlotte)
• Audrey and Grace
• Kotani Rae (N.C.)
• MEI Fashion (S.C.)

Daily general admission is $36.

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