Decked out in a leopard-spotted top, alligator-green sleeves and coral pants, Tolliver Shearn knows a thing or two when it comes to “werking it” on a fashion runway.
“You’re always thinking about your next move,” he says with a smile. “You also spend a lot of time looking at yourself in the bedroom, perfecting the perfect pose.”
That’s because Shearn isn’t a professional Zoolander. Instead, he is a Western Iowa Tech Community College student who will be modeling creative couture at the Sound & Style Fashion Show, Saturday, at the Warrior Hotel, 525 Sixth St.
A fundraiser for the Sioux City Conservatory of Music, it will begin with a pre-symphony matinee from 4 to 6 p.m. A second set fashion show, emceed by the Weekender’s Earl Horlyk, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., and will end with a DJ Dance Party, starting at 9 p.m.
So, what does fashion have to do with music? According to Conservatory of Music cofounder Gia Emory, there has always been a connection between musicians and designers.
“When you think of David Bowie and Prince, their look is as important as their sound,” she explains.
For many years, Emory was a West Coast stylist for such fashionable females as Britney Spears and Priscilla Presley.
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Grace Emory is just as stylish as her mom. Indeed, the North High School 11th grader is considering a career as a fashion designer.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good,” she says. “You can take old clothing, make a few alterations and turn in into something really eye-catching.”
Displaying an example of her “upcycle” style, Grace Emory was wearing an old cardigan sweater, a vintage concert T-shirt, wraparound skirt and leggings.
East High School 10th-grader Chloie Roupe was boasting a similar look with a cardigan, animal print leggings and flowy dress.
“My style is a bit retro and a bit futuristic at the same time,” Roupe, who cites both singer Lady Gaga and designer Betsey Johnson as style icons, explains.
Like Grace Emory, Roupe is an aspiring fashion designer who will be showing off fashion during the Sound & Style show.
“My grandmother taught me how to sew,” Roupe says. “I’ve been experimenting with fabrics ever since.
In addition to Roupe and Grace Emory, clothing designed by Rachel Anne Rainwater, of Los Angeles, and Sean Bolte, of Minneapolis, will also be shown on the runway. So will Paul Chelstad, a Sioux City-based artist, who’ll be exhibiting some of his graffiti-inspired fashions.
Certain to be snapping plenty of high-fashion photos will be Miguel “Nasty” Almaraz-Castaneda, the 21-year-old owner of a graphic design collective Nasty Collective.
“I take photos, shoot video, create graphic design and, even, do a bit of podcasting whenever I get the chance,” he says. “Gotta do whatever you can to get by.”
For much of the past five years, Almaraz-Casteneda was homeless.
“My mom turned me away was I was 16,” he says. “Been on my own ever since.”
That hasn’t stifled Almaraz-Castaneda’s ambitions or his creativity.
He cites as Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur and Quentin Tarantino as unlikely muses.
“There’s style in hip-hop as well as in filmmaking,” he says. “I like that.”
So, who is Rebecca Ericksen’s fashion hero? Probably not her dad.
“I’ve seen Becca buy old men’s jeans from the Goodwill, change a few things and wear ’em to school,” Tim Ericksen says as his Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community High School daughter walks down the Sound & Style runway. “I’ll tell her that I have plenty of old jeans that she can ‘upcycle.’ So far, Becca hasn’t taken me up on my offer.”
Fashion is a creative outlet, Rebecca Ericksen says.
“I just like taking something used and making it new again,” the first-time model says.
While Rebecca Ericksen is still working the kinks out of her model poses, Zoe Belk already feels at home in front of a crowd.
“I’ve never modeled before but I’m also a singer,” the Western Iowa Tech Community College student-turned-model-for-a-night says. “A runway is just a different type of stage.”
Which is a good attitude to have. After all, fashion inspires confidence.
“I started getting into fashion as a way to express myself creatively,” Grace Emory says. “I show the world who I am when I dress the way I do.”
Chloie Roupe nods her head in agreement.
“Fashion should show off your personality,” she says. “It is a reflection of who you are.”
Wearing some fashionably destroyed jeans, cool kicks and white dress shirt, photographer “Nasty” Almaraz-Castanada is just as trendy as anybody on the runway.
“Being confident in yourself is key,” he says. “That’s true, no matter what you do.”