Meet Brittany Alphonso, the designer behind Banana Bread Baby and founder of St. Augustine Fashion Week. Brittany’s passion for fashion and design began as a child and later grew when she had children of her own. Being home with her girls inspired her to pursue her passion for design and start sewing again, but on a more professional level than ever before! Brittany has shown her line of children’s clothing across the United States, but when it came to her hometown, St. Augustine, she saw a need for a runway event or fashion show to give designers like herself a platform to showcase their work. She dreamt of launching St. Augustine Fashion Week, and after attending the first, She Is Fierce! Women’s Wednesday series Brittany turned her dream into a plan. She took a leap and launched the St. Augustine Fashion Week which offers designers from around the nation a chance to showcase their designs in the nation’s oldest city!
When did you first discover your passion for fashion?
I was 5, in a Toys R US store holding a Dress Up Kit that was clearly too much to buy on a non-birthday trip to Toys R US…. well the dress up kit included feather boa, plastic glitter pumps and loads of shining plastic jewelry…. and all I wanted was “Fashion and Design” ” I want this Fashion and Design” ….. My Mom likes to tell that story in comparison to how I live my life these days:)
How did you actually go from a love of fashion to becoming a designer?
Well I had this love of Fashion, it was really just interest for a long time. I would create my own costumes and doll clothes as a kid and began sketching as a teen. When I actually had to start planning for a future career towards the end of High School I honestly had “0” idea that I could actually pursue a career in Fashion. Growing up in St. Augustine, not exactly the place you think of in reference of High Fashion let alone Designer / Manufacturer, left me with very little inspiration and outlets to learn my options. Well, I finished High School and went on to our local Community College with absolutely no direction what so ever…. well that didn’t last long. My creative brain was completely under-stimulated and I decided to take on the world at my own pace.
I married early and began a family right away. I was a new mom, a young new mom, and thankfully able to be home with my babies at this very special time in our lives. Home with my girls inspired me to create and pursue my passion that I thought was long gone. I began sewing again but on a more professional level than ever before. I started with simple girls dresses, for my girls of course, and soon advanced to working with intricate laces and trims and creating my own patterns. I launched Banana Bread Baby in the Spring of 2009 and have since seen my brand grow.
What called you to creating a fashion week event in St. Augustine, Florida? You had the idea a long time before you took the leap… what was it that made you finally decide to go for it?
I have traveled the US showing my line of children’s clothing in Runway events and Fashion Weeks but when it came to my own home town …… there was nothing. I had met many local designers that are in the same boat, wanting so badly to share their products for our local market. Not many locals know that there are actually REAL DESIGNERS living in our little town creating real lines of wearable clothing. I finally went for my dreams after being absolutely inspired by the first She is Fierce! series presented at the Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine. I had this dream of launching a St. Augustine Fashion Week, but I didn’t have enough courage to really go for it and take that LEAP of Fierce. Meeting Kelly and attending the incredible talk series was so inspiring to me. I truly thank the She is Fierce community for encouraging me to make my dreams come true.
What are some lessons you learned in launching a new event series?
Well lesson #1 Not everything starts off perfect! It takes a lot of hard work and even a few mistakes to grow and get better each show.
I could go on and on as I seriously learn something new everyday, and for that I am thankful.
What are some of your biggest successes you have experienced since joining the She Is Fierce! community?
I feel that I am more confident in my abilities. I feel that with this confidence in myself others are more likely to take me seriously.
What does being a member of She Is Fierce! mean to you?
Well She is Fierce is not just a group of woman trying to prove something, we are proving something. Proving that empowering other women to take their dreams and making them reality is possible. The support I see from day to day is nothing in comparison to the true lift HER up and HELP her succeed that I feel from She is Fierce members!
How can our audience get involved with St. Augustine Fashion Week?
Well each Season of St. Augustine Fashion Week we offer a platform to new designers from around the Nation. These small brand designers are presenting their latest collections in line with Fashion Weeks around the globe. Our audience can get involved by following our designers, coming to their presentation and supporting the many business that have come together to make this show possible.
We have seen people from our audience return to following shows as Sponsors, Volunteers and even Designers. This is so incredible to me as we have not only presented an awe inspiring show but we have inspired them to join our team and even make their dream of being a designer or model come true.
St. Augustine Fashion Week is a non-profit organization that works closely with our community and the areas in need. Each show, portion of proceeds make a direct impact to those organizations in need of help. This year Season 3 will be donating proceeds to St. Augustine Youth Services, The Lightner Museum Hurricane Relief Fund and PACE. With your ticket purchase and even sponsorship of the event you can help us reach our goals in funds to provide that much needed help to these incredible organizations. Learn more by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or stafashionweek.com