Knoxville Fashion Week: Meet 3 Tennessee designers

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – East Tennessee is celebrating its fashion scene with Knoxville Fashion Week. The event features many designers, including Savannah Johnson, Angel Blanco and Ashley Burks.

Each designer has their own sense of style. However, they all agree that fashion allows people to use their creativity.

Savannah Johnson 

Fifteen-year-old Savannah Johnson has accomplished a lot for her age. The Knoxville teen has shown her designs in many fashion shows. Savannah Johnson

She believes designing modest clothes is her calling from God. “I decided that you should be modest, because that is how God wants you to dress,” said Johnson.

Her designs feature fun and bubbly prints. A big inspiration for her designs is music, including Christian artist Toby Mac.

For her Knoxville Fashion Week collection, Johnson teamed up with Marc Nelson to showcase the company’s denim with her looks.

Johnson says one of her favorite things about being a teenage designer is having the opportunity to inspire others. “You can dress modestly and still be really cute.”

Even though she hopes to have a career in fashion, Johnson makes time to be a normal teenager. She balances designing with school, golf and church activities.

Fast Facts:

  • Favorite Designers: Kate Spade, Betsey Johnson and Lilly Pulitzer
  • Favorite Stylish Celebrity: Sabrina Carpenter
  • Three Must-have Items: Jeans, a long dress and a dressy top
  • Inspirations: Religious views and music

Angel Blanco

Angel Blanco (Photo: Jasmine Newton)
Angel Blanco (Photo: Jasmine Newton)

The Venezuelan designer studied business administration in school. However, fashion always had his heart.

“Fashion is often fueled by the desire to be different enough to stand out, but similar enough to belong to the group that your clothing helps identify,” said Angel Blanco.

Blanco started designing because of his interest in conveying feelings and stories through clothes. He designs his clothes to express emotion and creativity.

“As a fashion designer, I work to create contemporary and elegant styles for all seasons and occasions,” said the Knoxville resident.

He believes inspiration is an important factor in designing.

“Fashion is an area that requires an always innovative artistic intellectual production, the elaboration of a cultural repertoire is important for me,” said Blanco.

One of Blanco’s first fashion shows was Asheville Fashion Week in 2016.

The designer believes fashion shows allow people to not only see the latest trends, but have the opportunity to network and enjoy art.

“Hello New York” was inspired by the Big Apple.

“I brought strong and avant garde garments that, while understated, display the very feeling of New York life,” said Blanco. “All together, it is a creative expression of big city life with bold and energetic pieces.”

Fast Facts:

  • Favorite Designers: Alexander McQueen, Yojhi Yamamoto, Elie Saab, Proenza Schouler and Rei Kawkubo
  • Favorite Stylish Celebrities: Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Lupita Nyong’o, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Biel and Halle Berry
  • Three Must-have Items: Nice pair of black shoes, a black outfit and good perfume
  • Inspirations: Reading, travel and personal experiences

Ashley Burks 

Ashley Burks is the designer of Cserri and an East Tennessee native.

Ashley Burks
Ashley Burks

Unlike Johnson, Burks didn’t always want to be a designer. She started off in the newsroom as a news producer for a station in Nashville.

However, she decided to follow her passion for fashion by going back to school. Without experience in fashion design, Burks decided to take a chance.

“I fell in love with it, being able to take something from a vision in your head to paper to a three dimensional final product,” said Burks.

She says she creates “costumes for everyday life.” Burks believes people should be able to change up their style to match their mood.

“The person who I design for is someone who likes to have fun with their clothes,” said Burks.

For Knoxville Fashion Week, Burks joined forces with Nashville designer Amanda Callis. Clestial features nine monochromatic looks. The edgy and whimsical collection was inspired by a person’s inner magic and power.

Burks says collaborating with another designer can definitely be a different process than working solo. Collaborating gives a designer the opportunity to grow.

“She and I have very different design styles in a way,” said Burks. “So you get to bounce different ideas off each other.”

Burks says Tennessee designers are able to receive a lot of inspiration. “There’s constant inspiration in Tennessee. Whether its from other artists, landscapes or our music,” said Burks. “We have a really unique perspective here.”

Fast Facts:

  • Favorite Designers: Chanel, Dior, Elie Saab, Monique Lhuillier and Prabal Gurung
  • Three Must-have items: Pointed-toe pumps, a black jacket or blazer and something that is uniquely you
  • Inspirations: Activities, music, landscapes, people watching and Pinterest
  • Sibling: She is the sister of WATE 6 On Your Side’s Whitney Good

Knoxville Fashion Week ends Saturday. For a full schedule of events, visit KnoxvilleFashionWeek.com

Related: Knoxville prepares for week of fashion

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