Allison Andrews, the beauty and brains behind Fashion Week San Diego, has been bringing fashion week to San Diegans since 2008. She filled us in on what it takes to work backstage, her favorite FWSD moments ever, how she stays chic during the chaos and more! Don’t miss “The Beauty Behind Fashion”, FWSD’s kick-off event showcasing 2015 Spring/Summer trends, on Tuesday, September 30.
Q & A with Allison Andrews
1. When did you start Fashion Week San Diego?
I began planning for the first Fashion Week San Diego in 2007. The first event was a year later in 2008. It takes about 8-10 months to make it all come together.
2. Explain your role within the event.
I’m the Founder and Director. So, the one with the most pressure.
3. Why did you want to bring this concept to San Diego?
We are the eighth largest city in the country, known for being a FAB place to have conventions and only we’re only an hour south of LA. For emerging brands, which is what FWSD supports and shows, SD couldn’t be better as far as manufacturing and locations goes. SD is a border town and to do production in LA or Mexico is only a short drive away, and extremely accessible without having to live full time in those areas. In addition, San Diego has a wonderful climate and is extremely supportive of entrepreneurs, innovators and startups. It’s a perfect place on the West Coast to have a traditional fashion week that supports emerging designers form around the world. This is why I created Fashion Week San Diego.
4. What is your favorite portion of the week?
I have two: the first night when the doors open and the music starts pumping and I know I have about 30 minutes until the start. It’s such a rush. There is no turning back; all the year’s work comes down to the next days. The second is at the trunk show when I see the faces of the designers when the audience is LOVING and BUYING their items. That’s what it’s all about. That moment.
5. How do you stay polished during the whirlwind week?
That’s easy, Team Bellus has my back. They always make sure before I step out on the runway that my makeup and hair is on point. I actually used two of their expert instructors, Kristina Monique-Cotez and Latera Pugh, for my wedding and I’m thrilled that they are a HUGE part of FWSD’s backstage team. I’m lucky to have such an amazing team of experts backstage, including the independent stylist that tried out to be backstage and the Gila Rut Salon Team.
6. Name your favorite salon or spa treatment.
I LOVE a good facial. There is nothing better. Your skin care and face is so important. Not only do you take care of your face during a facial, but you also get a nice massage – it’s perfect!
7. If you were to empty your bag, what beauty/hair products would we find?
My favorite hair tool is a pick. I always have one and it’s perfect for any size of purse. Also, MAC Lipstick, EOS Lip Balm, a NARS Blush Duo (the best blush out there) and lip liner to match my lipstick.
8. What is your favorite look to-date you’ve seen come down the FWSD runway?
This is so hard, I don’t have favorites at FWSD. BUT my favorite show was done by DIOR Haute Couture S/S 06. I really still find it hard to take my eyes off of. I’m looking at more than the clothing – I’m taking it all in and I want to be moved and have an experience as it comes down the runway.
Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGJUCTYQKCE
9. Has makeup application and hair styling always played an integral role in FWSD?
I created our signature event to start off every week of FWSD because beauty is so critical to fashion. This night is called The Art & Beauty Behind Fashion. This night pays tribute and shines a light on the beauty artists that make the looks complete on the runway. They are a huge and appreciated part of Fashion Week San Diego and any fashion week around the world.
10. Describe what a future Bellus student can expect when he or she works FWSD.
This is the icing on their beauty cake. Working a real, traditional fashion week is not only an honor, but a huge experience that can influence his or her career. I can tell you, before I meet any of the chosen students, I know they are the best of the best from all the Bellus campuses – that’s a big deal!
11. What piece of advice would you give an aspiring fashion or beauty industry professional?
Challenge yourself to put it all out there and get involved in everything. Experience is growth and to grow in your career you need to have experience to reflect on good and bad. This is how you become an expert in your industry and know the path you will want to stay on towards your success.
Our very own, Darin Giglio, was selected for an externship at The Doves Studio in Los Angeles, where its namesake founders offer future leaders in the modern hair industry an outlet to further their craft in a professional salon setting.
Here’s what Darin had to say about his time at Bellus, what inspires him and why he found himself in the industry.
Q&A with Darin Giglio:
Tell us why you’re in the beauty industry:
I’m in the beauty industry for a few reasons. First of all, I’ve always had an eye for fashion. I wanted to be able to translate the ideas and looks in my head into something real. I’ve always been good with tools and consider myself a builder of sorts. I decided that my artistic and creative abilities were being stifled and that I could express them through doing hair.
What brought you to Bellus Academy:
I came to Bellus because of the academy’s reputation as one of the best beauty and wellness schools in the world. After my initial interview and tour, I didn’t think twice about where I wanted to learn the ins and out of this industry. The overall vibe at Bellus is amazing. The students are friendly and helpful while the instructors are all so knowledgeable and talented.
The wildest thing you’ve learned at Bellus thus far:
The number of different steps, techniques and combinations of products it can take for one look/style is shocking!
Your favorite part of your externship at The Doves Studio in Los Angeles:
My favorite part of my externship was the amount of knowledge and talent I was surrounded by. I could tell they all wanted to be there and were very passionate about their work.
What was the most unique piece of advice you learned during the experience:
I learned an incredible amount about sectioning and different color formulas. It’s definitely something I will carry with me when I start my career.
Would you do it again if you could:
I would definitely do it again if I could.
A quote that gives you that “I Can” inspiration:
“Beauty changes lives” is a quote that gives me the “I Can” inspiration.
Name a celeb who is just doing it right when it comes to beauty:
Salma Hayek always presents herself as a classy woman and is always beautiful.
Our very own Autumn Macias from the Poway Campus took Bronze in the Student category at the 2014 North American Trend Vision! Read up on her experience as a finalist.
Autumn had not been signed up for any advanced academy so it was fantastic to have this great extra training as she prepared. She gathered inspiration from last year’s trends and saw this as a chance for more education and training.
The process was a wonderful one in terms of finding a model. The trend she had chosen to go with was Borderline Beauty which is full of an organic meets mechanic feel. She planned to go with the darker, more muted tones that were textured. Often the stylists will find a model and base the look off the model as well as the trend. However, Autumn had a vision first and wanted to find a model to fit it. She found a student at Bellus who was understanding and supportive of her vision for extreme crazy colors and exploratory hair styling.
Autumn started off on this journey just barely out of color and cut without any client experience behind her. She worked away on her doll head and stayed extra hours to get ready. She would bring Diego drawing after drawing for feedback and advice. He would say that he saw what she was going for but that she could do better. She was evolving her work with more than twenty drawings a day. They finally chose one and started working on the cut.
Autumn talks about how exciting it is to have people behind her to encourage her to do better. She put in the hard work with her doll heads and focused on making the look the best it could possibly be. She knew that being so young with a small amount of experience meant she was here for a reason. She asserts that beauty school is tough. There are a lot of girls going for similar dreams. Autumn has felt overwhelming support and acceptance, especially from the staff. She says she wouldn’t have made it this far without them.
Her advice to other students is to remember that it is all about how you present yourself. It makes a big impact on people who judge you and interview you. It matters who you are and how you want to be known to stand out in the industry. Be confident and show the world what you want them to see.
Do you want to learn about how your skills can transfer into the real world?
Jennifer Blackwell shares her experience from Bellus Academy and how the education translates to the professional world!
Jennifer attended Bellus in a time when they were really ramping up the program and moving everything in a great direction. The program was getting better and her excitement matched the movement. Jennifer has been involved in the clinical side of massage as well as massage therapy. She is a TA for Bellus and works as a massage therapist for a chiropractor.
After her education she was prepped and ready to communicate with the doctor in terms of findings in client sessions with her medical background. Bellus gave her great information about the field she was interested in.
Jennifer speaks highly of the Bellus Academy career director. The department is always receptive to helping with resumes and looking for different types of jobs. She has continued to find immediate help from all of the offices and was supported by staff members who helped her get where she wanted to go.
She encourages students to check out the alumni posted career options on a consistent basis. It is important to always look past the education piece of it and find where your passion lies in the end goal of a career. It is not just about passing a final, but about what the final is going to help you know in the future. With that, Jennifer advises students going through program to keep an open mind and work hard. Students may start out wanting to work on the clinical side, but perhaps the physical demand of it may change your mind. There is a lot to know but also a ton of resources so you must keep at it!
Moving forward in life, Jennifer always has a plan B in mind. She loves massage therapy but knows that one day her body will break down. She would love to teach and she might become an instructor for massage therapy with her experience as a TA. She knows what it is like to go through the program and how important it is to implement the hands on job experience. The students have a wonderful opportunity to grow together with their ideas
Jennifer is so happy to be where she is now. She can go to work having a bad day and leave so happy. It does not even feel like it is a job as she enjoys every second in such a fulfilling job.
Summertime styles are coming in hot! Bright colors are here and ready to play. Bellus Academy’s Kristina-Monique Cortez talks all about summer color trends spotted at Bellus Academy. With lipstick, the trends show girls wearing lots of blues, pinks and greens. Kristina says that over last two years there have been big transitions in style trends. We are now seeing more in color with use of bright shades and vibrancy in fashion forward colors. The market is getting younger and pulling through new looks based on older trends. New lines of cosmetics with new vibrant colors are coming out and focusing in on the bright yellows, greens, blues, and purples. The fresh summer styles show off classic looks that can be altered based on application with different trends to accentuate chosen features. The new trends show a youthfulness and innocence. How fun is it that we get to grow up and play with colors in these new ways? The varying applications with available textures have different feels and can transform a look. The magical colors of summer are fun, exciting, and playful. Summertime is trending with bronze tones and fresh new styles. Bellus is also seeing evening greens, cantaloupes and fuscia colors. You can spice up your style with a little bit of frosty eye shadow with gloss on top and maybe some glitter in there too! What will you try next?