By Krista Lyons, AliveTampaBay Correspondent
Fashion is an art. That is what local shoe designer Shola Yusuf, of Shola Designs, believes. “I treat my clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, and accessories as art objects,” says Yusuf.
Marina Williams, owner of ArtPool Gallery in St. Petersburg, shares Yusuf’s sentiment. “I love art and believe Fashion is simply walking art of short exhibits, and your closet is a museum of limitless possibilities,” says Williams.
As with finding any great work of art, Williams and Yusuf know that the best pieces are often hidden in unexpected places — places that appear and disappear as though they were imagined, like trunk shows and pop-up shows. You may hear about a trunk show through word of mouth or a random Facebook invitation. They often appear for one or two days, sometimes only open for a few hours. Named for the way that the clothes are brought in (in trunks), trunk shows may take place in small boutiques or in empty storefronts. In the most exclusive shows, they may even happen for a few hours in the designer or a friend of the designer’s home. During a trunk show, the designer may bring sample pieces so that you may order them to be shipped in your size at a later date, or they may bring a few sizes of each piece in their collection. Each show is different and each style is unique.
Trunk shows are as thrilling as they are mysterious, but you don’t need to be part of an underground fashion squad to learn about them. They thrive in Tampa’s burgeoning fashion scene, connecting fashionistas with designers like Yusuf. At a trunk show, not only do you get to see a designer’s collection before anyone else, but you often get the chance to meet the designers and discover pieces you may have otherwise missed.
“The trunk show always provides a wonderful opportunity for the fashionista to see the entire line of clothing from a designer and determine which pieces she cannot live without in her wardrobe,” says Patti Soltis, director of StylEdge Fashion.
Soltis, a frequenter of the Tampa trunk show scene, knows what many women and men alike are discovering: online shopping is great, but trunk shows offer a little something extra.
“We see so many products online when we shop and this is the ideal time to see it, touch it, and feel it,” says Soltis.
Pop-up shows hold an element of surprise that is unrivaled by big box stores and the world of online shopping and free two-day shipping. All it takes is stepping into one trunk show or pop-up shop to feel the excitement and the thrill of finding a one-of-a-kind piece before anyone else. These treasures, brought in by masters of their craft and available to take home today gives you a push to try something new, and try it fast before the other shoppers want to take it home. In fact, it is for that sense of urgency that many women prefer these types of shops.
“For those of us that don’t want to see someone else in our outfit, this is a fabulous time to add that unique piece(s) to our wardrobe,” says Soltis. “A pop up shop is an amazing chance to view product not usually available to the local customer and gives us the time to shop to add unique items to our closet. It comes and goes quickly, so shop with urgency!”
After a trunk show, once your excitement has worn off, you may discover that you have purchased something you might have been too timid to otherwise try. But, as with art, Yusuf finds that straying from the fray at a trunk show can be eye-opening.
“Sticking with tried and tested formulas is boring and uninspiring,” says Yusuf. “Experimenting from time to time is good, if not imperative.
Although movies and TV shows would have you believe that the only way to find a trunk show is through an errant flyer blowing past you in the breeze as you walk down 5th Avenue, the way to find these shops is much simpler.
“We post information on upcoming trunk shows and other events in our official Facebook and Instagram pages,” says Yusuf. “We also promote them on TV shows and radio programs from time to time.”
You can also find local trunk shows by simply following local designers, artists, and fashionistas on social media. However, when a trunk show is announced, be prepared to act fast. Shows can be announced anywhere from one month to one hour before the doors will actually open.
Once you find a trunk show, be ready to find clothes for work, casual wear, and unique accessories. Just be sure to grab some cash and your sense of adventure.
To find upcoming Shola Designs trunk shows, visit https://takeaboldstep.com/. Follow StylEdge Fashion to learn more about upcoming trunk shows in Tampa Bay.