Hub designers shine in Fashion Week's final act

Tierney McAfee | 9/24/2008, 5:46 a.m.
Models Saran (above) and Charlene (below middle) both stalked the catwalk in Kosibah Creations pieces. (below): Award-winning designer...
Models Saran (above) and Charlene (below middle) both stalked the catwalk in Kosibah Creations pieces.

“I got to play around with jewelry and makeup this time,” Koumoundouros said. “It made presenting my collection more fun.”

Koumoundouros recently worked in New York City for Marc Jacobs before returning to Boston to work as a color and fabrics designer at Converse. Like Jean-Baptiste, she says she appreciates the quieter ambience Boston has to offer.

“New York is so full of inspiration, but at the same time you can really get lost in the shuffle,” Koumoundouros said. “Boston gives you room to breathe and nourish your talent, not only by working on your own stuff, but by seeing the other stuff that’s quietly happening here. It’s like a peaceful storm of creativity.”

The only problem, as Jean-Baptiste sees it, is that Boston needs to be more supportive of local designers. He says he struggled with finding sponsors for last Friday’s show, and had to finance the event largely on his own.

However, the show eventually found several sponsors, including Taj Hotels, Boston Fashion Week and FACE Africa, a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization that aims to help communities in Africa by addressing education, health and poverty issues.

“I planned this show hoping that it would open the eyes of some people in Boston,” Jean-Baptiste said. “I want them to say, ‘You know what, somebody’s trying to do something and there is hope.’”

Despite the obstacles, including a last-minute change of location and a late start, Jean-Baptiste says he is happy with the outcome of the show.

“It wasn’t what I designed in terms of the tiniest details, but judging [by] the response we got from the crowd, it went quite well,” he said.

And there’s always room to improve next year, Jean-Baptiste says.

Next year’s Boston Fashion Exposé will span four days and will feature show favorite Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah Creations, who came all the way from England for this year’s show. Jean-Baptiste says the 2009 event will feature more designers, a hair show, urban streetwear, and of course, more couture.

“You best believe next year is going to be bigger and bigger and better and better in every way,” Jean-Baptiste said.