Earned Stripes 

From rising designers to fashion-forward educators, Richmond brims with talent that seeks to put the city on the map — and boldly call out bad trends as needed.

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Scott Elmquist

Kimberly Guthrie
Interim Assistant Chairwoman and Assistant Professor
Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising

With more than 20 years of teaching experience at Virginia Commonwealth University, Guthrie has throngs of adoring students, past and present. She’s passionate about sustainable fashion and eco-fashion design and has spoken at numerous national and international conferences. Guthrie also founded a study abroad program in Florence, Italy, and is a VCUQatar liaison.

What’s something people might not know about fashion and VCU?

The fashion program at VCU has two tracks — fashion design and fashion merchandising. Our merchandising majors are so professionally prepared because of their entrepreneurship and line development classes they take during their junior and senior years. Fashion design majors graduate with what I call a full package, which includes a six-look collection, look book, identity package, portfolio and website.

What’s your personal fashion philosophy?

It’s really about combining contrasts, feminine with masculine, classic with quirky, elegant paired with casual. Clothes need to fit well and unfortunately both men and women overlook this. Minor alterations can make a world of difference and are an investment in your investment.

What’s the most interesting trend right now?

I see ankles as a new erogenous zone for both men and women. Whether it’s a jogger, rolled-up hems, or cropped lengths.

What might surprise outsiders most about the RVA fashion scene?

People embrace being individuals in RVA and our shopping reflects that. We are so fortunate to have several affordable “new-to-you” shops like Blue Bones Vintage, Rumors, Clementine, Tunic and Ashby. Of course, you can rely on finding high-end designer fashion at boutiques like Roan and Frances Khan. RVA can accommodate every price point.

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  • Scott Elmquist

Carter Johnston
Owner and Designer
CCH Collection

Johnston just recently moved to Richmond from New York, where she started CCH Collection in 2012. The business is a family affair owned Johnston and her sister, Alston Armfield. They opened up a flagship store in Richmond in the fall and are also outfitting women in hip cities like Los Angeles, New York and Charleston, among others.

What’s inspiring you these days?

I’m currently loving the ’20s. I’m not sure if “Downton Abbey” has anything to do with it, but I’m really feeling the straighter lines, long necklaces and just Old-World elegance right now.

What’s your essential accessory?

A statement necklace completes any look.

What’s your personal fashion philosophy?

Classic sophistication never goes out of style.

Favorite fashion blog or site and why?

Manrepeller, because she is absolutely hilarious and doesn’t take the fashion world too seriously.

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  • Scott Elmquist

Azi Blas
A Blas Couture

Before he studied at Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology, Azi Blas tinkered with fashion production at the age of 15 and was a tailor by 19. He lived in New York for 30 years before coming to Richmond to open his own design business. Blas most recently wowed runway audiences with avant-garde couture collections at VA Fashion Week.

What’s the most interesting trend right now?

The slip dress, white luxurious tops, long, long hem lines. The continued pant suit done right! Eastern influence, prints and subdued colors.

What’s a trend that needs to die a quick death?


What’s your personal fashion philosophy?

Try to get it right. Yard-by-yard, life is hard, inch-by-inch, life’s a cinch!

What might surprise outsiders most about the RVA fashion scene?

We’re not a bunch of throwbacks.

What’s inspiring you these days?

Positive people, places and things. Flowy fabrics, beautiful woman, babies, toys, art, prints, perfumes. God’s creations like flowers, trees, rivers, wild life, horses and puppies. It may sound crazy, but if you stand still for a minute. ...

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  • Scott Elmquist

Stacie Vanchieri
Modelogic Mid-Atlantic

Founded in 1993 by Vanchieri, Modelogic provides talent for such clients as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Kate Spade. The native New Yorker has more than 17 years in the business. Modelogic is the largest talent agency in Virginia with a second office in Chicago.

What are you most excited about in the local fashion and modeling scene?

We are scouting and placing Virginia models with worldwide agencies more than ever. Tons of beautiful talent here.

What’s a trend that needs to die a quick death?

High-waisted jeans.

What’s your personal fashion philosophy?

Keep it simple. Trends are fleeting, classic is forever.

Where do you see RVA fashion-wise in five years?

I hope I see more stores like Need Supply, who maintain a brick and mortar store as well as a great online presence.

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  • Scott Elmquist

Brittany Covington
Artist and Designer
Wild Wild Woman

Covington loves playing around with recycled and organic elements to craft her small batch wares. Growing up on a farm in rural Virginia, the designer has a soft spot for the beauty of the natural world around her and the creatures in it. A portion of proceeds from sales often benefit animals facing extinction.

What’s inspiring you these days?

Growing up in Goodwill and travel.

What’s a trend that needs to die a quick death?

Copying other people.

Favorite fashion blog or site and why?

Blood is the New Black. They express their ideas so freely.

What’s hot for summer?

Opening your mind to all bodies are beautiful.

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  • Scott Elmquist

Micheal Sparks
Founder and President
Micheal Sparks Design

Sparks is an internationally renowned jack-of-all-design trades. Before moving to Richmond in 2009, he worked in New York, London and Madrid, where he was involved in accessory development for Louis Vuitton. Based in Manchester, Sparks applies creative savvy to things as varied as high fashion and interior design consultations, gaining followers across the arts and business community.

What’s hot this summer?

Vibrant colors and pastels will be the hottest look this year.

What’s inspiring you these days?

Technology is driving our culture on a daily basis — one tweet can change a business in seconds. Social media is the new driver of marketing and it inspires me to reach and elevate our clients using a data-driven approach.

What are you most excited about in the local scene?

Pop-up retail that will enable Richmond to identify their fashion voice and make a lasting impact on a global level.

Where do you see RVA fashion-wise in five years?

I see Broad Street and Manchester becoming a bespoken culture.

Favorite fashion blog or site?

Departures magazine combines travel, style and trends on a global level. This publication also features and exposes new and upcoming retail and designers.



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