The Chieftain Press Meets the New Designers of Boston


Grace Fiori and Katie Coen

On Thursday, September 28, the Chieftain Press took a trip to the Boston Public Library to attend a press conference about Boston Fashion Week. A panel of designers and stylists that were involved in Fashion Week talked about their careers and how special Boston shows are. The conference consisted of other high school and college journalists, all there to learn.

Boston is such a unique show because it is a smaller environment and allows for deeper conversations. The founder, Jay Calderin, talked of how being able to connect the designer and the guest makes Boston so important. The smaller, spread out events allow people to start a conversation that connects them. He spoke of how Boston isn’t a fan of big fashion runway shows. Throughout the 23 years of Boston Fashion Week, Calderin learned that Bostonian’s prefer to have real conversations with the designers and models.

The first on the panel was Cecile Thieulin. She is a French architect that couldn’t find affordable, fashion forward clothing that was also comfortable. She started sewing to make clothing for herself. Her company, Simone Simon, is based around architectural patterns, made with Earth-friendly fabric.

Another member on the panel was Anthony Gregorio. Him and his business partner started their business to give jobs to South Africans. They use selective African textiles to make bow ties, neck ties, and pocket squares. In the future, the company wants to learn to work with African leather to expand their horizons.

Afshan Iragorri has recently graduated from MassArt. She plans to create a name for herself in Boston with women’s wear. From ready to wear, to unconventional, she plans to start her business soon!

Among the group was Terri Mahn, a stylist involved in Fashion Week, styles models in commercial and editorial fashion. She is a personal shopper for Neiman Marcus and styles for private designers. Mahn prefers vintage wear, making it look modern through accessories.

Charles Neumann is a costume designer. He plans to start working with the Boston Lyric Opera this spring. Since the week after he got out of fashion school, Charles has had a solid job designing for private designers and other Opera houses. Just because he is known as a costume designer, he wants to show the world that he can create ready-to-wear street clothing as well.

Lastly, 15 year old Ruby McAloon, who runs her own company Ruby Mac Fashion, was a contestant on Project Runway Junior this past summer. She specializes in bohemian wear, including denim. Her recent collection, In Denim, showcases her style as a young designer in this big world.

During the conference many were asked of their opinion on certain controversies in the fashion world. When asked whether men or women are better designers, Charles Neumann, one of the 17 this year responded, “Fashion has no gender.”

Other questions asked ranged from opinions on the “size zero controversy” to if the current political climate has impacted any aspects of this years show.

Many felt that politics had no place in the industry. Neumann spoke of how he was in his own mind and ideas when designing, that it had no effect. Terri Mahn found that it was harmful to fashion in general, and polarized fashion styles decreased the consumers want to buy.

Also discussed was the future of fashion. Not only is Boston a hub of up and coming designers and styles, but also a central player in the increasingly technology oriented fashion world. With MIT and WPI nearby many felt that the possibilities for what style in Boston could mean were endless.

And, if those changes begin to occur, then Boston fashion week will be ready. Eclectic fashion and unique twists on the industry the reason they began, and what they do so well.