Recently, I had the pleasure of modeling in the ‘November to Remember Family Affair Fashion Show’ produced by Katwalk Katerers. The fashion event coordination and talent management company was started by husband and wife team, Dennis Davis and Dhylles Waight-Davis. They aim to make fashion more inclusive and representative of all people by assisting up and coming fashion entrepreneurs. The show included 10 designers that ranged from eveningwear to sportswear to menswear and even accessories! There was something for everyone and it truly was a family affair with models of all ages and sizes and even the audience members were invited to rip the runway. I modeled for 2 plus size designers, one of which really stood out: Syreeta Rios based in Atlanta, GA. The name of her line is Lipstick Killers and I sat down with her for a little Q and A after the show:
Eddwina Gregg: How long have you been designing and how did you get your start?
Syreeta Rios: I’ve been designing since I was 13. My mom was a seamstress and taught me how to sew. I have always made clothes for myself because I could never find anything cute in my size. I started my business in 2005 after I took a Business Bootcamp class at the YWCA. There, I learned how to make a business plan and the rest is history.
EG: How did you get the name ‘Lipstick Killers’ for your line?
SR: My company originally started as Big Gyrl Clothing – which still serves as the mother company – but I revamped the brand and named it Lipstick Killers in 2007. I felt that I needed change it up and get away from the “big girl” label. Ironically enough, I was inspired by Ghostface Killa’s song ‘Killa Lipstick’. The title just really embodies the punk / urban feel of my designs. I am now focusing on promoting the Lipstick Killers part of the line.
EG: You mentioned that the overall theme of the line is punk / urban, where do you draw your inspiration?
SR: I love the 80’s! I like to take punk, hip hop, gothic, vampire, Elizabethan and 50’s themes and mix them all together to get a unique twist while maintaining that modernized urban flair. Some of my pieces are really out there and extreme and some are just sexy club wear. The point of the line is to wear stuff without fear. You should not be afraid to wear anything. If it is classy and sexy, you should feel comfortable.
EG: When I walked for your line during the show, I noticed you had some really funky patterns and fabrics. What is the selection process like for you?
SR: Sometimes I start with an idea for a specific outfit. For example, I could see something in Vogue or W magazine and look for a certain fabric to make something similar. I also get inspired just by being at the fabric store. I immediately get ideas just from looking at all the rolls of fabric.
EG: Was Katwalk Katerers your 1st NYC fashion show?
SR: It was my 2nd show in New York and with Dhylles. When I had first started, Dhylles contacted me after only a few months of being open. So when she started Katwalk Katerers, I knew I had to be involved. I love working with her and this show was just as fabulous as the first. She is extremely professional, the models are professional and everything is organized. A lot of people think that anyone can just put together a fashion show, but there is a lot of hard work that goes into it.
EG: What is your ultimate dream? What are your plans for the line?
SR: I want to open my own boutique within the next year and really work on getting my line in stores – seeing my stuff in boutiques and major stores would be hot! I am aiming to be the #1 designer for big girls even though the line goes from size S-5X. I don’t discriminate, but I have to represent for my big girls. I would love to show at New York Fashion Week. I know it takes a lot of preparation and connections, but I am up for it!
SR: To purchase anything from the line – including pieces shown in the Katwalk Katerers Show – you can find me on Sense of Fashion at http://www.senseofashion.com/LipstickKillers. I also do custom orders as well.
Facebook: Lipstick Killers Collection
LinkedIn: Syreeta Rios
EG: Do you have anything else you would like to share with our Curvy readers?
SR: I would like to share my personal motto: “There is no fear in fashion, love and life”. It is a statement I live by and everyone else should too!