Meet the Designers of Fashion Meets Music Festival

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

The Fashion Meets Music Festivalreturns to the Arena District Sept. 5 and 6 for its second year. This homegrown event aims to fuse music and fashion into one festival experience, with performances by the likes of Ludacris, Young The Giant and St. Vincent, plus a diverse schedule of runway shows. While you probably recognize many of the musicians on the roster, you may not be as familiar with some of Columbus' own independent fashion designers. Let us introduce you to a few you'll see on the runway this

Malvar = Stewart

Celeste Malvar-Stewart's latest collection began when she was flying back to Columbus after visiting San Francisco, her native city. "I was sad that I was coming back, and I thought, 'No, I'm going to really appreciate this city, and I'm going to listen to it when I get back,'" she says. "So as soon as I landed, I tried to listen to the sounds of Columbus." When she happened to meet Benji Robinson of Reptile Fiction at a party, they started talking about the sound of Columbus. That conversation sparked Local Sound, a project blending music and couture fashion. Robinson recorded sounds around Columbus to weave into his music, which will play during Malvar-Stewart's FMMF runway show. The wool and silk gowns, meanwhile, have sound waves from Robinson's recordings laser-cut onto the bodice.

Bryston Walters

After six years at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Bryston Walters "couldn't work in a cubicle anymore" and enrolled at the Columbus College of Art and Design. He launched his own business making leather and fur handbags and luggage after graduating in 2014. Walters looks for projects with a strong creative concept. "I draw inspiration from experiences that people have throughout life, and emotions," he says. "For instance, my senior collection that I made a few years ago, the whole theme behind it was what happens to your childhood fantasies when you grow up and stop thinking about them."

Cierra Lauren Designs

Cierra Lauren Reeve designs "rustic bohemian" bridal wear. "I love doing stuff for brides; it's so rewarding getting to make their day really special," she says. Wanting to expand her offerings, Reeve launched her first ready-to-wear collection this past spring. She finds inspiration in music (she loves Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood) and travel, as well as in repurposing vintage lace and fabrics. "It's environmentally friendly, giving things a second life," she says. "I shop around everywhere. I go to vintage markets, and when I travel I'm always looking for something that's unique."

Torn Angel

Esther Hall's interest in sculpture is evident in her avant-garde designs. "Everything [I make] is functional and wearable, but it's taking the body to a new place, someplace more fantastical with all the sculptural drapes and lines I do on it," she says. Hall also owns Yarn It and Haberdashery in Grandview and frequently incorporates knitwear in her clothing. Her work is edgy and elegant, but it's never pristine or perfect-and that's intentional. "I'm not one of those designers that's really crisp and proper," she says. "Like our bodies, [clothing is] going to wear down. It ages-that's part of the beauty of it."