Tucson Fashion Week 2014 is Here!

The time has come and Tucson Fashion Week 2014 is finally here! The TFW 2014 Launch Party and Design Competition at Connect Coworking in downtown Tucson starts tonight at 5:30 pm. With a special presentation by Buffalo Exchange and an exciting Design Competition with Special Guest Nathan Colkitt of Colkitt & Co., a renowned architecture firm as lead judge, the Launch Party is going to kick of TFW 2014 in style! 

Tickets for the final night of TFW 2014, Film Tucson Presents: Project Runway Showcase and Project Arizona are still available. You can buy your tickets here!

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TFW 2014 Industry Icon Joey Rodolfo

Though he’s a 33-year-veteran of the fashion industry, Joey Rodolfo didn’t start out with dreams of becoming a successful designer.

“When I was 7, my uncle, who was a music composer and arranger, encouraged me to become a drummer,” Rodolfo explains. “So I thought I might become a musician. But I also loved drawing as a kid and I read a lot of architectural books. I believed in Frank Lloyd Wright so much that I adopted his philosophy about nature and ‘form follows function’—and that inspired me to try building architectural tree houses.”

His first steps down the road toward design began in third grade, when his teacher, Mrs. Baffert, saw some of his artwork and believed in his artistic talent enough to strongly encourage him to keep developing it. So he did. And by the time he reached high school, he had begun designing his own tailor-made suits.

Recognizing his gifts as a designer, Joey’s aunt, who was in the apparel business, encouraged him to consider a career in the industry. Taking her encouragement, he launched his first collection in Los Angeles under the name "Life Guard.” During Life Guard Joey was commissioned to design the first NFL sportswear collection in Japan; which is where he became firmly committed to working architectural details into his designs.

Joey was soon hired as head men’s designer at Catalina Swimwear. In 1984, he was recruited to become the Men's Design Director for the newly formed Union Bay sportswear company in Seattle. Then, in 1987, Joey started down a new road of entrepreneurialism, co-founding and guiding the success of several apparel companies, including Bench Company, Cutter & Buck, JR 1879, and Resort Two, a luxury men’s and women’s sportswear company known for outfitting the 2001 Ryder Cup.

In the middle of his career, Joey traveled to Italy to study not only design, but also renaissance art. It was there that he was re-inspired by his mantra that ‘classic is simple and simple always remains classic.’

“I start designing a garment from the inside out – interior to the exterior,” he explains. “I have a very unique approach that involves combining simple pattern lines and complicated sewing techniques. To accomplish that, I have to rely not only on sewing machines, but on talented seamstresses as well—they’re the ones who can actually create the magic of my garments.”

In 2004, Callaway hired Joey to help re-launch Callaway men's and women's apparel collections. In partnership with Richard C. Helmstetter, the inventor of Big Bertha, Joey created the X-series apparel and helped introduce the collection worldwide.  

In 2005, one of Joey's closest friends, Lucio Dalla Gasperina, asked him to join him at Tommy Bahama and help navigate a new path for the brand. Joey saw an opportunity to launch a new swimwear division under the "Relax" by Tommy Bahama label. For the last 10 years, he has served as the VP of Men’s Design and has been instrumental in helping to re-position the brand.

Maybe it’s not surprising that a man that grew up inspired by architecture and music would become a menswear innovator with a reputation for artfully infusing color and sophisticated details - but Joey wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Joey Rodolfo will be at the Garden Party at the Tucson Botanical Gardens this Friday. A special retrospective of his work will be shown.


TFW Design Competition with Special Guest Nathan Colkitt

Tucson Fashion Week 2014 kicks off this week on Thursday at the Launch Party and Design Competition. Five designers will compete with designs inspired by architecture created by Colkitt and Co.. Nathan Colkitt, the founder and CEO of Colkitt and Co. will be at the Launch Party and will serve as a judge for the Design Competion.

Nathan, an Arizona educated architect, apprenticed for years in California where he started his firm in 2006. He has since expanded his business and opened an office in New York as well. Nathan credits his father with inspiring his passion for achitecture. Other mentors have also played a large role in his architectural career. “I've been very blessed with many great mentors including Stephen Kanner, an architects' architect and always a gentleman, and Ken Ronchetti, a brilliant architect that understood proportions in space better than anyone,” Nathan recalls.

Colkitt&Co’s recent work includes over one hundred PUMA retail stores worldwide, Cartel Coffee at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athlete’s Center in San Diego, Cannonball sushi restaurant at Belmont Park, San Diego, residential developments in California and New York, and many more. Nathan is a registered architect in 25 states as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Colkitt has also been a Studio Instructor for Woodbury University and a Design Instructor at Newschool of Architecture. 

The Design Competition will showcase the work of five emerging designers -- Angela Johnson, Kelia Gallagher, Kimberly Lloyd,  Quinlan Wilhite, and Loreto Echevarria. Purchase your tickets for the TFW 2014 Launch Party and Design Competition here.