How some random moms got a show in fashion week….

BY Denise Albert

We are beyond excited to announce Strut, The Fashionable Mom Show. We are thrilled, as entrepreneurs, to partner with such respectable businesswomen as are our partners, Holly Pavlika of MOM-entum/ Big Fuel, Audrey McClelland and Vera Sweeney of Getting Gorgeous and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Director of Fashion at Lincoln Center and Fashion Consultant to IMG.

Here’s our MOMmentary and how it all began.

My passion for fashion began at a young age. In fact, my earliest real memory of my obsession was being bribed with two sweaters from the Gap in fourth grade in exchange for petting our family dog. (For someone with a fear of animals, that’s a big feat, but this is a whole other story entirely).

I remember my mom calling my dad while I was in high school to see if it was okay to buy a $60.00 fluorescent “hotdogger” top. It was the look of the moment, as horrifying as it may be (and I believe there are some yearbook photos as evidence!)

There wasn’t a trend I didn’t follow. NO matter how embarrassing it is to look back on today.

In college, I spent my first summer paycheck on a DKNY bag. (Or was it the money I made from a keg party at our house?) I can still picture it exactly. I hear my mother’s voice, “Why would you spend $125.00” on that! “Where did you get that from, certainly not from me. I’m a bargain shopper”.

I’ve always been the one among my peers to pull it all together. I’m the one my friends go to for fashion advice, the one always complimented on putting outfits together. The one who spends hours browsing sites like trying to find the next hot deal.

Then when we began shooting our television show less than two years ago, as entrepreneurs and part of a startup, I wondered how we would be able to look and feel good on television every week with fresh new looks. After all, clothes are expensive, especially the best designer brands. Even if we were buying Faux Louis Vuitton accessories every week, which would lower the costs whilst still looking classy, I was still concerned on how we’d afford an entirely new outfit every week.

So I turned to the biggest go-getter I’d ever met, my partner Melissa. I said, “Melis, we can’t afford to buy new outfits every week, let’s talk to people whose clothes we like and wear their clothes and help them create a buzz about the moms.”

It was that little thought that opened our eyes into the world of fashion. Then this past summer, I thought, there’s never been a mom fashion show. So why not create one. Why not partner with the best in the biz. Why not bring together the worlds of social media and moms and combine it with what we know best, television and journalism and of course, fashion.

Fast forward to today.

Fashion has always been a passion, but never a profession.

Until now.

We have built our business and brand with the motto that anything is possible. We took our little idea and made it big. And that’s just the beginning of how we got a show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. It wasn’t long ago that I was looking into sites like Site Beginner to start blogging and now look, we’re talking about attending fashion week! Who would have thought?

I still shop at the Gap, I still have a DKNY bag, I likely won’t wear a hotdogger and will not take bribes associated with animals, but I also believe all of it had a hand in the creation of Strut, The Fashionable Mom Show.

I thought I had a sense of fashion until I moved to New York City which was almost 17 years ago. I remember walking the streets of the East Village when I attended N.Y.U. admiring everyone and thinking if I could only look that funky, stylish and cool. Even seeing some of the guys with a leather wallet or even staple jewellery pieces made me think about how cool everyone was in New York. I then started to realise that even accessories can make such a difference to anyone’s outfit. Even with my motorcycle boots that I saved up for, I still looked Melissa from Missouri.

Fast forward to my years as a news career woman and I could definitely rock a good suit and heels but I was always minus that fashion flair that so many women have. That easy breezy “oh I just threw this ensemble on” was something I never could seem to manage. I always felt that I looked like I was trying too hard or that the scarf I threw on looked as if it was choking me instead of draping effortlessly around my neck.

Then came motherhood times three. I always embraced the new styles whether it was the pashmina, or the wrap dress or the skinny jean and even the poncho. I always made the purchase but again it never felt fabulous on. I felt current and relevant but never stylish, that is until now.

When we landed our TV show with NBC and learned the fashion possibilities I suddenly understood what fashion was all about. It was about taking risks. I was now wearing new colors or adding belts and chunky jewelry, things I rarely ever did. I also learned quickly what styles and cuts and designs are best for my body and coloring.

So, with the announcement of our first ever Moms Fashion Show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week today, I do have to pinch myself. In a million years I would have never dreamed that I would be putting on an event like this.

I know I will never forget my Missouri sense of style. It still comes out. No one ever explained that red just doesn’t go well with burgundy shoes. At least they were Stuart Weitzman.

(Okay, I admit it — Denise tried to tell me the shoes didn’t go. I didn’t listen but when Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, The Director of Fashion at Lincoln Center chimed in, I had to accept it)