Local designer Bri Seeley beat out 11 other designers during Phoenix Fashion Week's three-month long design competition to win the title Designer of the Year and a ten thousand dollar prize package to develop her collection. We caught up with the womenswear designer to talk personal style, fashion boot camp, and her competitive edge.

Describe your personal aesthetic in three words.
Seeley: Feminine, wearable, classic.

How did you get involved with the Phoenix Fashion Week designer competition?
I met the executive director at a tradeshow in Las Vegas. He and his assistant impressed me with the mentorship program they had developed in conjunction with fashion week and they encouraged me to apply.

The competition included a Project Runway–esque designer boot camp. What was that like?
There were eight conference calls, during which our mentors provided education in areas like branding, social media, fashion mathematics, preparing for trunk shows, writing a business plan, etc.  We were assigned homework after each call, and each of us were graded once our homework was submitted.
The Phoenix Fashion Week board then judged our runway presentation with criteria focused on the cohesiveness of our collections, styling, music, and overall feel of the presentation.

What do you think set you apart and led to your being named Phoenix Fashion Week's 'Designer of the Year'?
I believe it was my timeliness in completing my homework, as well as the cohesiveness of my collection. We had two weeks to submit our homework, but most of mine was turned in between one and three days after the assignments were given. I even mailed my final presentation to Phoenix before it was requested.

Sounds like it's been a busy few months! What's next for you?
I'm planning to show my Escape collection in Seattle at some point in November or December. Plus, I have to start designing my next collection. I have an idea for the inspiration behind the new collection, but after two major fashion weeks I haven't yet had the time to sit down and start conceptualizing the design. 

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