The Campus Closet: RAWards designer spotlight

A plethora of accessories during the event. Photo by Gabrielle Nelson.

The RAWards at Martini Ranch turned out to be quite the event on Thursday evening for local up incoming designers, hair stylists, make up artists, photographers and performers.

Raw’s goal is to encourage the creative success of the many visionaries and storytellers of our generation, and did not seize anything less.

Design by Cody Nathaniel Johnson. Photo by Gabrielle Nelson.

In the beginning of the night I got the chance to be backstage experiencing the show as a hair model for Sabel Shea. Behind the scenes was a madhouse of makeup, hairspray and talent. Each nominee put their all into getting each model ready, and it showed as they worked the runway.

Around Martini Ranch the nominees had a tables set up displaying their additional work and a chance for the public to talk with them about their projects and upcoming goals. Their station also served as place for the public to vote.

All of the competing fashion designers styles were completely unique from each other, making it very hard to vote.

Brittany Barbee designed beautiful evening dresses while Collections by Collins designed one-of-a-kind bikinis. Amir Arsalan showed off his neckwear line with a fabulous collection of handmade bow ties worn by gentlemen and ladies.

The award to best fashion designer went to Cody Nathaniel Johnson. He blew everyone's minds with his pieces, each created from Goodwill finds costing under $10 to make. Only a sophomore in college, his future in the fashion industry is looking bright. He really shows us you can make something from nothing.

He grew up in a crafty Native American family in downtown Phoenix. His family was always hand-making pottery, blankets, baskets etc., and this is where he learned and honed his skills. He now always has his sketchbook with him, and feeds off inspiration from the outside world for new designs.

“Inspiration is all around," Johnson says. "You just need to open up your eyes to see it.”  He will now go on to represent Phoenix and compete nationally in Los Angeles.

The Raw nominees like Johnson are definitely artists to keep an eye on.


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