The mind behind MMFW

Fashion & Beauty / Featured Sliders / Stories / September 12, 2017

JC native Enjoli Dixon and her team’s inaugural event will unite
fashion, art, music and people in the capital city

Enjoli Dixon’s path in life has taken her in many directions, but fashion has remained a vital part of her foundation.
The skills Enjoli has gained from her family’s guidance, career in architecture, music and dancing talents, marketing abilities, teaching opportunities and motherhood have not only made her a well-rounded, strong, independent woman, they have prompted imaginative, unique ways to keep her passion for fashion alive and well in her native
Jefferson City.

(Samantha Pogue/News Tribune) Wearing a Liv & Kiss dress with the designer featured at her upcoming event, Mid MO Fashion Week founder and director Enjoli Dixon is excited to showcase Missouri native and based designers, models and other artists during the inaugural event Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at Capital Mall in Jefferson City.

Like so many do, she found inspiration in her hometown’s downtown landscape, culture and people.
“I’ve been watching what was going on in Jefferson City, with the downtown revitalized and all the beautiful architecture, boutiques and art,” she said. “Fashion designers get their inspiration from almost everything. Why not have a fashion event in our beautiful state capital?”
Enjoli was inspired to carry out her dream: hosting Mid Mo Fashion Week (MMFW). Held Sept. 29-Oct. 1, the event showcases designers’ collections, models, photographers, stylists and artists from Mid-Missouri and within the state during a slew of events including a kick-off party and preview show in Columbia, model workshops, philanthropic activities and four runway shows open to the public on Saturday at Capital Mall. It will truly meet its mission: to unite fashion, art, music and people.

A MIND FOR FASHION 
Fashion was innate for Enjoli. Her father loved to shop, her mother is a talented seamstress and her great-grandmother’s clothing and accessory selection matches her flair for fashion.
“Since I was little, my mom sewed clothes for me. She always made me the cutest outfits like short sets in crazy prints and patterns. … There is this one that has little crayons in baby blue. I just loved it and thought it was the cutest thing ever,” she said.
While growing up, Enjoli was part of a dance team, played flute in the school band and performed gymnastics. She also learned the retail fashion industry while working at Deb at Capital Mall and made many of her own clothes under her mother’s tutelage.
Even though she wanted to pursue something in art or fashion, Enjoli chose a career that would help pay for the things she wanted to do in the future. She earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban design, and a master’s degree with an emphasis in transportation and urban and social issues from the University of Kansas. She also continually involved herself in fashion where she could, working for Eddie Bauer and GAP, and connecting with industry professionals.
Enjoli had a fruitful career in architecture, primarily working for an architecture firm, TransSystems in Arizona, and getting her first taste of teaching as an adjunct professor for a computer aided drafting course at the School of Drafting and Design in Tempe.
In 2010 during the recession, building projects had slowed or stopped, and Enjoli’s career path changed. She also decided to come back to Jefferson City to be close to her family and knew eventually she wanted to do something in fashion in her hometown.
Still using her architecture skills in contracted projects, Enjoli was thrilled to find out about a teaching opportunity through Jefferson City Public Schools. During the 2015-16 school year, a teacher who taught textile and interior design classes, and developed a new class – introduction to fashion merchandising – decided to take a job closer to home in 2016. The school was looking for a replacement, and at the request and encouragement of Brenda Scott, Kelly Services education senior staffing supervisor, Enjoli interviewed for the position and was hired as a long-term substituted contract instructor for those courses.
“There were too many talented students in my classes, I was blown away. I wanted to make sure that they were prepared for college and have work to submit for scholarships and interviews,” Enjoli said. “They completed real world projects that the student then composed into portfolios that could be submitted to design schools for college.”

(Samantha Pogue/News Tribune) On Sept. 30, many local models will walk the runway in Missouri native or based designer collections during Mid Mo Fashion Week at Capital Mall. Six of those local models pose during a July photo shoot at The Roof In Columbia. They are, from left, Terra Michelle Lynn Johnson, Timyra Edwards, Yessnia Austin, Abigayle Porter, Phyllis Williams and Da’Jah Dale.

Students in her classes completed a variety of projects, including making stuffed animals for the Salvation Army in textiles and pitching a fashion product to Jefferson City Councilman Larry Henry in a “Shark Tank” style setting in the fashion merchandising course. Teaching her high school students made Enjoli realize her longtime dream of launching Mid Mo Fashion Week needed to happen.
“A lot of these students were so gung-ho and curious about the design world. A lot of them will not go to places like New York and will not get experience anywhere else. I needed to bring it to them,” she said. “That is where I placed the foundation of what Mid Mo Fashion Week is all about.”

PROMOTING MID-MISSOURI FASHION 
Enjoli wanted to keep her inaugural Mid Mo Fashion Week small. However, she and fellow organizers have packed a lot of exciting events into one weekend that embody her mission to unite fashion, art, music and people.
Assembling a team of industry professionals and fashion experts, Enjoli and her staff have worked hard during the last several months to showcase the talents of about 10 aspiring and working designers, 60 models (including local celebrities like Henry) and numerous photographers, artists, musicians, stylists and others from Mid-Missouri and around the state, including Kansas City and St. Louis.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to put this all together, but it will be a really fun event. Being our first year, we couldn’t pay our people, but we are paying them in services,” she said. “For example, many of the models need web pages created. … I learned how to do website design at school, so I have been helping them for being in our show.”
In the past several months, Enjoli and the MMFW team held auditions and scheduled photo shoots for models, marketed and promoted the event around the state and at other fashion events, secured lots of sponsorships and outlined primarily two days filled with fashion highlights, education for participation and charitable activities within Jefferson City.
On Friday, Sept. 29, Mid Mo Fashion Week begins with designer fittings as well as workshops for models. Enjoli said models will meet with professional trainers, photographers and industry experts to teach them what they need to know about the fashion business and how to be prepared and well represented at events and photo shoots, among other topics.
Enjoli said the models will also meet with girls at the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson City, teaching them about self-esteem, respect and body health and image. Those young ladies will also be invited to attend the fashion shows.
“We would like to have our models talk about self esteem and respect with students at local schools as well,” she added.
Select models and designers will be able to preview their fall fashions to the public, buyers and guests at the Mid-Mo Fashion Week Kick-Off Event, hosted by MUSE Clothing in Columbia. Fashion bites and beverages are served from 7:30-8:30 p.m., with the show beginning at 8:30 p.m. An after party is planned at The Roof, also in downtown Columbia.

(Photo by Shelby Kardell) Courtney Hall, right, and Caydence Hall pose during a photo shoot held July 13 at the Lewis and Clark Trailhead Plaza in Jefferson City.

The main event begins with hair and makeup from the talents of House of Beauty Salon Saturday, followed by four runway shows, held at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Capital Mall. Each show runs about 30-40 minutes and includes collections from a handful of designers. Each runway show will also give a portion of proceeds raised from ticket sales back to either the American Cancer Society, Heart Transplant Association of St. Louis, HALO or a scholarship to a Mid-Missouri senior who will study fashion design, music or art, all of which are close to Enjoli’s heart.
With general admission tickets available to one show or all four, as well as special VIP all access passes, guests can see an array of different styles of clothing, including designs from local students. The garments range from men’s and women’s clothing to children’s, mommy and me ensembles, swimwear and plus size attire. Plus, Jefferson City native designers like Mikel Antoni and Gayla Rogers will have models strut their collections alongside other popular St. Louis and Kansas City brands such as Liv & Kiss and Christian Michael Schuster.
For Enjoli, Mid Mo Fashion Week is also a way to showcase her own lines, WAVE swimwear and lounge wear, Mama Fabulosa maternity and baby wear, Alberta Pat Designs women’s wear and women’s plus size attire, and CK Lawrence kids wear, which was inspired by her sons Carter and Kennedy.
Enjoli hopes to grow Mid Mo Fashion Week with more preview activities throughout the year, a possible spring showcase and more educational and charitable opportunities. She encourages the local community and fashion industry to see the talent Mid-Missouri has to offer to the world of fashion.
“Jefferson City is a melting pot, and so is Columbia. … People from all over the world come here – different lobbyists, politicians and businessmen and women. They are used to seeing fashion shows like this, so why can’t we bring it to Jeff City?” Enjoli said. “We have, and I think it will continue to grow.”
For more information, visit MidMoFashionWeek.com


MISSOURI DESIGNERS AT MMFW

• Gayla Rogers Collection-based in Atlanta, Jefferson City native
• Mikel Antoni-based in Atlanta, Jefferson City native
• Aura Lynn-Kansas City
• Liv&Kiss-St. Louis (Plus size)
• Natasha Shangari-Kansas City
• Kyrie Eleisen Apparel-Kansas City
• Christian Michael Schuster-Kansas City
• WAVE (swimwear/lounger wear)-local
• CK Lawrence (Kids wear)-local
• Mama Fabulosa (maternity/baby wear)-local
• Alberta Pat Designs (women’s wear/women’s plus size)-local

MAKE PLANS FOR MID MO FASHION WEEK 

Friday, Sept. 29 – MMFW Kick-off Event Hosted by MUSE Clothing
7:30-10 p.m., MUSE Clothing, 22 South 9th St., Columbia
Mingle in the fashion industry and get a sneak peek before the main showcase Saturday. Fashion bites and beverages will be served from 7:30-8:30 p.m. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. An after party will be held at The Roof, located at 111 Broadway in Columbia.
To purchase tickets, visit MidMoFashionWeek.com and select this event under the “Tickets” tab to direct to the Eventbrite ordering page. 

Saturday, Sept. 30  – MMFW Runway Shows 
10:30 a.m. – Designers CK Lawrence, WAVE, Liv&Kiss, Mama Fabulosa (Portion of proceeds to American Cancer Society)
Noon – Designers Mikel Antoni, Aura Lynn, House of Beauty (Portion of proceeds to HALO)
1:30 p.m. – Designers Christian Michael Schuster, Kyrie Eleison Apparel, Natasha Shangari (Portion of proceeds to Heart Transplant Association of St. Louis)
3 p.m. – Designers Gayla Rogers Collection/AP (Alberta Pat) Designs (Small scholarship to Mid-Missouri senior that will study fashion design, art or music) **Additional activities include a designer challenge where guests can vote on their favorite pieces, and student designers will also be featured.
General admission, student and other specialty tickets are available for purchase. To purchase tickets, visit MidMoFashionWeek.com and select this event under the “Tickets” tab to direct to the Eventbrite ordering page. 

Story By Samantha Pogue


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