18 September 2021

Matrix and New Talent

Matrix’s “Top Stylist Award” Winner Detra Smith Adds “Emerging Stylist” Competition to an Annual Fashion Event

Detra Smith, a Matrix Artistic Educator and owner of the Hannah and Me Salon in Moulton, AL, had a vision and worked relentlessly to see it through. So today her Birmingham Fashion Week Emerging Stylists parallels the BFW Emerging Designer competition, recognizing talented young hairdressers who do so much to complete high-fashion looks on the runway.

Each year in events leading up to BFW, fashion designers compete for the title of “Emerging Designer”, with the winner receiving a special visibility in next year’s BFW runway show, at least one television appearance, editorial exposure and a cash prize.  This got Detra thinking: there should be an “Emerging Stylists” element in Birmingham Fashion Week to celebrate talented young hairdressers as well.  The emerging hairstylists could win a partnership with the emerging designers to create the looks for their 2014 runway shows.  AIA Artistic Director Jeremy Stephens agreed to give Detra the go-ahead.

As Detra’s Hannah and Me is a Matrix Spread the Love Salon, she turned to her Matrix partners for support.  Matrix willingly signed on as an official partner for Birmingham Fashion Week 2013, and sent Matrix Spread the Love Ambassadors Mario Smith and Carley Throgmorton to serve as key stylists for Emerging Designers Elizabeth Singleton and Annakay Winford. Both Spread the Love Ambassadors were also judges for the newly created Emerging Stylist competition. 

Local schools were asked to provide stylists to work backstage at BFW, and Detra herself chose three local cosmetology schools to participate in the competition. So while fashion designers like Amy Smilovic of Tibi showed their work on the runway, the stylists were being scrutinized behind the scenes. 

Detra was pleased to announce the three winning Emerging Stylists: Amanda Morris of the Lawrence County Center of Technology in Moulton; Michael Jackson of Northwest Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals and Rachael Smith of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.  She was particularly moved when called upon to present awards to the students from her hometown of Moulton. 

Detra understood and fully appreciated the fact that such an event offers students – many of whom come from rural hometowns – an opportunity to work on a sophisticated level of fashion that would otherwise have been difficult for them to experience. 

“So many of the students told me that this event was something they would remember for the rest of their lives,” says Detra.  “It was hard work but their gratitude made it all worthwhile!

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