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LBD Goodwill Challenge

Happy Thursday fashionista's! I've been a bit MIA on my blog lately, but today I'm back with an exciting post. If you have been following my blog for a while then you might remember me talking about Phoenix Fashion Week. Each year they host a challenge, which consist of illustrating your perfect little black dress. They choose the top four illustrations which then you get to bring to life. In which the designers showcase it in Phoenix Fashion Week's annual fashion show. This year they had a completely different challenge.

The little black dress challenge was presented by Goodwill of Central Arizona and Phoenix Fashion Week. You had to shop at one of 67 locations, find a project dress, up-cycle, re-purpose it into your own perfect little black dress. The dresses would then be turned in by Saturday 26, 2015. Which would then be judged by up-cycle expert Angela Johnson. They select the top four designs. Once chosen 25% of the votes would come from social media and 75% votes from the judges will determined the winner to be announced on October 2nd. The 1st place prize is $500, and the 2nd place prize of $250 cash. Sounds exciting right?

I had been waiting to hear this years challenge, I had tried for the past two years, decided to give it a go this year. I didn't find out about the challenge until late Sunday 20th. I contemplated whether to enter because I only had a week to make it happen. Being that I was up for the challenge I decided to just go for it. On Monday morning I did a little shopping at Goodwill. It took me a while to find the perfect project dress. I was in between three dresses.

Here are the three potentials.

Option one.

As soon as I walked in, I gravitated towards this dress. Which I thought I could use the tulle in an interesting way and make the bodice into a sweet heart neckline. However, I thought the design was "too safe." I really wanted to push myself and do something out of the box.

Option number two.

The second dress I found had an interesting rushing on the waist. I really liked the feel of the fabric and thought it could drape nicely. Due to the fact that it already had so many design elements and so little fabric it wouldn't have worked.

Option number three.

After a little more searching, I found this little number. I was really excited about it, because it looked amazing and it had so many beads. I didn't exactly know right there and then how I would transform it. I just knew it had a lot of potential.
With that said I was ready to check out, this only cost $10 not bad for a precious gem.

I didn't really get to work on it right away, because I still didn't know what it would become. Not only that I grew attached to it, I didn't want to rip it apart. But, in the name of fashion I had to tear it apart and make it my own design. Before I took it apart I took a few pictures. The dress was beautiful as is and the design was well thought out.

Front of the dress.

Back of the dress.

Here is a close up the dress, beautiful beading details.

I really wanted a drastic transformation for my new design. I wanted to keep most of the beads because they would become important elements for the new dress that came from the old dress. However, it took a while to decide how to incorporate the beads into the new design. I knew I wanted to use velvet, I had a few yards available in my stash. Since it was a stretchy type of velvet I decided to drape it. It was going to have cowl sides and would be finished up as a bubble skirt.

I began draping the lining first.

Side of the lining.
The lining would determined the length of the skirt.

 The draping of the cowl skirt took a few minutes, I had to make sure it would be symmetrical otherwise it would look off.
A close up of the detailed drape.

I really love the way the skirt draped, I knew I wanted to cut it into a mini skirt. Since, I wanted a clean hem I decided it was best to sew it onto the lining. Which made it into a bubble skirt, I thought it made the design look young and modern.

It was finally time to cut apart the dress, and let me just say it was a bead mess. I tried to carefully reserve the waistband because that would become my high neckline. 

I had to collect some of the beads because they would be hand sewn onto to top.

The top was going to become a simple halter top. I decided to use the skirt portion for the top. The edges were finished off with a thick row of beads. I decided to omit the lining so that the beads could stand out on their own. However, because of this decision I knew nipples would be exposed so I knew I had to hand sew more beads where the bust would sit. Let's just say this was the most time consuming of the whole dress. Hand beading takes a lot of patients and time.

I hand beaded in between the rows of beads. I decided to make a bead bra if you will. I really wasn't sure if I loved the idea, but after hours of hand sewing I didn't think it looked bad at all. Once I was done with the dress and tried it on the dress form I felt great about my design. I really made a drastic transformation. The design was young, flirty, sexy, and fun.

Here is the front of my final design.

Side view of the dress.

 Back view, I kept the bow long since the back was already exposed.

On Saturday 26th I headed to the Phoenix Fashion Week's office to deliver my design. There were over 50+ designers, a lot of talented designers I must add. We had a chance to see the models show off everyone's little black dress. There where so many great dresses, the judges had their work cut out for them. They even joked that they would probably announce the top four by midnight. The picture above is a rack full of little black dresses that were entered for the challenge.

Here are the models modeling some of the other dresses.

Finally, I was next to be interviewed by the Phoenix Fashion Week team. I told them my inspiration behind the dress, how little time I had to execute it. Gave them my before pictures and they were impressed with the transformation. My model finally tried on the dress, it fit perfect on her I was afraid I had made it too small. She knew how to work it for the camera.

This year it was definitely a challenge. I pushed myself hard to make a dress I was proud of. With only four days I am very amazed of what I was capable of designing. It really felt like I was in a Project Runway episode, and Tim Gunn saying, "Make it work!" After all my hard work, the most amazing feeling was to see my design on the model. It made it that much real. I had so much fun with this challenge.

Close up of the neckline and big bow.

 Close up of the top and skirt.

Later that night I received an e-mail that I was not chosen to be top four. I knew there was a lot of completion out there and I was just happy to have been part of this challenge.
The next day Phoenix fashion week announced the top four, I wasn't surprise to see who made it top four. Click on the link below to see the top four, you can also vote for your favorite LBD until Friday Oct. 2nd. (visit LBDGoodwill)

Also, I made a fun little video of the whole process "Behind the Seams." click here to view it. Hope you enjoy this post, let me know what you think of my transformation.


Left side is the Before and right side is the after.

 Read last year's LBD Challenge here



  1. Thank you Akmal for the encouragement and appreciating my work it really means a lot to hear this. 😀

  2. Can't wait to hear more about Cyberopics. I use Darebee for my at home fitness right now.


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