Yes It’s The Femmy Awards

With “inclusively” at the forefront of design, the 2019 Femmy Awards celebrates emerging design talent.


When deciding what to wear to an industry awards show that is all about lingerie, it’s a serious dilemma pondering if wearing less is more?

As a first timer attending the 61stannual Femmy Awards, I thought it was a safe bet to go with a lace lingerie looking dress.  I chose something that hinted at innerwear as outerwear, channeling my Madonna, Beyonce, and J-Lo confidence levels.

I could hopefully blend in with these intimate apparel fashionistas and have a glamorous, sexy evening at Cipriani, NYC where the event was being hosted.

The evening’s host, Emme wearing her newest “Fashion Without Limits”

The evening’s host, Emme wearing her newest “Fashion Without Limits” award winning design for 2018, designed and made by Syracuse University student, Kerry Phelan. This dress is the inspiration for one of Emme’s dresses available for purchase now on-line at Ashley Stewart! Congrats to Kerry!

To get you up to speed, the Femmy Awards is an intimate apparel industry awards show that honors companies and people.

They have vision, incubate new ideas, lead incredible teams, disrupt the existing marketplace with game changing and ground breaking ideas. More importantly they bring humanitarian efforts to the industry by understanding foreign cultures and respecting their beliefs.

As a result it fosters an atmosphere to build teams and opportunities in those countries where people can earn a fair living. Some of last night’s awards were given to individuals from Dillard’s, Kohl’s, Pioneer Elastic, Gelmart, and MAS Holdings.

  Industry award winners of the evening Industry award winners of the evening

The 2ndhalf of the evening’s awards was truly my favorite part of the evening being a designer myself.

The gala provided a platform to showcase the projects of senior design finalists from F.I.T.’s intimate apparel division. Each student was able to present their sketched collection and display an actual outfit from this collection at the event.

During the cocktail hour of the evening as everyone was arriving and mingling, these poised students were able to speak to guests and explain the thoughts behind their designs.

They were all just amazing and talented students whom I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to and who are ready to start their careers upon graduating in May. Judged by a panel of industry veterans, 3 escalating cash awards were given away to the top 3 winners as well as the winner receiving airfare and admission to July’s Interfiliere Paris/Salon International de la Lingerie tradeshow and exhibit.

Talented intimate apparel designers Sierra White (grand prize winner),

Talented intimate apparel designers Sierra White (grand prize winner), Dorshelle Guillaume (1strunner up), Aura Henriquez Alvarez, Laurel Yau (2ndrunner up), Jessica Trusio, and Breanna Childers showing their body inclusive designs at the Femmy Awards.

The Femmy Awards is sponsored by the Under-fashion Club, Inc., an organization that raises funds to further the intimate apparel industry by supporting education of new talent and providing them with connections to industry professionals who can attract them to careers in intimate apparel upon finishing college.

The club makes a significant impact raising funds for scholarships, contest awards, internships and equipment.  As well as these lofty financial goals, they also aim to support good will throughout the intimate apparel community.


Announcing this year’s top prize winner of the student design contest for the Femmy 2019 Awards

Announcing this year’s top prize winner of the student design contest for the Femmy 2019 Awards

This year’s gala was hosted by Emme, well recognized as the first plus size supermodel in the fashion industry.

She has paved the way for today’s top curvy girls who slay it in the modeling world creating aspirational yet realistic ideals that everyday women can relate to. Today she has made a name for herself as a brand spokesperson, model, consultant, author, lecturer, creative director of her own clothing brands, a cancer survivor, and a voice and face speaking to body inclusivity.

Having had her own share of negative industry experiences to share with women and help them to recognize that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, she was the first person that came to Tina Wilson’s mind as event host for the gala.

As president of the Underfashion Club, Tina knew when the theme for the design contest was chosen to be “Inclusivity”, she wanted Emme to emcee the night’s events.

Under-fashion Club president, Tina Wilson at the beginning of the awards ceremony

Underfashion Club president, Tina Wilson at the beginning of the awards ceremony 

I’ve been fortunate to know Emme for going on about 6 years. We met through KBL Group Intl. where I am the Executive Design Director and have always wanted to work together with her on a fashion project.

We finally had the opportunity to do something when the planets aligned and the plus size retailer, Ashley Stewart loved the idea of having her develop a dress collection for their customer. Her collection “Me by Emme” launched last spring exclusively on-line.

Making sure that her dresses have the same great fit that Emme expects for herself and have stretch to provide the customer comfort, ease of movement and the best possible fit.

She is proud of what she’s designed and loves wearing all of her pieces. Her next drop of dresses is literally NOW as you are reading this article here in February followed by 2 separate March and May capsule collections.

Glamorous and genuinely gorgeous inside and out, supermodel Emme

Glamorous and genuinely gorgeous inside and out, supermodel Emme

I’ve absolutely enjoyed working with Emme and bringing her ideas to life. Something else that is near and dear to Emme’s heart is the inclusion of a Fashion Without Limits dress within her collection.

Emme created the Fashion Without Limits design program at her alma mater, Syracuse University. It is a fashion design initiative, teaching future fashion designers how to design for all women going to size 24W and even upward.

She wanted to make sure that this is part of the curriculum for all design students.

The idea being that if we can start at the initial design process making sure that all body shapes and sizes are being accounted for, it should have the domino effect of trickling down through the system.

This will ensure that at the retail and purchase point, there should be product available for every size woman. We have to start at the design stage so that it becomes second nature and is the norm, not the exception.

Emme getting the crowd excited for the announcement of the design finalists.                                  Emme getting the crowd excited for the announcement of the design finalists.

This holds true for every product classification whether it be ready to wear or intimate apparel, the industry needs more supporters of inclusivity.

As I see these young students embracing the idea of fashion for all, it just shows that their minds are open to new challenges and opportunities. They haven’t been boxed into the way that retail and manufacturing have existed in the past so as the landscape of the industry is quickly changing, they are coming into the arena with a different point of view.

They come in with the expectation that diversity can be a mainstream ideal and should be more accessible to all. These are the minds and ideas that will lead us into the new era of design, manufacturing and retail and it’s exciting!

Celebrating with these amazing young women who will soon start their careers in the industry !                               

Celebrating with these amazing young women who will soon start their careers in the industry !

Tina Trevino
Tina Trevino
Tina Trevino, Partner & Director of Community Relations for Latin Biz Today is President & CEO of Tocaya Design under which she does design consulting for major apparel companies as well as designs, manufactures and markets her women’s lifestyle brand, Tocaya. With 25 years of industry experience most recently as Design Director of KBL Group Intl. Ltd., she has managed large creative design teams. Trevino provides insight on upcoming fashion trends for each season collaborating with designers, merchants and product development teams to help develop brand appropriate apparel. She specializes in sweaters, knits and wovens. Having previously worked with private label brands for stores like Kohl’s, NY & Co, White House|Black Market, and Ann Taylor to name a few as well as brands like Lee jeans, Wendy Williams, Brooke Shields Timeless, Torn by Ronny Kobo, and Whitney Port, she has the ability to build brands from the design and merchandising process all the way through fitting, production, and marketing.

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