Sarah Merrell serves as Community Director for Asheville Fashion Week and directs fashion shows in the area. She is the Digital Media and Production Manager for Mary Beth West...
Wendy Newman Designs
The runway was filled with colorful, stunning designs as models sashayed down the runway in leggings and scarves printed with bold patterns. Showcasing at the last Asheville and Knoxville Fashion Weeks, these looks by fashion designer Wendy Newman wowed the audience.
Working as a coordinator for both Asheville Fashion Week and Knoxville Fashion Week, I became acquainted with Wendy and her work, Wendy Newman Designs. I was attracted to the beauty and uniqueness of her apparel and its ability to be both fashion-forward and comfortable and wearable.
The most interesting aspect of Wendy’s designs is that the prints on her apparel are mandalas of her work as a professional photographer. In fact, many of her designs incorporate photos of iconic monuments and architecture from around the Asheville area.
Wendy has been working as a photographer for 40 years. As a child, her father would buy her a roll of film each month (24 exposures). Later on, she received a degree in fashion design from Miami International University of Art & Design, and worked as a designer and seamstress.
When asked what sparked her idea to utilize her photography to create prints, she responded, “I have always admired mandalas and the art and thought it would be fun to turn my images into kaleidoscopic art. It took two years to learn the basics of the art, and another year to apply it to fashion.”
These kaleidoscopic patterns, or mandalas, often take weeks to create as her original photography is deconstructed to create the layers.
Her work is heavily influenced by Asheville and its aesthetic. Not only do the prints literally incorporate Asheville locales, but her work is referred to by merchants as advanced art design, reflecting Asheville’s renowned artistic talent.
Asheville has also been increasingly listed as a top outdoor destination, and visitors and residents to the area will find her apparel to be the perfect fit for outdoor activities, excursions, and travel. Her leggings can be used for yoga, dancing, hiking, running, and other fitness activities, but also transition well for dinner or a night out when paired with heels. She describes her designs as fun, comfortable, durable fashion with real Asheville style.
As an avid hiker and fitness enthusiast, I wanted to see for myself.
When I received her leggings in the mail, they were packaged in a beautiful, heavy black envelope emblazoned with her logo. I opened it up to find a pair of soft, buttery leggings that were bright with color. I looked closely, and sure enough, one of the mandalas on the leggings was none other than Sister Bad Habit—the notorious tall bike-riding nun of LaZoom Tours! The leggings also fit as great as they looked. With a nice wide band at the waist, they’re comfortable and provide plenty of stretch and free-range of motion. I’ll also be honest: they’ll make your backside look great. I highly recommend it.
Wendy Newman Designs can be found in several locations around Asheville:
Her designs can also be purchased through her website, wendynewmandesigns.com.