Project Beltway Interviews: Mariessa Terrell & Christine Brooks Cropper

Project Beltway

A few days ago I posted about Capital Catwalk, which is this weekend. In anticipation of tonight’s roundtable and tomorrow’s events for Capital Catwalk, I took a moment to ask a few questions of the women responsible for helping to create the WDC Fashion Council & the event itself about their vision for a more stylish Washington.

How did you two meet? What are your professional backgrounds?

Christine and I had bumped into each other at DC fashion events for about 2 years before we were first officially introduced. We found out later that we both share the same mentor, Tina Blanchard. We decided to pool our resources in an effort to create the Washington DC Fashion Council. Both of us have been working tirelessly in our own way to brand WDC as a fashion destination. I had created the Capital Catwalk Event to celebrate the achievements of the DC fashion design/retailer community; introduced Living DC Style-fashion trunk shows held throughout the city and launched my business Simone’s Butterfly (boutique fashion branding company). Christine is co-founder of StyleMovement Consultants, a fashion show event planning company. She manages fashion designers and provides marketing/pr strategies. Key clients include Dona Adrian, costume designer for the 2004 Peabody Award-winning HBO drama series “The Wire”, the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Association and the Smithsonian Institute Folklife Festival.

Explain your vision for the Commission and for the retail corridor.

We believe that it is important that DC’s fashion communities be given a voice in local government. The Commission will recognize the achievements of the design community as well as create opportunities for designers and artists living in the District. The Commission will also work to develop programs that can help designers grow and expand their businesses and help them to market and finance their clothing lines. Additionally, the Commission will work to create a fashion retail corridor in WDC that will feature international and national designers and specialty fashion retailers within the city limits.

What are your frustrations with the current state of DC’s “fashion industry”? And, do you think Washingtonians consider fashion frivolous?

We are frustrated that many consider DC to only be a government town. WDC is first and foremost a capital city and as such it should represent the best of the nation in all areas, including fashion! We hope to encourage DC’s fashion industry to grow!

Is Washington a fashionable city?

WDC is growing to be a fashionable city. We have all of the ingrediants, strong economy, diverse populace, strong real estate market and a interesting mix of local fashion retail that is expanding every day. Even Capital Hill is changing! Take a stroll around the Rayburn building and see for yourself!

To truly be a fashion destination, Washington will need to stand out in some way and offer something new. What does Washington offer that other cities may not?

Washington is the Nation’s Capital! We are the seat of government and we have a strong tourist market and an economy that is some what insulated due to the large number of government jobs in the city. We can accommodate a variety of fashion retail (large and small).

Sooo……what is Andre Leon Talley like? Were you stressing over what to wear to meet with him?!

I met Mr. Talley a few years ago when he came to speak at the Corcoran. I did not know what to wear. I ended up selecting a black sleeveless cocktail dress by Valentino. I wore gloves and pearls and a hat by meryl da silva. I was very vampy and he loved it! Mr. Talley is very gracious. He knows everyone and everything about the fashion industry. I thoroughly enjoy working with him.

View the event schedule and purchase tickets here.


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