Chattanooga Fashion Expo “The Journey” Recap

Photo courtesy of Millicent Garland

Chattanooga Fashion Expo (CFE) delivered a year of multiple events with a diverse slate of nine runway shows, educational workshops, mentorship opportunities, industry panels, parties, curated shopping events and more. The event, held in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee, provided a platform for designers and models from the region and highlighted key designers from Chattanooga, Knoxville, Atlanta, Nashville, Savannah, Augusta, Montgomery and more. The schedule included a full day of workshops, professional presentations and interactive education. CFE’s theme was “The Journey,” with Friday of that week focusing on education. The program concluded with an industry panel of regional professionals sharing insights about their personal “fashion industry journey.”

“We are so excited about the impact we made in the regional creative community this year with the events and the number of artists we were able to support,” said Shanna Forrestall, founder of CFE. “Not only were we able to provide a showcasing platform for many artists, we were also able to encourage, educate and empower many local young artists and we look forward to the fruit of that investment in the future of fashion that will blossom from our work.”

A few key highlights from the Main Expo included an opening showcase by jewelry designer Gemstone Drippin, out of Atlanta, whose powerful and intentional designs set the tone for a unique show packed full of diversity, creativity and passion. Chattanooga based model Brittany Moss, who was launched from the CFE stage in Year 1,  was named the CFE Top Model with an overwhelming support of votes from the audience and judges.  Moss has grown up on the CFE stage over the past three years, performing in various shows as a model, dancer, actress and fire performer. “Brittany Moss is the epitome of elegance and grace, claims the title of Chattanooga Fashion Expo’s model winner,” explained dean of fashion, Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds. “Her signature walk exudes professionalism, while her contagious zeal for life illuminates the runway.  A true embodiment of style and poise.”

Felina Martin of Pajoma Na was awarded CFE’s Design (Collection) Winner. She is an artist turned designer and her artwork, inspired by Chattanooga’s diversity, has evolved into a collection that is magnetic, multi-functional, elegant and intentional.  

The events concluded with a carefully curated experience by Chef Jaguar Rotan at the lovely Walden Peak Farm on Signal Mountain above the city. Chef Jaguar created a breathtaking sensory experience that included live fairies, musical performances by Nashville based artists Adam Burch and Fiona Maura, multiple sets by DJ Jeramy Shamaz of Creative Culture Chatt and also included vegan sushi served nyotaimori style on live models and other culinary delights.

CFE continues to evolve as a community and volunteer based event, but founder and creative producer Shanna Forrestall sees big changes in the near future. “This has been such a labor of love and has often come at a large personal cost, but I’ve really enjoyed seeing the powerful creatives in our area and working directly with them,” added Forrestall. “We will definitely be implementing major changes into what we do and how we utilize this platform. My goal from the beginning has been to learn more about fashion myself, to support fashion industry creatives and to connect film, fashion and music in my area.  We’ve done this.  And now I’m looking to see how this will evolve as I move back towards the industry I started in (film).  We’ll be announcing big changes this year after I am able to secure partnerships to determine if and how CFE will continue. We are everlastingly grateful to the ones who have made CFE possible.”