Photo by Kimberly Miller

Photo by Kimberly Miller

By Katie Ellington, Staff Writer

To Lexington-based fashion designer Soreyda Benedit Begley, an outfit is more than clothes; it’s art. 

“Art and fashion, for me, represent not only a creative outlet but also a social act, an act of empowerment,” says Begley. “I hope to create pieces that make women feel powerful, and by extension, be powerful.” 

In addition to designing for her own label, Begley also co-founded the Lexington Fashion Collaborative (LFC). The organization allows local fashion designers to create and display their work. Begley says all are welcome. The group is a diverse mix of artists: from designers and photographers to musicians and makeup artists, but the only thing members need is a love for art and fashion. 

Begley tells us a little bit about how she became interested in fashion and the opportunities that the Lexington Fashion Collaborative provides. 

How did you first get involved in fashion? 

I have always been interested in fashion. I started to sew by hand at a very young age. At 13, I entered a sewing academy to learn pattern making and garment construction. At 14, like many other young girls in my hometown, I started to work in sweatshops (from Honduras). After moving to Lexington, I continue sewing, making clothes and home decor items for friends. This eventually turned into a home-based business. 

How did the Lexington Fashion Collaborative get started? 

After a couple of years of working on my own, in 2009, I had the idea of putting together a fashion show to showcase some of my designs. I partnered with a local photographer to create… high fashion images to display at the event. The news of the fashion show spread out quickly and other local designers asked to participate. In the end, 15 designers showed their work. This resulted in meetings that led to the formation of the LFC. 

What are the organization’s goals? 

The mission of the LFC is to validate, promote and bring together the diverse elements of the fashion industry in Kentucky by creating venues and opportunities for collaboration in the creation and presentation of original fashion. 

What are some of the things that members do? 

Members of the LFC work together to organize events and develop fashion-related projects. This includes designers, photographers, hair and makeup artists, performing and visual artists and more. Our goal is to develop teachable methods and strategies through our LFC members and community partners. 

What’s the best part of being a member? 

You get to showcase your work while networking with other local and regional fashion enthusiasts at the same time. Members teach and learn from each other, and develop valuable personal and professional connections in a very friendly atmosphere. Even though we do have membership fees, we never turn anyone away for not being able to pay the fees. 

How can students get involved? 

It’s very simple, they just need to come to one of our events or community meetings and let someone on the LFC board (or committee members) know of their interest. Everyone brings in their talents to make the events and projects happen. We believe that everyone has a talent for something and by being involved, they can find it and/or improve it. 

What makes this a good opportunity for college students? 

It provides them with…hands-on learning…[and the opportunity] to connect with professionals in many different fields and to develop a portfolio for [themselves]. It also helps them develop teamwork skills that are so valuable in any career field and for everyday life. 

Want more info? Check out the group’s Facebook page or email info@lexingtonfashion.org.