How do you determine the most fashionable folks in Dallas?
You assemble a panel of distinguished judges with a keen eye for timeless style and fashion-forward trends to do the heavy lifting. And that's exactly what we've done for the fourth annual CultureMap Stylemaker Awards, presented by The Plaza.
Once you, our devoted readers, nominated those you deem our city’s arbiters of style, we convened a jury of five fashionable Dallasites to narrow down the pool to 12 semifinalists. It was no easy task, but they came up with a list of a dozen deserving people who represented not only a diverse array of styles, but also a variety of industries.
Then the public went to the polls. Thousands of votes were cast to narrow the field to six finalists. On October 10, we will announce who will move on to the next round of public voting to determine the readers' choice winner.
The judges will go back to work, too.
All six finalists will also be tasked with a styling challenge — they'll pull pieces from dedicated Plaza retailers to create standout ensembles that will be unveiled at the Stylemaker Awards reveal party on October 26 at Tootsies. The judges will select their ultimate Stylemaker at the event.
For the first time, proceeds from the event will benefit The Family Place's Partners Card program. Your invitation to the party is coming soon; in the meantime, see how the celebration unfolded last year and, without further ado, meet the Stylemaker Awards judges.
Fashion designer and entrepreneur
Internationally recognized fashion designer Nardos Imam's namesake shop in The Plaza, Nardos, features her couture bridal gowns and stunning evening wear collections. Born in the northeast African country of Eritrea, Nardos says that creating custom gowns for clients has been a dream come true. She is seeing another dream come to life in launching her first ready-to-wear collection in Dallas, a city she has come to love.
"I began my career as a seamstress with the dream of designing, and I have been fulfilling my dream for over 10 years," she says. "The Lord has blessed me beyond measure with two beautiful children, and a loving husband to walk along side of me through highs and lows as I fulfill my life-long dream."
On her biggest personal style influence: "Ellie Saab is my biggest style influence because of his unique way of mixing elaborate and classy designs. I am always influenced by timeless designs."
Stylist and senior managing partner, J. Hilburn
J. Hilburn stylist and senior managing partner Chris Hite earned the 2016 Stylemaker Awards readers’ choice title with two dashing men's outfits put together during the final styling challenge. As a luxury lifestyle consultant, Chris has worked with Neiman Marcus and dozens of brands crossing numerous categories in luxury goods and services. In additional to his custom men’s clothing business, he has recently helped build and launch the new ecommerce winery, Scout & Cellar. He has a passion for entertaining, great Mexican food on Dallas patios, and involvement in many civic and philanthropic organizations.
On his definition of a CultureMap Stylemaker: "A style maker is a person who has their own point of view on life and style. They want to help craft and create. Whether fashion, interiors or the arts — they make a mark on our community their own.”
Graphic designer, entrepreneur, and TV personality
Seattle native Catherine Lowe moved to Dallas after she married her husband, Sean, whom she met as the winner of season 17 of ABC's The Bachelor. Catherine now owns and operates local luxury paper goods brand LoweCo., and she and Sean are raising their 15-month-old son, Samuel. Her affinity for fashion and style has been evolving throughout her adulthood, she says, but will always err on the playful side.
On her definition of a CultureMap Stylemaker: "A CultureMap Stylemaker should be inspiring, passionate, and genuine. Making a difference in the community through their style, whether it be fashion, philanthropy, entrepreneurial or otherwise, a Stylemaker makes an impact on those around them."
Philanthropist and CEO, Young Women's Preparatory Network
Lynn McBee is a seventh-generation Texan who worked as a consultant for a biotech firm for 23 years before devoting herself full time to philanthropic endeavors. Currently she is CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network. She has served in numerous leadership roles in civic and nonprofit efforts that have shaped the Dallas community, including current positions with the Bridge Homeless Shelter, Crystal Charity Ball, and many other charitable organizations. This month, she receives the prestigious Texas Trailblazer Award from The Family Place Foundation.
On her biggest personal style influence: "Lauren Bacall is my biggest style influence because of her classic, elegant, minimalist style. I love the structured silhouettes, fluid silky blouses and trousers she wore. She knew her style and stuck to it, and was instrumental in women wearing pants."
Celebrity stylist and fashion expert
J. Bolin is a celebrity stylist and fashion consultant who, in the last decade, has amassed an impressive client list including Vivica A. Fox, Emmitt Smith, Nene Leakes, Christina Milian, Michelle Williams, and Keisha Knight Pulliam. His distinct point of view, dedication to making every client feel like a star, and drive to innovate have allowed him to remain competitive in an ever changing industry. He doesn't just keep his secrets to himself. Bolin hosts a "bootcamp" to teach the tools of the trade to aspiring fashion stylists.
On his personal style mantra: "Be somebody nobody thought you could be."