This past week marked my final commitment serving the Fashion Group International of San Antonio as the Programming Co-Chair on its Board of Directors. It has been an eventful two years, during which I have been forced to lead, to grow, to step up and just make things happen regardless of whatever was going on in my professional and personal life, and I was pushed way outside of my comfort zone to do so. As with any commitment that ends, there is a wave of relief to have completed something you started, but there is also a gratitude for the experience and a nostalgia for the relationships that accompanies any end of term.
Fashion Group International means something real to me, because it was the creative community that picked me up and encouraged me to soar when the traditional corporate community had booted me out. I will never forget the day I lost my job in September of 2016. I was let go on a Friday evening, and was expected at a big fashion event the following hour. I wiped my tears, picked my head up as I literally stepped out of one world that wasn’t right for me and glided right into another world that welcomed me with open arms. All of these wonderful artistic people helped me when I was at my lowest, and gave me every opportunity to create Oh, Eleanora the blog, and now ELEANORA the magazine. The rest is history, but the significance of what our local fashion community has done for me over the past two years is something I will always remember and will never take for granted.
It was an honor to be able to join my friends and colleagues on our FGI San Antonio Board of Directors and pay it forward to our community, to spotlight special creators and makers in our city who are both on the rise, and also those who have already risen, but who have always extended an arm behind them to help up-and-comers create their own success.
We honored Tatiana Ayala of Treasure Jewels with the Jewelry Rising Star Award, whose line of handcrafted Colombian artisan jewelry that launched in 2009 is now sold in over 400 stores across the United States. We also honored Roger Canamar of Roger Canamar Couture with the Fashion Designer Rising Star Award, who launched his womenswear line in 2013 and has shown his designs in Paris, at New York Fashion Week, and will be opening the Spring 2019 show for the El Paseo Fashion Week in Palm Desert, California. (We featured Roger’s beautiful designs in our launch issue of ELEANORA, for our S.H.E Is: Carmel Snow feature.)
Lastly, we honored Henry R. Muñoz III with the Donna Muslin Award of Excellence, named after the late founding FGI San Antonio member, for his commitment to always supporting San Antonians as they better themselves and their careers. A native San Antonian who is a nationally known designer, social activist, opinion leader, business owner and philanthropist, Henry’s support of the arts in San Antonio has contributed to the success of many local creators and businesses. On a National stage for Co-Founding the Latino Victory Project with actress Eva Longoria, he serves as a voice of representation and leadership for the Latino population across the United States. (Henry even had a big hand in the launch of our company S.H.E Media, because he provided us his New York City residence this summer while we were working trying to get ELEANORA off the ground.)
The event itself turned out to be beautiful, which is always a relief when you plan it. We worked with Kelly O’Connor (remember our September Issue ‘Cover Girl?‘) to use Linda Pace Foundation’s Chris Park and SPACE Gallery as our backdrop for the evening, which is part of the new and highly anticipated Ruby City contemporary urban art campus in downtown San Antonio. FGI members mingled with award nominees and guests in picture-perfect November weather, sipping and noshing on artful beverages and delicious bites provided by The Box Street Social, while DJ SoulStairs (Stephanie Villa) played trendy tunes under the stars, providing the chic-est, tasteful kickoff to the Holiday season.
Thank you to everyone who has extended a helping hand to me in this position over the past two years, to my friend and our fearless leader Xitlalt Herrera-Salazar who has been a big sister and mentor always pushing me to succeed, to my programming partner in crime Cody Shown, who made the past year in this job a joy, and to every other friend on the Board who has worked toward our collective vision for making FGI a chamber of commerce for creators and consumers to come together in our great city.
The future of fashion in San Antonio is in great hands, and I’m lucky this community has extended one or two helping hands to me.