Project Runway

Jahanna MartinezAs someone who would rather spend the day at Chuck E. Cheese with a group of sugar-fueled eight-year-olds than go to the mall, I had a great time writing this week’s feature, “Fashion Frenzy.” The independent designers featured all showed a great understanding for the styles and shapes that real women crave…and the personal touch and attention they give each garment is something you just don’t find everywhere. Jahanna Martinez is a great example. Her flamenco-style skirts may sound impractical, but this woman knows how to create a cut that really flatters a woman’s body – no matter what size you are. I personally own one of her beachy halter dresses and feel fantastic whenever I put it on. My mother, meanwhile, fell for one of Jahanna’s long-sleeved dresses, which has a plunging neckline and a flirty flamenco kick. She’s worn it to work and always get compliments. The fact that Mom and I are completely different body types and both look great in these designs speaks volumes.

If you’re curious about discovering new talent, I recommend visiting local boutiques, which typically carry independent, hard-to-find, and local designers. If your town’s shopping options are limited to Wal-Mart, look online. PinkMascara.com, ShopBop.com, and Refinery29.com are terrific sources for lesser-known designers. Happy hunting!

-Erin Donnelly, Your Looks Editor