Meet Three AFM/AFW Designers

As Alternative Fashion Week gets closer, I will be featuring the designers that I interviewed for the Alternative Fashion Mob‘s blog.  Each one of this talented folks brings unique aesthetic to the world of local fashion and will be showing a line of their designs at the Finale on April 26 at Strongwater in Franklinton.  It’s gonna be an amazing night!!!

Here are three ladies who will be joining the show….stay tuned as I will feature each of the 18 designers in the coming days!



Put together boyish, prissy, unpredictable, punk and urban and you’ve got Keyona Gore‘s Ryain line of fashion from her store,  Fashion Elements Clothing. Keyona does not like to categorize her fashion as one particular aesthetic as can be seen by the fashions featured here.  She likes the edginess of urban punk with a rather boyish side but doesn’t want her fashions to ever be pigeonholed to one type of clothing.  Ball gowns to hip hop leaning towards punk is the best she can do in describing her ‘style’. Not being set on a certain aesthetic is what she believes sets her apart from other designers who prefer to follow one particular style. “I guess you can say I keep my viewers guessing on what I’m going to do next.”

John Nevarez, photographerHaving grown up in as an Army brat, she was born in Youngstown, moved throughout the US including living in Anchorage Alaska and  SC, to finally settle back in Columbus at age 13.  Instead of attempting to make friends every time her family moved, she immersed herself in creative avenues.  First, when she was in third grade, she designed clothes for her dolls…sketching and then actually making garments!  She continued to draw, sew and create anything with her hands. But making garments eventually evolved into her passion, making her own clothing to express herself.  

In November 2013, she made her debut at The Sound of Colors Fashion and Hair Show here in Columbus.  As you can see in these pictures, she likes the punk look that frequently comes out in her designs.  Self-taught and self-motivated with some home ec sewing classes under her belt,  she creates for the girl that doesn’t necessarily care about the latest trends but creates her own look by ‘going with the flow’ and following her inner muse.

John Nevarez, photographerWhen asked about her inspiration, she stated that she literally designs from her dreams…”I dream and I design.” An example of this is a recent dream where she was atop a mountain looking down at Earth in flames, while wearing a huge black-and-gold dress with chains. Although she has no idea what the heck this dream was about, she did get some fashion inspiration out of it, which is pretty typical. Vivid fashion comes through even if she doesn’t remember the dream! Her mom suggested a dream catcher might be appropriate. Don’t you agree? She also admits that her children have a say in her fashions, giving her either thumbs up or down, before the final product is created. Always good to get the younger generation’s take on what looks best, huh?
John Nevarez, photographer

Wanting to continue showing  her clothing to the Columbus market is what got her involved in AFW14. Being chosen for the finale seemed like a perfect springboard for starting school in the fall at CCAD with a major in fashion design. Woot! 

And, for our closing question: what fashion does Keyona want to see in the dumpster FOREVER?

“Booty shorts! OMG, showing off that much of your private parts is just too much for me!”



Photographs by John Nevarez


Contact for readers:

Keyona Gore


twitter: FashionElements



Esther Myong Hall, Torn Angel, is returning to the AFW Finale this year with her avant-garde line of fashion cause she loved last year’s event and all of the great folks involved in it…yay!  

A graduate of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (BFA with a focus in Fashion and Sculpture) and native of Upper Arlington, she started her line in 2008.  What I do is Avant-Garde, fashion outside of the box and experimental where I view it more as a form of sculpture than just clothing. I design for people that appreciate the arts and are adventurous. Typically my clients are older (such as the Advanced Style ladies) with many stories about their grand travels and lifetime that they are still very active and living.  She has also begun spinning her own yarn and lace tatting and adding these to her fashions…hmmm, I wonder what that means for her collection this year???  Can’t wait to see!


What is your fav piece of clothing in your closet? My favorite piece of clothing in my closet right now is a t-shirt that says “polite as fuck”


What is your fashion nightmare? 

That the 90’s and 80’s trends never go away.

What is your favorite fashion decade? Why? 1920’s Because that is when women’s sportswear and comfort for clothing were finally being addressed by society. They also had amazing new artists emerging and the trends of simple shapes with luxurious drapes or embellishment. It was really a no-nonsense era of high fashion.

What is your go-to accessory?  My Vivienne Westwood winged red rocking horse shoes

If you could live in any era based on fashion, what would it be? I wouldn’t want to live backwards at all. I’m perfectly happy with where we are now. I can period dress to whatever I want and yet still be experimental without too many hang-ups on what society would think. We currently live in a fantastic age for Fashion.

Contact info for readers:

Katelyn Mary McClain: Katelyn McClain Designs

Vinh Vu, photographer

Assistant Designer at Substance, Katelyn Mary McClain, will be joining us again at this year’s AFW.  A Columbus native and graduate of Kent State in 2012 with a degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising, Katelyn founded her label, Katelyn McClain Designs immediately after last year’s finale so she could begin selling her pieces at Substance. Inspiration for her collections comes from everywhere.  As she sums it up:

my last collection was mostly inspired by Native American and my Irish heritage. I always seem to have a Romantic, tribal & sustainable vibe– what I design is always romanticized fashion with a bohemian tribal feel. Draping, textures, prints and bead work enhance the tailored garments. I focus on sustainable pieces using organic and recyclable materials and natural dyes.

Vinh Vu, Photographer

Her collection for this year’s finale will have a somewhat different theme using scraps she has saved over the years to create patchworks and mixed designs.  Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas is her muse for some of the pieces she is creating.  And she will be incorporating knitting and hand loom work in this collection after spending the winter honing her skills.

Sasha Bohn, PhotographerMaddie Etter, Model

Q & A:Upcoming events besides AFW?I’m in the process of being apart of a Anime Convention the end of March. The person who wins the costume contest will win a consultation with me and my expertise in fashion. It sounds really neat, and I’m a huge nerd.

I may also be showing a few looks for a fashion show at Capital University and hope to do some festivals/shows this summer and fall.


Sasha Bohn, PhotographerMaddie Etter, Model

What’s your fav piece of clothing in your closet? There are far to many things in my closet to have just one favorite thing, it’s kind of ridiculous how many clothes and accessories I have.

What’s your go-to accessory? a scarf… I have a bunch of scarfs, and yes, I wear them in the middle of summer. They help to protect me from the sun, because I am extremely pale and burn so easily.

What is your fashion nightmare? I really don’t like when girls wear shorts and tights together, I just don’t get it. I have seen it done right though, and sometimes it is cute. But it is just too much, tights are uncomfortable enough under a dress or skirt! …add the shorts, too much, you need to air that vent out. Wear pants..

What is your fav fashion trend now? I love that fringe is such a big deal right now cause it’s so fantastic and fun. The bigger and more ridiculous the better!

What trend would you like to see go away forever? I can’t say that I absolutely hate any one trend enough for it to be banished forever BUT I would really appreciate it though if girls would stop wearing tights as pants. If you MUST at least wear a long enough top/dress to cover your ass and camel toe. NOBODY wants to see that!!!!

Contact for readers:

 or stop in and see her at Substance! 





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