Every month at BRAVA our photography, art and style team have the pleasure of pulling out a camera and chasing around the gorgeous local women who fill our fashion and style pages as they model the trendiest looks we can find (we know, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it), and our April issue is no exception.
Anya jacket by Tahari, $179; Macy’s, Hilldale, Madison. Earrings by Veto; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Store, 227 State St., Madison. Umbrella by Peter Pann, $29; Little Luxuries, 230 State St., Madison.
For this month’s fashion feature, “Life in Technicolor,” our model Liz Simpson turned out to not only be a stunning model of this season’s hottest hues, she’s a bit of a fashion expert herself, running an online boutique called Flaunt, which specializes in flirty dresses and accessories that are perfect for a night on the town. For more, we checked in with Simpson to learn about her adventures in fashion retail, how she flaunts her everyday style and what she’ll be reading at “Listen to Your Mother,” an exciting spoken word event in May.
How did you first get involved in fashion and retail?
I have had a long love affair with the beauty, fashion, and the retail industry. My first college job was at Victoria’s Secret. I always knew I loved fashion, but amazingly I quickly caught on to business operations and sales.
Why did you make the leap into launching your online retailer, Flaunt?
It was truly an organic process. For years I pondered, thinking ‘What if?’ As I networked and built relationships, I slowly was able to see how feasible it was for me to do. I kept taking notes and adding ideas and resources to my rough-draft business plan. Eventually in 2010, I decided to take the reigns and give it 110 percent. There is such joy and fulfillment from pursuing your own passions and desires. I am so glad I did!
How would you describe Flaunt’s style?
Flaunt carries sexy club-wear dresses. When you want that feminine, sexy, statement dress…that’s Flaunt. The idea is to take hot runway trends and make them affordable.
What’s your favorite part of running an online retail shop?
I absolutely love networking! I have realized that the more focused and driven that I am, the more I seem to similarly meet people with their own drive and destiny. My vision for Flaunt is to encourage women to boldly embrace their beauty! And I have seen such beauty in the human spirit in the relationships I have formed along the way. And of course, having to ‘shop’ new fashions for a living isn’t so bad either!
What trends are you seeing for this summer?
Oh, this summer is vibrant and colorful and bold! I love it. You will see bright neon colors like blues, yellows, and of course the tangerine orange. Also peplum dresses, lace and tons of pattern.
What wardrobe staple can’t you live without?
My ‘LBD’: little black dress. I can’t live without it. And I’m a legs girl, so make it short!
What style advice do you live by?
I noticed you’re part of the lineup for this year’s “Listen to Your Mother,” a spoken-word event on Mother’s Day featuring 12 local authors reading works about motherhood. What will your piece be about?
For ‘Listen To Your Mother,’ I will be reading a piece dedicated to my mom. The piece is highlighting one one of her childhood traumas and is affectionately called, ‘Yellow.’ I am excited to share it because my mother is a phenomenal role model. She has always applauded my writing ability and will be surprised on Mother’s Day when she sees me stand up to speak!