Designer Biographies

Get to know the Designers selected to be in Danbury Fashion Week 2018!



The collection that will be in the show is a mix of multiple things that I have learned over the course of 3 years. I first started with making a wrap skirt and eventually made my way to making a range of different things like dresses, pants, turtleneck sweaters and rompers. A big thing that I like to do is incorporate my artwork into my designs whenever possible. I have been taking art lessons since I was a very little girl and art has been a huge part of my life and is something that I take pride in. In terms of my designs, I always try and incorporate a painting that I make as a pattern for the collection. My painting always relates to my concept and inspiration for the collection I am working on. Another thing that I have been big about doing is painting on denim. For me, this is another way I can incorporate my artwork into fashion. I believe fashion is a way for everyone to express themselves as an individual and my goal is to help people express themselves through art.


Doreen Breen, owner and designer for Soul Theads works with natural and recycled fabrics
to create wearable art pieces. She chooses to be eco-friendly, thoughtful and mindful of the disposability of our society. Believing there is a conscious connection between people and the clothing they choose to wear, Doreen works to bring clothing and accessories that inspire and empower the wearer. She is an excellent textile artist who focuses on upcycling coats, and giving them new life with vintage inspirations and wool accents. In her wool work, Doreen uses locally sourced, natural fibers and makes beautiful fall and winter accessories using free form crochet practices.


Donette Brotherson born Guyanese national launched DonJ` ready-to-wear collection in 2006. Donette has spent the last ten years designing and creating Elegant and Trendy clothing and accessories. Since its inception DonJ` designs has commanded the attention of the regional and international market, and has now evolved into one of the most prominent and influential fashion designer in the industry. With the opening of DonJ` flagship store in New York City, and our online store, the boutique continues to showcase collections known for Elegance, Sophistication, and Risqué feminine detailing clothing.
The DonJ’ brand vision is to continue to create a lifestyle that goes beyond ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, these collections are positioned at the highest end of the luxury market, and are driven by artistic modern luxurious design and styles, DonJ` is at the cutting edge of the fashion industry with the highest level of customer service.

Photo Credit: Donette Botherson.


Jamie Burch is a Fashion Designer with over 30 years experience. She grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, NY. "I Always had aspirations of designing clothes and making beautiful things. I can remember cutting out paper dolls from my mothers spiegels Catalog (for you that are too young to remember) it was a big major company. I also, remember making my first outfit in Middle School; I guess I was very young when I realized that I had a flare for fashion and being creative. I love taking something and making it my very own." States Jamie Burch, creator, owner and designer of LS Fashion.

Although, she never had formal training she was taught by the best. Her mother who was also a seamstress taught her about sewing. Her company “Leiani Simone” is named after her oldest granddaughter. "My philosophy is start them off early. Little girls all dressed up with no place to go, why not!! Feeling good from the inside out and building confidence in the people who are wearing the clothes. I know when I put on something beautiful it lifts my spirits and soul. " -Jamie Burch, Owner and creator of LS Fashion.

Jamie prides herself in Always, evolving and moving with current trends. Always leaving room to grow!!

Photo Credit: Jamie Burch


Julissa Cadena believes you can be fashionable and maintain a degree of modesty at the same
time. I always wanted to be a Fashion Designer, I has been my dream since childhood, I was born in the Dominican Republic and my cousins will tease me calling me “Oscarita” for famous Dominican Designer Oscar Del La Renta because I will always be sketching dresses on my free time. “I’m a Christian in 2014 God gave me a detour. I went to school for fashion but I was seeking my own glory,” she said. “The thing that opened my eyes was the women in the fashion industry and the way they dress. They are being used as objects. I was making those clothes, but after that I started making more modest clothing and just did everything to give God the
glory and that is when I added “Glory to God” to my logo. “Artists and people in the music and fashion industry, they have so much influence over so many people,” Cadena said. “They dress very immodestly and they have little girls looking up to them. That’s why I started changing. I was almost blinded to it before. You notice in the summer the girls are wearing almost nothing and guys are wearing Polos and long shorts.” “Some people find out I’m a fashion designer and
they like my clothes and they say ‘You should go to New York.’ But this is where I live,” she added. “You start where you live. I went to high school here and this is where my first opportunity is. It’s important to me to use local talent.”

Photo Credit: Julissa


Kelley Griffin

Kelley Griffin is a Connecticut based artist working the in the Greater Hartford area. She received her Bachelor's degree in Fine Art with a concentration in painting from the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford in 2011. Currently she teaches Art at Ellington Middle School while pursuing her Master’s of Art Education at Central Connecticut State University.

Though she started as a painter in undergrad she found she had a passion for sewing and designing costumes, especially historical clothing. Since few educational institutions have sewing courses she sought out training on pattern adjustment, sewing techniques, and designing from her family members and on the internet. Now the distinction between her paintings and her fabric arts projects have blurred as she explores similar veins in both mediums. Using original designs she draws upon her skills as a seamstress, leatherworker, and jeweler to create wearable artworks that she can put on models and photograph. Each work is steeped in symbolism and is built on a foundation of careful research.



Samah Luthuli

My name is Samah Luthuli, I was born and raised in South Africa 🇿🇦. I’m the first born of Meyiswa and Bazo Luthuli. I am based in America Waterbury, Connecticut. I am the founder of QhakazaMshibe African Accessories curated and handcrafted in America. I enjoy creating colorful unique designs because details matters. QhakazaMshibe African Accessories is been invited for fairs and FleaMarket to sell and show my handwork. I love what I do and I see QhakazaMshibe African Accessories going too far and doing it big all over the world.

Photo Credit:  Alyssa Joyner (@am.j0y)

Jacquie Price.jpg

Jacquie Price

Growing up I always knew I wanted to be in fashion, but it wasn't until this last year, my senior year at SCAD, that I knew I wanted to focus on accessibility wear. When I was 16 my own personal disability manifested and has continued to worsen as we still search for a diagnose. Because of this I have met some amazing women, who feel less than amazing in their clothes because they just aren't fit for their needs, or they're frumpy, and not something that makes them feel confident.
I wanted to take my own disability and use it to make a collection based around the questions, “Can I wear this? Does this make getting dressed easier? How do I feel in this?” My goal is for women to be able to feel powerful and sexy in their clothes regardless of their ability or disability. That the woman in the wheelchair can be wearing the same jumpsuit as someone walking on the other side of the street. That braces can be hidden under the clothes and they still sit well on the body, and the specialty wear doesn't look like specialty wear.
I based my entire senior collection around this and hope to continue bringing this idea to other brands, as well as hopefully one of my own in the future - “that clothes can be very fashionable and inclusive at the same time.” My vision is that incisively wear should be easily found, not just on specialty sites but for someone to be able to go into any store and purchase something that works for their body; that clothes should fit the woman, not the other way around. I wanted this collection to be as easy as possible with no buttons, zippers, hooks and eyes, or any other small closures, using only- elastic, ties, and magnets. I hope that people will be inspired by my collection to go and make clothes that not only help people but make women feel powerful and most themselves regardless of body.


Kathy Walker-Darin

ReconsruKteD was a concept I had been playing with for several years before it became a reality. I studied fashion in High School and College and have been designing and sewing since I was very young, however marriage and children came along and I had to commit to a more stable source of income. About 11 years ago my aging mother moved in with us due to Parkinson’s disease and in the last several years her care has become my primary “job”. Obviously not paying that well I began selling vintage, new and used items on EBay and again toying with the idea of up-cycling and redoing clothing. So ReconsruKteD was officially re-born!

I love denim, blanket prints, Southwestern and Native American colors and prints and anything from Nepal….I think the colors of that region are absolutely beautiful.

On a personal note, I live in Branford, Ct., with my husband and favorite child, Charlie my Pitt/lab mix. I have three real children, all grown and living in Ct., Philadelphia and Washington State.

Photo Credit: Joseph Purayidathil (@josephantonyphoto)


Ziya Shabazz-Williams

Ziya Shabazz-Williams is a 13 year old entrepreneur and home school student who will be entering ninth grade in the fall.  She started her floral accessories company Ziya Bloms at the age of 9.  By 12 she launched her fashion line Beauty in Bloom.  Now at 13 Ziya holds over 150 medals in gymnastics including 6 gold medals as state champion and is on the current floor state floor champion.  Ziya's clothing line is about empowering the individual to be there authentic selves and to bloom at their own time and pace.  She also understands her power and her responsibility to community.  So Ziya donates a portion of her proceeds to her favorite charities and Family and Children's Aid.  Ziya uses her platform as an entrepreneur to encourage and empower young women to believe in themselves and their abilities.  Her clothing line is not just about being fashion forward but being fashion conscious.  So her line specializes in RE-design taking the things you once loved and reinventing them.