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Austin influencers toast to Teen Vogue's 16th anniversary with sweet hotel party

Sugar and Spice

What: Teen Vogue's Sweet 16

Where: P6 at The Line

The lowdown: Teen Vogue ditched its New York City offices in favor of balmy (like, very balmy) Austin to celebrate the magazine's 16th anniversary with a sweet fête on June 18. Held at P6 at The Line, Teen Vogue editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner played host to a mix of influencers, media types, and the like on the hotel's expansive patio.

The Sweet 16 theme was taken quite literally, with a pink candy bar, cake stands brimming with pink-frosted cupcakes, and a machine spinning out picture-perfect tufts of cotton candy. (Even the air smelled like sugar, which can be a jarring sensory experience in a city that perpetually smells like Santal 33.)

Massive pink balloon installations and celebratory light installations proved festive backdrops for photos, as did the epic view overlooking Lady Bird Lake and the Congress Avenue Bridge.

As the sun set on one of summer's first swelteringly hot days, attendees headed into the air-conditioned bar area to try on jewelry from Lightbox, the party's presenting sponsor. Servers milled about with light bites from P6, including Campari tomato bruschetta, Creekstone Farm beef tartar, and lump crab bites, as well as trays of wine.

With just a few minutes left, Peoples Wagner gathered the crowd together for a celebratory toast and thank you. The crowd cheered — with glasses of pink rosé, of course.

Who: Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Sally Morrison, Lindsey Sokol, Claire Zinnecker, Sofia Sokolove, Chelsea Laine Francis, Chris Rhodes, Madilyn Biscoe, Tiffany Baker, Laolu Onabanje, Chelsea McCullough, Bonnie Barton, Melat, and Zoe Annette Baker.

Laolu Onabanje, Teen Vogue editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner, and Oyin Edogi.

Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images
Laolu Onabanje, Teen Vogue editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner, and Oyin Edogi.
Photo by Shelley Neuman

This raw, inclusive show is transforming Austin's fashion underground

Moving fashion forward

On May 5, hundreds of people gathered to witness part two of a runway series put on by local indie designers Samantha Fabry, Ida Béhjat, and Melissa Taylor in collaboration with Hyperreal Film Club and sponsored by Co-Lab Projects.

On May 5, in a warehouse space located behind the Austin School of Film, hundreds of people gathered to witness part two of a runway series put on by local indie designers Samantha Fabry, Ida Béhjat, and Melissa Taylor in collaboration with Hyperreal Film Club and sponsored by Co-Lab Projects. This raw, inclusive showcase has become Austin's new fashion underground, taking the boring and uninspiring runway shows that have become all too commonplace across the city and throwing them aside. These young emerging designers (and the show's creatively dressed attendees) gave us a fresh reminder that fashion is equal parts art and self-expression. --- Design by Melissa Taylor.

Photo by Shelley Neuman
On May 5, in a warehouse space located behind the Austin School of Film, hundreds of people gathered to witness part two of a runway series put on by local indie designers Samantha Fabry, Ida Béhjat, and Melissa Taylor in collaboration with Hyperreal Film Club and sponsored by Co-Lab Projects. This raw, inclusive showcase has become Austin's new fashion underground, taking the boring and uninspiring runway shows that have become all too commonplace across the city and throwing them aside. These young emerging designers (and the show's creatively dressed attendees) gave us a fresh reminder that fashion is equal parts art and self-expression. --- Design by Melissa Taylor.
Photo by Shelley Neuman

Austin Fashion Week mesmerizes with first show of its kind

International Appeal

For the first time, Austin Fashion Week dedicated an entire showcase to international talent. Five luxury designers and nine jewelry and accessories designers from Mexico came together to showcase their talents at Moda X Mexico, held May 13 at the Driskill Hotel. Attendees all enjoyed front-row seats at this runway event, which mesmerized their senses with cultural and artistic phenomena from our neighbors to the south.

Photo by Shelley Neuman
For the first time, Austin Fashion Week dedicated an entire showcase to international talent. Five luxury designers and nine jewelry and accessories designers from Mexico came together to showcase their talents at Moda X Mexico, held May 13 at the Driskill Hotel. Attendees all enjoyed front-row seats at this runway event, which mesmerized their senses with cultural and artistic phenomena from our neighbors to the south. --- Guests took photos with a model wearing this incredible butterfly dress, created by Mandarin Design.
Photo by Hoyoung Lee

Texas Stylemaker launches sweet new subscription art service

Mail-Order Art

Monthly subscription services are hardly novel, but the latest iteration from Russian-born Dallasite (and 2016 CultureMap Dallas Stylemaker finalist) Ekaterina Kouznetsova shows promise. ArtMail is built on Kouznetsova’s desire to “make it effortless to buy incredible art and discover international artists.”

Like a personal curator, the service scouts exclusive museum-quality prints from a variety of international artists and then ships them to members’ doors.

Kouznetsova — a recent University of Texas at Dallas grad with bachelor’s degrees in marketing, global business, and art history — first had the idea after realizing the intimidation factor that often comes with shopping for original art.

“I noticed many of my friends outside of the art world felt intimidated by art, wanting to explore it and collect, but not knowing where to begin.”

To bridge the gap, she spent more than a year developing ArtMail, culminating with the website’s launch earlier this month.

“Placing art in a comfortable setting allows the art-curious to learn and grow at their own pace without pressure or inconvenience,” she says. “I included curated preferences, making it easy for [people] to discover great art from around the world.”

A resource for “the culturally curious, the unorthodox art collector” and “interior designers” alike, ArtMail relies on “art-watchers” in cities — Moscow; Paris; and Glasgow, Scotland, to name a few — across the globe. The goal is to create a “diverse and dynamic” selection of prints that can’t be found anywhere else.

Featured artists hail from more than 20 countries, with styles ranging from impressionistic to abstract. Artists receive a commission on every print sold, along with “increased awareness and promotion of their work, especially in the U.S. market.”

ArtMail members receive an exclusive 8-by-10-inch art print either once a month, once every two months, or once every three months, and prices start at $54. Pieces can be professionally framed for an additional charge and always come matted. To ensure each piece is in keeping with their aesthetic, members are asked to set preferences at sign-up. Not in love with the print you receive? Return it within two weeks for a full refund.

In mid-2017, Kouznetsova plans to hold an ArtMail Masters show, where art can be purchased directly from the artists.

"We're continuously working to expand our selection of sizes, frames, and artists," she says. “ArtMail has the potential to become a household name, to bring art and joy into everyday life while supporting talented artists."

Ekaterina Kouznetsova is the founder of ArtMail.

Photo by Hoyoung Lee
Ekaterina Kouznetsova is the founder of ArtMail.
Photo by Jessica Pages

Austin's most stylish man and woman revealed: Meet the 2016 Stylemaker winners

Meet the Stylemakers

The time has come to reveal the winners of our second annual CultureMap Stylemaker Awards, celebrating the most stylish people in Austin.

In September, we introduced you to the 12 semifinalists, nominated by our savvy readers and selected by a panel featuring CultureMap editors and 2015 readers' choice winner Shelley Neuman. From those semifinalists, six finalists emerged: Gillian Driscoll, Brittany Merida, Viraj Patel, Megan Runser, Lamar Sanchez, and Carly Uson.

Before they moved on to the final round of public voting, we treated each to a photo shoot with Austin photographer Jessica Pages. We also scooped up some style secrets from the bunch that you can read here — but now onto the reveal.

Who's the most stylish of them all? Meet the 2016 CultureMap Stylemaker winners, chosen by our readers and panel, below.

Readers' choice winner: Lamar Sanchez
There's no denying that this Austin entertainer has eye-catching style. He received an overwhelming 60 percent of the vote to be named the 2016 readers' choice winner.

Born in Belize City but raised in Austin, Lamar says his idiosyncratic style has developed naturally. He effortlessly blends tailored Ralph Lauren suits with Dr. Martens for what can only be described as a standout, trendsetting look. "He's not afraid to push boundaries and definitely has the modern dandy look down," says 2015 readers' choice winner Shelley Neuman.

Editors' choice winner: Megan Runser
Megan's fashion story is an inspirational one. Her love of fashion continued to shine even as she battled and beat Hodgkin's lymphoma. In 2014, she partnered with BaubleBar on the As Good As Gold collection, which benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Kendra Scott brand manager's secret to being stylish? "Wear what makes you happy, regardless of what a magazine or a blog says is 'cool' to wear," she says. "I proudly rocked a ridiculous(ly awesome) sequin kimono jacket over my hospital gown with my chemo machine dragging behind me while in isolation for my bone marrow transplant. Having my inner style shine through helped me feel more like me during a time when I barely recognized or felt like myself."

Readers' choice winner Lamar Sanchez.

Photo by Jessica Pages
Readers' choice winner Lamar Sanchez.
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Austin chefs turn out for farmer-focused food festival, returning this spring

Field Guide

Sometimes reinventing the wheel is a good thing, which may explain the immediate and warm welcome Field Guide Festival received upon its launch in 2021 and return in 2022. Moving past the food festival trope of tiny bites, loud music, and general Baccanalian vibes, Field Guide Festival seeks to foster connections between farmers, chefs, consumers, and everyone in between. Returning to East Austin on Saturday, April 22, the innovative event invites Central Texans to consider their role in the future of food in the Austin community.

Founded by female powerhouses, Lindsey Sokol and Trisha Bates, the goal of the fest is to leave guests inspired to participate in their local food system, equipped with the knowledge of where to find the best, most sustainable food available in Austin and the surrounding area.

"Field Guide Festival presents an answer to the question, ‘Where does your food come from?’ by highlighting the local farmers and chefs of Austin," Bates shares in a release. "Our festival is the only place in the city where you will see the farmers side-by-side with the chefs who transform their food, creating dishes uniquely representing this exact time and place. You'll never have this food, presented in this way, again."

The recently-released 2023 lineup features an impressive roster of 34 farmer and chef partners who will partner together to create dishes exclusive to the festival using in-season produce. Tickets will include a full day of food and beverages, cooking demonstrations, symposium conversations, live music, and a farmer’s bodega — all benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank.

“The Central Texas Food Bank is honored to be a partner of such a special gathering,” says Mark Jackson Chief Development Officer of Central Texas Food Bank in a releasE. “Not only will revenue from the event help ensure that thousands of our neighbors facing food insecurity have enough to eat, but attendees will learn about the impact food has on our whole community while having fun.”

Curated by Field Guide Culinary Director Chef Philip Speer, the 2023 chef and farmer lineup is below:

  • Abby Love (Abby Jane Bakeshop) & Amalia Staggs (Farmshare Austin)
  • Colter Peck (Elementary) & Becky Hume (VRDNT Farm)
  • Fiore Tedesco (L’Oca D’Oro) & Sean Henry (Hi-Fi MYCO)
  • Graeme Little (Fairmont Austin) & Julia Poplawsky Lewis (Cielito Lindo Farm)
  • Graham Fuller (Emmer & Rye) & William Nikkel (Trosi Farms)
  • Joaquin Ceballos (Este) & Anamaria Gutierrez (Este Garden)
  • Krystal Craig + Ian Thurwachter (Intero) & Celia Bell (Two Hives Honey)
  • Mia Li (Ora King Salmon) & Joe + Kasey Diffie (Joe’s Microgreens)
  • Natalie Gazaui (Chef Consultant) & Gregory Mast (Central Texas Food Bank Garden)
  • Nicholas Yanes (Juniper + Uncle Nicky’s) & Perrine Noelke (Local Pastures)
  • Rhys Davis & Michael Fojtasek (Maie Day) & Marianna Peeler (Peeler Farms)
  • Kevin & Rosie Truong (Fil N Viet) & Travis Breihan (Smallhold)
  • Susana Querejazu (Lutie’s) & Hannah Gongola (H2Grow Farms)
  • Todd Duplechan (Lenoir + Vixen’s Wedding) & Ryan Gould (Geosmin Regenerative)
  • Zechariah Perez (Sour Duck Market + Odd Duck) & Montana Stovall (Dancing Bear Farm)
  • Ooni Chef Demos by Casey Wilcox (Little Trouble) & Christina Currier (Comedor)
  • Force of Nature Chef Demo by Katrina Ferraro and Freddy Diaz (Las Brasas)

Featuring a mix of savory, sweet, and plant-based options, all food and beverages are included with each ticket, allowing guests to roam and sample everything. Tickets are $100 for adults, while a new Young Foodies ticket option ($50 for ages 13-30) and free entry children 12 and under encourages the whole family to come savor and celebrate the best of Central Texas food.

“New this year, Field Guide will welcome guests of all ages!" says founder Lindsey Sokol. "We’ve created a food festival that puts education first in order to strengthen the food system for the future, including the next generation. Our goal is to present food in a way no one else in Austin is doing, where the local food system is the priority.”

For more information and to purchase tickets for the event, please visit fieldguidefest.com or follow along on social media @fieldguidefest.

Trendy boxing gym knocks out Cedar Park with more planned

Out of the Box

New or aspiring boxers who worry about punching above their weight may have a new solution that caters to all. Rumble Boxing, a gym that boasts clients including David Beckham, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber, is now open in Cedar Park, with plans to expand elsewhere in Austin in February.

Unlike the boxing-solo-before-dawn movie trope, Rumble offers group classes that make the sport accessible and fun, including some workouts that aren’t just traditional boxing (called “boxing-inspired circuits”). Boxers of all levels get together for something that looks in videos like a spin class with boxing equipment.

The gym calls it a “10-round, 45-minute fight,” but an explanation on the website reveals “fight” to be more of a metaphor. Some rounds involve punching bags, while others incorporate floor training with bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. The classes promise a balance of both; half and half throughout the class.

Ambiance plays a significant part in the experience, and the gym emphasizes its music and lights along with “the program, and the collective heartbeat of the room.” Although the program contemporizes boxing for greater accessibility, the core elements are still there. Boxers will learn “the six punches”: the jab, the cross, front and back hooks, and front and back uppercuts.

The system has proven popular so far, and not just with celebrities. In business since just 2017, Rumble has 35 studios in the United States, plus some in Australia and the Dominican Republic. In Texas, there are also locations outside of Houston and Dallas, with more set to open in both by March.

Rumble Boxing is now open at 12160 W Parmer Lane, Suite #150. Hours of operation vary by day and are available at rumbleboxinggym.com.

This professional development group is working to connect Black Austinites and keep them in Austin

Fellowing the Leader

Even though Austin is generally understood as friendly and good for transplants, it’s always hard to land in a new city and gauge your longevity there. Finding resources takes time and connections, and for new Austinites who experience social marginalization, it may not feel possible to thrive.

Seeking to create those connections, the African American Leadership Institute (AALI) is a professional development group focused on increasing civic awareness and leadership opportunities for Austin's Black population. According to the website, their mission is to "build a stronger Black Austin community by equipping exceptional leaders to live up to their moral responsibility ... to make life better for everyone in our city, state, and the world."

Established in 2021, the idea for AALI evolved out of the Leadership Austin model, which also provides civic leadership training and is in turn an evolution of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. After participating in the 2002 class at Leadership Austin, AALI founder Heath Creech noticed a pattern: Companies were bringing Black employees to Austin, but underutilizing their skill sets when they arrived. Feeling more like guests than active community members, those employees packed up and looked for a new place to hit the ground running.

Creech realized Black Austinites needed their own program like Leadership Austin, so he connected with BiNi Coleman, a strategist who prioritized Black leadership through her organization 212 Catalysts. Partnering with Leadership Austin to create a parallel system, the pair started AALI to target exceptional leaders through its annual Leadership Cohort. This group of annual fellows learns how to engage in intensive community building and “deep dives” into multiple issue areas — all with a lens toward the Black community in Central Texas.

In just two years, AALI has seen in its first two groups that a third of participants say they were thinking of leaving Austin, but decided to stay. To find people willing to offer the vulnerability to apply even while feeling untethered from the Austin community, AALI had to drop some pretenses that other organizations may use to ensure commitment to applying.

“[The] AALI launch committee … determined for one that our Northstar metric should be connection: Addressing this lack of belonging in the community,” says Coleman, now AALI’s CEO. “If people emphasize that they feel a greater sense of connection to the Black community, or the overall community, we are doing our jobs. So far, that's never been less [affirmative feedback] than 96 percent or so.”

The only eligibility requirement is that participants must live in the Austin MSA (the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metropolitan area). The organization waived the minimum years of residence requirement. Applications could be written or recorded via video, to ensure that different communication styles made their strongest possible impacts. It’s working.

“We've had people that range from being … essentially homeless, and made it in AALI because they are relentless about being out in the community, and delivering basic needs to families and things of that nature,” says Coleman. “And then we have people that are corporate VPs, and we have people who are executive directors of nonprofits. In our inaugural year we had [Austin ISD Police Chief] Wayne Sneed, for instance. It really ranges the gamut.”

The 2023 fellows are no exception: Announced in January, the group of 34 includes an associate professor addressing education policy and philanthropy, the CPO of the Boys & Girls Club of Austin, the director of the Downtown Austin Alliance, a doula, multiple school principals, and more. Throughout the program, these Fellows’ main objective is to get to know each other and make themselves known, so when program leaders can offer connections to outside organizations, they know who to recommend. Coleman tells a story about Aaron Demerson of the Texas Workforce Commission speaking at a session, and having a meeting booked with one of the fellows within "a couple of hours."

AALI has further expanded its outreach by launching a one-day event, Black X Conference, which allows anyone who registers to join and make connections whether or not they plan to pursue a fellowship. Scheduled annually for the Friday leading into the Juneteenth holiday, this year's Black X Conference is set for June 16.

"People ... seem to just really enjoy it and it lights a fire beyond just connecting with each other" says Coleman. "They learn about all these different issue areas and the Black community history and lens ... and then they're connected. So now if they choose to activate, they'd have what they need: They've got the information, they're aware. They know where to get more information."

More information about the African American Leadership Institute (AALI), including a full list of 2023 fellows with LinkedIn pages, is available at aaliaustin.org.