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Tucson fashion designer takes home award at Phoenix Fashion Week

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Courtesy Quinlan Wilhite

Tucson fashion designer Quinlan Wilhite won 2017 Lifestyle Designer of the Year at Phoenix Fashion Week, which took place at Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix from Oct. 5-7. 

This summer Wilhite was accepted into a program called Emerging Designer Bootcamp, which was based in Phoenix but hosted designers from all over the world. 

According to Wilhite, Bootcamp was a very demanding program. He was required to move to Phoenix for the summer and complete a series of tasks for the program. Being a part of this made him eligible for the award, as the entire summer was based on a point system. 

“Everyone in the program was extremely talented, so it could have gone to anyone if it wasn’t based on points,” Wilhite said. 

          RELATED: Tucson local Quinlan Wilhite finds passion in fashion, to debut new clothing line at TFW

For Wilhite, this award was an essential milestone that will help him pursue his career. He said the award gave him more credibility and really put him and his brand, QMULATIVE, in the spotlight. 

“It is humbling to win; I’ve never had an ego but I’m just putting my head down and enjoying the ride,” Wilhite said. “it’s moments like these where I get goosebumps.”

His grandmother was the one who taught him how to sew. He said she is delighted to see how far he has come, but never likes to take any credit for his success. He always loves to give her a shout-out when he has the opportunity. 

          RELATED: Campus Guide ’17: Clothing stores showcase Tucson’s style, culture and flair

“I’m in a much different place than I was this time last year,” Wilhite said. 

Now that he is in the spotlight, his goal is to polish his spring and winter 2018 line. Wilhite’s main focus is working on production; his goal is to get more of his products in boutiques and stores. Wilhite has already done so for his most popular product, pocket t-shirts. The t-shirts feature a pocket shaped in the form of Arizona, sometimes in a different fabric from the rest of the shirt.

Wilhite said he saw the win as the next natural step in what he has been doing the past eight years. Throughout the process of Bootcamp, he met the co-creator of True Religion Brand Jeans, and next he could be doing a collaboration with State Forty Eight, a Phoenix fashion brand. He will also help with next year’s designers involved in Emerging Designer Bootcamp.

“Now I’m in it,” Wilhite said. “There’s no days off.” 

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