Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes
Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

Knoxville Fashion Week model Amber Borzotra smiles down at the camera below while her stylist has her lean forward on her knees as he works magic on her hair to prepare her for the runway.

You can get images from any of the events during Knoxville Fashion Week! Details are at the end of the post.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

Serene Amber

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

Silly Amber

Whether I’m creating a single image, capturing many images and writing about them, or composing a film, I absolutely love to tell a story.

During Knoxville Fashion Week (Fall 2012), I was able to do just that by documenting the process of putting on a runway event! In fact, when I arrived at Knoxville Lighthouse, rockstar model Amber Borzotra pulled in right after me, so I followed much of her preparation process.


Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

A few local teenage models watch as Amber’s hair is styled while they wait for the rehearsal to begin.

The event was the “Emerging Designers Runway,” which featured many up-and-coming area designers of clothing, jewelry, and other accessories. The featured designers included:

In the gallery slideshow above, you can see behind-the-scenes as normal girls are transformed to gorgeous runway models through hair, makeup, and wardrobe changes.

I was amazed that many, if not the majority, of the girls modeling were still in high school and had to miss either all or part of the school day to prepare for the evening’s runway event. I caught one local high school student studying for her art history class after her hair and makeup had been initially applied and before the runway rehearsals began.

Knoxville Fashion Week Model

This Knoxville Fashion Week model had to study for her art history class at an area high school between getting her hair and makeup done and the start of the runway event.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the ScenesThe hair and makeup artists were phenomenal to watch as they repeatedly took figurative blank canvases and created beautiful art with their talent in transforming the girls for the show. Their attention to detail was so precise, even after the first application or styling, they often would grab a model to correct something that had come undone. That’s something I’m not familiar with—creating a work of art, only to have it quickly fade away over time simply due to natural causes and interactions.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

A Knoxville Fashion Week makeup artist works at perfecting her “canvas.”

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the ScenesAfter the models were made up, I caught one of the event’s producers, Zaina Budayr, on her way to decorate the Lighthouse Knoxville sign with a few subtle bright red balloons while enjoying a bright red Coca Cola. Zaina walked in the Spring KFW show, and aspires to a career producing Fashion Weeks for other, larger cities in the future.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

The models listen as an event organizer reviews the schedule before the rehearsal began.

The rehearsal for the runway began, and it was interesting to watch the dynamic between the Emerging Designers, as they directed their portion of the rehearsal, and the models, who would be modeling their designs. Many models peeked out from behind the curtain to see how their peers were walking the runway.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

Emerging Designer Alicia Marie and her mother watch the runway rehearsal.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the ScenesMost of the models passed the time between the conclusion of the rehearsal and the beginning of the actual runway by hanging out, like normal teenage girls do: On the phone or talking with each other. A few of the girls were touched up again and some had to have their hair re-done at the request of the Emerging Designers (to better match the design they’d be sporting).

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

A model prepares for the runway by having her hair styled between the rehearsal and the main event.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the ScenesFinally, the much-awaited runway began with Southern Grace, a wonderful and affordable boutique fashion company based in Knoxville with definite Southern charm. Ladies, take note, as Southern Grace offers many designs that “match” Tennessee football season and the Fall!

When doing some research (i.e. talking to people who know more than me about what all is going on), I found out from an awesome stylist named E.C. that many of the models for the first portion of the runway (featuring Southern Grace) would also be models for the last (and fourth) portion of the runway (featuring Alicia Marie Designs).

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

Designers behind the Southern Grace fashion line greeted the audience after their runway ended.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

E.C. and another stylist try to manage the palpable stress in the room with laughter.

Since there were plenty of photographers shooting the main runway event, I saw a unique storytelling opportunity that gave another chapter to the behind-the-scenes story I’d been photographing all day. He invited me to come and capture the hectic transition of changing the girls’ hair, makeup, and outfits before they were ready to strut the stage for the finale.

He was absolutely right, as stress levels for most of the folks were higher than normal, but none more-so than Alicia Marie, the Emerging Designer displaying her jewelry during the last portion. She was running around in her glittering gold dress passing out beautiful jewelry to the girls while they had their hair done. The transition process was so fast that some models had to walk out of order because they hadn’t had enough time to finish the hair, makeup, and outfit change before their spot was up!

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

The models get transformed by hair stylists for their next runway to show off some jewelry from Alicia Marie Designs.

Eventually, though, they all made it back out to show off Alicia’s jewelry and finish the night strong. All those involved in the process—from the stylists and artists to the models and producers—all did a great job. There was a distinct familial vibe between all the professionals who were working together to pull off the event, and it was refreshing to see so many people doing what they loved, with the primary motivating factor being that love (and not money).

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes

Alicia Marie takes the stage to applause from the audience after her jewelry designs runway show had finished.

It reminded me of my experience photographing the Division III NCAA Swimming and Diving National Champion Denison University a few years ago, except this time, instead of it being for love of sport, it was for love of fashion.

To see images from the shows at the “Emerging Designers Runway”, click here.

Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the ScenesYou can purchase images, prints, and products of you (or your child or friends) and the entire show!

Details of what we are offering are below, but keep these three things in mind:

    1. If you refer another parent or friend to order images from this gallery, you BOTH will receive 10% off your order.  Contact me for your gift!
    2. If you don’t see a print size or product you’d like to have, contact me and I’m almost certain we can create what you’re looking for.
    3. If you’d like the image you are interested in to be edited in a more conventional fashion, just ask! I’ll be happy to do so.

Ordering Options

  1. Professional Prints from $5.99
  2. Mounted Prints from $45.99
  3. Canvas Gallery Wraps from $99.99
  4. Merchandise from $11.99
  5. Cards from $20.99
  6. Downloads from $5.99


  1. Buy two galleries and you will receive a complimentary third gallery of the same image size! 
  2. Want all the images from Knoxville Fashion Week? Get them for the price of three galleries (of the same image size)!
  3. If you order an “Original” sized gallery, you’ll receive a bonus HD slideshow of Knoxville Fashion Week as a download when it becomes available!
To order, visit this gallery page by clicking on the slideshow above and from there you can fill up your shopping cart to your heart’s content!
To order a special, please contact me and I’d be glad to take care of you!
Please order by October 31! Ordering will be open until October 31, 2012 (roughly two months from now), but I can’t guarantee that it will be available after this date. Consider your holiday gifts and cards when you order!


Knoxville Fashion Week - Behind the Scenes
Regarding Downloads

Downloads are provided as a convenient ordering option for you to keep you or your child’s images for as long as you’d like. There are two basic sizes for downloads:

  1. Web Size, which is great for sharing online, but isn’t of print quality and doesn’t include a personal print license
  2. Original, which is great for all personal printing purposes and includes a personal print license

You can order downloads of a single image or the entire gallery.