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512 Fashion: The Mind Behind ‘Fashionably Austin’

By Bri Thomas

Orange: How did you get a start in fashion?

Cheryl Bemis: I graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in fashion merchandising and marketing and in 1999, started Fashionably 8, a segment that ran once a week on News 8 Austin, covering fashionable notables, such as clothing stores in Austin or UT’s annual fashion show. The show still runs today, under Fashionably Yours on YNN.

Now my main focus in running fashionablyaustin.com, where I help emerging fashion folks have a platform to drive traffic to their sites or to just let people know who they are. I want to continue to grow the Fashionably Austin brand in Austin and make the site even larger. Longer term, I want to re-launch the other Texas cities and build a presence there.

What else are you involved in?

Well, when I was 10, I played guitar and sang in a makeshift band called the Star Spangled Roosters. We set up shows on the patio of my neighbor’s house, and I rode my bike and handed out fliers. I was just excited to wear blue eye shadow. Seems I was destined to be in PR and entertainment at a young age.

But now I am also in charge of an ad agency and media-buying business, Bemis Digital Group.

What has been the highlight of your career?

I’d say covering the Chanel 2011 collection at Paris Fashion Week, being at the end of the runway and seeing fashion history in the making.

Did you know this is always what you wanted to do?

I can tell you that I was always interested in fashion and in all aspects of the business, from fashion show production to sales to buying to display. I liked to experience all the areas of fashion, and there really isn’t something I have not done. Now, at 52, I’ve been in the fashion biz for 30 years.

What advice do you have for aspiring fashionistas?

My best advice, depending on what area of business you enjoy, is to network. The fashion business is really a “who you know biz,” so connect with folks and understand that you’ll probably never get super rich, but you’ll love what you do. Don’t quit your day job — I haven’t.

Quick! What’s your favorite piece in your closet right now?

Oh wow! That takes some thought…I would probably have to say my little leopard fuzzy car coat I bought in Paris. And it didn’t get any better than to run into Michael Kors on the streets of Paris and get my picture taken with him in that coat.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Bemis

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