Over the past decade Mississippi-based fashion designer Gail Ambeau has had her share of “pinch me” movements.
In 2008 she hosted a fashion show in Jackson, MS with national recording artist and author Jacki-O as the special guest. In 2009 one of her garments was the key piece for national Gospel recording artist and Gospel Music Channel’s 2008 Gospel Dreams winner Melinda Watts debut video— “So Good”. She also participated in the Florida Designers’ Expo which led to styling model Tiffany Richardson from America’s Next Top Model (cycle 4) for a photo shoot with celebrity photographer Derek Blanks and was able to create the wardrobe for Grammy award-winner Cassandra Wilson (also a Mississippi native) for her album SILVER PONY.
In 2010 she began hosting and co-Executive Producing her own radio show on Blogtalkradio called “Fashion Forward”. Currently on hiatus, she discusses fashion tips, trends to look out for and interviews celebrity guests. So far she has talked with actor and recording artist Tray Chaney (HBO’s The Wire), singing sensations Dionne Warwick, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Willie Taylor (Day 26), Bertell and Abraham McDonald along with fashion designers Rami Kashou, Chris March and Laura Bennett from Project Runway fame.
As if all of that wasn’t enough Ambeau is a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Fine Art in Fashion Design!. Because of her studies in 2011 she fulfilled a long-time goal: attending Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but who says lightning can’t strike the same place twice? For Gail Ambeau it can, because she is returning to Mercedes Benz Fashion week again this year!
“It is an honor to know that I have been selected to attend my school The Academy of Art University’s show at Mercedes Benz Fashion week,” says Ambeau.
“The first time I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to do first.” Part of the excitement is knowing what she had to accomplish in order to experience this honor. “In order for anyone to attend Mercedes Benz Fashion Week shows you have to be invited. You can not buy a ticket. There are other organizations and shows that take place around the same time. Anyone can attend those events as long as you purchase a ticket. MBFW is very exclusive. You have to be on someone’s list to get in. The option was only available to full time online students of which there are approx. 800. This is an opportunity to meet my instructors face to face and have a live portfolio review. There is the possibility that industry insiders will review your portfolio as well. We have a series of workshops taking place through out the day. This is a huge networking opportunity. The night will end with my schools fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It is my desire to be one of the graduates to be able to show in the schools MBFW show in the spring.”
Among those who will be in attendance will be noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker, whom Ambeau during her first visit to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in 2011!
Gail has been involved in art and fashion ever since she was five- years- old. As an eight-year-old student at Hawkins Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio a young Gail Rayford made her first complete outfit for her class show and tell. Dressed in a pair of purple pants made of that 1970’s 100 percent polyester, a matching denim vest and a hat that mixed both of the fabrics, Gail excitingly awaited her turn to show what she had crafted.
Over 40 years later, that excitement continues. She may be a latecomer to the fashion industry, but she definitely believes that all things happen in God’s timing. “I can honestly say that it has not been easy but I have no regrets about the decisions that have been made thus far”. Her advice to those who aspire to follow their dream is to “first obey the voice of God, be willing to stick with it through the hard times to make it to the other side and be willing to give up some things.”