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Meetup in The Alley Draws Fashionable Crowd

Fashion Group International of Dallas Celebrates Rising Stars

FGI Dallas Rising Star nominees and winners pose for group photo

By Eva D. Coleman
Lifestyle & Culture Editor

Nearly a hundred people gathered in The Alley at the Galleria Dallas on May 10, 2023 for an evening where the stakes were high… Fashion!

Fashion Group International (FGI) of Dallas bestowed “Rising Star” honors from among excited nominees during their 27th annual event. FGI Dallas Regional Director Nerissa Helpenstill greeted guests from the stage crafted in front of a few rows of many seated in white, folding chairs. Helpenstill proudly shared that FGI Dallas is the largest and most active chapter outside of New York City, to which the crowd cheered at being closely aligned with a long-running city that is synonymous with fashion.

FGI Dallas PR chair Leah Frazier poses with Celebrity Costume and Wardrobe Designer Shawn D. Florence during FGI Dallas Rising Star Awards event 2

With a 2023 theme of “Supernova,” five categories of local recognition were celebrated: Fashion Design, Fashion Styling, Beauty, Accessories and Retail. Nominees enjoyed drinks and light bites as they interacted with the crowd of family, supporters and friends.

Event co-chairs were famed celebrity designer Venny Etienne of Project Runway and personal stylist Roxanne Carne. Before the event started, Etienne shared with Texas Metro News how fashion unites us in a time when we’re so divided.


“Fashion is a form of art,” he said. “In the midst of all the noise, it’s what brings everyone together. There’s no division when it comes to art. It’s all about perspective and viewpoints.”

Event co-chairs Venny Etienne and Roxanne Carne address crowd

“When you appreciate the time that an artist puts into their craft, you see beyond what your opinion is,” Etienne added. “With art, it’s a safe space. It’s a place where people can just express themselves and show their art that humanity really needs.”

During the awards presentation, winners from 2022 came to the stage to introduce nominees who were featured by video, followed by a live announcement of the 2023 recipient.

Fashion Styling category winner Dexter James was humbled yet inspired by his win. He shared with the audience about being conflicted with pursuing his art or going back to a 9 to 5 job. He expressed his motivation to continue with the honor he received.

Celebrity Costume and Wardrobe Designer Shawn D. Florence with Dr. Keith Harley during FGI Dallas Rising Star Awards event

During the networking portion of the event, Fashion Design category winner Munisa Khuramova shared with Texas Metro News her love of bold colors and how being bullied as a child led her to boldness in fashion.


“Fashion became the armor for my confidence and armor from bullies,” Khuramova said. “Later on it became the armor for my empowerment, so I really want women to feel empowered and carry that light around them and magnify it and never let it be smaller.”

She shared her goal and dream for women and the celebration of life and looking good in her acceptance speech as well.

FGI Dallas Rising Star Fashion Design winner Munisa Khuramova of Munelle De Vie poses with designs

Many fashion notables were in attendance during the event, including celebrity costume and wardrobe designer Shawn D. Florence. Florence has worked with Elton John, Madonna, Chloe Bailey, Lil Nas X, Lizzo and many others.

“Fashion is the great unifier,” Florence said. “Art is something that brings us all together. When we put on fashion, we’re displaying ourselves as a work of art or expressing ourselves through style, and it always is fun; it’s always a great opportunity for us to come together and unify on that one thing that we all love, and that’s ‘Fashion.’”

Fairly new Dallas transplant and lifestyle influencer from D.C., Dr. Keith Harley, serves on the FGI Dallas board of directors leading membership, and presented an award as well.

Celebrity Designer Venny Etienne talks with FGI Dallas Rising Star Fashion Design winner Munisa Khuramova

Congratulations to all winners of the FGI Dallas Rising Star Awards:

About Face Pros
Tina Adams-Mason
MKT Stores
Stephen Swetish
Fashion Styling
Dexter James
Elizabeth Hooper
Elizabeth Hooper Studio
Fashion Design
Munelle De Vie
Munisa Khuramova

FGI Dallas Regional Director Nerissa Helpenstill addresses crowd during Rising Stars Awards event 3

While the Rising Star Awards recognizes the best in local fashion design, accessories, beauty, retail, fashion styling, home and interior design, and fashion tech and innovation, FGI Dallas’ signature event, Night of Stars Gala, was announced to take place on November 10, 2023 at the Thompson Hotel in Dallas. For more information, visit

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