A blog by FGI President & CEO, Maryanne Grisz, highlighting the talents and individual voices of our FGI members and community.

A blog by FGI President & CEO, Maryanne Grisz, highlighting the talents and individual voices of our FGI members and community.

FGI Voices – Chris Donovan

BIO: I became a shoe designer at the age of 55 after spending most of my career as a telephone repairman. Feeling unfulfilled with the current career, I decided to chase my lifelong passion of shoe design. With no design background, other than my sketches made throughout my life, I left my job and entered the Masters in Footwear program at Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence, Italy. The program was able to help me retain my unique voice and bring it to a much higher level of sophistication. I opened the final graduation show with my collection and subsequently showed some of my designs at Dutch Design Week.

FGI Voices – Christian Juul Nielsen

BIO: AKNVAS was founded in 2019 by Danish designer Christian Juul Nielsen. This advanced contemporary brand focuses on thoughtful, well-designed and innovative clothing for discerning and dynamic women and men. Clients can expect luxury level products designed to move seamlessly from day to evening, with a focus on drape, flattering silhouettes, innovative knits and an elevated palette. Drawing from Nielsen’s previous roles at Dior and Oscar de la Renta, the brand incorporates design techniques from his time designing couture gowns with each garment crafted with a similar attention to detail. Since launching the brand, it has quickly become a favorite of celebrities including Issa Rae, Nick Jonas, Mary J Blige, Kerry Washington, Kate Bosworth, Sabrina Carpenter, and Emilia Clarke.

FGI Voices – Manuel Tiscareno

BIO: Manuel Tiscareno is a Mexican American designer, aged 34, based in New York City. With an international reputation, Tiscareno has become a sought-after name in the world of Luxury Bridal. His exquisite designs have graced the pages of renowned publications such as Vogue, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar and Glamour

FGI Voices – Rowell Concepcion

BIO: Rowell Concepcion is a Filipino American milliner who launched his brand, Binata Millinery, in August 2020. Binata Millinery is a hat label focused on old world craftsmanship to help the fashion forward turn their daily outfits into head turners. Rowell studied millinery and fashion merchandising at The Fashion Institute of Technology and previously worked at Balenciaga and Alexander Wang. He is inspired by all things playful, quirky, and whimsical. His clients range from Lady Gaga to Janelle Monae. Rowell’s mission is to teach and train artisans the craft in his parent’s home provinces in The Philippines.

FGI Voices – Stephen Mikhail

BIO: A British-American, Stephen Mikhail spent his life split between both countries. From a young age, he could be found painting and drawing opulent scenes and portraits of historical figures. When he wasn’t playing explorer outdoors, he would always have a pencil or oil pastels in hand.

FGI Voices – Julie Lamb

BIO: New York native Julie Lamb creates concept rich fine jewelry collections and bespoke pieces that are ‘Different By Design’. Lamb operates out of NYC’s iconic Diamond District, where she has been working since college on break from Syracuse University’s Metalsmithing program. Lamb designed jewelry for companies large and small before launching her eponymous line in late 2015. Lamb is an FGI Rising Star recipient and is known for her playful motifs, city inspired collections and outside the jewelry box marketing style.