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Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021

Prize Fest

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Music and fashion prizes take center stage

It’s beginning to look a lot like in the Ark-La-Tex, that part of the fall when movie makers, chefs, musicians, designers and creatives come out to vie for prizes and industry contacts.

Two of the prizes up for grabs each year are the Fashion Prize and the Music Prize. Fashion Prize announced its five designer finalists during a live Facebook broadcast on June 16. The competitors will be judged this month, and the grand prize winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize.

On the music side, Louisiana Music Prize announced its 2021 Top 10 finalists competing for a $10,000 grand prize during a virtual broadcast on Aug. 19.

Sara Kluss is a wife and mom who said she’s always wanted to be a fashion designer. “I have my own fashion line that I work full-time. I majored in fashion merchandising and minored in fashion design.” She went public during the pandemic. “I started my line actually last year, which was interesting.”

Living in Round Rock, Texas, you might wonder how Kluss got involved with the Prize. “Initially, I heard about it from a friend of mine who participated in the Film Prize a year or two ago. A few months later, I got an email from Fashion Prize asking if I would be interested in participating as a designer. I decided to apply for it and see what happened.

“I went through a process of what design I wanted to showcase in there. I work with a local apparel manufacturer here in Texas. I submitted five [designs]. Three of the looks I’m currently already selling, the last two are completely new designs.”

Brittani Shabazz lives in Shreveport, and she, too, said she’s always wanted to be a designer. “Five or six years ago, my husband bought me a sewing machine. I said, what am I supposed to do with this? He said, learn to sew. So, I started teaching myself how to sew.” Shabazz said she got encouragement from another local lady making a name for herself in the fashion industry. “Designer Tasha [Henderson], who had been on ‘Project Runway’ told me one day you have to start putting this stuff out there because it’s really good. Stop being shy. When I heard about the Fashion Prize, I applied.

“I want to be able to be a full-fledged fashion designer. I want to have a collection made that you can buy in stores. But my ultimate goal in all of it is to just show kids that you can do it. When I was growing up, people would always say, well, you can’t do that in Shreveport. But that’s just not the case anymore. You can do anything you want to do anywhere you are because the Internet and social media and all this stuff allows you a lot of resources you never had back them.”

Lance Thompson has reached the top 10 of the Music Prize for the second year in a row, having taken the top prize in 2020. “We had to put together a live performance. We had to video it and send it in. Potential fans got the opportunity to vote on your video to get you into the top 10. Fans picked. And the judges picked me as well, so I was one of the top 10. I’m grateful.”

Where does he want this experience to lead? “Hopefully, this leads to an ongoing career. I do travel and do shows. Hopefully, this grows potential fan base. People get to learn about me and join me on the journey to push for a major record deal, to push for a country-wide tour, to push for an overseas tour. I just want to be able to do what I love for the rest of my life. Create music. Make people happy.”

You can see all the finalists by going to https://prizefest.com.

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