The publication DCist has released an Arts & Entertainment feature highlighting a selection of the DC area’s top designers. Two of the talented locals that DCist honed in on are Designers-in-Residence with the DC Fashion Incubator, the premier program of the DC Fashion Foundation: Amanda Casarez (2015-2016 cohort) and Shantae Flowers (2016-2017 and 2018-2020 cohorts).

“In a city known for its policies, nonprofits, and think tanks, D.C. has slowly but surely been upping the ante in the food, art, and lifestyle scenes. It may be time to add fashion to that list, too,” DCist writes. Designers “cite the close-knit nature of the Washington design community as a benefit, however, as it allows more space for emerging designers and a sense of non-competitive fraternity.”



A design by Amanda Casarez in the DC Fashion Incubator New/NEXT Fashion Showcase, in April 2017. 

In its feature on Amanda Casarez, DCist writes: “Originally, Casarez felt she didn’t know anyone in the D.C. designer community, so she applied to the D.C. Fashion Incubator. She was one of eight designers selected in its inaugural year, and started her fashion line in 2015 during her residency.” Since then, “Casarez has her formula down — she recently showed her spring-summer 2018 line, which is her fifth collection. The pieces were all inspired by Japanese culture…and were shown at fashion weeks in St. Louis, Omaha, and Kansas City.”



A design by Shantae Flowers in the DC Fashion Incubator New/NEXT Fashion Showcase, in April 2017. 

Meanwhile, on Shantae Flowers, DCist explains: “Native Washingtonian Shantae Flowers is also a D.C. Fashion Incubator participant. When she left her 9-to-5 job, Flowers knew she wanted to take the plunge into entrepreneurism, and decided to turn her love of fashion into a full-time career.” After both teaching herself to sew and taking classes at the Art Institute of Washington, she developed her line Belle Flowers Designs and has had four collections to date, “with themes ranging from ‘Winter in Madagascar’ to a ‘Lavendar Lakes’ collection of purple-hued capes and dresses.”

Learn more about Amanda Casarez’s and Shantae Flowers’ personal stories, businesses, and approach to fashion design on

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