NWAFW: E. Leigh’s, The New Girl in Town

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Erin, before the launch of her first store in 2012

That “fashion doesn’t have to be a luxury,” is E. Leigh’s shop mantra. Erin Hohnbaum is at the helm of the quickly expanding brand. I visited the Fayetteville store and found that the clothes are pretty, feminine and fun; just like Ms. Hohnbaum.

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with Erin “E. Leigh” Hohnbaum outside her store in the Heights

Meet Little Rock native and U of A Alumna, Erin Hohnbaum. You know the type…ferociously driven, gregarious, beautiful, the type of young woman who starts a business hocking clothes out the back if her car, then turns it into three successful retail stores in less than two years. A young woman who made the 2013 Arkansas Business top 20 in their 20s and was named one of Soiree magazine’s 24 women to watch in 2012. Yeah that’s right. She did all of this before turning 30. So maybe you don’t know the type?

I finally had the opportunity to meet Erin this summer. For years, mutual friends had been saying that we would get on famously. Of course, they were right, (had we but known!) Anyway, I was working on a business venture that gave me a reason to call her up. That particular business relationship didn’t work out but we remained friendly.  So friendly in fact, that she recommended me to a friend of hers at Mangan Holcomb who needed help with PR. She has taken the time to help me personally and professionally. I’m indebted to her, but she has yet to call in the favor. I have a feeling if she did, I wouldn’t even notice.

Despite how busy and stretched she is – Erin remains refreshingly gracious and accessible. She’s open to new challenges like the upcoming NWA Fashion Week. This will be E. Leigh’s inaugural time participating in the Northwest Arkansas based event. Her shop’s involvement, (along with West Little Rock store, Scarlet) begs the question; will this soon become Arkansas fashion week?

E. Leigh’s will be hitting the runway on Saturday, March 8th. Keep up with Erin & her fabulous trio of stores on facebook & instagram.

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Look #1: Dress E. Leigh’s * Heels Lulu Townsend * Blazer Thrifted Ralph Lauren * Rhinestone Ring Kate Spade * Rhinestone Necklace Mae’s
Look #2: Top Everly, E. Leigh’s * Skirt E. Leigh’s * Belt Vintage via Cheap Thrills * Earrings * Vintage via Grey Dog * Heels Shoenami NOLA
Look #3: Dress E. Leigh’s * Hat Vintage Thrifted * Silk Blazer Thrifted Argenti * Heels Michael Antonio

The Window Shopper for NWA Fashion Week | styling Payton Bridewell | MU Samantha Clark & Hair Suzannah Files for Crown Beauty Bar | photography Celi Birke for MGB Photo | shot on location at Daniel McCormick Accounting (designed by Fay Jones)

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Q & A with Erin
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Erin Hohnbaum

The Window Shopper: Tell me more about the E. Leigh’s brand. Who is the E. Leigh’s girl? Erin Leigh Hohnbaum: I describe the E.Leigh’s brand as feminine and fashion forward. We know that modern women wear many hats. We (as a company) are working women, on-the-go mothers, fun, flirty date-night girls. The E.Leigh’s brand tries to help women be everything they need to be seamlessly.  
TWS: Describe your personal aesthetic. ELH: Personally, I love clean lines and feminine pieces. Clothing that make me feel strong and put together, but look like a woman.  
TWS: Describe your aspirations for E. Leigh’s short term/long term. ELH: Goodness, this is a hard one. I feel like my aspirations for E.Leigh’s are constantly evolving. My number one priority when I started this business was to make sure our customers AND my employees love E.Leigh’s. I have always wanted it to be a place where people look forward to coming. A place you feel better leaving than when you came in. Would I love to have 100 stores someday? Absolutely! But, I certainly do not want to sacrifice quality for quantity. A very short -term goal is getting our website back up and running. (Editor’s note: look for this to launch soon @ eleighs.com)
TWS: Who/what inspires you style-wise? ELH: Of course, my style is always a direct reflection of my mood that day. Comfy casual or sleek and buttoned up, I just wear what feels good. My celebrity fashion icon of the moment has to be Zoe Saldana. I just love her.
TWS: What trends/looks/colors/whatever are you looking forward to this spring? ELH: I’m SUPER excited about this spring. There are so many wearable trends. I’m always a fan of shift blouses. I saw TONS of these at market. I’m also really into skater skirts right now. They’re so girly and easy to wear.  
TWS: Do you have any advice for young women (like myself) who look up to you for your entrepreneurship?  ELH: One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned is “thoughts become things.” Your thoughts and energy shape your life. If you want to change your life, first, you have to change what’s going on in your head. Second of all, I believe that a woman’s intuition is one of her greatest gifts on this planet. Listen to it. Fine-tune it. You’ll end up right where you’re supposed to be.  
TWS: What can we expect to see at your NWAFW 2014 show? ELH: Since E. Leigh’s is a NWAFW virgin; we decided to just be very true to who we are as a company. We are striving to show NWA exactly what being an E.Leigh’s girl is all about. We couldn’t be more excited!

Best Outfits of 2013

IMG_0385Clockwise from top: 1. Grey Dog by MGB Photo; 2. Mayapple Salon by Celi Birke for NWAFW, 3. Mertins/Lola by MGB Photo for NWAFW; 4. Vintage from personal collection by Darcy Munoz for Hello Luvvy; 5. Grey Dog  by MGB Photo; 6. Mayapple by MGB Photo for NWAFW; 7. Black Cherry Vintage by Leea Lee; 8. Savoir Faire by MGB Photo for NWAFW
All personally styled by The Window Shopper. In 1,3,5-6,8: MU Kory Tyler Simpson / Hair Guillotine Hair Lounge. In 2, MU/Hair by Mayapple Salon.

The Window Shopper Previews Art Amiss

[CLICKABLES! see the –> original post & –> all the photos]

I wasn’t exactly familiar with Artamiss before becoming involved with NWAFW. As I said, I had already worked with Mel @ Mayapple. We got along really well and I love the one stop shop she has going with Mayapple (hair/makeup/clothes). When she asked me to put a few of the Art Amiss designers in The Window Shop, I readily agreed. Black Cherry & Good Things were the shops that really wanted to participate. I’ve been a Black Cherry fan since Leea opened. She even put me in a unitard for her instagram recently. So I knew it would be fun to show a few things from there. I had seen Good Things and maybe popped in on my way to Dark Star but didn’t really know what it was about. I met Jessy, the owner/designer and found that she has a passion for organic fabric, processes or practices. That carries over into her boutique and the clothing she carries is either made of an organic fabric or the company employs green practices. I have to admit that, at first glance, the store didn’t carry clothes that I would normally buy. However, I quickly understood that what I could love about Good Things were the basic. Tanks, tees, yoga pants, jackets but mostly bralets. Jessy was not sure what I was going to do with the bralet I took for the shoot but as you may know, skin is in. Everything in moderation, right?

Celi is an art student that Mel asked to shoot for us (Mallory was out of town) and she was really good. It was cool to work with someone that has a different aesthetic and doesn’t know all the faces I’ve already made…At one point Celi told me to “do something with {my} hands”. We got into a friendly rapport.

Mel gave me two different hair & beauty looks. 1. Princess hair complete with a braided bun at the crown with minimal makeup and glossy lips 2. Messy side braid with giant false lashes on the bottom! Needless to say, we had fun.

Leea from Black Cherry came along for the party, she gave me some posing pointers, which I had trouble remembering. We talked about marriage and boys and how to get men to clean. Mel ordered pizza for the group, which annoyed me because I was about to pour into a leopard unitard. Anyway, we had a blast and I hope you enjoy!

I’ve gleaned more info on Art Amiss, Black Cherry, Good Things & Mayapple for your reading pleasure. These ladies will be showing on the runway Thursday but I know you can’t wait so you must try to stop by Arsagas at the Depot tonight from 7pm on. The coffee shop is hosting an artist appreciation exposition put on by Art Amiss. I’ll be heading there after I sip & see at Vetro 1925 (in my LBD, natch).

Good Things’ Jessy Lang majored in Apparel Studies at the University of Arkansas and then worked in product development at the Wal-Mart corporate office for eight years. She opened Good Things in 2008. She describes the store as an extension of her lifestyle and values. She explains, “I like simple, natural, pretty things. I wanted to support positive and good things in my business and also make it easier for others to support those things, and look our best while doing it.”

Jessy told me she is inspired by every girl with big dreams, a huge heart and a great sense of style. She admires women who are motivated to do great things for their communities & world but also look fabulous doing it.

Black Cherry Vintage opened in the summer of 2012. Leea Lee saw a need for a retro woman’s clothing store in Fayetteville and she’s been delivering ever since with feminine silhouettes, beautiful dresses, fun t-shirts and enviable separates. Somehow she finds the time to be an active roller derby girl & play with her (relatively) new hubby, Spencer.

ARTAMISS | web | fb | email |

MAYAPPLE SALON & BOUTIQUE | web | insta | fb | email |

GOOD THINGS BOUTIQUE | web | fb | insta | email |

BLACK CHERRY VINTAGE | web | fb | insta | email |

PHOTOGRAPHY: Celi Birke | web | fb | insta | email |

HAIR & MUA: Melissa Arens of Mayapple | web | insta | fb | email |

STYLING: Payton Bridewell | web | fb | insta | email |

Art Amiss is a not-for-profit art collective based in
Fayetteville, AR created with the express purpose of providing services for artists living in, working in, or from Arkansas.

The organization is composed of 5 board members. We host
semi-annual events for all medias and are interested in working in conjunction with artists all over the state to increase the artistic awareness in our local environments. More @ artamiss.org