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Figuring out the best approach to including models, influencers, hairstylists, MUA’s and other essential contributors

R. Sterling

Jan 23, 2023

It was realized that management of so many possible categories and potential nominees becomes more complex

Courtier House officials, Xzavier Antonio and Jeffrey McAlister conversed very deeply on January 22, 2023 trying to figure out the best approach to including models, influencers, hairstylists, MUA’s and other essential contributors from the fashion community,

in the In Mke Fashion Awards.

As of now there is an approach, ready to be implemented for nominating and presenting to voters many designers and stylists from the Milwaukee Area.  This approach is requiring these participants to submit “theme based” content and allowing the registered voters, citizens of Milwaukee, to vote on those submissions. When Xzavier and Jeffrey began conversing about including models, influencers, hairstylists, MUA’s and other essential contributors, it was realized that management of so many possible categories and potential nominees becomes more complex but not too complex to perfect a process for over time.  It was decided to start off with designers,  stylists and maybe fashion photography and gradually add additional sub categories.

There is another concern expressed in this conversation as well.  When the In Mke Team originally discussed organizing a variety of awards, we set out to ensure that submissions and voting procedures would be fair and simple.  In fact, we agreed that the fairest process of all is votes being counted by people accurately; from people who are familiar or have access to knowledge regarding all final nominees. It’s not a beauty contest and it’s not a contest to see who has more followers, although having access to each person’s analytics would be great measurable data, this would bring us back to our original concerns about managing this strategy.  It would take more resources.It would be better to create a nomination criteria and then the final nominees selected could participate in a sub category-based  submission process and whom receives these  awards would be decided by the community.

We agreed that when people are just voting for their friend, and the organizers ignore the possibility that one participant may have more or less friends and that by asking participants to get as many people they know to vote, this may be a good way for companies to increase their emailing list and to crowd source funds but it doesn’t allow much room for a vote  that’s based on the body of work a participant has submitted -and may not be the fairest process.

The best case scenario is if all voters know all nominees and are familiar with nominees’ work.  This, being believed, as the best case scenario led organizers to the idea that this is a chance now to cultivate community in Milwaukee among both the fashion professionals and its appreciators, supporters and customers of Milwaukee fashion.

The entire team agrees that no award is more important than building a stronger community.

It was also said that we have to make it clear that there are benefits to being a part of the In Mke Fashion Awards Community, that does more than make sure these personalities know each other because many of them already do.  It’s the residents that only know a number of family or friends who model, or do hair and make up, etc. and it’s our task them to maximize exposure for participants.

One benefit, Xzavier explains, is that it is an opportunity to bring all the fans, supporters and appreciators of those in these fields together both virtually and sometimes in physical locations and especially into one target audience. This way the people of Milwaukee become aware of the businesses, personalities and brands while professionals have an opportunity to gain more awareness and business that they maybe wouldn’t have  had before.

Another benefit is, joining the community allows professionals to work together in an non competitive way as well. The awards are not a competition, it’s an opportunity for celebrating everyone working on this, an opportunity to inspire everyone, and being involved in the community in any capacity is a chance to create opportunities in Milwaukee that didn’t exist before, for fashion professionals.

Xzavier said, “Any time the world is watching something like this happen in your city and you are making sure your brand and contribution is noticed, then you put yourself in position to receive  opportunities around the world.” Together we are getting attention that will increase Milwaukee’s equity in the global fashion industry.

To aid the community building effort, there is the “In Mke Fashion Awards Community Facebook group which is currently only open to existing and aspiring professionals.  We are also developing a podcast for the group which will only feature designers, stylists, models, muas and others whom are aspiring to be relevant to the local market and nationwide. Eventually the group will be open to supporters and customers as well.

There is also a Facebook page that contributing members will have administrator access to.  This will allow them to post their own content, help the awards community gain brand awareness by those admins identifying more professionals and supporters to follow and then interacting with content in the news feed.

Admins will learn about advertising for free and have full access to our entire audience when and if they choose to do any advertising from their own pages and from this shared page. Courtier House will always be advertising from their own budget, either the page or content that admins have posted.

This is just another opportunity for fashion professionals to have community; working along side each other, creating content, telling the world in Mke fashion exists and gaining financially from any monies derived from the page being monetized.

Once the criteria for the different a awards is laid out and participants are taking advantage of the opportunities we’ve already laid out, then committees gain measurable data to determine potential nominees and finalist, and most importantly the participants gain significant exposure and Milwaukee’s fashion community will thrive like never before.

And finally, this is an effort to ensure that award recipients not only walk off stage with an award in one hand but also either a financial gain or economic opportunity in the other hand.

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