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Fashion Week founder gearing up for 8th event

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Brandon Campbell has a hard time believing it has been seven years since he founded and introduced what has become one of the more anticipated events of the summer: Little Rock Fashion Week.

"It goes by fast," he says. "It seems like yesterday. But then ... when you start seeing some of your models [and other participants] that you remember from 2009 graduating from college and getting jobs and [starting] families, you're like, 'Wait a minute, hold up now' -- it feels like it's more like 18 years.

"It's a journey. And so I've learned to ... love and enjoy the journey."

Now it's time for Little Rock Fashion Week 8, with events scheduled for July 20-23 at various venues in the city. This year's event bears the slogan "Great in Eight."

Not only has it brought together people from different walks of life, Fashion Week has provided a valuable education for young people, Campbell says. "Since 2009, through our internship program, we've trained, developed and prepared students for the high-paced fashion, entertainment and media industries," he says. "Several of our interns have gone on to have successful careers as journalists, producers, publicists, buyers, department store managers" for such employers as E! Entertainment, Black Entertainment Television, CNN, Dillard's and Belk.

<center> Little Rock Fashion Week founder Brandon Campbell appears in 2015 during the finale of the showing of his iME line during Little Rock Fashion Week 7’s Big Night. Little Rock Fashion Week 8 events will take place July 20-23. </center>

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The event has also been a vehicle by which local designers could move beyond Arkansas' borders. Several Little Rock Fashion Week designers have shown work at New York Fashion Week as well as other fashion events all over the country and internationally. Models, meanwhile, have gone on to modeling contracts and other paid opportunities in the field.

Since starting Little Rock Fashion Week, Campbell has branched out. He also established Oneofakind Baton Rouge Fashion Week, held each February in Louisiana; Oneofakind Talent Inc., a boutique model and talent firm; and the T-shirt-dominated iME line. He produces the Re-Fashion Bash, a recycling-theme fashion show held in Benton, and hosts the "Fashion Forward" segment on KLRT-TV, Channel 16's Good Day Arkansas. "It's fashion, but it's always something bigger than what meets the eye sometimes," he says.

This year's Fashion Week will feature a troupe of more than 50 Fashion Week models headed by Bridgette Jones, 2015 Model of the Year. Clothing lines will include Balloonatic Fashions of Shreveport, Cross World Creations, Rosavrai by Cecilia Rosa, iME and several new designers as well as boutiques.

The Big Night started out big, but has been getting smaller and more intimate since its debut. Campbell says he wanted a more intimate setting, "where you kind of feel the crowd." For the second year in a row, this event will take place outside ... on Main Street, between Third and Fourth streets. Guests are asked to wear light pink and blue in keeping with the 2016 Pantone colors of the year, rose quartz and serenity.

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