Denver, RAW Is Back! Underground Artists Strut Their Stuff..

By Jessica Montour/Fashion Forward, Photos by Joe Contreras Latin Life Denver Media (see photo gallery below)

RAW is back and Latinos made their presence known as show goers anxiously awaited to move through to get into City Hall on Broadway.  The VERVE showcase  represented emerging and fresh perspectives in art, photography, fashion, music, jewelry and more.

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (30)

Fashion Editor Jessica Montour of Fashion Forward and Latin Life Denver joined the packed house as DJ Hex killed it on the turn tables. These showcases are an ongoing effort to provide independent artists of all creative genres with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire & cultivate creativity.  Artists on Thursday, September 22nd displayed an array of work representing their love of jewelry making, wall art, photography, apparel, make up artistry, video production and more.  You don’t have to walk very far to get a feel for all of the colorful, unique, and abstract ways artists represent and share who they are to their core throughout this showcase.

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (135)

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (25)

“RAW is a great place for artists to come together and even travel around the US to show their work,” shares Sonny Valdez who is planning on going to LA soon for a RAW showcase. Sonny is the owner and artist behind iCandy ( and has recently debuted a much larger format of art pieces as he rebrands with the mission of bringing his art to commercial spaces. Sonny has painted cars for the last 30 years and specializes in fresh coats of paint and clear gloss which makes his wall art appealing to a wider audience.

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (19)

He joined other artists such as Madeline Patinella of Rose & Royce ( who showcased modern bohemian art of cow skulls embellished with bling, flowers or chain link .  I hope you didn’t miss Maya Benko who is an artist out of Boulder. She does colorful paintings of “things” mixed with messages of poetry and purpose. Maya, can you please do a piece with a bumble bee alongside a written message about how much trouble we are in as we continue to lose billions of these pollinators overnight all over the world?

We all know RAW would not be complete without all the action that happens on the main stage.  We were so happy to hear the live music was back this go around…and were certainly entertained by the ongoing activity strutting down the runway. From Victoria Camila and her bad ass leather pieces to Aaryn McPhetres with that special effects make up… there were no “dull” moments.

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (61)

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (95)

Kicking off the runway was Nicholas Anthony who featured 13 looks of what I will call, SPOCK MEETS ALIEN. Nicholas Anthony is known for repurposed designs which automatically gets five stars from me. His designs featured a killer “queen of hearts” cape, feathers galore, and gowns with broad shoulders. Oooooooooo that blue!!!

RAW sept. 22, 2016 (111)

Chelsea Lauren came thru with 11 looks made primarily out of a complex tapestry type of textile.  Another featured designer was Courtney Vocal who’s designs graced the runway with 8 looks including a beige mermaid number, black lace and red satin combination, as well as feathers and sheer. Several of her designs were complimented by a corset back…actually I will just say she is the MASTER of the corset back. Well done!

“Since I have been in Denver over the last year I have been impressed with how much the local design community has improved with the construction of the garments I see on the runway,” shared Dr. Darlene C. Ritz who is the chair of fashion design at RMCD.  Agreed Darlene.

Come check out the next RAW showcase set for December 2017. Fashion Editor Jessica Montour will be there to celebrate and support the underground and you should too!



Written by Jessica Montour, principle and owner of Fashion Forward.  Fashion Forward is a wardrobe consulting and event planning company located in Denver.  Contact Fashion Forward ( for more information about company packages and services at 303.578.8176 or by email at Follow Fashion Forward on Instagram @fashfwd and Twitter @fwdfash.


Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media