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It's no secret: This California girl finds living in Texas tough. I miss my ocean breeze, toes in the sand, mid-70's and sunny with no humidity state, and the lifestyle it enabled. But, G and I have moved quite a bit, and will probably move several more times before all's said and done, so I've learned that I may not love where I live, but I can love the life I have there.

One of the things that I thrived on in San Francisco were the fashion events that happened regularly all across the city - something that I have been feeling starved for in H-town. But then, last October, Fashion X came to the Bayou City and every inch of this fashion-loving Californian was satisfied. I couldn't be more thrilled that they're back for their second annual event this year, and was privileged to have the opportunity to interview the founder of Fashion X, Matt Swinney.

Photo Courtesy of The PRBoutique Houston

A: Hi Matt! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I absolutely loved Fashion X Houston last year, and am thrilled to attend your second annual event. Can you share with myself and my readers what inspired you to start Fashion X?

M: Of course – thanks for taking the time to help spread the word about Fashion X! We started Austin Fashion Week in 2009 and will celebrate our 10th year next year with a bevy of new events. But it was all started because the fashion “industry” (intentionally in quotes) was fledgling at the time in the Austin market. There were little pockets of designers that I felt had a lot of talent but just didn’t have a voice loud enough to really make an impact on creation of real businesses. We tried to take that challenge on by creating a series of events that essentially gave those designers that voice in the media. And it worked – the media in Austin latched on and we began what has really become a huge impact on local and regional designers to be able to connect directly to their customers. At the end of the day, from a business standpoint, that was the need. We just got to do it in this really fun way – by producing runway shows that attendees get really excited about.

Over the years, we learned that this concept really could work anywhere. As the retail landscape has changed, more and more fashion-lovers are really interested in meeting and buying directly from designers. They do that online now and our events simply allow that face to face connection as well. It just deepens the customer and designer experience. We launched in Dallas in 2014 to try and prove that point and lo and behold, it worked! Houston was the obvious next opportunity and with the support of many folks in the city it became a reality in 2016. And we’re so excited to be back again!

Photo Courtesy of The PRBoutique Houston

A: I know that for many of us in the fashion space, emerging designers are not only exciting but inspirational. How did you choose which designers to feature this year?

M: All designers go through an application process. While we certainly take into account designers that have shown with us in the past and their past work, we really try to focus on what each designer is doing RIGHT NOW. We want our attendees to really be able to discover new designers and give even the youngest, most green designers, the chance to show on a big runway in front of a huge crowd. So we look for a mix of a few relative household names along with some of the more celebrated local and regional designers sprinkling in some that most people have never heard of.

A: I have to admit, I’m loving the change of venue to River Oaks District, and can’t wait to experience the in-store events and curated galleries! Can you give us any insight into what some of the highlighted trends are going to be?

M: One of Pantone's projected colors for fall 2017 is grenadine and we definitely saw a ton of that color on our runway at Fashion X Dallas. There was also a high volume of intricate details and finishings added to garments to give them an added flare. Some designers embraced the modern minimalist menswear over exaggerated silhouettes with their collections this season. While others show off loud print and pattern mixing with hints of vinyl. You can bet to see more fur, velour, velvet and lace as we head into Fashion X Houston.

Photo Courtesy of The PRBoutique Houston

A: One of my favorite things about Fashion X is the emphasis on recognizing and supporting local talent – and, I must admit, as a life + style blogger, I really enjoy learning more about the women who are not only stylish but devoted to giving back. Is there a single unifying theme between Lindsey Love, Staci Henderson, and Carolyn Farb that led you to honor them at this year’s Style Settlers?

M: There’s really no theme to it. What we look for are (mostly) women that are not only fashionable but also incredibly committed to their community around them. That’s the only formula. We hope that by honoring these women, we show the style that they possess and give them an opportunity to sing from the rooftops about the nonprofit organizations that are important to them. Again, we just want to help be that megaphone to get the messages out there and celebrate these beautiful women!

A: Finally, with the impact of Hurricane Harvey still so fresh and the recovery of the city just beginning, words can’t express how encouraging it is to know that the majority of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Rebuild Texas Fund and Project P.U.S.H.. That gesture sends such a strong message of hope. I just wanted to say thank you – I can’t tell you how much it is appreciated.

M: That means a lot – and I appreciate it. It’s the least we can do for a city that has welcomed us with open arms. We’re excited to hopefully raise a bunch of money!

If you'd like to attend Fashion X Houston this year, I may have a pair of tickets for you! There is an Instagram giveaway live from now through 12PM CST Wednesday October 4! Head to this post for your chance to win!

Too late to enter the Instagram giveaway, or just want to make sure you have your place locked down? You can grab your tickets at the Fashion X Houston website. The event runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday October 5-7 in the River Oaks District.

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