On November 8, we came together to celebrate the winners of the 2018 NFA Honors at Marathon Music Works. Hosted by Amanda Valentine and Genie Lockwood, the evening was a festive celebration of Nashville’s creative community. 

The 2018 NFA Honors Loving Cup, designed by John Donovan of Tenure Ceramics to represent the foundation, acceleration, and open collaborative spirit of the NFA, were presented to:


2018 NFA Honors Award Winners


NFA Emerging Talent Award Winner


Savannah Yarborough of Atelier Savas

Savas makes unique, one-of-a-kind pieces from the finest hides and furs in the world. It is steeped in a tradition all its own, where blues and rock music mix with stardust and mystery, like the sound of ancient cultures and old magic echoing across space and time. Savas is committed to creating bespoke leather pieces of superior quality and design that far exceed anything else available on the market today. A Savas jacket conjures the inner power of its wearer.

Savannah Yarborough opened Savas in 2014. Her work is as equally influenced by her Southern native roots as by her formal British education. Think hot nights and whiskey on ice; the scruffy, decadent, pulsing electric energy of rock & roll. In the years prior, Yarborough refined her craft working as the senior menswear designer at Billy Reid, where she created the elegant tailoring, rich materials and subtle charm that earned the American label critical and popular acclaim. Her strength comes from this extensive training in menswear clothing, where fit and function are paramount. She has a mental and emotional connection to the material and an innate, visceral connection between her hands and her mind. The tips of her fingers coax raw matter into trappings fit for (rock) gods. Yarborough attended Central St. Martins, where she graduated in 2012 with First Class Honors in Fashion Design for Menswear.


Womenswear Designer of the Year Award Winner


Ashley Balding of Ona Rex

Ona Rex was established in 2014 and seeks to provide unique, luxurious garments to the bold, independent woman. Saturated colors, rich textures, and careful silhouettes invoke a sense of serene strength amidst the chaos of the modern world. Ona Rex is designed and produced in-house in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ashley Balding received her fashion education at O'More College of Design.  Amidst working for companies such as Otis James and Ceri Hoover post-graduation, Balding began her own endeavor with a purposeful path of creating fearless garments for fearless women.  


Menswear and Men’s Accessories Designer of the Year Award Winner


Christina Chapman of Brownlee Bathing Corp

BROWNLEE offers clothing that aim to embody the simplicity, quality, and essence of clothing from times-passed, while reinterpreting them to meet the needs of the modern-day man.

From Good Grit: “The company prints its own textiles, cuts its own fabric, and sews the pieces together right here in the U.S.—a first for a men’s luxury swimwear line. The textiles are proprietary to Brownlee, designed in-house by Christina and her team. The fabrics are sourced from only the best mills in the world. The textiles in Brownlee’s newest collection have been made by an artist in collaboration with Christina, and they exist only in Brownlee’s studio.”


Women’s Accessories Designer of the Year Award Winner


Ceri Hoover of Ceri Hoover

“I don’t really fit in with the “fashion scene.” I didn’t train to be a fashion designer. I didn’t intern for Vogue, and I didn’t spend a summer abroad in Milan. I grew up in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the land of sea oats, wild horses, and driftwood. From North Carolina I moved to the Panhandle of Florida and traded in a pebbly beach for sugar-white sand, and wild horses for alligators. In neither place could I have been farther away from 5th Avenue or Rodeo Drive had I been on the moon… but I had beauty all around me, and it seeped into my soul like the salt in my skin.

I became a designer late in life, after starting a family and realizing that if I wanted to surround myself with that beauty, then I would have to make it myself. So, I learned to sew, began sourcing materials, and started down the path that has led me to the creative hub of Nashville, and to the handbags, shoes, and apparel I create today. My style is not complicated or revolutionary. I make what I want, and I want materials of the finest quality, with rich colors and textures, and with no unnecessary adornments. I want products that last a lifetime, can be dressed up or dressed down, and make me feel special. And I want that for my customer, too.

If you are looking for the latest trend or the hottest seasonal wear, then maybe I’m not for you. But if you are looking for classic quality, with a style that adapts, then I encourage you join me on my path.”


Outside the Lines Award Winner


Sarah Bellos of Stony Creek Colors

Stony Creek Colors exists to catalyze the transition from unsustainable synthetic dyes towards renewable plant-based dyes in textiles and the fashion industry. They develop and manage seed-to-harvest agricultural supply chains to integrate with innovative industrial processes and deliver safe and reliable bio-based dyes to textile mills and dyehouse customers. Stony Creek’s strategy relies on innovating and building partnerships with farmers, mills, and brands to achieve their dream of making pure, vibrant, consistent and scalable dyes. 

By taking what’s good about synthetic dyes (consistency, vibrancy, and scalability) and leaving out what’s harmful (toxins, industrial pollutants, and nonrenewable carbon sources), Stony Creek is innovating natural dyes that clean up the fashion industry and sequester carbon through sustainable agriculture. Their dyes improve profitability and ecosystem health for farmers, while empowering designers, brands, and mills with greater transparency and traceability. The company has launched their first product, natural indigo for the denim industry, with a goal of producing 15,000 acres of indigo in the USA in the next four years. This means they will replace 2.8% of synthetic indigo dye globally. But this is only beginning: R&D and partnerships are already underway into their next colors and sources.


Creative Collaborators Award Winners


Brett Warren x Ona Rex

Ona Rex was established in 2014 and seeks to provide unique, luxurious garments to the bold, independent woman. Saturated colors, rich textures, and careful silhouettes invoke a sense of serene strength amidst the chaos of the modern world. Ona Rex is designed and produced in-house in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ashley Balding received her fashion education at O'More College of Design.  Amidst working for companies such as Otis James and Ceri Hoover post-graduation, Balding began her own endeavor with a purposeful path of creating fearless garments for fearless women.  

Brett Warren is a photographer in Nashville, New York, and beyond. Exploring both utilitarian and fantastical worlds using photography, set creation, and story telling as tools to do so.


NFA Champion Award Winner


Cara Jackson

Cara Jackson is a business manager and former intellectual property lawyer. Cara began her career at Rodale Inc., a health and wellness publisher, working in corporate communications and business development/business affairs in their New York office. In 2007, she relocated to Nashville to work at Bass, Berry & Sims--first, as a lawyer in the Intellectual Property & Technology Group, where she counseled clients ranging from start-ups to publicly traded companies, then as a Managing Director in the Corporate & Securities Group, where she led business development efforts. An enthusiastic supporter of the Nashville creative community, Cara currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Fashion Alliance and Nashville Opera.

Cara Jackson provides business management services to fashion companies, artists and other creative businesses. Drawing on over a decade of experience working with creatives, Cara consults on strategic, financial, operational, marketing and legal matters. Her clients have included womenswear, menswear, jewelry, handbag and textile designers, retailers, ceramicists and installation artists.


Social Enterprise Award Winner


Patrick Woodyard of Nisolo

Patrick is the Co-Founder & CEO of Nisolo, an E-Commerce Footwear & Accessories brand striving to push the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction. Patrick graduated from the Croft Institute and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at Ole Miss, where he studied Global Business, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. After graduating, Patrick took a micro-finance job in Peru, where he met a group of shoemakers who, regardless of their talent, faced the grim reality of low wages and unsafe working conditions that many people within the fashion industry face today. Patrick co-founded Nisolo with the vision to offer customers high quality products at competitive prices and manufacture them in a manner that champions people and the planet in the process. For his work with Nisolo, Patrick has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, an “Innovator Changing The South” by Southern Living, and a Global Accelerator Entrepreneur by the United Nations. Patrick resides in Nashville with his wife, Sally Ward, and the pair are happily expecting their first baby girl, Anna Campbell, in January of 2019!


Art & Commerce Award Winner

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Bryce McCloud of Isle of Printing

Bryce is the Director of Art and Chief Instigator of art events at Noelle and Little Prints. Found on a misty morning in 1997 swaddled in a bespoke hand printed paper suit, Bryce has sought to do his family and uncle proud by manufacturing novelty letterpress ephemera and inflicting public art mayhem on the largest possible audience allowed by the laws of nature. He is closely associated with Isle of Printing the shop he founded in 1997 with the international magnate Hiram Kneesch in Nashville, Tennessee. He has used this combination letterpress print shop and public art generator to create novel works of art and large-scale installations in the public and private spheres for over 20 years both locally and abroad. Renaming the shop’s neighborhood Pie Town in 2014 – he is currently working on creating a place for unconventional community minded fine art to flourish in our city.


NFA Founder’s Award Winner


Jon Mixson of e3 Sustainable Cotton

Environmentally responsible. Economically viable. Socially Equitable.

U.S. cotton growers committed to the principles and practices of sustainability are leading the way with e3™ cotton that is certified, verified and audited. Only e3 brings together a unique blend of integrity and authenticity to provide peace of mind, and sustainable credibility. The e3 program can help meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and environmentally attuned consumer by providing enormous quantities of sustainably produced cotton. The consumer can now know who grew the cotton in their apparel, and under what conditions it was produced. Key benefits of the e3 program include:

  • An environmentally responsible program encouraging reduced use of water, land and energy while maintaining productivity.

  • Economic viability that meets the individual needs of farmers, farm families, farm workers and customers, and that helps make farms financially competitive enterprises that are consistently profitable year over year.

  • Addressing issues such as working/living conditions of growers and laborers, the needs of the surrounding rural farm community, as well as consumer health and safety aspects.

Farmers voluntarily participate in e3 but purposefully commit to the improvement of their operations. Growers producing e3 cotton start with superior seed from trusted FiberMax® and Stoneville® varieties, which produce high-quality fiber and yarn. The e3 program also supports farmers with the latest techniques so the land used to produce e3 cotton today will be healthy for future farming generations.


Photo Galleries

NFA Honors Photo Booth from Nashville Smile Bar

sponsored by NFocus featuring artwork by Caleb Woodard provided by Wilder

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NFA Honors Gallery by Eden Fletcher


NFA Honors photo Gallery by Zachary Gray


Thank You to Our
2018 NFA Honors Sponsors


Hospitality Sponsors


Media Sponsors