Charleston Fashion Week 2014 – Exclusive Interview With Belk’s Fashion Director Arlene Goldstein

Belk's Modern Southern Style

Charleston Fashion Week is one of the famous fashion premiere on the East Coast. This major Charleston event brings together the most relevant names in the fashion industry, from designers, to promoters, to chain stores, to major media outlets and internet fashion bloggers. Charleston Fashion Week seeks to support and to promote local talented Southern designers, acting as a launchpad toward the ultimate designer’s dream: the fashion show in the Big Apple.

Dresses - Belk's signature

Dress collection – Belk

Belk, a major sponsor for the Charleston Fashion Week 2014, is one of the biggest retail family-owned stores, a Southern retailer dedicated to delivering the charm of southern fashion under the delightful motto “Shop Modern Southern Style.” Belk made its mission to discover fashion talents  throughout the entire South and challenges them to prove themselves and showcase their talent at the annual Southern Designer Showcase competition. The winning designers are then featured in advertising campaigns and the best designs are sold in Belk stores and online at The Belk Tent highlighted designers Ali Howell, Rhonda Wyman, Anne Hughes Windmueller, Regina White, and AnnaBelle LaRoque.

“We are a destination for fabulous dresses!”

Arlene Goldstein, Vice President for Merchandise and Fashion Director for Belk, Inc.

Dresses - Belk's signature

Dresses – Belk’s signature


Crown &Ivy the latest collection at Belk stores.

Belk’s Crown-Ivy collection

While attending Charleston Fashion Week 2014 this week with a free media pass as an independent fashion blogger, I had the honor and pleasure to spend some precious time with the seasoned fashion veteran, Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising and fashion director at Belk. Arlene, a charming and adorable lady, was kind enough to take a few minutes from her precious time to answer a few questions for the readers of my blog.

Arlene Goldstein and Emanuela Neculai

Arlene & I

Q: What would it take for a Southern fashion designer to make it into Belk’s stores?
A: I’m glad you ask this question. We have the Southern Designer Contest. The designers don’t have actually to live in our footprint but they have to have some connection with the South. This year we had 303 contestants and we narrowed down to 35 and in the finals we picked 13. We have 8 of them today at the Belk tent and their items will be sold in select stores to see what customers think of it. The customer votes every day through the buying decisions they make.
Q: You proved already you have a high-fashion IQ. How do you cope with the stress and tight deadlines?
A: I live through deadlines because it keeps me focused on what I have to do when I have to do it. I try to prioritize and  I usually do a time-and-action on a big project. This way I set deadlines for myself.
Q: What does Belk offer to women spending their vacation at the beach on the Grand Strand for when they go to a show or out with family and friends?
A: The dress! We are a destination for fabulous dresses. A dress can go for day to dinner with a pair of sandal flats,then for the night you just change with a pair of high heel pumps or a strappy sandal  and  add a statement neckless and you are ready to go. I like versatile pieces! For summer I like white head-to-toe, and why not break the rules with black and white.
We laughed because we were both dressed in black and white!

ccSteve Madden accessories collection at Belk

Steve Madden accessories collection

I will cover in my next few blog posts exclusive interviews with the winning designers of Belk’s  Southern Designer Contest and you’ll have a chance to read more news and inside stories from the Charleston Fashion Week 2014. I am excited to share them all with you! XO XO, your Southern Fashion Gossip Girl!


Emanuela Neculai is a fashionista with European background, currently living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. As a teenager Emanuela has been influenced by the Eastern European culture and fashion trends. The European elegant style has left a strong mark on her taste and preferences. Follow Emanuela on Google+

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