This article was originally published for Stellafly Social Media on September 28, 2012

For the original article and associated photos, visit: https://stellaflysocialmedia.com/spotlight-style-battle-2012-this-is-art/

Situated just outside the area most people consider “downtown” in Grand Rapids, and nestled beside a hometown pub and a metal yard, you find the Goei Center, a surprising warehouse facility meticulously converted to event space by the team that also parents Eastern Floral.

In this unassuming venue on a Thursday night during ArtPrize, the Stellafly team entered to make-up brushes flailing, lips pursed & being painted, hair extensions being inserted and teased, and photographers perched in makeshift stage areas. Every bit of the chaos was controlled and the event, again, dripped of big-city atmosphere and appeal – even driving up to the event, valet took cars, self-parking was not an option.

This event, Style Battle, is in its third year and continues to grow and evolve. This year featured ten styling teams. Each team built by a local fashion boutique, consisted of a stylist, make-up artist, hair stylist, photographer, and four models. Teams have three hours to transform their models from their off the street look to runway ready, as well as create a series of photos that show off their completed looks. Teams created looks that ranged from every-day-wearable to couture to avaunt guard, and team photographs ran the gamut from well done to inspired high-fashion chic.

Throughout the night, spectators were able to vote for their favorite team’s creations, and a small team of elite judges roamed from styling station to styling station reviewing the craft, execution, and final designs. As Stellafly walked through the event, it was obvious that regardless of the votes cast, the real winners of the event were the attendees, Grand Rapidians treated to an event that felt it had been ripped from inside a New York City warehouse and magically transported to our not-so-sleepy mid-west town. The creators of this event, the folks from Spotlight 616, outperformed expectations once again and brought another spectacular Style Battle to Grand Rapids.

The event culminated in a high-end expertly produced fashion runway show and a larger than life electronic display of the photos from each team. The models strutted down the runway, with classic expressionless faces, straight to the judges’ booth and back behind the curtain. The crowd cheered as they got their first real glimpse of each teams’ finished product. As the runway show came to a close, celebrity MC, Jordan Carson, announced The Wolverine Store team as the People’s Choice winner, and Team Chantel Boutique’s Circ de Soleil inspired creations as the judges pick.

If you missed this event, be sure to keep your fashion-loving eyes open for announcements about 2013’s event, Style Battle is definitely an annual show that should not be missed.