ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Fashion exhibitors had worked hard all week, sold their designed clothes, gowns, blings, accessories and memorabilia. As beauty-conscious buyers flocked, so cash registers were ringing. Miss America trade show and fashion exhibit was the hub of Miss America Week in this seaside city. Beauty contestants and reigning beauty queens from across the United States networked, convened , showcased clothes and shopped during the week of Msis America pageant. Fashion is not only a passion for pageantry organizers and industry supporters. In America, beauty contests are a big business. It pumps money into the economy and enterprises.
Stunning arrays of wonderful and vibrant-colored clothes and gorgeous accessories were a delight and attracted eager buyers and fashion shoppers. Happy-faced staff greeted the enthused fashion buyers. Miss America brought fashion awareness as 30 fashion companies exhibited. One Filipina American stood out and has gained popularity exhibiting at trade and fashion show during Miss America week.
Filipina American Caroll Salas-Arevalo, managing partner of Georgetown and Company, headed by its CEO Cara Mia Margarita Arevalo, has been exhibiting and selling her accessories, and dresses to Miss America participants and supporters since 1990. They are pioneers here in Miss America trade show. Filipino-American owned Georgetown & Co is a U.S. Congressional awardee and upscale women accessory group serving the Capitol Hill and the diplomatic community since 1987 in Washington, DC and has expanded in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The firm’s fabulous suits — patterned and inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy white jacket and suit have sold well as it is the most replicated piece by Coco Chanel. She sold this famous suit $289 per suit. She also sells clutch bags originally designed by Coco Chanel and Royal Duchess bags.
Her charming overcoats from Montreal are also big favorites. “These collections are exclusive expressions of priceless elegance,” Arevalo said. Her sunglasses and fantastic memorabilia scarves and bags for Miss America have sold well. Mothers and friends of beauty contestants bought the accessories like necklaces and bags. She also sold lacy white cocktail dresses for clients and beauty contestants. Cara brought intricate designs like Scottish print overcoats and sweaters. “We are also selling traveler’s bags for Miss America contestants to enhance the prestige of every contestant as they travel in style,” Arevalo said whose fashion clothes and blings sold over $50,000 in just few days at Miss America pageant.
Twenty two-year old Britney Vaughn, reigning Miss New Jersey Coed was excited as she tried a red designer, Mac Duggal fabulous gown, with keyhole back, and red beads on a neckline, that complimented her silvery tiara. “ I feel like a princess. I’m in love with this gown, said Vaughn who paid $728 to buy the red flowing gown she plans to wear at Miss America Coed to be held in Orlando,Florida after Thanksgiving Day this year. She was officially representing New Jersey to watch the Miss America pageant Sunday night, learn from it so as to compete well for the national beauty competition. “ Beauty contest builds confidence and it develops your skills from interviews and competition,” Vaughn said as scholarships await beauty winners. The red gown fabric bought by Vaughn came from Paris. It has a mermaid cut in the long skirt and a waist band with tone-on-tone crystals. It is one of popular gowns being sold at Miss America Trade and Fashion show at Trump Plaza from Sept. 9 to 13. “I’m excited to see sparkles and glamorous accessories,” Vaughn said as she tried and bought brilliant rhinestone-diamond tear drop earrings.
Antoinette Romero, pageant coordinator of Mac Duggal international fashion designer based in Chicago, Illinois, said that their fashion company had sold over $200,000 worth of gowns in the past few days. 20 contestants from Miss America pageant 2014 had worn their gowns in various preliminary competitions. A number of contestants had shown their elegant gowns in opening production number and in gown competitions. Their gowns sell from $588 to $6,500. Some beauty contestants from other competitions have bought a Victorian-style black and silver gown worth $6, 500. It has 10,000 Swarovski brilliant crystals and has filagne pattern. It makes beauty contestants shine on stage with sparkle and more fire. Mac Duggal, an exhibitor for Miss America for five years now, also attended Miss Great Britain Universe pageant and exhibition in London last week and sold many royal blue, pink and white gowns.
Another popular fashion and beauty pageant gowns company is Serendipity based in Oklahoma, which sells Sherri Hill-branded gowns. Some bluegowns were designed with delicate embroidery and rhinestones. A young beauty pageant contestant—MichaelaSmith, 13 wanted to buy a peach gown with glitzy rhinestones. “I love this gown,” Ms. Smith exclaimed asshe proudly said she wore one of the Sherri Hill gowns in a competition last year for Ms.Maryland Junior High. Beauty princesses start early in America as these young women dream of competing in Miss America in the future. Sherri Hill is a fashion with a cause as it has partnered with USO ( United Service Organization) supporting military and veterans as Sherri Hill will also provide 400 new gowns and dresses to teenage girls for their homecoming parties and holiday season and also a fashion show with entertainment by USO show Troupe in Jacksonville, Florida with many active military and families as audiences. Bridal Elegance company also held a trunk show at Ms. Americapageant trade exhibit. It showcasedamazing collection of gowns, jewelry, swim suits and many kinds of impressive ready-to-wear clothes. Professional stylists advised the clients. Ithas also a shop in Illinois. Contestants and their families buy dresses worninpreliminary events and acquaintance dinner parties at Ms. America week.
Atlantic City Mayor Donald A Guardian, said in an interview that Ms. America, which has returned to this seaside Casino haven–Atlantic City last year– has brought $5 million to the city from the participants, and attendees who flock to restaurants, hotels , casinos entertainment, and fashion businesses. This beauty contest is contributing significantly to the city’s coffers. Guardian met Filipino Americans Arevalo and her husband and co-managing partner Reyes Arevalo at the trade and fashion exhibit. According to the mayor, beauty business is important as three casino resorts have closed—Revel, Trump Plaza ( to close Tuesday) and Showboat, to lay off some 10,000 workers. Trump Taj Mahal will close November.
For Mr.Guardian, small enterprises like fashion businesses have opened the door of possibilities to stimulate entrepreneurship in the city. He explained that the City has been granting$6,500 to $10,000 to small businesses which has hired new employee, an incentive to inspire and create jobs in the city. He said Stockton University will open by the end of the year to attract 10,000 students in the city. Businesses too are diversifying as evidence by Harrah’s casino which is building Harrah’s waterfront conference center to hire 1,400 workers in the city as it would open October 2015. He wants casino operators to diversify and add more entertainment, fine dining, shopping or fashion shows. This could be reality as Atlantic City is in the midst of transition. “ It’s wonderful that Miss America is back in the city. We feel Atlantic City is their home. We are hoping for a long-term relationship,” Guardian said.