It was all a dream… Alexia Blakely, Amber ‘Ajai’ Frazier, Tiffani Gaston and Amber Taylor teamed up to create The 8874 Group in which lovers of the Arts are highlighted and celebrated for their amazing talents in fashion, beauty, music and culinary.

On June 21st marks The 2nd Annual Taste of Summer Fashion Show at Society Art Gallery, 2140 W. Fulton at 7pm hosted by J. Cole of Eating Good Chicago with guests tastings of customized summer drink menu, a culinary tasting from Clark Catering and customized cupcakes from spirit-infused dessert brand, Elatebles. The ambiance will be serenaded by the sounds of DJ Gemini Jones. Featured designers include Sheila Rashid, KenKreates, and Lucid Rebellion with looks complemented by vegan lip pigment sponsor Kaori Nik of Profixx Lip Pigment. The Windy City’s prime gem, noted celebrity nail artist Spifster will also be amongst the participants. A surprise performance element and a segment of Taste of Summer’s Young Designership Award winner will be introduced this year to prelude networking and hors d’oeuvres tasting.

RowASeat1 chats it up with the creative minds behind The 8874 Group as we bring you the exclusive interview about the 2nd Annual Taste of Summer Fashion Show from event planning, the importance of networking on social media and next year’s plans… Check out the deets below.

RowASeat1: When did you fall in love with fashion?

The 8874 Group: We all have an eye for individuality and creativity, we have histories of creating spaces for artists of all kinds to shine, and this naturally extends into fashion.  It’s safe to say we all fell in love with fashion during the infancy of our personal endeavors, if not close after infancy (laughs).

RowASeat1: Taste of Summer was created by you four ladies: Alexia, Ajai, Amber and Tiffani, explain how this project came about?

The 8874 Group: Taste of Summer was created after an initial conversation with Tiffani and Amber after working together (Amber’s then accessory line was a participant in one of Tiffani’s events that had a vending segment) and Amber’s reaching out to both Ajai and Alexia, as we all move in similar circles.  Excitement to create something big for the city was apparent from the start and merging all of our talents came with ease. Taste of Summer makes sense for all of us with our backgrounds (event planning, music management, public relations, marketing, etc.).  We give credit to Amber Taylor for envisioning this collaborative effort before any of us did!  Last year we operated under our separate businesses, this year we operate as The 8874 Group (a blending of our birth years).

RowASeat1: With 2013 being your first production, what challenges did you face that allowed you to prepare differently this year?

The 8874 Group: The venue is definitely a better fit this year – last year’s venue was bursting at the seams! Who knew we’d sell out?! We are excited to be working with Nikki Burnett of Society Art Gallery this year for the show.  We also pulled planning, promo, ticket sales in just a couple of months last year!  This year we got things going a bit earlier.

RowASeat1: Last year the Taste of Summer featured some great designers, who can we expect this year?

The 8874 Group: We were so excited to land designers like PRSVR and Chicago Playground last year! This year we welcome back Sheila Rashid and vendors from last year turned designers (we love to help our people grow!) KenKreates and Lucid Rebellion, Celebrity Nail Artist Spifster, and Ms. Fabric.  We will also be highlighting a luxury lip pigment line as well, Profixx.

RowASeat1: Besides showcasing fashion, what else does Taste of Summer entail?

The 8874 Group: Taste of Summer entails a highlighting of the Arts (culinary, creative, music); we deem all parties integral in producing the perfect show and do heavy cross promotion with all involved. We seem to have carved out an audience and have formed partnerships (though all inclusive, never exclusive) with women of color, the LGBT community, and creative individuals ranging from the ages of 21-35. We pride ourselves on that and hope to celebrate everyone involved for years to come. We have also introduced a new element to the show this year; this year we will be giving out a Young Designership Award to a younger designer that includes scholarship funds and a segment in the show.

RowASeat1: Tell us how do you all think events such as Taste of Summer are needed in Chicago?

The 8874 Group: These events are needed because they encourage positive networking, support and an uplifting of each other in a city where it may seem impossible to achieve to the outside world. We know it’s possible and are excited to encourage that beyond the actual day of the show. This show has allowed many of the participant’s careers to skyrocket; we are ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to be a part of so many of Chicago’s young entrepreneur’s professional lives even after the show is over.

RowASeat1: What’s next for The 8874 Group?

The 8874 Group: A bigger and better THIRD show and more high quality events later this year. Be on the lookout for those after you attend this year’s Taste of Summer!

RowASeat1: Name 3 ingredients to a successful event.

The 8874 Group: Three ingredients that work for us are heavy social media promotions, making connections with people within our communities and organizations, all things that are needed before the event is presented. We are grateful for the support we’ve gotten from everyone, and hope we are offering the same support in return.

For more information including ticket sales and media cover, please contact The 8874 Group at the8874group@gmail.com; and follow The 8874 Group on IG: @tasteofsummerchi and Twitter: @The8874Group.