Everyone has an epiphany, a lightbulb moment that redefines the extent of their current life’s work. For some this lightbulb moment comes at a young age while watching tv or observing the individual who becomes their greatest inspiration. Yet for many, including myself your epiphany comes later in life, when you realize that no longer do you want to settle for what is safe but instead journey into the unknown. Taking a risk to start over and began what one feels to be their destiny was a decision Carlos Fenwick made a little over a year ago. He left what some might deem a secure financial sitiuation working on Capitol Hill as a policy maker in health care to pursue a career in an industry that embraces few but rejects many, fashion.
Many fashionistas and fashionistos can pinpoint the exact moment or in some cases moments that we began our obsessively dedicated love to fashion. For Carlos his moment is acutally a combination of factors, influenced mainly by family. His father being a tailor, taught him about precision, the importance of details, and finely chosen fabrics. As a teenager his grandmother would take him to Woody’s department store, the beautiful displays and array of merchandise confirmed his love. Fashion to him is in “the clothes, its [in] the style its [in] the expressionism. You can express what you are feeling at the moment by wearing a certain print or color. It can be affordable while making someone look good, without sacrificing style. Retailers like Urban Outfitters in Georgetown has a diversity of clothing and representation of color. The Gap in Georgetown represents simplicity and classic appeal, and Filene’s Basement who carry well known designers for less.”
Before he began pursuing modeling Carlos would watch shows like Americas Next Top Model in which amateur models would be given the opportunity of a lifetime to be mentored by Ms.Tyra Banks herself. Season after season he saw these women fight for their dream of being featured in the worlds top fashion publications. Yet as great as this an other modeling shows are, he noticed that all of these shows gave opportunities to women and not to men. So he began to attend casting calls for fashion shows to see when he could have his big break. Last September it came when he walked in his first show for AVEDA here in DC and most recently DC fashion week this spring. Modeling to Carlos is not just about squinting your eyes and pretending to look away from the sun. But involves “letting the inside of you shine through”. With his degree in theater from Middleburry College, taking on a character whether on the runway or during a photoshoot is a seamless transition.
When looking at Carlos you wouldn’t initially think that he is considered a seasoned model in the industry, but his looks plays into the factor that he takes care of himself with organic food choices and maintaining a healthy body weight. In modeling of course many know that models are subject to pressure, pressure to maintain a certain look, weight, etc. Not surrcoming to this pressure takes a person who remains focused and not detracted by the suggestions of ‘experts’ in the industry. I asked Carlos about his views on pressure to be thin or for men maintaining a certain muscle tone and waist size, he believes there should be a balance not going from one extreme to another. “There should be diversity on the runway, a representation of different body types not the current body of the season, curvy, slender, etc should all be seen.”
Of course the modeling and fashion world here doesn’t have the same exposure of the fashion mecca that is New York City. So why DC and not New York?Carlos sees it this way in order for fashion to survive in DC it has to transform its mindset. “Its going to take a savy entrepenurial person who knows how to make money and establish connections.Fashion is an industry, if there is no profit there is no growth. You have to create jobs, you have to create revenue. The city has the funds, we just have to invest, it has to synergize with the corporate world yet not defer to the conservative political dress code du jour.”
As a chess player Carlos is constantly strategizing his next move, but constantly on guard studying his competition. Currently he works as head sales professional for a local jewlery company headed by jewlery designer and owner Melisa Dent, which is on the verge of launching its line later this year. Of course the idea of beginning his own consulting company is always an idea he has a considered, and after meeting Carlos will pursue. But as of right now being signed with an agency remains his top priority while remaining focused on building a name for himself in the DC area. So who is Carlos Fenwick? “A progressive foward thinking, dynamic, very inspirational person, who knows he is going to succeed.”