Belk showcases the talents of artists with ties to the South

There’s a lot going on at Belk.

Headquartered in Charlotte, the nation’s largest family-owned and -operated department store company with 299 stores in 16 Southern states recently had two competitions that showcase the talent of artists with ties to the South.

The collections of its 2013 Southern Designer Showcase winners were feted recently at SouthPark mall during the store’s Girls’ Night Out, where shoppers are treated to food, drinks and music from a DJ. Eleven of the 12 winners were able to be at the “party,” where they showed off their designs, which ranged from jewelry and handbags to apparel.

As the winning designers, their collections are featured in select Belk stores, on and in a Belk advertising campaign.

The winning designers are Han-Lucy Dang of Dallas (cocktail dresses and gowns under the Lady by LUCY DANG label); Charlene Dunbar of Atlanta (dresses made from authentic African fabric under the suakoko betty label); Heather Menzie Gressette of Columbia (apparel inspired by her time spent in the south of France under the Eden Blake label); Kari Bryde of Little Rock, Ark. (modern jewelry with vintage components under the Novel Approach label); Anne Hughes Windmueller of Charleston (jewelry inspired by her South American grandmother under the Anne Belén Jewelry label); Elle Parkinson of Raleigh (children’s clothes designed to grow with the child under the Rosie Olive Designs label); Darrius Curry of Lithonia, Ga. (striking and dramatic jewelry under The D’Ramont Collection label); Rhonda Wyman of Asheville (jewelry inspired by the North Carolina mountains under the Figs & Ginger label); Annabelle LaRoque of Columbia (a modern spin on classic Southern dresses under the LaRoque Studio Boutique label); Lori Cunningham of New York City (dresses inspired by icons including Audrey Hepburn but using Southern fabrics including seersucker under the jane SUMMERS label); Regina White of Chesterfield, Va. (handbags inspired by the architecture and culture of Paris under the Cristina Bijou label); and Ali Howell of Atlanta (jewelry inspired by her daughter Lindsey, nicknamed “Bird,” under the ali & bird jewelry label).

A few nights later, the winners of Belk’s first Southern Musician Showcase were styled in outfits from Belk and performed at a private party hosted by the company at the N.C. Music Factory.

The winners were Emily Hackett of Nashville (pop country), The Christian Lopez Band of Martinsburg, W.Va., and Surviving Allison of Corinth, Miss. (Americana); Laney Jones of Mount Dora, Fla. (bluegrass); Jackie Venson of Austin, Texas, (blues) and Gabbie McGee of Atlanta (jazz).

They received a cash prize, and their songs will be featured in a Belk TV commercial.