Nashville Fashion Week night two presented with OZ Arts Nashville featured Rank & Sugar, Paulie Gibson, Love + Osker, Lily Guilder Design, and Ona Rex. Ticket proceeds from Nashville Fashion Week benefit the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
If you’d like to learn more about each designer from night one and their involvement with Nashville Fashion Week, you can read their bios here.
Nashville native and fashion designer, Ashley Balding created Ona Rex in 2014 to provide unique, luxurious garments to the bold, independent woman. Ashley didn’t want a style she was familiar with—instead she chose vibrant colors with rich textures and modern silhouettes. Ona Rex is designed and produced in-house in Nashville.
How long have you been a part of Nashville Fashion Week?
This is my fifth year, which is crazy.
What have you learned from the first year participating in Nashville Fashion Week to now?
Stress management and the process of it. Coming up with the concept and just working through all the little pieces that come together. The music, the styling, the textures, and the energy—it’s just so much to think about, but it’s my favorite part. I love bringing all of those pieces together, so I think every year I’ve gotten more and more accustomed on how to do that … in a way that communicates what I’m trying to communicate.
Where did you get the name Ona Rex?
Ona is my great grandmother’s middle name and Rex is my dad’s middle name, so family names.
What inspired you to create Ona Rex?
It was really important for me to do something in Nashville that was really not typically associated with Nashville fashion, so that’s why I try to bring that high-fashion element: the colors, textures and concept. That’s just not something really common here. So my whole point is to give women a reason to feel bold in what they wear and just feel that kind of transformation. That’s my end game always.
What is your favorite piece from your collection?
I do love that aqua piece. The head-to-toe kind of blue look was really about a kind of cleansing of emotions for me. The peacefulness of that look was exciting, so it’s definitely my stand out.
How can Nashvillians or visitors find your designs in the city?
I have a studio in Berry Hill where people can make appointments, but it’s mainly online. That’s our world .. definitely Instagram and my website.
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who is new to Nashville Fashion Week, what would it be?
Just let yourself be free. Even I get bogged down in the stress trying to accomplish certain things. But I think the impact comes when you just completely let go. Just giving yourself permission to do something a little different or weird is always good.