By Hayden Larkin
Ashley Paige has led a life that many of us wish to have. An ex-model turned multi-media business mogul, using her platform to prop up a large amount of talent that Phoenix and Arizona as a whole have to offer.
Paige began modeling as a teen but didn’t really enjoy the profession and would ultimately part with it. However, she would enroll in cosmetology school shortly after as she already had a history from age 16 working in salons. She had begun showing herself as a jack of all trades. With hair, modeling and makeup experience, she was able to adapt fluidly and easily with the job. She then began participating in photoshoots and fashion shows, showing the small visual arts scene at the time her abilities and the asset she brought to a team .
“All of that stuff just kinda snowballed, the more I got involved in the community, the more opportunities that arose,” Paige said regarding this growth period in her career.
At the time, being a salon manager and being as young and hungry as she was, people took notice. Her hard work was not just paying off, it was making her a staple in the tight community at the time. She was now becoming a name, a “go-to gal” of sorts for people to have on their team, someone with a drive that people could rely on fully to get the job done and get it done right.
With her name now out there and people singing her praises, Phoenix Fashion Week approached in 2017 for wardrobe styling, something Paige had never really labeled herself before. In the past, she had put together outfits for herself during smaller shows she was modeling for and would assist the other models in putting outfits together as well. This was more to be a kind samaritan rather than a paid and fully labeled stylist. It was there at this Phoenix Fashion Week that two major events took place for her: She had won Stylist of the Year and met two gentlemen who would guide a new vision for her — one that would not only change her life but make the dreams of the struggling creatives in the Phoenix area much, much more plausible.
“That was the year I met Sam and Alex from Luxe and City,” she said. “They told me what they were creating with their brand, and I was immediately just hooked.”
Now she was connected with something that would become integral to the growth of Arizona’s fashion scene, a scene that 10 years ago was borderline non-existent. Luxe and City is now a cornerstone in platforming new creatives and artisans coming up in the state, and Paige is nothing short of happy with the growth of the brand and the mission they want to achieve. “What started with us having meetings in my living room, you know, and now we have an office in Fashion Square,” she said.
What makes Luxe and City and Paige’s role in it so important are allowing young people to fully express themselves and give them a stage to perform. Being from Arizona, unless you were a graffiti artist, there was not a lot of room for you to grow and become something here. Fashion was something that was left to “coastal elites,” and Arizona is just seen as a desert state with nothing to it – but she wanted to prove them all wrong.
“Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be on the map more for creative arts,” Paige told me during one conversation on Phoenix’s art scene and Luxe and City’s role in it. “We help people host events, we help people put fashion shows together, we can help brands or artists develop their brand.”
Just seeing Luxe and City’s role in Tempe Fashion Week alone shows that there are people out there who will make sure that the places they’re from, no matter how small or rural, become something great and give the talent there a chance to flourish. Paige is a woman that those who see the way the arts are cast aside and make those people who are passionate and excited enough make something beautiful. Paige and her career are prime examples of how a passionate individual can change the landscape and make people around them grow as well.
All photos from Ashley Paige’s Instagram