Meet the seven talented designers who will compete for a cash prize in the Costume Couture Fashion Show. Don’t miss your chance to see these out-of-this-world costume couture creations during HighBall Halloween 2023.
Andrew Shields was born in Cincinnati Ohio, and started designing at a young age using 3D modeling programs to create artwork that quickly turned into full collections for The Sims. He later studied at Parsons school of design in New York and started exploring the world of club kid culture which still inspires a lot of his work. Today Andrew lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance artist. He works in 3D visual effects, couture menswear tailoring, evening wear, accessories, hair and make up.
Annie Travis (formerly Annie Weihrauch) is a fashion accessories and packaging designer for dozens of major retail brands. She began her career with a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising & Graphic Design after winning Victoria’s Secret’s Annual Packaging Design Competition at Columbus College of Art & Design in 2003. Days later, she was hired as a packaging designer for Bath & Body Works where she learned Les Wexner’s strategies for his retail brands. She spent more than a decade designing merchandise that has sold over $1 billion at US retailers, but her entrepreneurial spirit motivated her to achieve her own level of success.
In 2005, Annie started a web store, modernmaterial.com, and participated in local festivals where she sold clothing, jewelry, t-shirts, and promoted music. She was the 2013 winner of HighBall Halloween’s Costume Couture Fashion Show with her Great Gatsby Hot Air Balloon entry which took her to new heights in Hollywood, California. She spent six years in Los Angeles networking and develop-
ing a fashion company for the biggest pop stars in the world who were only selling expensive cheap t-shirts on tour.
The business venture took her on a wild ride as she learned about the music industry’s ability to own a person’s name and likeness as a consumer brand. Unwilling to sell her soul to the Devil, Annie returned to Columbus with the idea of creating fictional characters that could be sold to advertisers. Modern Material will allow actors, artists, designers, and businesses to curate wardrobes, consumer products,
virtual sets, playlists, and content for each character’s story that will unravel throughout a QR card experience. Annie is will be casting roles for actors who will get paid to advertise their character’s collection on social media. Candidates will create content online.
As a child in Mexico, Gerardo spent hours sketching designs in a secret notebook. One visit to the United States in 2001 changed the direction of his life; he fell in love with Columbus and decided to put down roots in this city. In 2003 he opened an event planning company, primarily working with the Latino community for 16 years. He organized his first fashion show in 2013 as a launching celebration for his modeling and makeup studio. By 2017, he was showing his first official collection at Columbus Fashion Week. By 2019, international celebrity drag queen Nina West, who rose to fame with her appearance on RuPaul Drag Race, was wearing an Encinas gown on the cover of New York magazine.
Gerardo has been collaborating with Opera Columbus in different projects including this year’s Maria de Buenos Aires, the first Spanish opera performed in Columbus, and their highest box office in ten years.In 2021, Gerardo made his gutsiest move to date: opening his own retail space in downtown Columbus, featuring plenty of the eye-catching looks he is known for including couture gowns, bridal dresses and men and women ready-to-wear designs.
Originally from Queens, New York, Joan Madison has amassed over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, perfecting her skills in bridal and special occasion dresses, while mastering the design and manufacturing aspects of women’s and men’s apparel. Growing up in New York City her ambitions started at the early age of 7, and she has been designing and sewing clothing ever since. In elementary school, Joan was known to make custom-fitted clothing for Barbie dolls and to then sell them in the school cafeteria out of her lunchbox.
Joan finds artistic inspiration everywhere; from the people she meets and from her own raw emotions and she channels that energy to her clothing. Her design philosophy is, “When you love what you do, the authentic spirit of who you are as a designer is felt deep within your soul, and it will show in your work.” Joan’s design aesthetic is sophisticated, modern and dramatic statement pieces that command your attention when you walk in the room. Her collections are empowering and inspirational.
In 2022, Joan had the wonderful opportunity to open a second location in downtown Columbus, in the Common Threads Shops on Third district; a project spearheaded by the city of Columbus and Columbus Fashion Week, to create a retail and fashion district highlighting local designers. Joan Madison The Boutique on Third focuses on her custom, couture garments.
Que Jones and Steve Puhl Jr.
Que Jones has been a competing designer in HighBall for the past 8 years, with 5 of those years being in collaboration with Steve Puhl. Que is a local drag queen specializing in over the top designs, and Steve is a professional scenic builder.
Steve’s practical approach to structure grounds Que, and Que’s larger-than-life ideas elevate Steve. Truly a perfect team, they are excited to bring you “Stained Glass” – an ode to a dying art-form for Highball 2023. Highball is truly one of our favorite events of the year, and nothing beats the thrill of showing your work to the thousands of attendees. The designers help push each other in the most supportive way, and some of our closest friendships have blossomed out of highball.
Rachel Katz and Shelly Teed
Rachel Katz is a two time HighBall Halloween participant back to fight for a win. Her experience outside HighBall includes cosplay, theatrical and drag costuming. In addition to costuming, Rachel began her creative journey in photography and still uses that medium to bring the story of her costume work to life.
Shelly Teed has worked in the creative field off and on for over a decade as a model, costume designer and creative director. Her current day job at a local monster making factory, has her literally bringing larger than life monsters to fruition.
Rachel and Shelly crossed paths nearly a decade ago after floating in the same creative circles, and in recent years finally combining their skills to bring exciting concepts to life.
Shiree Houf is a stay-at-home mom who freelances as a costume designer out of her home in Pickerington, OH. Her best projects are “one & done” – larger than life costumes that elicit big audience reactions for drag performances, pageants, or costume competitions. She regularly participates and places in HighBall Halloween’s Costume Couture Contest, easily her favorite event, as it is an opportunity to create her heart’s desire on a yearly basis. Her designs are also frequently featured in New Vision Dance Co. productions & with a variety of Columbus Theatrical companies. Shiree has her MFA in Design from OSU and a BA in Theatre from Miami University. She is passionate about using her theatrical background to create memorable moments both on & off stage.