Fetching social media botanical couture

Pop culture meets floral fashion inspired by style icons

A child of the Nineties, Niesha Blancas’s influences were sparked from MTV moments and celebrities who graced the covers of the teen bop magazines she convinced her grandmother to buy for her at the checkout counter of their local grocery market.
Today, a social media expert and owner of Fresno, California-based Fetching Social Media, Niesha has managed Slow Flowers Society’s profile on Instagram and Facebook for several years. She’s helped us promote previous American Flowers Week’s botanical couture collections and her love of fashion design prompted Niesha to become even more involved — this year as a creator.

Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media

            “This was my first effort, ever,” Niesha confides. No stranger to the apparel industry, Niesha often produces editorial-style photo shoots for Brainchild, a vintage fashion company she launched while studying apparel merchandising and public relations at Fresno State University.
            Niesha jokes that Barbie was the first model she dressed in designs of her own. “Growing up as an only child, my toys were probably more important to me than toys were to other kids with siblings. There were a lot of times where I had to be creative when playing by myself — and I was really attached to my Barbies. Mine had all these wonderful outfits and shoes, but as I got older and started becoming obsessed with pop culture, I took it upon myself to create the looks I saw Britney Spears or Gwen Stefani wearing. I would ask my mom or grandmother if they had any scraps of fabric for me to use so I could sew little versions of their outfits for my Barbie. I was probably only around seven-years-old!”

initial concepts
Initial design concepts from Niesha Blancas

            When she was young, sewing an exact replica of a Gwen Stefani music video outfit for her Barbie meant teaching herself how to use a needle and thread. So, when Niesha decided to celebrate American Flowers Week with botanical garments for human models, she knew she could figure it out. She also wanted her contribution to be different and unexpected. “I wanted to create something maybe you haven’t seen someone do in the past for American Flowers Week.”
            In her own wardrobe, Niesha is a “fashion mash-up” practitioner and frequent thrift store shopper. “My wardrobe is not tied to one decade. The way I dress personally means wearing something modern, but with a twist. That twist may be a hint of vintage from the sixties, or the eighties, but always intertwined somehow with the nineties.”

Fetching Social Media American Flowers Week 2021

            The idea of dressing her two models in floral bodysuits came when Niesha pushed herself to think beyond the mini-dress looks she first sketched. “I knew that I wanted my designs to be different, maybe something you would see on Lady Gaga, something outrageous like a tailored bodysuit you’d have seen sported onstage in the early 2000’s.”
            With a plethora of flowers and foliage provided by Carlos Cardoza of CamFlor Inc., a Slow Flowers member farm based in Watsonville, California, Niesha started by separating the blooms into two identical batches ensuring both looks had an equal balance of flower varieties, colors, and textures. “I only gave myself 48 hours to have everything done,” she says. “The flowers came on a Friday and I told myself I had to complete my entire first look by the end of that day. I glued on the last flower at midnight!”

More botanical couture fun with Niesha Blancas
More botanical couture fun from the hands and brain of Niesha Blancas

            The foliage of Aucuba japonica, also called spotted laurel, isn’t widely used in floral design, but when Carlos asked Niesha if she wanted some “funky” foliage options, she said “Yes,” sight unseen. Typically found in landscapes of older properties, the broadleaf evergreen gains newfound fashion status as a unifying focal element of both of Niesha’s looks. The foliage appears as exaggerated, asymmetrical shoulder detail on one bodysuit and as a peplum skirt on the other.

The combination of fishnet and rhinestones is a little edgy, yet dainty. It’s something I have always incorporated in my styling, whether for photo shoots or fashion shows. Everything is always fun and girly, but edgy.”

niesha blancas, fetching social media

            To attach the botanical elements, Niesha used a lot of Oasis cold glue, finding that the faux leather material of one bodysuit and the woven cotton of the other base garment were suitable surfaces for the glue. She also built out the shoulder and hip details with small sections of chicken wire and thin upholstery foam (recycled from an old cushion) onto which the glossy spotted foliage was attached in fanned layers. “This was the vision and the volume I was going for,” she explains. “I wanted the two looks to be different but cohesive.”
            Niesha’s brilliant styling adds glamour and sass. The models, her friends Jada and Gloria, are each wearing dramatic blue eye shadow, sparkly accessories, opera gloves, and patterned black-and-white boots — one, a short pair in cow-skin, and the other, a pair of knee-high, zebra-patterned boots. About her obsession with the opera gloves, Niesha says, “the combination of fishnet and rhinestones is a little edgy, yet dainty. It’s something I have always incorporated in my styling, whether for photo shoots or fashion shows. Everything is always fun and girly, but edgy.”
            Her influence for this vibe is Tim Burton, director of the 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands,” one of Niesha’s favorite childhood films. “I’ve always admired the way he contrasts his films by providing a dark, moody feeling, but also with waves of bright elements — this direction has always been a favorite of mine to include in my work.”
            Niesha is a little surprised at how well her imaginary floral outfits translated into three-dimensional botanical garments worn by real women. “I could say I am my ideal client. In the nineties, I was a little kid who watched a ton of movies and glorified all these cool outfits. But as a little kid, I couldn’t dress like a teenager. I think that’s why I’m so obsessed with these looks now, since I am older and can wear whatever I want — especially all the trends I used to see back then. I love tapping into my nostalgic treasure trove and creating pieces that are funky and fun.”

Creative Team:
Floral Palette: Seasonal California-grown flowers in a yellow, peach, coral, orange and green color range. Grown by CamFlor Inc., camflor.com, @camflorinc
Designer: Niesha Blancas, Fetching Social Media, fetchingsocialmedia.com, @fetchingsocial
Design Team: Cathy Blancas, Ana Quinata
Models: Jada Cruz, @d3vinetrinity and Gloria Serna @glowstiic
Photographers: Niesha Blancas and Ana Quinata @anaquinata
Venue:  Fresno, California