Monday, March 10, 2014

The Road Ahead

The next road ahead is 2,250 miles. I'm not exactly sure what life will bring at the end of the road, but what I do know is that it is time to move forward. It's the road from Columbus, Ohio to Los Angeles, California. I have wanted to move to California since I was 15. Maybe the craziness of life in L.A. wasn't on my wishlist, however the career path I have taken has chosen L.A. as the next destination.

I have had an amazing design career in Columbus for the past 11 years. Most of you only know the evolution of my own brand over the past 7 years, but it's only a fraction of my career, although a very important part. My degree from CCAD is in advertising and graphic design which translated into packaging and accessory design for Bath & Body Works then later with vendor, Atrium, where I was able to work with dozens of retail brands. If you could actually see my design archives of all the work I have done for over a decade, you would probably wonder why I ever needed my own creative outlet. That would probably be a good question that I could never really answer. I love to learn new things and take on new challenges, which is why my own brand, now called Rox+Royalty is ever evolving as well as my professional work.

As I was cleaning out my studio I can't even imagine how much I have spent on materials over the years. Stationery, jewelry, blank apparel, fabric, embellishments...I was always shopping at JoAnn's or Michaels, the only resources here in Columbus. It's been more than a hobby as it can often consume my life. My husband Steve will vouch for that. But I always loved doing it. Since freelancing for the past year, I began to take on more challenges. I competed in HighBall Halloween again, and won. The costume was incredibly fun and very challenging. I also took part in a few fashion shows, including one during NYFW where I had to show 20 looks. I loved designing the collection, but making it was another story. I had high hopes of moving forward with it. I was planning on using the show as a platform to get to the next level to work with manufactures and obtain buyers...but it is a very very very expensive process. And I'm not sure I'm ready for the commitment. I started out making handmade jewelry and apparel and selling my work online or at ComFest. I enjoyed that for a few years, but the cost of materials and time just never made it worth it. Making this clothing collection further solidified my desire to step away from construction of ready to wear. Costumes on the other hand don't necessarily need to be as technical. It's more about creative concept or embellishment that can never be achieved in RTW. You make one piece and move on to something else. You don't have to figure out how it can be reproduced or sold at reasonable prices to the general public.

I look forward to the opportunities that L.A. will bring me as a designer, but also to the new life that my husband and I are about to create. I may step away from Rox + Royalty for awhile. It's drained me emotionally, mentally and financially. I don't regret a moment of the last 7 years. It's a creative outlet, but it needs to be fun. I had a taste of what it would be like to be my full time job for the last 3 months. I didn't enjoy it. Probably because I took on too many challenges with too little experience.
Living near Hollywood will hopefully bring more opportunities for costume couture work than I would be able to get living in Columbus.

With less than 2 months before the big move out west, I am looking forward to spending my time working with new clients and with my friends and family. My studio is completely packed up and my office is ready for me again. I look forward to being able to hit "delete or command Z" when I make a mistake. Something that could take me an hour to fix on the sewing machine.

You can check out my collection and professional portfolio here:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Resolution of the Week: Procrastination

As this cold Arctic Blast recedes and I am finally recovering from my own cold, I find myself ready to cross off the dozens of things on my to do list. I've been hard at work in my studio these last few months getting ready for my NYFW show in February (details to come) and with only a few weeks left, I'm seeing the semblance of a life I had resumed over the holidays dwindle away. Working for myself has it's advantages, but when I don't have any looming deadlines, I'm not quite sure how to stay focused.

What I HAVEN'T DONE: I have several new clothing pieces started, but nothing finished. I've started graphics for my new brand name, Rox + Royalty, but haven't finished the website so I haven't announced it yet. I still need to book travel to NYC and make arrangements with all my friends there. I need to write a Press Release and figure out who to send it to. I need to get a kick starter project started to help me progress my collection this year. I owe thank you cards for Christmas, which if I get to them, they will be the cards I bought to send to my HighBall helpers. Oh, and I started a blog after HighBall with my behind the scenes photos, which is actually finished, but I just haven't posted it because I wanted it to be perfect and have all photos. I still need to order more fabric and supplies online because JoAnn's just doesn't do the trick anymore, although my credit card statement says otherwise. I need to learn how to use Twitter in the sense of understanding what the heck @ and # mean, other than when I get mad and everything goes to @#$! I started a tumblr page, but nobody knows it. I need to get back in shape because all the weight I lost before HighBall came back with the Holidays. I haven't been on a plane for two months when two weeks used to be my dry spell. I refuse to play any games on my iphone other than solitare because I don't need an addiction to something like Candy Crush or Words with Friends. I don't really read Facebook anymore, so if you actually posted something "important" I'm likely to miss it because it takes 2 hours to get through a days worth of random crap that people post. Yesterday I resolved to watch one YouTube video a day about sewing, so maybe I can learn enough without needing to take a class...I have 7 minutes left today to keep that resolution, so my guess is it's going to fail. So I guess my immediate New Years Resolution should be to quit procrastinating. Having extra time on my hands these days is leading me to it.

What I HAVE DONE: I did get quite a bit done around the house this winter. We now have a guest room and 1/2 a garage to park in after our basement finishing this spring to give me a studio and Steve a theater room. I actually decorated for Christmas.  I've had time to catch up with friends, family and my husband more than I ever had before. I learned to shop more at Trader Joes, even if it's 20 miles away. I do the dishes and make dinner as much as possible before Steve gets home. I make the bed some days if the cat isn't cuddled up in the blankets. I started drinking coffee thanks to Keurig and a lot of wine. I've watched so much daytime TV these last 6 months that shows like The Price is Right, Dr. Phil and Ellen no longer have a nostalgic feel, but I do love me some Kathie Lee and Hoda at 10am. The early afternoon work hours have been spent watching Full House and Fresh Prince. I did spend 3 days this past weekend in bed, only because I was too sick to do anything other than watch 3 seasons of Shameless. It took two days to recover from the fact that I have to wait until Sunday for the next new Episode. I watched all six seasons of Breaking Bad just before HighBall madness. With 3 days in bed sick, I also read every interesting article on Yahoo or Facebook. One of them just so happens to be my motivator for writing this blog...which by the way, was something on my list of things to cross off.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bluffton News Feature

Hi Everyone -
I hope to have my blog updated with all of my HighBall photos by the time I return from vacation. I wanted to share a feature story that my hometown ran in this week's Bluffton News. I forgot that unless people knew me personally, the probably don't know me by my married name. My dad, Steve Stitzel, has overheard some people around town saying they didn't know who I was...So that's me, Annie Stitzel, better remembered in the Bluffton news for my 12 year running career. I've been married for 11 years and away from Bluffton for 15, so I guess I forgot to have them mention my maiden name! Anyway, here is a blurb from the article in the paper.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Highball 2013 was like a party at Jay Gatsby's

I couldn't be more pleased with my runway show at Highball Halloween in Columbus, Ohio this year! It has been drawing national attention and being deemed as the single most elaborate Halloween party in the US, so it was such an amazing honor to be crowned the winner of the feature Costume Couture contest with 10 local professional fashion designers. Words cannot express how brilliant this show is with the talent that resides in Columbus. Like a Hollywood actor accepting an Oscar, I couldn't be more honored than to be amongst these talented designers. I am looking forward to the opportunities this event will continue to bring me. My life has changed so much since last year, and I am preparing for it to speed up even more. I wanted to get this blog post started so people know how to contact me. For now, the best way to reach me is through my personal email: aweihrauch{at} My brand's email, annie{at}shoprockandroyalty, is fine too, but at some point soon it will be changing.

More details on the amazing show to come....
Photo: Kt Knilans
Model: Rachel Amnah

Annie Weihrauch || Highball Halloween, 2013 from Little Tree Studios on Vimeo.

HighBall Halloween 2013 from Olivia K. James on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fall 2013 Updates

The Rock & Royalty web store will be closed for the remainder of 2013 while I focus on rebranding due to legal complications with my trademark. My inventory is also running very low making it challenging to maintain the web store.  I am still accepting custom orders for clothing, costumes and jewelry, so if you remember seeing a piece of mine that you are interested in please contact me at:

Over the next two months I will be focused on creating my couture costume for the HighBall Halloween 2013 Fashion Designer competition in Columbus, Ohio on Friday October 25th (and Saturday October 26th). I will also be participating in various local events hosted by the Alternative Fashion Mob where I may be selling pieces.

I will update my progress with HighBall and the brand here:

Sunday, May 12, 2013


The Spring Academy Collection for Columbus Rocks the Cure rock & roll fashion show. This amazing event was made possible by breast cancer survivor, Amee Bell Wanzo, who organized everything and created a team of talented people who donated their time and resources to raise money for breast cancer patients, a cause that is near and dear to me as I've lost my grandmothers on both sides of my family to breast cancer.

I chose a military inspired theme to Fight Cancer and Rock the Cure. Introducing army green was a great addition to my usual color palette of black, white, grey and aqua. The collection features structured bustiers, pencil skirts, peplums, draped garments, and tutus with metal studs and chain jewelry.  Items are custom order only. Please contact me to discuss pricing and lead time. Please expect pricing to be much higher than your average retail brand. Materials alone carry a large cost, and items can take me days to create. My final look for the evening was a black studded and spiked bra and neon pink tutu.

Rock & Royalty has always been inspired by indie rock and pop styled music, and to kick off the show my friend and former co-worker's band, Kid Runner, played their set and inspired the crowd as my fashion hit the runway at Ace of Cups.

Special thanks to: Amee Bell Wanzo, Lauren Edmond, Stephanie Stein, Jeff Steele, Melanie Guzzo and Virtue Vegan Salon, Kelli Martin, Aaron James, Kid Runner, Amanda Zerby, Kaci Webb, Sarah Markeson, Annie O'Roark, Christina MacDonald, Anita Mwiruki, Lauren Hoffman, Ifeoma Ngene-Igwe, Vivian Von Brokenhymen, Ace of Cups and everyone who attended.

How it began:
The last three months have been...well, pretty much like every month for many years. This time I spent it teaching myself how to sew and construct my own clothing designs. I've only had a few lessons from friends on pattern making and draping and sewing, but this time I relied only on what little skills I had developed from Highball, or the few weeks I attempted to prepare myself for the reality TV show, Styled to Rock, hosted by Rhianna, that casting directors asked me to audition for. I made the decision in January just before the deadline, that I wasn't ready to audition. I've also turned down over a dozen other events or fashion shows I've been asked to apply or partake in from Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis and even Miami. One of my customers asked me to be a part of this year's Columbus Rocks the Cure rock & roll fashion show and I thought for sure I could create a full collection in 6 months. Well the burnout from Highball left me with the need to take a break for 3 months, so it only left me 3 months to pull it all together. I wasn't able to create as large of a collection in time, but for my first true clothing collection, I'm really impressed by what I managed to create.

Now that it's over, what am I going to do next?

Step one: Clean my house. About 3 weeks ago my husband and I hired a contractor to build a studio in my basement so I can get out of my cramped office with a black hole of carpet that swallows my straight pins and makes it a danger zone.

Step two: Change my daily lifestyle. I decided it was finally time to quit my day job to make a little more time for my dream. The cost of materials to create my line is very expensive so I will still be working full time as a design consultant for some clients, however I will be working from home and eliminating the long daily commute across town during rush hour. My hours will be flexible and it will make it easier for me to schedule my own time as needed.

Step three: Deal with the legal issue with my name, Rock & Royalty. It will be changing soon, hopefully only slightly, once I have time to work through the issue.

Step four: Make up lost time with my husband, friends and family. I can't promise things aren't going to get crazy again, but I think a little break this summer is within sight.

Step five: Start lining up the next show.

Step six: Vacation.

Step seven: Repeat

Friday, December 7, 2012

Staley Designs Book Builder - Preview

Staley Cook of Staley Designs invited me to attend her Fall Book Builder with a few other designers from HighBall to showcase our work. She took our pieces from runway costume to high fashion couture with these beautifully styled photos. She is still editing from 10 amazing photo sets but I am excited to share a few preview photos, including a few I captured from my iPhone.

Monday, October 29, 2012

HighBall Halloween 2012 - Royal Entrance

The show is over, but it's only just begun. Through all the blood, sweat, and tears (I was missing the tears part until the morning of the show when I ruined one of my 4 looks) I can walk away from this experience, relieved that it is over and excited about what it can start.

Myself, Annie Weihrauch for Rock & Royalty opened the show. Here are some videos and photos from the show!

HighBall Halloween // Annie from Little Tree Studios on Vimeo.

Highball Halloween 2012 from Little Tree Studios on Vimeo.


My Couture Costume, myself & Nina West

Costume Couture, Designer Annie Weihrauch, Collection Model
ROCK & ROYALTY COLLECTION (right to left) - Look 1: Military dress & necklace. Look 2: Cage harness over T-Shirt, ruffle skirt. Look 3: Graphic Tank w/ stripe crop cami, harness necklace, studded tutu Look 4: Moto Miltary Jacket, embellished stripe studded skinny jeans

Designer, Annie Weihrauch w/ Rock & Royalty mini collection

HighBall 2012 Costume Couture - Behind the Scenes

I've been keeping a photo journal along the way...This post is still a work in progress. I will update it very soon.....
My original concept sketch for my application. The biggest concern from the show producers where that it didn't have enough stage presence. I promised I would make sure it would be dramatic, even though I have never done anything like this in my life...but I knew I could embellish the heck out of it.
My revised costume couture sketch. Only a few details changed as I created this.

Cleaned up my studio for the production video shoot with Little Tree Studios and Staley Cook.

A pair of shorts from a Sample sale that never fit, but I knew would come in handy on a project!

I first started by gathering some embellished pieces I didn't use anymore...A brand new pair of Kelsey Dagger shoes that I couldn't return anymore.

Some of my most used tools...wire cutter, lighter, screw driver, needles, and studded embellishments. Lighter you say? No, not for a smoke break, for sealing the ends of frayed ribbon and fabric.

More handy tools, scissors, embellishment bins and a cup for straight pins, although most end up on my floor anyway. You don't even want to know how many times I lost my needle. I'm not sure I recovered all of them, and I hope I never do.

I bought a heavy duty bustier that could handle all of the hand sewn embellishments including leather, chain, rhinestones, buttons and screw back spikes.
Starting to see it coming together!
Somehow I decided to embellish the Union Jack flag here. One of the most time consuming parts of the costume that sat unfinished until the last week.
Once I got to this point I decided I would move on to something else and finish up the embellishments later.

After the rest of the costume was finished I decided to change the black area to aqua studs to add a little color. This was the hardest part because I had to use a hand held heat tool instead of an iron.

Beginning work of my embellished moto military jacket.

The hot new trend is cage jewelry, so I created this bustier framed accessory piece, which I ended up ruining when I decided to sew it onto a garment, then begged Jess to help me Saturday morning before the show. It ended up looking better than this piece anyway!

Through out the 3 months there were several meetings with production, designers, models, hair and makeup, including this kick off meeting with the sponsors.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Highball Halloween Promo Videos

Here are some links to the videos that the Highball team has put together. Little Tree Studios did an amazing job with the Designer spotlight videos.

My feature:

All Designers:

2012 Promo Video:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Countdown to Highball Halloween

Only a few more days till Highball! Just wanted to share a few more photos of my progress. I'm saving some details for the runway reveal, but I wanted to share enough to generate excitement, and hopefully entice you to come out for the show!