Our My Top 5 series showcases Houstonians who are creating the city’s culture and community and asks them to share their own local favorites. This week we’re delighted to feature professor and program coordinator for Fashion Merchandising at Houston Community College, Andrea Bonner. Recently, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Houston Community College teamed up for, “Fashion Fusion”, a professional fashion show inspired by the exhibition Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art. Featuring garments created by student designers in HCC’s award-winning fashion program, the first place student winners included, Tu Trong, Inception; Shanda Phillips, Awakening; Nghi Nguyen, Euphoria; Jade Gillen, Melancholy; and Regina Vigil was the Audience Choice winner. First place alumni winners included, David Valdez, Inception; Maria Hammond, Awakening; Mishelle Chayeb, Euphoria; and Inge Duran for Melancholy.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Andrea Bonner
- Fashion – Houston does not get the credit it deserves for its vibrant fashion scene. Launch pop-up shop in Partnership Tower in Downtown features local designers and makers selling a variety of items including apparel, accessories, and home goods. And let’s not forget about River Oaks District. My favorite stores there are Intermix (ask for Shantae), Joie (ask for Jessica), and Diptyque (Jennifer will set you up with the most amazing candles and perfumes around; Baies is my favorite). For one-of-a-kind finds, Sloan Hall is the place to go. And the anchor of Houston fashion, Tootsies, will always hold a special place in my heart.
- Food – Next to fashion, food is my next favorite thing about Houston. They call it “Caribbean-Southern,” I call the callas and collard dip (among other things) at Kulture Restaurant one of the best things I have ever eaten. Their food, drinks, and amazing atmosphere are bar-none. Tex-Mex is one of the four major Houston food groups −or at least it should be. Whenever guests are in from out of town, I take them to my favorites, Pappasito’s and Cyclone Anaya’s for fajitas and any kind of queso. On The Kirb is a one-stop shop for awesome drinks, food, sports, and people watching. The food and ambiance at Bistro Menil are pretty amazing, too.
- Museums – I have visited museums all over the world, and feel that Houston’s museum scene is incomparable. The University Museum at Texas Southern University is a little-known national treasure. From the amazing “Web of Life” mural by John Biggers to the biennial For The Sake of Art wearable art competition and student work, it is one of my favorite cultural and arts destinations. I am proud to serve on the African American Arts Advisory Association Board for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Jack Whitten Sculpture and Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art exhibits are two of my current favorites there. Any time I want to clear my mind, a visit to The Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel are all I need, too.
- Volunteering – One of the things that I love about Houston is the heart and the giving spirit of everyone. I work a lot with the graduate chapter of my sorority, the Alpha Kappa Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. We do a lot in the community by way of scholarships, women’s healthcare and wellness, and other programming designed to have a global impact on our society. I have worked as a personal shopping volunteer at Dress for Success and love working with the amazing women that come through that agency. I also support the National Kidney Foundation via the Houston branch. Lorna Hankins leads this amazing agency here focused on bringing kidney health education and awareness to the community. My childhood piano teacher had kidney disease and was one of the first persons in the U.S. to have her own dialysis machine at her home. I have fond memories of her and choose to honor her promoting awareness for the disease and this organization.
- Sports – How can you not live in Houston and not love sports? I will forever be a Houston Oilers fan, but have just as much love for my Texans. My grandmother was the biggest Houston Astros fan and I continue to carry that torch for her. I was fresh out of college in ‘94 and ‘95 when the Rockets won back-to-back championships. Riding up and down Richmond on the night that we won that first championship is an experience I will never forget. Our current team evokes just as much excitement and I’ll be cheering them on through the playoffs and beyond. The one thing that I love about sports is that, regardless of any of our many differences, it unites us in spirit. And as a washed-up tennis player myself, I’d love to get back on the court soon.
About Andrea Bonner
Andrea Bonner is a professor and program coordinator for Fashion Merchandising at Houston Community College. Andrea is also the owner of Style On Demand, a Houston based firm specializing in fashion consulting/styling and fashion show production. She is a visiting Visual Arts Instructor for the Summer Fashion Intensive at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan, and served as a previous Regional Director for The Fashion Group International of Houston, Inc. In addition to her fashion and art background, Andrea has vast experience in marketing, public relations, retail management, and also volunteers for various community agencies. Andrea was the recipient of the Federation of Houston Professional Women, Woman of Excellence award and the i10 Media Influencers Award – Best Dressed Edition.