Media Contact: Debra Cortese: Cortese Designs TEL: 305-665-2528

Fashion Industry Insiders of South Florida Announces the “FII Designers To Watch, Spring, 2009”
Media Contact: Robynn Fredericks, Founder/Organizer FII

Miami designer named one of Fashion Industry Insiders "Designers to Watch, Spring 2009"

Nature's Energy artist/designer, Debra Cortese introduced her distinctive line of Cortese Design handbags in November 2007. Within a year, she caught the attention of South Florida fashion trend watchers and her vibrant, nature design bags were featured in Florida's Fashion Expo White Party on November 5th, 2008 at Mansion on South Beach. The publisher of Mode Lifestyle Magazine, Alexander Michaels, was so impressed with photos from that event that he invited Cortese to show the line during a Mode model shoot at Miami's exclusive Havana Club. LEVEL, the latin arts and fashion magazine included a full page of photos from this shoot in their December 08 issue. Then, on January 19th, the popular Handbag Designer 101 website featured an interview with Cortese Designs in their designer of the day section, and later that week, Fashion Industry Insiders announced that Debra Cortese/Cortese Designs is on the official list of "Designers to Watch, Spring 2009".

The Fashion Industry Insiders of South Florida held a casting call in early January to review the work of various member designers and the turn out was outstanding! Designers were critiqued on quality, design, being on-trend, and wearability. While castings were being held, FII members had the chance to network among themselves, exchanging ideas and admiring each others' work.

The designers chosen from this casting are the official "FII Designers To Watch." As part of a new FII initiative, twice a year (Spring and Fall), member designers will be chosen to participate in this elite group, leading up to the year-end "FII Designer of the Year." The two groups of designers will have the opportunity to participate in an FII-produced fashion show at a local venue, presenting specific pieces of their lines to their peers, buyers, media and clients. Our goal is to provide a platform for our designers to launch a full-scale business. This initial platform will offer exposure and open doors to magazine editorials, new industry contacts, purchase orders and the ability to grow to the next step of their career. The designer who best takes advantage of these opportunities and continues to grow as a designer, as well as in their business, will have the potential to become the "FII Designer of the Year." This title is given to the member who best exemplifies quality artistry with a mix of business saavy.

Nature's Energy Cortese Designs
Debra's bags are more than fashionable. She says, "When you carry one of my Nature's Energy Design bags and consciously tune in to the vibration of the plant that is at the core of the design, you can virtually 'feel' the positive, magical energy of nature." She explains that every element of nature emits a unique vibration or energy field. When you are in nature and truly focusing your attention of a flower, (how the light plays on the petals, the gentle swaying in a breeze, the interaction of a tiny, hovering bee coating his little bee legs in pollen) you're able to connect with the vibration of that flower, that bee and that moment in time. This is an excellent, natural way to enhance, stimulate or soothe your own energy.

The Design Process
Cortese Designs are a visual transference of Nature's Energy. Debra tells us "The design for each bag is intentionally created to share the energy that I experience when I am tuning in to a particular plant or flower. I begin by photgraphing a plant that is obviously sharing positive energy. (Poison Ivy would not be a plant I'd choose for sharing positive vibrations!)Next, I choose one of the photos that visually emits the strongest sense of that energy and use it as the basis for my design.
I then go into the flow of the creative process, and using a range of digital painting tools and a sequence of custom techniques, I work the image until I achieve a visual presentation that most effectively transfers the vibrational energy of that plant flower, creature or environment."
Cortese Design Bags are available online at:; at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden where they sell an exclusive line of Cortese Design bags, and in Narrowsburg, NY at the Little Hairem Boutique. Miami Beach Botanical Garden will soon be carrying custom Cortese Design Nature's Energy bags in their garden shop and because she most enjoys the creative process and wants to share the magic of nature's energy as far and wide as possible, Debra is interested in creating custom designs and collaborating on projects that promote positive and joyful vibrations in the world. She is is particularly fond of projects that benefit the environment, animals and children.

Debra is focused on growing the Cortese line with additional fashion and home decor products and through licensing her designs with businesses and organizations that share a positive vision to increase the awareness of our magical environment.

"FII Designers to Watch, Spring 2009" Resort Show
FII invites you to join us as we present the "FII Designers to Watch, Spring 2009" Resort Show on Thursday evening, February 26th at Mix Ultra Lounge. Appetizers and mingling begins at 6:00pm; show starts at 8:00pm. Mix Ultra Lounge, Hollywoods newest Martini Bar, will be hosting this event and offering guests free appetizers and one free drink. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. FII members and their guests can RSVP at Non-members can RSVP by emailing:

As organizers of FII, we are proud of all of our members and are excited to offer new ways to showcase their talents!
For more information on Fashion Industry Insiders of South Florida (FII), please visit:

Congratulations to our "FII Designers To Watch, Spring 2009"

Apparel: (brand name - designer or member)

Miranda M - Margarita Miranda, swimwear
Olivia Lucas - Miriam Carnase, resort
Voluptuous You - Desiree Fleming, plus size resort
Doni Designs - Diana Moyet, evening resort
Eliane - Stephanie Camputaro (Sales Rep), resort
Passeig Barcelona - Sara Martinez, resort
Float Designs - Ramona Senese, resort
Betty Bangs - Beth Gerharts, swimwear
Elite Clothing - Jared Braverman, graphic tees

Accessories and Jewelry:

Romaly - Pilar Rodriguez
Cortese Designs - Debra Cortese
Gem Couture Inc. - Melody Saleh
Fevi Reyes Designs - Fevi Reyes
Belle Pour La Vie - Eva Estime'-Polynice,
& Yvette Estime`
Celestial Designs - Sofia Amadi
Barbara Brunton

phone: 305.665.2528 email:

Dracena II Reflections Beach Tote

Cortese Designs Debra Cortese

Dracena II Reflections Backpack and
Orchid Cascade Reflections Laptop Bag

Debra Cortese, artist/designer at Fashion Expo 2008

Debra Cortese, artist/designer at Taste of the Garden
Miami Beach Botanical Garden Annual Event January 2009
Hot Miami Nights Petite Totebag in foreground

Ferns & Leaves Classic Tote Bag

Fuschia Orchid Cascade Reflections Classic Tote Bag

Banana Leaf Reflections Laptop Bag

Hot Miami Nights Backpack
Cortese Designs
Debra Cortese