[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]Smaller fashion shows place spotlight on local talent[/pullquote1]

Staff Writer

What began in 1943 as an event confined simply to New York, Fashion Week has now spread across the globe, including locations from Paris to Brooklyn and Tokyo to Nashville. Unbeknownst to the general public — and even many fashion fanatics — Fashion Week was originally called Press Week. Fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert wanted to showcase American designers while showing the world how much better the States were than France, a country already suffering due to WWII. Lambert’s first Press Week proved such a hit, she didn’t even wait a full year to have another go at it. She hosted another in January, solidifying the semi-annual tradition.

Each country or city’s Fashion Week presents the audiences and fashion community with new and exciting takes on fashion, trying to remain ahead of the curve and offer interesting, eye-catching pieces. Recently, cities across the US and Canada have really been stepping up their Fashion Week game.

Toronto Fashion Week definitely hosted shows meeting all of those expectations and more, with designers recreating pieces of art in garment form. Inspired by sculptures and paintings from artists like Vanessa Maltese and Andy Warhol, different designers adapted the artwork into their own forms of wearable art.

Although some locations, like Brooklyn, are limited to only a weekend, they showcase some of the most amazing and wearable trends. Others, on the other hand, like Moscow, focus on avant garde, unwearable pieces that wouldn’t go over well off the runway. Brooklyn Fashion Weekend, then, has the advantage of appealing more to the average buyer.
Similar to Brooklyn, New Orleans is also new on the Fashion Week scene and showcases garments with the typical woman in mind, not a fashion editorial. Fashion Week NOLA boosts local designers’, models’, and makeup artists’ exposure, while helping the local economy. In addition to traditional shows, Fashion Week NOLA offers designers the opportunity to enter in competitions, with the winners gaining the chance to display and sell their pieces in popular boutiques around the town.

Beginning on April 2, even Nashville has gotten in on the Fashion Week fun. Not surprisingly, many of the pieces worn on the runway have a very Southern feel, especially the dresses and gowns. Basically, Taylor Swift would happily wear practically all of the garments shown. With pretty, colorful lace corsets and flowing chiffon skirts in different lengths, the designers had a clear idea and target buyer in mind.

While the main Fashion Weeks (New York, Paris, Milan, and London) receive all the excitement and attention of the industry, these smaller Weeks and Weekends really exemplify what Eleanor Lambert had in mind when she held that first Fashion Week back in July of ’43. As opposed to the four widely publicized locations, which seem to showcase mainly established designers’ craziest pieces, the smaller spots promote growth in the industry, not stagnancy.

By marketing the garments of up-and-coming designers, these locations capture the essence of Fashion Week by giving the designers the opportunity for exposure to buyers and the fashion community. Although they may not gain the attention of people like Anna Wintour or Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey, the new designers are provided with a substantial clientele in the form of local patrons turning up at these shows. Those attending also benefit, as the atmosphere proves much more positive and fun  — sans the stuffiness that tends to accompany the New York shows.
These Fashion Week(ends) are popping up around the country, and, while Canada’s event may not be as grand as New York or Paris Fashion Week, the smaller shows promote local growth, allow for more fun, and tickets actually sell for rates that college students and the average fashion fan can afford.

Questions? Email First at efurino@fandm.edu.

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