-reported by Sara Porch
New York and Paris may be synonymous with fashion, but this spring several Southern cities will boast their own stunning fashion weeks.
Through March 24, Charleston, S.C., will host its sixth annual fashion week
. Last year, 100 cans of hairspray, 200 tubes of lipstick, and 9, 275 bobby pins were needed to put together this celebration of the fashion community and industry. This year promises to be just as lavish. Not only will there be 45 inspired runway shows
under the tents in Marion Square, but Charleston Fashion Week will also provide on-site shopping, book signings, area truck shows, after parties and charity events. The week also features three competitions that promote new designer and model talent.
Past Charleston Fashion Week designers and models view this event as “a pathway to New York,” as many have gone on to show or walk at New York Fashion Week. Several designers have later competed in the designing competition, Project Runway. Last year’s Emerging Designer winner, Charlotte Hess, will join this group of impressive designers Originally from Chicago, Hess’ win last year allowed her to design her own label and open a studio with her partner Cara Deheart. Showcasing her designs again at this year’s Charleston Fashion Week, Hess looks to other designers for both inspiration and motivation in her own work. Without giving away too much, Hess offered this glimpse into her 2012 collection, “This year I delved deeper into artisanal crafts by enlisting Cara to hand weave nearly all of my woven fabrics.” Along with an expansion into woven fabric, Hess’ collection features a tea dyed fabric and a few menswear looks. Hess is just one of many fashion forward designers that will bring a taste of New York catwalks to the coast of Charleston.
During the same week, Nashville, Tenn., will trade in its cowboy boots for stiletto heels as Nashville Fashion Week
takes to Music City. The week aims to feature local, regional, and national designers as well as exhibit the city’s diverse retail spaces. Along with benefiting the fashion community of Nashville, the ticket proceeds from this five day event also benefits the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund. This is an annual fund awarded to aid one local designer’s financial career needs. Last year’s recipient of this award was Pulaski, Tenn. native, Julianna Bass.
Bass’ first fashion impulses were sparked by her grandmother. “She taught me to sew, and was more than encouraging when I wanted to take apart my Barbie clothes to see how they were constructed and then sew them back together ‘my way.’”
After launching her eponymous collection in 2008, Bass showed her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection at Nashville Fashion Week where she later won the NFF Fund. Bass plans to use the award to build stronger relationships with international buyers. While her current residence is Brooklyn, N.Y., Bass will return to Nashville Fashion Week saying, “It makes me prouder than ever of my Tennessee roots.” Nashville Fashion Week hopes to create an ongoing legacy with the NFF Fund. While the week celebrates creative fashion in Nashville, this fund establishes ongoing philanthropic support in the Nashville fashion community.
Lasting through March 25, Fashion Week New Orleans
will spotlight local designers and models while aiding the city. Since New Orleans, along with the surrounding Gulf area is not thought of as a fashion mecca, FW NOLA’s goal is to bring attention to regional designers and “give them a platform to showcase their talent while also bringing revenue to the New Orleans community,” said Rabiat Saraki, PR coordinator for FW NOLA. With the community as the week’s focus, expect local retailers and designers to be featured throughout the week. There will be a pop up boutique called the Style Lounge stocked by boutiques from New Orleans’ Magazine Street.
FW NOLA features a variety of runway shows
at the Sugar Mill with the week culminating in a bridal runway showcase. In addition to exciting fashion shows, ten designers will show collections in the Top Design Competition. A panel of judges will narrow down the group to three designers, and after showing a secondary collection, will choose the overall winner. This year Janie Bryant, the costume designer for the acclaimed television series Mad Men, will be a guest judge. While FW NOLA is most concerned with emphasizing the local fashion community it will also usher in a dash of Hollywood.
Occurring at the end of the month, Jacksonville (Fla.) Fashion Week
will run from March 28- 31. This fashion focused event hopes to establish Jacksonville as a fashion destination in the Southeast, discover new talent and become a major contributor to the fashion industry.
will begin with an industry panel event at Maggiano’s in St. Johns Town Center. Members of the panel include a former winner of America’s Next Top Model, a former buyer at Saks, the founder of a fragrance line, and an international designer and Jacksonville native. The week’s Emerging Designer Showcase and Featured Designers Runway Event will be held at Metropolitan Park, and will feature both new and established talent. Epping Forrest Yacht Club will host the Bridal Runaway Event and Brunch later in the week. Throughout the week Jacksonville Fashion Week will promote Dignity U Wear, a charity that provides new clothing
to those most in need.
March isn’t the only time for fashion in the south. Savannah Fashion Week
will be May 14- 17. This third annual event aims to promote local retailers and designers, with the week building to the finale fashion show at the Lucas Theater. A portion
of ticket sales will go to Safe Shelter, a charity that gives assistance to victims of violence and domestic abuse. Savannah Fashion Week allows you to enjoy the historical sights of Savannah, see unique fashion, and support the local community.
Reaching even further into the year are fashion weeks in Mobile, Ala
., (September 3-8) and Charlotte, N.C.
, (September 19- 22). Bothare sure to add to the imaginative and creative fashions of the South. Now there is no need to travel to New York or Paris when high fashion is right in your backyard.
photo credit: both photos are courtesy of Charleston Fashion Week 2011