Regional fashion weeks have started taking place in many markets, such as Charleston, South Carolina, Portland, Oregon, St. Louis, Missouri, and Austin, Texas among others. These regional fashion shows have had an extraordinary impact on local economies, having set new milestones in their fashion communities, and establishing each as a sought after destination for the fashion minded. Slightly different from NYC's fashion week, Fashion Week New Orleans' intent is to be more consumer driven; showcasing prêt-a-porter fashions of local retailers and boutiques throughout the Gulf Coast, while giving region fashion designers a platform to display their collection.
"New Orleans has a strong fashion presence that has been ignored far too long. FW NOLA will be a platform in which designers and boutiques, as well as the talents of models, make-up artists, hair stylists and fashionistas can garner the recognition deserving of the Gulf Coast Region" says creative director Tracee Dundas.
Others seem to be beginning to recognize the potential that New Orleans offers to the fashion industry as well. While New Orleans is recognized globally for its authentic cuisine, musical talent, and spicy lifestyle, recently two national publications - Entrepreneur and The New York Times -cited film and clothing designers as local emerging industries in New Orleans.
Entrepreneur highlighted the efforts of local designer Cecile Hardy's founding of NOLA Couture, a New Orleans-inspired ties and accessories shop which captures the classic, fun and whimsical style of the Crescent City in its designs. NOLA Couture is rapidly becoming well known throughout the country for its festive collegiate wear and vibrant prints.
Fashion Week NOLA was created to spotlight the talents and collections of designers, and boutiques from the Gulf Coast region through a series of runway shows, exhibits & chic parties. It begins with a kick-off party on March 15th, followed by three days spanning from March 16-18, 2011 of incredible runway shows at The Sugar Mill. Complementing the nightly schedule will be headline guest designers, Alex Garfield, NYC, Helena CHo, Los Angeles, and Anna Mixon, Miami presenting their most current season collection.
Confirmed retailers participating in Fashion Week NOLA includes; Saks Fifth Avenue, Hemline Boutiques, Brinkmen's, Total Woman, Style Lab, Bella Couture, House of Lounge . . . to list a few that will be part of the 25+ retailers planned to be showcased alongside an impressive list of fashion designers from the Gulf Coast region.
One of the signature events of Fashion Week NOLA 2011 will be a Top Designer Competition giving the region's emerging designers an opportunity to showcase their talent. The mission of Fashion Week NOLA Top Designer Competition is to spotlight up-and-coming, undiscovered and emerging fashion designers, while providing an opportunity for the designers to gain exposure and recognition globally.
From the competition, one designer will be named Fashion Week New Orleans 2011 Top Designer and receive the TOP DESIGNER AWARD and a fabulous prize package, which includes the opportunity to showcase their collection in Hemline Boutique for 90 days and host a two day trunk show. It will be an amazing three days of non-stop, electrifying runway shows all under one roof.
Fashion Week NOLA is committed to being the leading fashion industry event in the Gulf Coast Region, and have extend an invitation to neighboring states to actively become involved in what will be a groundbreaking event. Its goal is to both redefine what it means to be fashionable while giving back to the community through charitable partnerships, educational programs and scholarships. New Orleans NO/AIDS Task Force, DRESS FOR SUCCESS, and FINO are on board as charitable partners while several members of the New Orleans Firefighters Department has agreed to make an appearance as models in one of the fashion segments.
Organizers say that "the enthusiasm received from the various universities has surpassed expectation . . . a by-product of the event is the surprising number of fashion and apparel students who have chosen to get involved in the planning of the event."
Sponsors for FW NOLA include; Saks Fifth Avenue, Hemline Boutique, Vanguard Cosmetology/Paul Mitchell Hair, The Transportation Revolution, Jeff Strout Photography, The Make Up Lab, Finish Studio, New Orleans Magazine, Gambit Weekly and NOLA.com.
Learn more about Fashion Week New Orleans by visiting www.fashionweeknola.com.
Vincent Sylvain is publisher of The New Orleans Agenda.com, the leading local alternative for information on News, Arts, Culture & Entertainment in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region.
Images provided by Fashion Week NOLA.
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