Catwalking the Crescent City

00:00 February 26, 2011

with the unveiling of two Fashion Week events and the innovation of a select few fashion-gurus, the city seems to be well on it's way to embarking on fashion history.

With the Fall 2011 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week well behind us, the cameras now turn to the Crescent City for smaller-scale, yet equally as ground-breaking fashion events. In the world of fashion, a city is nothing if it doesn't have a Fashion Week. With places like Berlin, Miami, Rio and Portland emerging with genre specific fashion, it's only natural for New Orleans to be on it's way to runway readiness. Even the major retail chain Anthropologie has been successfully scouring New Orleans for local talent. So, it's no surprise to see a plethora of local artists emerge vying to make their way in the industry.

Like we said, what is a city without a fashion week, right? Well, fret no more my fashion fiends. This month we have two great events to satiate your designer needs: NOLA Fashion Week and Fashion Week NOLA. No, I didn't repeat myself. Although their names are very similar, both events are sure to be loaded with fun, fashion, and something this city hold dear to its heart—extravagance! To give you a little insight into the line up for the two weeks, let's go ahead and break it down.

First up is NOLA Fashion Week—a seven day extravaganza presented by the Downtown Development District that pulls top-tier professionals from around the country to celebrate some of New Orleans' finest. With nine confirmed designers such as Nire`, Amanda Deleon, Jolie and Elizabeth, and Matthew Arthur Apparel Architecture as well as NY Fashion Week veteran hair stylists Micah Nickens and Courtney Bradberry, the shows promise imagination, structure, but most of all, heart.

Beginning March 21, workshops and gatherings will be held in grand places ranging from fine dining establishments, local boutiques, and high-end art galleries. That's not all. The culmination comes in the form of a two-day runway show grand-finale on March 25 and 26 at the impressive Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Although the runway shows are invite only, the workshops and other events are completely open to the public and with events all around town throughout the week, there's more than enough to keep the fashion lover entertained.

Not a member of the fashion industry yet but still want to be a part of the runway scene? Well, Fashion Week NOLA gives you that chance and more! Head on over to the Sugar Mill on the week of March 15-18 to see a lineup of more than 18 up-and-coming designers all competing for a chance to be named "Top Designer" in front of a panel of judges including Brigitte Holthausen, the owner of Hemline Boutique, Steven Putt, the Director of Marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue New Orleans, and couture designer Suzanne Perron, who has worked with high-end designers such as Anna Sui and Vera Wang. Add to that an appearance by some New Orleans Fire Fighters and it's bound to be a great time!

Given the great lineups and fabulous venues, what could possibly make fashion even better? How about fashion for a cause? Both of these Fashion Weeks are affiliated with numerous local charities. NOLA Fashion Week is partnered with the Ogden Museum of Art's community based programs and Jeantherapy's AWear Campaign, who's fun and vintage inspired t-shirts benefit local organizations such as Friends of City Park, Covenant House, and the sp[OIL]ed Campaign, and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Fashion Week NOLA has welcomed charitable partners NO/AIDS Task Force, which is "a non-profit organization providing education, counseling, financial support and anonymous HIV testing", Dress for Success, and The Fashion Institute of New Orleans.

Bringing such a large-scale industry to New Orleans not only breathes life into the local market, but it also allows opportunities for local support on multiple levels and has an opportunity to showcase the best of the Gulf Coast and provide a well-deserved partner to the ever-growing film industry in our beloved home town. And don't think that the fashion ends at the runways. Some of the best fashion can be found alongside the catwalk on the frames of the creative muses of the Crecent City—you. So, ladies grab your heels and men throw on your best outfit because it's time to strut your stuff.

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