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The nation’s fifth largest fashion event was held in Omaha Aug. 17 through 22.
Omaha Fashion Week is held biannually every March and August with more than 9,000 in attendance, 1,000 behind the stage members, 325 models and 55 designers every year.
Omaha Fashion Week was the first to allow designers to showcase their products of art for no cost at all. They are selected based on merit.
Monday night was bridal wear and children’s wear. Tuesday was avant garde and swimwear collections. Wednesday and Thursday are ready-to-wear showcases. Friday was eveningwear and Saturday was the grand finale, following an after-party at McLovin Store.
A pop-up tent on 14th and Cumming Street held hundreds of people taking group selfies, drinking and mingling. The music was loud and booming and photographers had their cameras flashing in every direction.
There were also pop up stores within the tent such as Pretty in Patina, a local boutique, Gordmans and Borsheims.
From attending most of the shows I noticed a few things that kept repeating, like the lack of diversity in shapes of bodies and skin colors. Some designers did a phenomenal job representing everybody, such as Jennifer Pool who designed dresses, which were inspired by the fairy tale lands. Even more so, they were designed for men in drag.
I’m sure the people in the fashion industry have their reasons as to why models have to be thin to showcase their clothing but I wish I had seen more models that every-day people could relate to better.
One designer that had a major lack of diversity in their models was Michaela Cawley, who designs KKINI, a luxury swimwear brand. Maybe because they were swimsuit models their bodies have to be really slender but again, I would have loved to see different women involved. I noticed in some collections, there were not any racial mixes. In the ones that did, there were only a few that were African American. For any other races, I could not see them to name them.
Fashion on the runway is very different than street fashion. It’s more about telling a story or representing an idea. Props such as hairstyles, makeup and music really fit in the back-story. For example, Ellene McClay designs represented the eighties style with splashes of bright colors and fringed flares while the crowd jammed out to “Sweet Dreams” by Annie Lennox.
Audience members can now buy what they see on the runway by texting the designers’ name to a specific number throughout the show.
There’s a lot going on inside the 22,000 square foot tent but also on the outside. Matt Babe has a studio at Hot Shops and was hired as Omaha Fashion Week’s street artist. The event ordered 36-40 canvases to be auctioned off. Half of the proceeds go back to fashion week the other half is his commission.
“My inspiration tonight is from concerts and pretty lights,” Babe said. “It comes from all over, tonight I’m working on letter structures.”
Every night there was a winner judged by a panel of five.
Monday’s winner: Adrienne Anderson. Her designs start from the bachelorette party and lasts all the way through the wedding to the honeymoon stage.
Tuesday’s winner: Dan Richters. His inspiration came from the ocean and portrayed a lot of fins, gale and spikes on his designs.
Wednesday’s winner: Triple Thread. Their clothing featured sharp edges and beautiful colors-those of which you see when looking through a kaleidoscope.
Thursday’s winner: Christopher Di Giorgio. He is a menswear designer that sparks inspiration from the vintage collections of Tommy Hilfiger.
Friday’s winner: Denise Ervin. Her inspiration was driven from the usage of authentic indian thread and designs.
Saturday’s grand finale winner: Dan Richters. He won a $15,000 worth package.
One reason for lack of diversity in body size is due to consistency in production. It isn’t cost effective to have a wide variety of dress forms lying around the studio because they range from $500-1,000 a piece. The sample size usually chosen is on the smaller size because larger garments = more fabric yardage. In a in the prototype / development stage of production, minimizing cost is essential. Business is business and money is always a factor. While diversity is great in fashion… It is also extremely expensive.