Think of it like going to the Olympics. No one is trying bobsleigh for the first time at the Games. You train, build support networks, learn from setbacks, work on your technique and morale. Then you enter the fray and navigate the sport system to compete at higher and higher levels. Similarly, no designer presents his very first collection at haute couture week. Go to a beginning in the fashion big leagues (Paris, London, New York, Milan) requires painstaking teamwork. While we can recognize the Olympics as the world’s greatest platform for fashion diplomacy, athletes find their way there through a series of local, regional, national and international events. A similar professional circuit is emerging for American fashion designers working in womenswear, menswear, footwear, jewelry and accessories. Beyond New York, three US destinations have captured the attention of the global industry: Los Angeles Fashion Week, Miami Swim WeekAnd MAGIC living room in Las Vegas. However, domestic talent is thriving in all 50 states.
For a decade, regional fashion weeks have been is getting bigger. The trend has accelerated in recent years thanks to changing consumer priorities and a post-pandemic focus on local initiatives. The idea of buy locally has transcended its origins in the farm-to-table food industry. Additionally, the exponential growth of social media and e-commerce capabilities has created vital alternatives for designers to reach customers and support their businesses by bypassing established retail systems. The Internet has democratized access to fashion not only for buyers, but for anyone interested in this profession. You can start marketing and selling products on your phone.
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Many fashion startups view fashion weeks as an exciting next-level opportunity to cultivate their offline communities and test the waters by entering wholesale or international markets. Beyond fun, regional and local fashion weeks fulfill several socio-economic and cultural objectives:
- Identify local talent and put them on the path to reach a wider consumer audience.
- Stimulate local hospitality and travel industries by encouraging domestic and international event-based tourism.
- Stimulate the retail sector during declining non-holiday income by creating an opportunity to shop at destination.
- Strengthen the networks of auxiliary trades: casting, hairdressing, make-up and other beauty trades, laundry, security, catering, etc.
- Serve as local talent incubators to nurture promising talents as they mature in terms of creativity and entrepreneurship.
- Foster an engaged culture of communication in the arts between governing bodies, the media and other industry players.
- Nurture a sense of belonging to, among and within local creative communities.
- Provide safe spaces for self-expression to marginalized, underrepresented and at-risk identities.
Here’s the coast-to-coast list of top US fashion weeks fueling sustainable interconnected local fashion ecosystems.
The Portland, OR based event celebrates its 10th anniversary with carbon neutral certification. The Mayors’ initiative expanded into a #FashionTech competition, a business accelerator and a talent incubator. American Fashion Podcast sees its potential to be the nation’s greatest emerging talent platform.
Next edition: October 5 7, 2023
The Mile High runway belongs to one of the fastest growing fashion platforms in America. The media event delivers on its promise to provide an inclusive, uplifting and supportive environment for all attendees, as its audience and reach have doubled from season to season.
Next edition: May 2024
For 16 years, the platform has diligently pursued the mission of connecting continents through fashion,” as Tyler Perry Studios put Atlanta on the global movie map. Also be sure to visit SCAD-FASH (Fashion + Film Museum) as a testament to the city’s great style renaissance.
Next edition: September 26 October 1, 2023
This year, the platform marks twenty years of the nation’s capital’s elevation as the seat of fashion power. From first ladies to foreign dignitaries to the Smithsonian, style heritage shares the limelight with the latest trends in a neighborhood with the second youngest population in the country.
Next edition: September 29 October 1, 2023
This all-volunteer event brings fashion enthusiasts from across the Tennessee Valley to Huntsville. Among the strong points, its track presents The next model kick-off winners. Alabama Fashion Alliance offers professional development opportunities through its membership program.
Next edition: September 15-17, 2023
Fashion. Education. Community. These are the three pillars of the largest industrial platform in the Southwest. Since 2008, he has organized various seminars, meetings and talent searches leading to biannual weekend parades at the aptly named Chateau Luxe.
Next edition: October 20-21, 2023
From sewing workshops to a fashion film in 10 episodes at a biennial, this platform works on big ideas with a community focus. THE learn-how-show The talent development strategy makes Springdale an unlikely must-see destination for American fashion enthusiasts. You better come now.
Next edition: June 2023
San Diego is home to both the oldest independent fashion week in the world and the oldest fashion film festival in North America (on break in 2023). It doesn’t just take a week of shows, but a whole year of events to appreciate the richness of Californian style(s).
Next edition: October 7-8, 2023
Build it, and they sashay. In 2006, designer Berny Martin envisioned Indianapolis as a style gateway between the United States and the world. Her two-way track approach has brought international designers to the Midwest and Midwestern designers to New York, Johannesburg and Paris.
Next edition: March 2024
In the mid-20th century, Kansas City was the clothing capital of post-war America, dictating style and retail trends before New York took over. Since 2010, KCFW has built on its historic Midwestern heritage to become one of the premier CFDA connects platforms in 2021.
Next edition: September 16 – 23, 2023
The platform cultivates fashion as an integral part of the Boston lifestyle. Drawing on the illustrious academic pedigree of the region, the season opens in partnership with the Cambridge Science Festival and incorporates Hoverlay AR augmented reality experiences for cool hi-tech vibes.
Next edition: September 30 October 7, 2023
Detroit is not resting on its famous Motor City and Motown laurels. Since 2015, the platform has been energizing the Great Lakes fashion community to anchor new creative economies in the region, in part through its outreach and commitment to transparency in the participation of designers.
Next edition: June 13-16, 2023
Since 2015, the platform has celebrated the styles and talents of the Twin Cities, one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the USA. Its First Nations Fashion Day is part of a growth program focused on five areas: education, innovation, reputation, business and investment.
Next edition: April 2024
Nice to meet you, said the landing page. Since 2008, this unapologetically expansive mindset has propelled the platform’s growth to number four among fashion events in the United States. Paying it forward, the week-long Omaha Fashion Camp teaches teens the ins and outs of the industry.
Next edition: August 21-26, 2023
Putting the Oh in Ohio, Columbus ranks third in the number of resident fashion designers behind NY and LA. This phenomenon could be attributed to the launching and sustaining mission of the platforms. Since 2010, the event has drawn the nations top talent to the city fueled by relentless optimism.
Next edition: September 24-30, 2023
Take note, world. Richmond is booming. What began in 2008 as a VCU student event has grown into an all-volunteer, statewide platform for local artistic talent. Its educational roots are strong as evidenced by the fashion symposium organized in partnership with Henrico County Public Schools.
Next edition: April 2024
The next big American fashion week?
Could your community benefit from consolidated fashion support? What would it take to launch and maintain a fashion week in your part of the country? Start the conversation. Join the movement.
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