NOLA Fashion Week: Make it Work
London. Paris. New York. Hong Kong. And now New Orleans.
For the past 3 years, the New Orleans Fashion Council has produced New Orleans Fashion Week to give budding designers the opportunity to showcase their stylish visions.
This fall is the show’s sixth season. Models are walking runways all over town from September 28 through October 5, strutting their stuff in fashions designed for Spring/Summer 2014 (Fashion is always a few months ahead). If you’re looking for something uniquely beautiful to do this weekend, I suggest you check out the schedule on nola-fashionweek.com and head out to the catwalks.
The Outsider’s Perspective
I had the opportunity to attend a show at Woldenberg Park last fall, and wasn’t sure what to expect. Here’s the rundown: if you’re intimidated by fashionistas, don’t be. The hosts were extremely welcoming and my anxiety about picking the perfect outfit faded quickly – there were folks dressed across the full spectrum from super casual to super trendy. The show was a lot of fun, and everyone in the audience was supportive and appreciative of the designer’s work. Even if a specific look isn’t exactly your cup of tea, every model gets a round of applause & the creative energy is inspiring.
The Insider’s Perspective
I had a chance to speak with Andrea Eaton, one of the masterminds behind the magic, to ask about her vision for the week and the organization’s big-picture goals. Spending five minutes with this lady will make you feel like a slacker – she’s a powerhouse of passion with a killer sense of personal style and has the most consistent and fun social media updates of anyone I’ve ever followed (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook – she’s on it).
Andrea not only runs the show, she shows her work through her own fashion label, Hazel & Florange (www.hazelandflorange.com), so she’s able to come to the task with multiple perspectives.
“We wanted to create a platform for local designers to showcase their work and be fully supported. New Orleans is exploding right now – through entrepreneurship and a huge creative movement. Fashion is the perfect combination of those ideals. It’s not just about the art, it’s about empowering designers to launch a business that’s going to be both satisfying creatively and profitable enough to support them. And, we’re letting the public know about the talent we have locally so they don’t feel like they have to go outside of New Orleans to find beautiful unique things to wear.”
This years designers and brands on display include: Ahhleek, American Prep, Dreamcar, Camilyn Beth, Christopher Rogers, Dama Talya, Ella Rose, Hazel & Florange, HiLo, Hunt Collective, Jolie & Elizabeth (whose work has been worn by the always adorably dressed Zooey Deschanel!), Libellule, Loretta Jane, M.A.R.K., Matthew Arthur, Noel Martin and Pret-a-Porter.
To see the goods, check out www.nola-fashionweek.com/schedule, where you can get the inside scoop on shows, workshops, shopping events, and parties galore.
Andrea’s tips for surviving 30 fashionable events in one week:
- You’ll want to wear a glamorous outfit and rock a 6” heel on the first day, but you’ll end up wearing Chuck Taylors and smeared lipstick by day seven. It’s better to stay consistent from the start – think stylish flats and comfy neutral-toned clothes with amazing accessories. This way, you can last the full week without having to cover your feet in bandaids.
- Sleep and Eat. Even though dining on nothing but espresso, hors d’ouevres & champagne SOUNDS amazing, the reality isn’t so beautiful. Eat regular meals with healthy ingredients and skip out on the occasional after party so that you can make it the next day.
- Stay happy. Fashion week is designed to inspire creativity, promote self expression and build a community. It’s not an HR conference in the desert – it’s Fashion Week in New Orleans. Enjoy yourself, make new friends, and laugh off stress.