RVA Fashion Week to highlight local designers for fifth year

Photo courtesy of Image Machine / Dawn Yilmaz.

Maya Earls
Spectrum Editor

Designers and local models will represent the fashion world of the river city during the fifth year of RVA Fashion Week, which begins April 27.

Like fashion weeks held in major cities across the globe, RVA Fashion Week will begin with a traditional fashion show held in Carytown. Jewelry and accessory designers will have their own show the following day at the Glave Kocen art gallery. The week will also include an art showcase and block party featuring local musicians and food trucks. The James Center Bridge will host the designer showcase, and the fashion show finale will be held at The National.

Seven VCU students, Jason Primrose, Joey McCullough, Erin Brennan, Kearsten Feggans, Moe Medina, Jen Whitehead and Courtney Culbreath combined their various skills to put together the first fashion show in 2009. In an interview with RVA Magazine, McCullough said the show first took place at businesses willing to donate their location.

“Originally it started in bars, clubs and restaurants,” McCullough said. “They would donate their space to us and give us whatever we wanted.”

Since the first year, McCullough said the week has grown from an invite-only event to a much-anticipated public happening.

“It has gotten into the fashion industry within the city due to the boutiques talking about it, friends talking about it, our participants blogging about it and mentioning it,” McCullough said.  

Designers for this year’s fashion week include Zack Morris and his brand Chilalay, Markie Colden of PLV Apparel Company and Candace Parrish of Plus+. Local boutiques featured include Fab’rik, AlterNatives and South Moon Under. Jameson Deloatch, fashion director for the event, said organizers like to feature a variety of designers who are new to the market, according to RVA Magazine.

“We like to showcase all the different kinds of fashion you can find in Richmond,” Deloatch said.

This January, organizers held a model call for the fashion week. After several rounds, 22 models were selected including VCU student Iwona Ruchala and alumnus Autumn Richardson. By displaying a variety of models and designers, the fashion week illustrates a sample of the varied street style in Richmond. Assistant media director, Emily Gale said in an interview with RVA Magazine, the city is a melting pot and there is no specific style.

“You can walk down the street and see one outfit ten different ways,” Gale said. “Once you discover who you are in Richmond and where you stand … whether you’re covered in tattoos or in a sorority … it all works.”

In previous years, the show has worked with local charities such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Cinderella Dreams. This year, profits from the different events will go to the United Network for Organ Sharing. McCullough said working with different charities is just another way for the fashion show to promote Richmond.

RVA Fashion Week begins April 27 and ends May 3. Many events are free to the public, however VIP tickets for the entire weekend are currently available for $65 online.

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