Show your style (or discover it)
By Jess Righthand
Friday, September 14, 2012
New York Fashion Week has been the talk of fashionistas everywhere recently. Trend reports are rushing in, predicting styles that will be flooding the streets come spring.
While New York is undoubtedly an epicenter of fashion, Washington has its own distinct style that’s not just about New York and not just about Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor. D.C. fashion can be funky. It can be loud. And it will be front and center when DC Fashion Week kicks off Monday.
“In terms of functional clothing, Washingtonians stick to a work uniform,” says Ean Williams, founder and organizer of DC Fashion Week, now in its ninth year. “That’s what the world sees. They only see us at work. We’re making policy that changes the world. But go to any happy hour and watch how people change their wardrobe at the bars.”
Over the course of the next week, about 50 designers will show spring looks for both work and play. The designers hail from Nigeria, India and Thailand, as well as from Washington. Many have shown their creations at fashion weeks in New York and Miami, and others are just now arriving on the local fashion scene.
Not sure if fashion week is for you? Williams says the purpose of the event is to celebrate the city’s diversity. So, dear Hill staffer, bartender, mother of two, or [fill in the blank], yes, DC Fashion Week is definitely for you. Here’s how you can participate (for tickets and more information, visit www.dcfashionweek.org):
Saturday. H Street Festival There are many reasons to head to the H Street Festival, and its role as the unofficial start of DC Fashion Week is one of them. A fashion show takes over the main stage at 3 p.m., showcasing fall looks. This is the only time you’ll see fall fashion on the runway, so this event is ideal for those who would rather focus on the current season.
At 3 p.m. H Street between Eighth and 14th streets NE. www.hstreet.org. Free.
Monday. Kickoff Reception and Eco Fashion Show
The official kickoff to DC Fashion Week features a fashion show in which designers use a recycled blue wrap material to create entire outfits. Last year’s eco show was one of the most popular events of the week, and the show this year already is full.
At 7 p.m. 2121 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free tickets are no longer available.
Tuesday. A/C DC Designer Fashion Show This show displays red carpet looks from Andrew Nowell Menswear as well as from Corjor International, Ean Williams’s own label of womenswear.
From 6 to 9 p.m. The Washington Club at Patterson House, 15 Dupont Cir. $20.
Wednesday. Fashion in the Streets New this year, DC Fashion Week takes fashion public with a flash mob street performance in Gallery Place. What the performance actually will entail remains a surprise, but this is one way to get some fashion week flavor while you’re out and about.
At 6:30 p.m. Near Seventh and H streets NW. Free.
Thursday. Fashion Industry Networking Party Musicians, stylists, models, bloggers and photographers converge to bond over their mutual love of fashion at Dirty Bar in Dupont Circle. Williams calls this particular event “a good opportunity for someone local to jump into the fashion scene.” The party also includes a jewelry and accessories fashion show.
From 6 to 10 p.m. Dirty Bar, 1223 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free (age 18 and older only).
Sept. 21. South Asian Designer Showcase Part of what distinguishes DC Fashion Week is its international flair. Designers from South Asia display their work at this evening show.
At 7 p.m. Indique Heights, 2 Wisconsin Cir., Chevy Chase. $10.
Sept. 22. Emerging Designer Showcase Buzzed-about local fashion designers get top billing at this show. Designers include Heydari, Callista, Aphropolitan and others. DJ City spins for the show.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Washington Post Conference Center, 1150 15th St. NW. $30, $50 front row.
Sept. 23. 17th International Couture Collections The signature show of DC Fashion Week features couture designer duds from Firefly Designs Africa*Asia, Slanovskyi, Svetlana Horvat and others.
From 5 to 9 p.m. French Embassy, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW. $70, $150 VIP.
LOCAL DESIGNERS’ SPOTLIGHT
This year's DC Fashion Week features 15 local fashion designers. A few to keep an eye out for:
Heydari This veteran of DC Fashion Week is known for dramatic silhouettes in luxe fabrics, with looks that emphasize comfort above all else. Designer Mariam Heydari has stores in Alexandria, Union Station and Georgetown. www.heydarishop.com.
Andrew Nowell Menswear Originally from the Bronx, Andrew Nowell studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and is now based in Washington. In March, his sleek menswear was featured on BET’s Rip the Runway, and his clientele includes professional athletes, hip-hop artists and actors. www.andrewnowell.com.
Aphropolitan These modern, urban pieces draw inspiration from cultures of the world, particularly African designs. Think rompers, fitted dresses and other fun street wear in bold geometric prints and bright colors. www.aphropolitan.com.
Callista Virginia-based designer Callista Prescott has new looks hitting the runways this year. Prescott, who is self-taught, has only been working in fashion design full time since early this year. She describes her styles as ultra-feminine, graceful and soft -- very wearable for spring.
GET THE LOOK
Fashion Week is a prime opportunity to dress to the nines. Here are a handful of local boutiques where you can purchase clothes by DC Fashion Week designers and other emerging brands:
Heydari boutiques Georgetown: 1338 Wisconsin Ave. 202-333-1241. Union Station: 50 Massachusetts Ave. 202-682-2030. Alexandria: 319 Cameron St. 703-299-9098. www.heydarishop.com.
Find pieces by Andrew Nowell as well as a slew of other local designers. 1603 U St. NW. 202-265-1930. www.
Violet This Adams Morgan boutique opened in 2011 and offers edgy women’s fashion at affordable prices. 2439 18th St. NW. 202-621-9225. www.violet
Another U Street mainstay, Lettie Gooch sells hip, fashionable women’s apparel. 1517 U St. NW. 202-332-4242. www.lettiegooch.com.
Etsy Find designs by Firefly Designs Africa*Asia, Joanna Carrie Designs and other DC Fashion Week designers online at www.etsy.com.