DC Fashion Week 2010. (Damion Miller)

“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 (read a Q&A on what to expect over at the Root DC). 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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.