Launched in 2010 with minimal fanfare or a great deal of media attention, Fashion Week Rochester (www.fashionweekofrochester.org) has now cemented itself in the Rochester psyche as one of the premier events for local movers, shakers, or those hoping to mingle with the glitterati.
Fashion Week events have been growing nationally with over a dozen cities hosting their own version of the infamous Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks’ that occur in New York, London, Paris and Milan throughout the month of September.
Yet Rochester, New York is unique because it has surpassed all other national events by raising the most amount of money for its host charity, The Center for Youth Services. Last year the event raised $125,000 and this year an ambitious fundraising goal has been set to double the proceeds to a whopping $250,000.
With an event that has generated so much local buzz, Rochester has been forced to re-examine its image, and in doing so we have humbly admitted that “Yes, we are capable of adding true cosmopolitan flavor to our mid-sized city.”
Of course, in life you know that you are truly successful when you have inspired competition, and Fashion Week Rochester has not been immune. Greentopia From the Ground Up Fashion Show: The Next Green Season occurred in September. Its primary focus was on sustainability, and all the clothing presented could only gain entry into the event if it was created by a local designer and required the use of unconventional fabrics.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the event but upon linking to their Facebook page (greentopiafest.com), I was able to view the pictures of the clothing from the show. From the photos provided, I thought the dresses made from coffee bean sacks were the most interesting. The fashion show itself appeared to be very similar to the weekly finale’s you see on Project Runway.
Not to be undone, the hipster inhabitants of the South Wedge neighborhood have launched The Anti-Fashion Week (Facebook.com/SubcultureMag or SubcultureNY.com) with a series of events running parallel to the original Fashion Week Rochester five date fete. Their celebration has included so far a Wednesday opening night party at gay alternative nightclub Tilt. The next two evenings were free events.
However tonight, Saturday will be the highlight as Anti Fashion Week will strut their wares with their own “Cut and Sew Collective Runway Show,” to be held at the German House. Once again the mission of this event is different than Fashion Week Rochester, as the only items to be showcased will be those created by local design talent, and the overall atmosphere is sure to be far more laid back with live music and drinks.
The event is also considerably less expensive with ticket prices being $20 for the general public, and only $40 for the VIPs. And like its predecessor Anti-Fashion Week will conclude with a Sunday boutique crawl from 11am to 6pm on South Avenue, including boutiques such as Zak’s Avenue and Hot Rod Betties.
Regardless of where you fall on the fashion spectrum, these events highlight a great love of the creative process and continue to prove that there is real and genuine innovation occurring within our community. I truly hope that you set aside some time this weekend to attend and enjoy at least one of these events.