For a short moment I had to squint as my recent Fashion Week schedule resembled the PR schedule my team receives each season for New York Fashion week just with the address of my hometown. Two fashion weeks within one week made for an eventful time of traveling between cities, preparing looks, viewing collections and all the other moments that make attending a traditional fashion week a whirlwind of a great time.
New to our city this season Coastal Virginia Fashion Week was born hosting a number of shows featuring designers, boutiques and a plethora of new ideas to come according to show Producer, Patricia Streeter. A resident of Chesapeake Virginia and owner of Starlight Eventz, Streeter set out on a long thought out mission to bring multi-city events that could pay homage to hard working area designers and boutique owners with all levels of fashion experience. While Streeter’s long running Future-N-Fashion Show has focused on emerging designers she explains, “ Coastal Virginia Fashion Week(CoVaFW) is a platform for us to highlight emerging designers up to the task of preparing for larger market presentations. Our goal is to help guide them, make a place for them within our local fashion culture and celebrate the seasoned talent our area has to offer as well.”
The encompassing words “Fashion Culture” can mean many things to many people and further prompted Streeter to expound on the goals of CoVAFW. Many fashion shows appear via flyers on facebook hosted all over Hampton Roads each day what makes CoVAFW different? What will make it worth it? How will it make a difference in our area moving forward? Streeter opened her 2020 planner to exclusively reveal the A/W 2020 show date for CoVAFW as slated for April 16th-19th 2020. With most venues already booked (information to be released at a later date) Streeter is hitting the ground running on preparations for what will be our areas first ‘bi-annually scheduled Fashion Week. “While our area is unique and is building it’s fashion footprint I look forward to working towards us being in the same conversations that include those of major fashion markets such as New York, London and Paris.”
This has been a long running conversation within my team as we travel from Virginia to other fashion markets and the longing for that culture locally makes this great news. Furthering that fashion culture through not only developing designers but also all the elements that we in our conversation refer to now as the “fashion ecosystem” of our area. Essentially the circle of life concept designers developing collections on the editorial fiscal schedule such as these major markets we are referring to therefore pushing the demand for this bi-annual showcase that CoVAFW expects to bring while creating a boost of area fashion putting designers to work consequently making work for the other tiers of fashion that we may not readily think about such as stable paid work for models, stylists, and photographers. The vision is a BIG one to say the least but very doable.
Opening Night kicked off in the city of Hampton hosted by the Format in PDF a Facebook social media based talk show in which Streeter is the “P” of in an open meet and greet format to begin the scheduled five days of activities. Making way through the week to the staple Future-N-Fashion show was hosted by Model and Stylist Erik Castano dressed in local retailer Upscale Men's Fashions. Presented at the Virginia Beach Convention Center it included emerging designers White Elephant featuring curated denim, Vintage Fuzion focusing on sustainable fashion, Melesia Robinson, More to love by Roxy and Femi of LeeLou Designs 720 whom is the “F” in the Format in PDF show along with local boutique Urban Sophie.
According to the Devil wears Prada we all are in desperate need for Chanel. I couldn’t agree more! While a big inspiration for young designer Roxy of More to love by Roxy the young designer also included bold lime and a very chic long sleeve combination patched-jean knee length piece within her capsule collection shown. I look forward to seeing what is next from this young talent.
We can lend our thanks for gowns and drama to self taught designer Melesia Robinson. A current Fashion Marketing student at The Art Institute whom humbly spoke about her journey and gratitude in a short post runway interview with host Erik. From tulle and sequence to dramatic trains the Designing mom displayed models of all sizes using fabrics with great stretch quality making a great proclamation she is the designer for every woman.
While the fashion week began by introducing us to up and comers it ended with Dutch RicLamar whom if you have heard clearly needs no introduction. For many years now local women, models and onlookers have been acquainted with “Speak Dutch” a tag line the designer often uses. Sunday evening we had a glimpse of exactly what that meant with O’Connor Brewery as the backdrop for his runway show Ebony Ginger. Guests experienced multiple collections on models of all sizes and while our city hosts a growing number of “Dutch Dolls” this season he brought out the boys too! His new 2BXL line bringing empowerment and self love for men of all sizes had the models ripping the runway “feeling themselves”. I’d say goal accomplished. In fact, I’d say goal accomplished for the totality of this season’s inaugural Coastal Virginia fashion Week.
Photos provided: Visionary Imagez
Event coverage and replay available with Ernest Productions