Designers, models and retailers say PEI’s Fashion Weekend was a resounding success and all the talk in the community is about when it’s next.
Julia Campbell is the organizer of the PEI Fashion Weekend, which took place on 25 and 26 March. She said Friday night’s show at Trailside Music Hall was sold out weeks in advance. Island artists and designers were celebrated throughout the weekend, with pop-up shops in Charlottetown and retailers showing off local creations.
“The retailers have been very encouraging in hosting designers that many of them have never met, giving up space in their brick and mortar shop to give a designer a chance to show and sell their collection,” he said.
“We are very, very satisfied.”
The weekend was organized quickly, so Campbell was blown away by the amount of sponsors, retailers, models, designers and fashion lovers who made it possible. Campbell credits Discover Charlottetown and its Ignition Fund for bringing the event to life, saying the weekend was something the province’s fashion community was hungry for.
“I moved home 10 years ago and I’m seeing so much creativity, so much diversity,” she said.
“There is so much talent happening here and we just wanted to offer a platform and a place for people to showcase their art and exhibit all the amazing designers, stylists, artists who are putting art into clothing in this. fashion show”.
“God’s timing is just great”
Designer Jean-Grace Kifwabala owns Truly Motivated, which started in 2021. He received a message asking if he wanted to be part of the PEI Fashion Weekend and didn’t have time to respond.
“Absolutely. Come on! I need it now!” He said. The timing was perfect for him, as he had just worked on a new clothing line.
“My friend says, ‘God’s timing is just amazing,’ so the collection was over the day I got the text. So in my head it had to be like that,” he said.
The process of coming up with an idea for a design, tweaking it, making it happen, having someone wear it, and seeing people react is a feeling that can’t be matched, he said. This was her first fashion show and it won’t be her last.
“Just being here right now and showing my products and meeting the models and doing it right now is great,” she said. “I’m very grateful.”
Chrysler Hewlett, co-owner of Created Unbound, designs clothing and artwork with her brother, Chester. Chrysler said the opportunity to showcase their work is huge.
“We officially launched last May, so having this opportunity in less than a year from the start is really crazy for me,” he said.
“All the hard work, all the sleepless nights with designs … it’s actually paying off.”
She described the PEI fashion community and its designers as a collection of people “chasing their dreams together,” so having the PEI Fashion Weekend and corporate support was an amazing feeling.
“I just have to pay myself, see happy people”
Jerry Oriade, designer of FINIX, said the event far exceeded his expectations.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, look at the people wearing the clothes I designed,'” she said. “Nobody ever sees the behind the scenes, the hours of work spent only for a few seconds. But I was very happy. I could see that the audience liked it, smiling, clapping., Seeing people happy.”
Oriade said being able to forge friendships with people on the PEI scene was a highlight for him.
In 10 years, he said he will look back and say, “I was part of the first [fashion week] on PEI “
Artist and designer Almendra Romero said her dresses are inspired by Mexican culture.
“I just want to show, you know, where I’m from … and the traditional clothes we have,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve been able to show people … what I can design for clothes, so it’s really cool.”
Romero said it’s something she wanted to do since she was a teenager. She feels empowered and happy that her role models have been seen by the islanders.
“This show just showed how different we are”
Model Lox MacMillan-Metatawabin said it was an honor to attend the show and showcase local brands.
“I felt so confident. I felt like the IEP had come together and we are showing what we have achieved on this small island, and it is a lot to offer,” she said. “The energy felt in the room, you just fed on it.
“This show just showed how different we are.”
Kency Manalili, who modeled for three PEI designers, said he was nervous at first. But when he saw the red carpet he thought, “Now is my time to shine.
“I felt like I was at home and I felt really comfortable. I’ve always wanted to do something like this and, having the opportunity tonight, I feel so lucky,” he said.
Manalili said he hopes events like this will broaden what some islanders see as fashion and make people more comfortable with experimentation.
Andrew Imade also modeled, representing three brands. Walking through rehearsal, he said, was the first time he felt nervous.
“I was in a panic. I basically forgot how to walk.” She went home and trained with her steps and her pace.
Before the backstage show, he was tense and breathing heavily. But the spotlight changed all of that.
“I’d do it a million times,” he said. “They should have another one. If I could, I’d do it all week.”