PROVIDENCE – With spring just around the corner, Rhode Island Fashion Week celebrates the occasion by blossoming into its tenth season of events, which will take place over eight days, from March 27 to April 3 in Providence.
This year, to celebrate the Big 10, Lights Fashion Philanthropy founder and creative director, LFP, Yemi Sekoni, said the group wanted to scale up and not be made up entirely of fashion shows. Sekoni owns two companies, in LFP and The Donahue Group, Models and Talent. LFP organizes the annual fashion show.
Sekoni said that in previous years, the fashion week was about three to four days, in a long weekend, starting on a Thursday or ending on a Monday and having four to six designers per night. With COVID-19, things started to change and in 2020 they had to cancel the shows in person.
They had already planned the 2020 show when the lockdown happened. Sekoni wanted to stay active, so she reached out to some of the designers, who were supposed to be part of the show in person. She asked the designers to put together a small presentation about their projects and to record a mini catwalk.
Each stylist recorded about four minutes and Sekoni edited them together in 30-minute episodes, becoming Fashion Fete.
“It became an eight-week mini series,” he said.
The series has been so popular and garnered so many views that they brought it back last year for the ninth fashion week. It grew up last year when they received videos from designers around the world, including Uganda, Switzerland and London, to name a few.
“It was one of the good things that comes with the pandemic,” Sekoni said.
They streamed the episodes every Thursday night between 7pm and 7.30pm, and Sekoni said people would tell her they were looking forward to a hip night out after work.
This year, Fashion Week will incorporate a series of webinar activities and events throughout the eight days.
The theme of this Rhode Island Fashion Week is sustainability. Then the week will start on Sunday 27th March with a clothing swap event at The Nest, 1155 Westminster St., Unit 220, from 3pm to 6.30pm
Sekoni said The Nest has a great group of people who also promote sustainability.
The idea of the event is to bring five delicately used objects, such as shoes, clothes and bags, to be exchanged for other objects. There will be a stylist on site to give attendees advice on how to style their new treasures. In this way, instead of throwing away the clothes you no longer wear, someone else has the opportunity to use the “recycled” clothes.
Anything left over at the end of the event will be donated to The Nest. Admission is $ 5.
Mondays and Tuesdays will feature free virtual events.
On Monday 28th March, join LFP for the prime time of roundtables. Tonight will feature three segments. The first is Sustainability and Fashion from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm The second segment is about adding color to your wardrobe. “What if you can’t wear black anymore?” is part of the description. This will run from 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm and from 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm, the segment is Summer 2022 Fashion Trends.
The third day, Tuesday 29 March, is another panel discussion with Chris Donavan and will also have three half hour segments. From 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm, the segment is called “Being stylish and fabulous at any age”. Three stylists will share their tips for looking more ferocious, whether you’re 25 or 85. The second spot is “Of Bowties, Ties and Ascots, for Men and Women”, from 19:30 to 20:00 In the last segment, from 8 to 20:30, Donavan, creator of Chris Donovan Footwear, will share the way in which he went from a service repair professional to a shoe designer when he was 50.
On the fourth and fifth day, Wednesday 30 March and Thursday 31 March, they present Fashion Fete, The Virtual Fashion Show. Both nights this global fashion show will be available in streaming from 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Live parades will be held on Friday 1st April and Saturday 2nd April. Day six, Friday, will feature up-and-coming designers who have been drawing for around one to five years.
“We also have a Drag Extravaganza,” Sekoni said. “Drag Queens usually make their own clothes and that’s another talent.”
Another part of the evening will be a presentation on denim, which according to Sekoni is the most used recycled fabric.
The live shows will take place at the Providence Career & Technical Academy, 41 Fricker St. Sekoni said he has had an excellent relationship with the school for the past three years. The instructor from the cosmetology department invited the show to school, and they’ve been using that department’s students on the beauty team ever since to capitalize on what they’ve learned.
Featured on Friday, from 6pm to 9.30pm, will be BCV Design, The Nest, ABYS, A history of denim Presentation, Drag Extravaganza and Abigail by Gail Hannel. Not only fashion show, but also performances by Inara, Blacc Brandi and Arlande Ferdinand.
Saturdays include two events, a Kids’ Runway Show, from 2pm to 4pm and a Seasoned Designers Runway Show, from 6pm to 9.30pm
Tickets to all catwalk shows cost $ 30 for general admission and $ 50 for VIP.
The Kids Show features kids ‘and teens’ style jeans from Fashion Trend Class, style accessories from Fashion Trend Class and much more to follow.
The last live show of the week features expert designers and a cosplay scene. The lineup includes: Dress with Confidence, Royal Ebony, Peace by Piece, Shaco Couture, CosMODA, Jack Attackk Clothing, Jonee Anderson Designs and Maternity Wear Styled by Fashion Trend Class with performances by Chloe Savage and more.
The last day, Sunday 3 April, concludes the Fashion Week with a Designer Market Place at the PCTA and it’s free. Sekoni said this is where people can buy what they saw during the week and support local businesses, 3pm to 6.30pm.
Sekoni said she hopes to put our little state of Rhode Island on the map for fashion as well as being inclusive.
“We are a really fun organization that places an emphasis on inclusiveness,” he said. “Our mission is to celebrate the beauty of diversity and talent in Rhode Island.”