Syracuse Fashion Week expresses local creativity, raises funds for the local food bank

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Electronic pop music was pumping as attendees finished shopping for drinks and settled into their seats around the catwalk. The DJ warmed up the crowd when he announced the show was starting and started introducing the first designer to exhibit their designs.

Syracuse Fashion Week kicked off Thursday with an event at Aloft Syracuse Inner Harbor called “Spring Fling”, followed by Friday’s event at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que called “Local Love”. And on Saturday, the closing show, “Lux,” took place in the Washington Place apartments in downtown Syracuse.

Syracuse has been hosting a fashion week since spring 2014, but this was the first since the pandemic began. Instead of the big gala events of previous years, Lisa Butler, executive director of Syracuse Fashion Week, opted for three smaller events due to the pandemic.

The themes of this year’s events were “Spring Fling”, where designers showed their latest designs for the warmer weather, “Local Love”, which focused strictly on highlighting local designers, and ” Lux “, focused on luxury design.

Spotlighting local designers and shops allows them to make themselves known and gives the public the opportunity to see what they have to offer, said Monica Villegas, owner of the Floridella boutique. This year Villegas attended Syracuse Fashion Week for the fourth time. She had the opportunity to show her inventory two weeks after her boutique opened.

“I was invited by Lisa… she knew about my opening recently and it gave me the opportunity to be a part of it. And since then, I’ve grown up for that too,” said Villegas.


A model wears makeup. Kate Harrington | Personal photographer


A person in a denim jacket and leggings poses. Kate Harrington | Personal photographer

Saturday’s closing show featured a variety of different types of designers as eight different brands displayed their luxury designs on the runway. Kathom Al Jiboury, alumna at Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts, opened the show with her sleek, sequined modest designs, an area of ​​fashion design that historically hasn’t had so much representation in the fashion industry.

This year was the first fashion show of the designer Ezmira Neshawait, and her models showed off some garments combined with “mom and me”. Lucky Mae’s Closet put a modern twist on 1950s rockabilly and vintage designs with pin-up curls and big, puffy skirts. Projex 214, a boutique in the center of Syracuse, showed its luxury men’s fashion.


A model walks the runway with the DJ on stage behind them. Max Mimaroglu | Asst. Photo editor


Photographers photograph a model walking on the catwalk. Max Mimaroglu | Asst. Photo editor

A common theme to many of the models shown at the “Lux” event was the focus on sustainable fashion, both through recycled and repurposed clothing. The fashion department of Cazenovia College presented two of its student lines.

One of its lines, “Look Again”, proposes the clothes bought in the thrift stores and its models are sold by The Key in Cazenovia. Alumna of Cazenovia College, Elissa Martin of Altered Eco closed the show with her recycled designs in bright colors suitable for a fun party.

In addition to showing the breadth of creativity coming from the Syracuse area, the events of the fashion week also raise funds and awareness for the Food Bank of Central New York. Butler made this decision after seeing the documentary “A Place at the Table”, which explores the issue of hunger in America.


Attendees watch as a model walks down the runway wearing a dressing gown and domino mask. Max Mimaroglu | Asst. Photo editor


A model walks the runway as fashion show attendees watch. Max Mimaroglu | Asst. Photo editor

“I happened to see that documentary while conceiving Syracuse Fashion Week, and it brought to my attention food insecurity, hunger in America, and somehow it settled in my brain: food and fashion: those are two things. that people need to survive. ” said the butler.

Butler was pushed to be philanthropic and give back to the community with Syracuse Fashion Week, and the documentary gave her the motivation to choose the Food Bank of Central New York to benefit from the events. So far, the events have raised enough funds to provide 40,000 meals to people in central and northern New York.


Fabrics are hung on a rack for models to wear during the show. Kate Harrington | Personal photographer


A person wearing a black top and gold necklace smiles in the Washington Place apartments. Kate Harrington | Personal photographer

“There is someone half a mile away from where we are right now who doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. They are food insecure; they are the poor workers; they are the workers; they are seniors, seniors, families, children, “Butler said at the” Lux “event.

The food bank serves 11 counties and has over 400 partners, said Lynn Hy, its development manager. Without Syracuse Fashion Week’s support and donations, it would be difficult to keep food bank operations running, Hy said.

“It’s events like (Syracuse Fashion Week) that help raise awareness and raise money that help keep our warehouse open, trucks on the go and get that food into the community to the people who need it,” Hy said.


A group of people stands in a room during a fashion show in the Washington Place apartments. Kate Harrington | Personal photographer

Each year, more and more people attend Syracuse Fashion Week and it is about to consolidate as a landmark event.

“I love creativity. I think there’s an amazing creative culture in Syracuse that just needs to get a little more publicity, ”Butler said.

– Staff writer Adriana Lobo contributed to this article.


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