Philadelphia Fashion Week 2009 DAY 1

by Nathanael

Fashion Week… in Philadelphia? YES. Finally, a fashion event showcasing Philly talent and style! No one knew what to expect of the opening night of Philadelphia’s Innaugural Fashion Week at the Armory on 23rd Street, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I appreciated that most of the talent came directly from Philadelphia, including the designers, the boutiques, the musical performances, and even the modeling agency used. Each day began with college students’ designs–Moore on Thursday, Philadelphia University on Friday, and the Art Institute on Saturday–which were evaluated by a panel of judges, who would award the school with the best designs, construction and coherence before the headliners on Saturday.

I usually don’t do this, but I wanted to include my critiques (in case anyone important is reading this and would like to know how to make next year even better!) Here goes:

1. The space inside the Armory could have been economized better with a straight, longer runway. The space behind the photographers and around the bar was always weirdly sparse. An event like this should always feel cramped and crowded, like a party.

2. The decor wasn’t thought out very much (for example, the backdrop of the runway itself–what was that stretchy white thing? A chandalier made of recycled pieces of… something? And the duct tape holding together the runway itself was unprofessional.)

3. I know this is a picky detail, but the models didn’t always pose upon coming out onto the runway, so the VIP section (oddly situated in the middle of the circular runway) never got a good view of the designs, or opportunity to photograph.

4. There was nothing marking the start of the shows. My seat was directly in front of the runway opening, and on several occasions we were caught in a conversation when the first model came out. Can we get a bright spotlight, an announcement, a drumroll, a sixty second warning… SOMETHING? (This made me appreciate our JW assemblies so much more. There’s always an announcement a minute or two prior to the start of the session! No guessing!)

5. The pauses between shows were awkward and cumbersome–not long enough to get up and mingle, but too long to sit idly in your seat, especially if you came alone. My suggestion would be to group the shows together, and make perhaps one or two longer intermissions.

However, all considered, I believe that this year was a great success in Philadelphia fashion history. The bartenders were great (does anyone know that minty drink the lounge bartenders were mixing Thursday and Friday? Delicious.) The DJs really contributed to a great atmosphere. The musical headlines were mostly good, especially This Is A Shakedown, during Thursday’s show. Oh, and I LOVED the fact that they began the next runway show while This Is A Shakedown was still playing! That was very impressive, and visually amazing. The boutiques featured great items for purchase also (I bought a t-shirt from Duke & Winston, and some jewelry for my sister at Matthew Izzo).

I can’t wait to see how next year will improve and expand! So exciting! Here’s some of my photos from Day 1…

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Seun Olubodun, designer of Duke & Winston

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Some awesome people I met, David and Seth (2nd, 4th from left) from Dangerous Ambition and Wick (3rd from left) from Well Fed

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Members of This Is A Shakedown, Thursday’s musical headline

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