It wouldn’t be Austin Fashion Week without some type of issue with mother nature. The first AFW event brought a top-notch heatwave in 2009 or how about drenching rain storms at the tented venue at La Zona Rosa in 2013. It seems the weather will always try to put a damper on an Austin Fashion Week event.
Right on cue, the 14th annual Austin Fashion Week started off in weather chaos fashion for the Friday shows and was moved to an indoor space at The Domain.
In the new indoor venue, the designers featured their collections on the intimate u-shaped runway. Additionally, Style Strutters Austin Woman Magazine founder Melinda Garvey and CBS Morning Show anchor team John-Carlos Estrada and Allison Miller walked the runway in styles provided by Estilo Boutique.
A Fashionably Austin runway Friday show favorite was a cohesive collection by Pflugerville designer Linda George of Linda’s Things Designs.
We loved her colorful use of prints and silhouettes for all body types and got us in the mood for warmer weather or sending us packing for that tropical vacation.
Linda, a Caribbean island native of Trinidad and Tobago, and has been designing since she was 12 years old. She incorporates her love of tropical and abstract prints with a dash of African flair she calls Afro-Caribbean.
“I like simple but nice looking. This collection was loose but more elegant,” added George.
This was the first showing at AFW for George. “At the beginning, I was a bit nervous but we got through it it was fine,” added George.
For the Saturday shows, fourteen collections were sent down the street runway at the Domain showing swimwear to streetwear to glittery gowns. Style Strutters were Miles Bloxon from Black Leaders Collective and Amy Beard from The Center for Child Protection.
It was clear from the first strut down the runway from designer Melissa Vargas of MV Limited Exclusive Designs, the kids were going to own the event runway. For Vargas, a seasoned modeling industry professional in the Rio Grande Valley, this was her first collection on the AFW runway.
Yards of tulle graced the shoulders of the models along with over-the-top capes to add to the wow factor. Other internationally inspired gowns with Indian influence were also featured complete with intricate beading. Melissa’s sleek beaded and feathered gowns are perfect for that glam night on the town or a holiday gala.
The Saturday Fashionably Austin favorite was the 50’s inspired dresses from designer Mila Hoffman of Mila Hoffman Couture. The internationally traveled designer showed period-inspired dresses on young models accessorized with whimsical butterfly wings, crinolines, and on-point millinery to complete each look. Again, the kids took over the runway like seasoned New York Fashion Week model pros.
A repeat to the AFW runway, Kween Royal expanded her collection from an all-t-shirt line to a custom art deco and message-inspired collection in all red and black. An all-out model and designer street dance party ended day two of the shows.
Sunday sent the most collections down the Domain street runway featuring designs from the Austin Art Institute designers and two Style Strutters Mela Sarajane Daily of Austin Artists Project and Kara Belew of Arc of the Capital Area. Let’s just say the best runway strut or dance of the show certainly went to Mela.
A Fashionably Austin designer favorite was from the Origin Pink collection by Austin designer Punita Kapoor. Her very cohesive collection is a sustainable handmade clothing line using special hand block printing methods. Her 70’s inspired accessories paired with the prints are a perfect combo for any ACL fashion street-style-ready photographer.
To wrap up the event, there was nothing more heartwarming than seeing the models from the Arc of the Capital Area. These amazing I/DD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) adults were crowd favorites and showed off their fashionable looks complete with endless smiles to end the event on a high note.
Matt Swinney, founder of Austin Fashion Week (under the Fashion X Events brand) now has 14 years of shows under his belt and enjoys the growth each year brings. “The talent level keeps getting better and better. An incredible showing of unique designers who all have a really strong point of view,” added Swinney.
We’ll see you again at the end of the runway in 2023.
Photos: Cheryl Bemis – Gallery images are available for a download fee.