Syracuse Fashion Week has grown rapidly since its inception three years ago. What started with a few downtown events now spans five days with locations branching from a historic James Street mansion to downtown’s Syracuse Tech Garden. The week also benefits two charities: the Food Bank of Central New York and Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer.
“We love joining forces with the Food Bank,” says Fashion Week hair and makeup coordinator Shannon Fleming. “It’s not just about putting on a fashion show. There is hunger here in Syracuse. We join forces to give back to our community.”
The new collaboration with Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer has already proved to be a hit, with tickets to the “Reclamation Runway” show selling fast. “All the models are women who are recovering from breast cancer surgery, survivors or undergoing treatment,” says Fashion Week executive director Lisa Marie Butler. “It’s a really exciting and emotional show. It’s going to be amazing.”
The week kicks off with “Fashion at the Mansion” on Wednesday, April 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion, 930 James St. Models will stroll through the crowd, making for an up-close-and-personal type of show. Vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories can be purchased right off the models.
In contrast, “It’s a Mod Mod World” on Thursday, April 21, 7:30 p.m., at the Syracuse Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St., showcases contemporary clothing for the modern-day urbanite.
The annual Syracuse Fashion Week Gala takes place Friday, April 22, 8 p.m., at the Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St. The red-carpet event features a formal runway with original designers, plus an after-party.
The popular “Underground Show” at Marisa’s Fortress of Beauty, 220 Walton St., has mushroomed to two separate events on Saturday, April 23. “We turned 80 people away from this show last year,” Butler says. To solve the problem, the runway will rock at 6 and 10 p.m., featuring lingerie, fantasy wear, club wear and more.
Fashion Week will be capped with the aforementioned “Reclamation Runway” on Sunday, April 24, 5 p.m., at Upstairs at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 246 W. Willow St. “It’s about the models reclaiming themselves as women and survivors,” Butler says. “The idea is reclaiming their beauty and who they were before cancer.”
Fleming notes the excitement backstage for events like “Fashion at the Mansion,” where hair and makeup personnel will get to watch their art working the room. “The models will be more interactive,” she says. “They’ll walk around. People can get close and personal. And it’s exciting for me, personally. We spend a lot of time preparing hair and makeup and then it’s on the runway for 30 seconds. There are so many details, so this is exciting for the hair and makeup team.”
Fleming, who manages 10 makeup and 10 hair artists for the events, notes that the job ends up being bigger than expected. “We always set out for the model list to be small,” she says. “And then it triples.”
This year’s introduction of model casting translates into a larger pool of stylish catwalkers. “We wanted to get fresh faces in,” Fleming says. “And we want to make the designers happy. It’s hard to do sometimes when you have shared models.”
On the flip side, models at Thursday’s Tech Garden show are professionals with AMS Models and Talent Inc. “This is also different this year,” Butler says. “They’re sponsoring the models for the Tech Garden and will showcase theirs. They’ve taken it and run with it. It’s a fun partnership and something we’ve never done before.”
But overall, the mission of Syracuse Fashion Week is about bringing people together. “It energizes the community,” Butler says. “Right now we focus on downtown, but we’re branching out. Syracuse has such a bad rap sometimes. We want people to realize there are some really, really cool things to do in Syracuse. You just have to look a little bit.
“Women and men who are models are proud to be part of this. It’s beautiful and interesting. We are inclusive in all the kinds of models and, more than ever, I want to show original designers. That’s what’s really going to put Syracuse Fashion Week on the map.”
Tickets are available online through eventbrite.com For more information, visit syracusefashionweek.com.
Syracuse Fashion Week executive director Lisa Marie Butler announced three fall events: Syracuse Style on Thursday, Sept. 15, at the 100 block of Walton Street; a luncheon-themed classic show at the Hotel Syracuse on Sunday, Sept. 25; and Syracuse Snarl will strut on Thursday, Oct. 13.