New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has begun and will consume the Big Apple. What’s new and what’s hawt! Who’s in and who’s interesting. And maybe most importantly, what’s relevant in the world of fashion. Or so we’ve been led to believe. More so than any other industry, fashion has been driven by tastemakers, influential publications, fashion houses and organizations that used to wield enormous sway over what the rest of us thought. However, I don't think that’s the case anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, NYFW is still cool and probably important. But there are things happening elsewhere in the world of fashion that are simply more interesting than anything we’ll see at NYFW. One only needs to pay more attention. There's a broad movement of fashion communities and brands propping up in unconventional places like Nashville, Omaha, Raleigh, Redding, and yes, here in Iowa! Disrupting, innovating and creating the type of relevancy that can shape the future.
Why so? Technology and our increasing connectedness have opened up a world of possibilities for anyone creating anywhere, and slowly but surely there’s an ecosystem developing to support the arts and creative entrepreneurial endeavors. Coupled together, these forces have changed Iowa and allow Iowans to have a global cultural impact. Ideas, individuals and brands can now project to audiences across the world. And, “#IowaBrag”, isn’t only a clever marketing tag line . It’s a statement of fact. Indeed there are lots of people and things to brag about in the Corridor and throughout the state.
Let’s quickly take stock of fashion in Iowa.
We’ve got brands: Men’s Style Lab, GentlemenCare, Born Leaders United, Written Apparel and many others.
We’ve got designers.
We’ve got a large institution that regularly churns out top fashion talent in Iowa State University.
There’s amazing retail in downtown Iowa City, popping up in Cedar Rapids and even in Cedar Falls.
We’ve got two key fashion events: Flyover Fashion Fest and DSM Fashion Week that bring the community and the industry together. Check and...check!
All of this is to say, we’ve got the talent and the human capital capable of competing anywhere. But doing so in our own backyard.
NYFW celebrates its seventy-fifth year. What’s everyone talking about leading up to this year’s event? That at long last many brands are conforming to a ready-to-wear approach. That the clothes seen on the runway will be available for purchase shortly after being seen on said runway. Does that sound all that innovative or interesting to you?
NYFW and events of similar ilk, used to captivate us so. It truly was a collection of the top creative and artistic minds. When the lights turn on, the music hits and the first model walks the runway undoubtedly the room will be oozing with talent and energy. I’m just convinced that up and down and throughout the Corridor, we’re oozing with talent, artistic insight and creative genius too!
Co-Founder, Iowa Fashion Project
Producer, Flyover Fashion Fest