2012 Austin Fashion Week

Austin designers strut their stuff / By Cheryl Bemis From Aug. 10 through 18, Austin Fashion Week celebrated its fourth season, and like many large events, it became more refined with age. In 2011, Matt Swinney, CEO of Launch 787 and owner of Austin Fashion Week, changed the event and added more fashion elements with more runway shows. Local and international designers showcased their newest collections on high-fashion runways, much like New York Fashion Week. The chatter throughout town about the shows was overwhelmingly positive. In 2012, 10 Austin designers participated in the runway shows and marketplace (vendor-style) events. Earlier in the week, in-store parties, shows and fun took place in several popular Austin shopping destinations. The kickoff party at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Shift Into Style, saw Austin designers flaunting their most fashionable frocks alongside European Formula 1 owners and first lady Anita Perry, who made a statement in her black-lace jacket from the Danes Collection. Austin’s Keeper’s Menswear featured its newest fall looks with tweeds, knits and a fantastic purple velvet jacket. Austin designer Ross Bennett of NBC Fashion Star fame premiered his COTA (Circuit of the Americas) girls collection. The female good-will ambassadors will be dressed in international/Austin-style winter white and red-accented uniforms accessorized with Texas touches. The Austin Fashion Awards at the Austin Music Hall ended the busy week with the handing out of the popular Golden Boot awards to rising stars and trailblazers, and the naming of the popular Mash-Up Team photo winners. Austin’s most talented in the fashion business were recognized with heartfelt speeches accompanied with an occasional tear. The crowd also enjoyed seeing the latest fall 2012 collections from Austin designers Kendra Scott, Jessica Ciarla and Ross Bennett, and New York designer Margarita Saplala. Marketplace featured designers Kirsten Dickerson and Sophia Lin, who were awarded a Golden Boot in the rising s tar category. Read more about their socially responsible brand, as well as other winners, in our web extra. Austin Fashion Week has easily earned its own Golden Boot as the annual fashion event of the year.

Austin Designers Talk Fashion

Valentina: “Valentina is all about fostering individuality, creativity and passion, and shoes are the platform. (No pun intended!) I am lucky enough to be an Austin native, and it was a no-brainer to launch here. The city has really embraced Valentina.” -Tina Hambly Herff Christinason: Our design and color philosophy captures the Danish/Scandinavian ethos —we believe in truth in materials and purity in design— articulated in an elegant and uncomplicated way; simple designs that do more with less. A color philosophy of tonality that is nature-inspired. It all makes our fashion transcend from season to season. Cynthia Bloom: This is an exciting time to be in Austin. Again following the lead of the music community, Austin fashion is freewheeling, frank, funky, diverse and multicultural. Above all, it is a work in progress with a certain innocence that, to date, has freed Austin designers to push boundaries. Isabella Rose (at age 12, the youngest designer to show at Austin Fashion Week): I don’t really think about age anymore. I think part of my message is that we should pursue our goals, no matter how old or young. I blog about my artistic process as it relates to my paintings, fashion and poetry. I’ve been very touched by how supportive the adults who follow my adventures have been. I’m very happy by the body of work I have accumulated over the years, and I’m very excited because I’m starting to have opportunities to show my work more. Sarah Eileen: The most popular bridal trend at the moment has been lace. Vintage-inspired gowns with modern twists, lace, portrait backs, ball gowns and cocktail-length gowns are also trending. My favorite trends would have to be lace and color. Austin’s bride tends to step out of the box a bit and express their unique personality through small details, sassy silhouettes or touches of color, which are always fun. Tess Dress: Tess Designs makes exclusive use of Texan companies for its pattern-making, grading and marking, and manufacturing, right down to the button loops and belts. We focus our prototyping and sampling in Austin with a local manufacturer. For our large-scale collections and orders, we work with a garment factory in Dallas. Keeping it local and keeping it real, it doesn’t get much more Austin than that.