Austin Fashion Week 2014

Big-city style is not a problem for Austin’s biggest fashion event.

By Cheryl Bemis

Springtime marks one of the busiest times in Austin, and while the Texas wildflowers, allergies and warmer weather kicked in during the month of April, another anticipated event took place for the fashion lovers of our city: Austin Fashion Week. Austin Fashion Week founder Matt Swinney has grown the event from a retail-focused and sales-driven event into a first-class fashion mix of parties and shows. After six years of fashion weeks, this one was special.

“I feel like this year is a real turning point,” he says. “It feels like real high fashion, especially with last night’s show, [Friday’s Project Runway]. We’re not just in Austin, Texas; we’re on the map now.”

For the first time, Austin Fashion Week launched with the annual University of Texas Fashion Show. The senior design class sent down more than 20 collections to the packed Frank Erwin Center and showed everything from techno fashions to elegant bridal and evening gowns, and was broadcast live on the Longhorn Network.

The week’s festivities included gatherings at area boutiques and salons followed by the much anticipated runway shows, at Austin Music Hall. And lovers of the popular Project Runway reality television show were in fashion heaven, as they got to see six well-known designers’ show collections. In fact, it was the largest gathering of Project Runway designers for a show outside of the actual TV taping.

The finale event, the Austin Fashion Awards, announced the newest class of rising stars and trailblazers, who were presented a Golden Boot for their outstanding fashion contributions in a city full of growth, opportunity and, yes, fashion.

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For the first time, Austin Fashion Week kicked off with the annual University of Texas Fashion Show. More than 20 senior designer collections were shown, and the event, titled Spectrum, was broadcast live on the Longhorn Network. This look was designed by Michelle Nokeo Twite.


Every designer collection at Austin Fashion Week featured beautiful accessories. Tables were set up backstage like this to make sure every model was sent down the runway with just the right piece. These bangles and beads are from the Raven + Lily boutique in Austin.


Six years ago Matt Swinney, founder of Austin Fashion Week, had a vision to create an event to drive traffic to retailers in Austin during an economic slow down. Pictured with Swinney is the first lady of Austin Fashion Week, his wife Kara. These two were an impeccably dressed pair at every event and gave photographers a stylish photo op and the chance to ask, “Who are you wearing?” Kara Swinney is wearing Catherine Carter Hite, with a necklace by Kate Spade and bag by Elaine Turner Designers. Matt Swinney is wearing an Elie Tahari suit, Ted Baker shirt, shoes and tie by Zara, and a lapel flower by Soto and Co.


Austin’s hometown darling from the cast of Project Runway season 11 (top 4) and Project Runway All Stars takes this final walk to a cheering crowd. The collection, full of custom prints in chiffon and cotton, was a crowd favorite. And don’t forget Esquivel’s signature look, which featured an oversized bow on an electric orange gown.

30-crowned bird

Austin designer Priscilla Barroso of Crowned Bird sent her signature whimsical and seasonless collection down the runway. The collection was full of color, hats and a mix of patterns and prints, and you know Barroso’s girls are stylish fashionistas in their own way.


Hosts for the sixth annual Austin Fashion Awards were radio personality EJ from KISS FM, dressed in Bonobos, and Time Warner Cable News/KASE 101’s Anne Hudson (who announced baby number three is on the way), who wore MJVO by Megan Jones Von O’Dor Couture. They kept the crowd entertained and moved the show along so everyone could enjoy the after party at RIO.


Austin’s youngest designer, Isabella Rose Taylor, took her final walk after showing an amazing collection at the Austin Fashion Awards. She was one of three designers selected to present a collection and did not disappoint.

Photos by Gregg Cestaro and Sparky Anderson.


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