Austin Fashion Week Comes of Age

When the trend is to buck the trend, Austin’s diverse style lights up the runways.

By Cheryl Bemis, Photos by Gerry Hanan

Austin Fashion Week is one of the most anticipated fashion events in town, and this year marked a very impressive seven years for the week-long focus on fashion. Events during the week included in-store soirees that featured sips, bites and designers, a charity lunch benefiting the Rise School of Austin and a variety of fashion runway shows.

With more than 20 runway shows hosted at the Austin Music Hall, there were some favorite fashion moments to share from the packed-press-pit vantage point. Fashionably Austin was proud to supply the official photographer for Austin Fashion Week 2015.

Favorite runway moment

Jeffrey Sebelia, winner of Project Runway season three, designs a children’s collection called La Miniatura, and it delighted the crowd as his young models walked barefoot down the runway. Austin Fashion Week Founder Matt Swinney’s son did a little end-of-the-runway dance, looked left and handed out a big high-five to Austin designer Ross Bennett, followed by a hug. He finished his way around the u-shaped runway and we all loved this fun fashion moment from the night.

Runway trend color

Pantone’s Spring/Summer 2015 color palette has three blue colors: Classic Blue, Dusk Blue and Scuba Blue. All three hues were shown from nearly all the designers at Austin Fashion Week, providing ideas for easy ways to update your wardrobe. Go blue. The Stars runway night featured eight Project Runway designers and was not only a highlight for the week, but it was also the first time in Austin Fashion Week history it sold out. Designer Amanda Valentine featured several pieces with her signature color-block techniques, and her classic blue pieces were paired with leather accents. Korto Momolu from season five sent down a to-die-for strapless chiffon gown in Scuba Blue, as well as several elegant bridal gowns.

Designer Abi Ferrin showed a vibrant, tropical swimsuit cover-up that lit up the runway, and Sally Daneshjou’s classic ball gowns were ready for any Austin gala event.


Don’t think for a second that the men w ere forgotten on the runway. Austin designer Ross Bennett showed the most impeccably tailored collection I have seen to date from him, and the inside lining of each jack et looked as interesting to photograph as it did from the outside.

Most interesting pieces/ silhouettes

With so many designers and so many pieces coming down the runway, there were a few looks that created some memorable fashion moments from the end of the runway. Austin designer Daniel Esquivel updated some of his pieces, added some new accents in his collection and added a show-stopping skirt and dress made of black, twisted raffia.

Austin designer Sloane Lenz with label This is Sloane had a very cohesive collection, combining her funky music and interesting fan accents, such as when the model did a face reveal at the end of the runway. A white Swan Lake-style ballerina tutu dress was reminiscent of something I’ve seen at a Betsey Johnson show in New York. The bright pink tights, bangle jewelry and matching hat made for a perfect finale piece.

Austin Fashion Week officially ended at the Finale event with a runway show by Austin trailblazer Gail Chovan. The anticipation of seeing any Chovan show is equally as fun as actually seeing her show, and this year, the collection didn’t disappoint. The handwoven leather pieces and textured trims were featured in Chovan’s signature black, with hand-dyed white pieces splashed with red wine-inspired stains, and multi-colored draped dresses floated down the runway. The over-the-top frizzed-out hair and dark makeup completed the amazing final look to wrap up the week.

If you are yearning for more fashion in Austin, you’re in luck. The next Austin Fashion Week event, Fashion X Austin, is set for June 12 and 13, and will feature menswear.

For more on the trends and runway videos, visit

Cover photo, designer: Sloane Lenz. Photo 1, designer: Abi Ferrin. Photo 2, designer: Amanda Valentine. Photo 3, designer: Ross Bennett. Photo 3, designer: Kroto Momolu. Photo 4, designer: Gail Chovan


Style & Beauty