I often hear complaints from "so called" fashion folks in the city regarding the lack of fashion talent and fashion events in Cleveland. I must say most of these grumblings come from quasi- fashionistas that are looking for New York Fashion Week level events and aren't willing to investigate let alone attend the many happenings that currently exist in the Cleveland fashion scene.
As a person that has worked in the local fashion industry for more than five years, I can attest that fashion is alive and well in Cleveland. Cleveland is bubbling with fashion talent. From the awesome fashion schools to designers, models, stylists, photographers, hair and makeup artists, journalists and event producers — fashion is here!
My one gripe about fashion in Cleveland is the lack of support it receives from the people of Cleveland. Fashion is an economic driver, an artistic expression, a catalyst to unite many diverse cultures, and oftentimes great entertainment. If the people of Cleveland would support the local industry and the events used to promote the industry, the benefits could be two-fold. First, the fashion designers would stay to live and work in the area, and secondly, the dollars spent buying local designs and products would stay in Cleveland. Local fashion labels such as Wrath Arcane, Dirty Pretty Things, Def-Native and Yellow Cake Shop have gained national attention yet have chosen to stay in Cleveland. The bottom line is if we don't support local designers, they will leave.
Events such as FLASH Friday promotes the local industry by creating social networking events for fashion industry pros, Cleveland Fashion Incubator offers fashion industry business development workshops and opportunities, and Legation, A Gallery provides space for local designers to show their work. This is just a brief example of the many fashion happenings in Cleveland.
So as I step off of my fashionable soap box, I challenge Clevelanders to support local designers, seek out fabulous fashion events, and shop locally.