Denver fashion week 2019 has come and gone, and I’m so happy that I moved here just in time. I’m lucky to have attended several of the week’s events with the rest of the FashionEco team – which means I got runway seating! Not to mention introductions to Denver’s best and brightest in the fashion industry.
Denver has a nascent fashion industry that’s growing fast – there has always been quite a bit of talent here, but it’s shifting from single designers working alone to a full-fledged community. And I am so excited about that – there’s a vast amount of potential and I want to be here when Denver becomes known as a national fashion destination.
During the decade I lived in Denver – most of the 2000’s – I dressed in my own unique style and always felt in good company. I worked on Capitol Hill at an art college, so I was surrounded by hipsters and other adventurous fashion people. I’ve always found that Denver has a unique take on fashion, and is a pretty welcoming community in regards to personal style. And that clearly hasn’t changed!
I didn’t make every single event for Denver Fashion Week 2019, but I loved every one I was able to attend.
I’ll list them all here with my highlights!
Menez is a design house created by brothers Saul and Vincent Jimenez. The tailored and edgy style of their designs really stands out – as well as the use of rich, textural fabrics. I really love the alternative but high end aesthetic, so I was very excited to attend this small and exclusive fashion show at There… Denver. Guests were treated to excellent cocktails and an unending supply of delicious dishes before the show – which was held on a runway that ran through the bar and seating area! This made a very intimate and unique presentation. My favorite elements were the long, tapered and asymmetrical hems on many of the dresses and skirts – I haven’t seen anything quite like them in RTW and it’s an exciting, new look.
Check out this amazing video of the show! Special thanks to Vincent Jimenez for allowing me to use it on this blog post.
When Brandi of Fashion Denver asked me if I wanted to help out with the annual Kids Fashion Camp event, I was so happy! Two things I love together in one – it sounded like a super fun time. And it was! Brandi is such a bubbly, fun and wonderful person. We had a group of kids ranging from around 4 to 12. The theme was refashioning old tshirts into beach cover ups (or whatever else the kids wanted to make.) We had an amazing time cutting, tying, laddering, and even a little sewing. The kids also had gems and glue to add to their creations. One little girl was not super interested in making fashion, but she LOVED to draw! So I had a really fun drawing with her too. I love supporting little artists – I was that kid once. After the kids made their fashions, they got a lesson in walking the runway, and had hair and makeup done. Then they got to show off their creations on a runway in front of an audience of parents! SO cute!
The second official event of Denver Fashion Week was the hair show – this is a really fun showcase for creative and artistic hair styles from stylists and salons all over the southwest. The models walk the runway with complete looks that correspond with the hair themes – fashion, makeup, and all. We had first row seats, so I was only a few feet away from the models as they walked! There were so many great looks, but here are my personal favorites : The Beauty Underground showed some dreamy, big, textural looks on men and women. I imagined these models as characters in a fantasy novel – they look so regal, magical and badass! Charlie Price hair showed an elegant, dramatic collection that was inspired by David Bowie. I loved the power and presence of these models! Birch Salon showed a futuristic collection that gave me major Burning Man vibes! These great plastic outfits are by a local company – Electric Bubblegum!
This was basically a cocktail hour with exclusive shopping from local Denver brands and boutiques – held at Improper City, a very cool coffee shop/event space in RiNo. Jeff and I stopped by here on our first visit to RiNo and we thought it was a very cool location. I had a glorious time shopping, which Jeff doesn’t know about because I used PayPal money from some client work I did. Sorry babe! I also met so many cool people!
Here’s what I bought –
2 amazing convertible jumpsuits from Styled by Kait – a local stylist and ready to wear designer. I have been following her fashion brand since I moved here, and I love her vibe. Everything she makes, I want. This particular jumpsuit caught my eye, and I came looking for it. As it turns out, she only had one left in my size – her items are made from designer fabric leftovers and are small batch. So when they are gone, they are gone for good. Well – she was actually wearing the one I wanted!!! And she kindly took it off her body and let me buy it. Now that is what I call amazing service. I loved it so much I bought a black one as well! I also grabbed 2 limited edition lipglosses she had custom made for her runway show by local company LipBar.
Ravished Now magazine – this display caught my eye immediately! Actual paper publications are so rare these days – especially locally printed fashion magazines. Ernesto and Stephen are an amazing duo – they design, direct, write, and publish this gorgeous editorial magazine. I bought one and I am looking forward to the next copy! It’s just incredible to see work of this level and know that it’s local. You can check out the beautiful photography and articles online too – I highly recommend this issue’s letter from the editors.
Morgan and Ahmad, the founders of FashionEco, decided to celebrate the startup’s one year anniversary by throwing an official party for Denver Fashion Week. Since the company’s focus is fashion networking, we chose a “behind the scenes” theme and invited a ton of cool people from the Denver fashion industry to get together and network. We rented a lovely event space at The Source Hotel (where Jeff and I had our staycation!) and had a bar and catering.
Since we are creative and unusual people, we decided to build our own photo booth. We decided to do a theme based around Pantone’s color of the year, Living Coral. Morgan came up with the idea of the Coral Cowboy saloon, and he and Ahmad hit up a bunch of thrift stores and got some cool props. We spray painted everything coral in my backyard, and I sewed up a massive coral backdrop. We set everything up with some lighting and let people take their own photos – which was a huuuuge success! People loved the Coral Cowboy saloon. Seeing all the instagram photos and stories the next day was so fun!I volunteered to do quick fashion sketches for guests – which I’ve been dying to try out. I practiced for a few weeks and developed a style that I could sketch in about 15 minutes. We set up a table and chair and I brought a bunch of paper and my watercolor markers. The good news is that it was a massive success – people LOVED having their portrait sketches! The bad news I didn’t have enough time to do everyone! I still have a backlog of sketches to send to people. I didn’t move out of my chair for 4 hours – I sketched the entire time! It was tiring but so fun. I love meeting people and it was a great opportunity to chat with everyone who came over.
The last show of Denver Fashion week was the collections from Denver local designers. Since I’m a huge fan of supporting local, this was the one I was really looking forward to. We had a lovely time chit chatting with people at the cocktail reception before the show – although it got very crowded as more and more people poured in! We had front row seats again and the seating was very tight – we all squeezed in and did our best not to spill drinks on the runway. I was so impressed with the variety and quality of the show. The concepts from the designers were fresh and the workmanship of the garments was stunning. I’m so happy I had a close view so I could inspect fabric, construction, and embellishment details!
Standout collections to me – Styled by Kait’s ready to wear Midnight Sun collection – I want every single thing. Mona Lucero showed a funky, textural collection with lots of fun embellishments on it – I realllly loved these long, hooded dresses. And finally, Tyne Hall showed some very elegant and and sophisticated looks with a modern twist that I really enjoyed.
Special thanks to 303 Magazine for these images! You can see the whole gallery here.
Although it’s after Denver Fashion Week, I’m going to include another standout event – The Paper Fashion Show. This annual event is about 15 years old! It’s a pretty amazing show – all of the garments are constructed of paper donated by paper companies. I have to say, these outfits are incredible. I love the creativity and downright wierdness of some of the ensembles. An interesting thing about this show is that the designers are mix of ages – there were children and seasoned adults showing creations. This show is a fundraising event for local arts programs, so that makes sense. However, it is a judged event with prizes, so it seems a bit strange to have 8th graders competing with adult design teams who are already award winning designers.
Regardless, we had an amazing time! I am doing some volunteer work for this show and drawing fashion illustrations for the winning designers. Keep an eye on my Instagram stories – I’ll post them when I’m finished!
All in all, I have to say I’m very impressed by my first Denver Fashion Week. I have met a lot of very interesting and talented people, and I’m feeling quite inspired! I’m actually considering presenting some designs next year – what do you think? Should I go for it? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think I should make!
Cheers – Rachel