Five Days of Fashion in Washington

You can see trends in haute couture, bridal wear, menswear and ready to wear

The nation’s capital will transform into the fashion capital when more than 50 designers from around the globe present their fall 2007 collections at DC Fashion Week.

Between February 28 and March 4, five fashion shows are open to the public that will preview upcoming trends including haute couture, menswear, bridal wear, and ready to wear. The event, now in its third year, is a partnership of independent fashion designers, producers, and models committed to increasing the economic development of fashion design, merchandising, and modeling in Washington.

Executive director and founder Ean Williams says that DC Fashion Week differs from fashion weeks in other cities like New York and Paris because of its focus on educating the designers.

“Designers have very little cost associated with the event and we give them a lot of assistance,” Williams said. “We sit down with them a groom them for fashion week and do a lot of work that the press would do in other cities.”

Williams said that DC Fashion Week is unique because it also promotes social awareness. The organization holds voter registration drives, food banks, and meets with college students who are interested in the fashion industry throughout the year. Rather than target celebrities, DC Fashion Week aims to encourage national and international designers to express their art forms. Previous DC Fashion Week designers have included Leona Edmiston from Australia and Fatou Mata from Belgium.

This week, the Fair Trade Collections will include Knaf Couture from Ghana and Edun, an eco-friendly line by Bono of U2 and his wife, Ali Newson. The Betsey Johnson Collection will greet the audience with a live band playing ’80s pop music to complement the New York designer’s whimsical and exuberant apparel, while the audience at Noire can expect a sensual, Afro-centric presentation of designs.

The Washingtonian Menswear Collections show men how to dress with impeccable style, and the fashion innovators are expected to be attracted to the International Couture Collections, which will spotlight exclusive fashions from designers around the world.

April Miller, a model for the Betsey Johnson Collection, said that this year audiences can expect a diverse group of international designers.

“The line up of designers that we have this year is definitely different than what we’ve tried to put together before,” Miller said. “People’s awareness will definitely be heightened by this fashion week and they will want to get involved.”

Williams said he plans to expand DC Fashion Week, gain more support from local businesses, and award scholarships to young fashion designers to assist them in starting their own collections.

“DC Fashion Week is very grateful and we are in a good place,” Williams said. “It is extremely exciting for the city and everyone can expect to be entertained.”