Milan Brewster, Contributing Writer
The bright city lights filled a wide-open room of the Main Street Station. Hues of purple, pink and green vibrantly illuminated the long runway located in the middle of the room.
Hundreds of people gathered around to watch models in designer clothes walk down the runway during the intense and fast four days of RVA Fashion Week’s, or RVAFW, Fall Fashion Weekend.
“There is so much talent here and so much hidden talent,” said fashion blogger Janie Medley. “This [fashion weekend] is a great way to showcase.”
The RVAFW team held its annual Fall Fashion Weekend from Oct. 11-13.
“As fashion week has moved on to progress each year, it has become more of a collaborative effort. I love to see that. More people are getting involved,” said Michael Hostetler, the media director for RVAFW.
On Friday, RVAFW partnered with Runway2Life, a charity that encourages awareness of mental health and suicide prevention. The event was co-hosted by Jackson Scott and Shannon Siriano.
Runway2Life was started by founder Alicia Amsler four years ago after her mother suffered from depression and lost one of her employees to suicide.
“That started the idea. It blossomed from there on,” said Taylor Amsler, Alicia Amsler’s daughter.
The first to walk the runway at the event was Celebrity Bridal, whose collection was inspired by owner Kaitlin Call’s late grandmother. The models walked in pairs, displaying the bridal gowns and the tuxedo collection.
“We had a phenomenal turnout. [It is] really exciting to have new designers for the fall and [I] can’t wait for the spring.” — Jimmy Budd, executive producer of RVAFW
They introduced Anne Moss Rodger, a Richmond-based writer who lost her son to suicide in 2015.
“Listen to them [people with mental illnesses]. You can’t fix it, but you can listen,” Rodger said. “I don’t want the world standing in my shoes, even if they are designer.”
As a surprise, Scott and Siriano told the audience Runway2Life is launching its first collection of shirts and sweatshirts with words of encouragement, and their slogan for this year, “Not today,” which references suicide prevention.
Saturday’s event was the Styles of RVA day-to-night party and fashion show at the Courtyard by Marriott. Many designers such as Creation Lords, BANR and FallIntheBrand were at the event with DJ Caasim and Markus Gold.
The festivities concluded on Sunday with the final event, the fall designer show, cohosted by Dapper Luq and Caroline Kalentzos.
“This is my first fashion show ever. I got to walk for iamsewcrazy, Able and Blas Couture. It was a crazy experience,” said model and VCU student Tirtha Ratnam.
MK Vendetta was another designer brand in attendance with a streetwear collection. The collection gave an edgy and retro vibe.
“This is my second time doing it, and I love the experience,” said MK Vendetta designer Mateen Khan. “Coming to a show that is a little smaller and intimate really humbles you, and the experience is very heartfelt.”
Event attendees were also dressed to impress; some wore caution tape as a wrap for a dress, plenty of sequins or a spray-painted trench coat with words of empowerment on it.
“We had a phenomenal turnout,” said Jimmy Budd, executive producer of RVAFW. “[It is] really exciting to have new designers for the fall and can’t wait for the spring.”
The print version of this story misspelled Jessie Agnew’s name.