Certainly no one who's attended Fashion Week Cleveland, a regional phenomenon that's become the nation's third largest fashion week after New York and Los Angeles.
Founded in 2003 by Donald Shingler, a cosmetic dentist and longtime Cleveland native, the weeklong event each spring highlights the region's budding fashion community. FWC hopes to double its number of programs next year.
FWC includes seminars, parties, lectures and films educating the public about the intricacies of fashion, with events in different cultural institutions across the city. The festivities end with a runway show on the final day of the week, when local and emerging designers highlight their creations.
This year, 14 designers — student as well as professional — showed to a crowd of nearly 400, reported James Harris, managing director of FWC and partner of H/L Communications, which represents the event. The week included 12 events and programs over eight days, with a lecture on children's fashion at the Western Reserve Historical Society, a seminar on Japanese fashion at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and a tribute to fashion in music at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Next year, FWC plans to include another large-scale fashion show; several boutique trunk shows; a performing arts series of film, music and theater; a revamped Web site, and branded educational, cultural and merchandising programs.
"We expect to increase our partnership venues and a menu of restaurant and hotel packages for attendees," Harris reported.
"Fashion isn't just haute couture," asserted Shingler. "There are elements of fashion in sports, in business, in cultural institutions. So, if you broaden what the term means, you can begin by including events at different institutions and other venues around the city."