Fashion has become more of a fixation for New Orleans over the years, and designers have congregated in this colorful city for inspiration and a unique audience. As NOLA is an amalgam of people and culture, so too is the fashion scene a reflection of that rich gumbo of designers, models and runway shows. Boutiques have popped up all across the city, particularly up and down Magazine St, and these and other Gulf South designers descend upon the city each year for an unforgettable fashion week.
Fashion Week New Orleans (March 21-28), not to be confused with NOLA Fashion Week, which changed its name to Southern Design Week last year, began in 2011 and has since grown to dozens of runway shows and events held throughout the five-day event. In these three short years, the event has already become the premier Gulf Coast fashion event and is enthusiastically embraced by everyone from models and designers to the media and fashion aficionados. It’s not only covered widely by local and regional media, but internationally recognized outlets like Women’s Wear Daily, Elle Magazine Quebec and the Oxygen Network have picked up the event as well.
This year, Fashion Week New Orleans features more than 50 runway shows and a number of other presentations, networking opportunities and social experiences. Events include the Top Design Competition, a Model Walk-Off, Fashion Awards Gala and Fashion Career Day held at various venues across the city. Through these events and more, the event aims to promote awareness of southern fashion while also creating opportunities for both experienced and aspiring fashion professionals. Through associations with nonprofits, Fashion Week New Orleans is able to give back to the Gulf Coast in its own fashion as well.
Designers and models discovered during Fashion Week New Orleans have had enormous career advancements thanks to the exposure. This includes everything from joining the cast of Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model to models walking in Paris and New York fashion weeks or signing with Wilhelmina Models New York.