Fashion’s Night Out, a one-night event, made its way to Philadelphia for the first time on Sept. 6, highlighting the growing fashion industry in Philadelphia with an array of events hosted throughout the city.
From local boutiques, such as Kembrel, to large department stores like Macy’s, Philadelphia’s first Fashion’s Night Out showed how much room there is to grow in regards to fashion in Philadelphia. However, it also displayed the abundance of talent and opportunities present in the city.
“I think the Philly fashion scene is moving in a positive direction,” Autumn Kietponglert, the designer-in-residence for Heartless Revival and Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, said. “I think they’re really taking the steps to foster young design talent and show that design is a priority and important in Philadelphia.”
For Fashion’s Night Out at Macy’s, work from its Incubator’s program was displayed. This program was set up to promote upcoming designers from the city, put designers-in-residence’s work on display to the public and give a hint of what is to come from the program in the future — including a fashion show at Macy’s on Sept. 20 and the participation in couture day at Philadelphia Fashion Week.
Seeing that this is the first class of designers to go through the program, being able to participate in Fashion’s Night Out in Philadelphia shows the true expansion of the fashion industry.
“Whenever we have something like this, I think it’s a great step in a positive direction and it’s a very exciting time to be in Philadelphia because it’s beginning, it’s growing,” Kietponglert said. “It’s the time where everyone will remember where it all happened.”
Although the designers are the main attraction in fashion, the celebrities who influence popular culture in style are important. At Macy’s, there were not only designers, trunk shows and previews displayed, but also celebrity guests present.
The event presented Janel Parrish who plays “Mona” on the ABC Family show “Pretty Little Liars,” as well as Chris Manzo and Greg Bennett from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
Parrish attracted a younger crowd because of her success on the teen-oriented show. Both the suspenseful plot and the stylish outfits worn by the cast have attracted up to 3 million viewers on a weekly basis.
Manzo and Bennett attracted fans of the popular “Housewives” show by posing for pictures and handing out samples of BLK Water.
Beyond the designers and celebrities, stylist Karima Renee of Skinny Minority hosted an event at Macy’s to help teach everyday women to embrace their bodies and assist them in finding trendy clothing that is suitable to individual body types.
Renee’s purpose in her company, Skinny Minority, and her mission as a stylist is to show that women can embrace trends without having to succumb to the idea that a person needs to be a certain size or measurement to be fashion-forward.
“A lot of women think that…when they see something in a magazine that they have to copy it exactly instead of pulling inspiration from it,” Renee said.
Beyond the excitement at Macy’s, many local shops hosted events including special sales, music and free refreshments.
Stores such as Kembrel, Joan Shepp and Knit Wit hosted in-store functions featuring local designers. These events were arguably the most active and crowded of the night, with Joan Shepp even reaching the store’s maximum capacity.
Kembrel hosted a diverse selection of designers, from Duke & Winston, which is considered to be the “premier casual clothing line for men,” to Pretty Pretty Rebel, a line of punk rock, yet girly designs.
Most of Fashion’s Night Out is very women-oriented, as designs for men aren’t showcased as often. Duke & Winston, presented at Kembrel, showed that there is importance in recognizing menswear designs.
“If you think about when you’re out shopping, every shop is for females,” Krista Hayes, communications manager for Duke & Winston, said. “In the [Duke & Winston] store it’s very manly, you could say. We have a dart board, Duke, the bulldog, and so it’s a cool place to just hang out for a bit…There aren’t a lot of men’s boutiques in the city, so I think it’s definitely something that’s going to blow up in Philadelphia.”
Philadelphia may not be up to par with New York’s fashion industry just yet, but introducing Fashion’s Night Out after New York started it four years ago shows the progress in the city. Philadelphia may also have an advantage in regards to creative freedom in fashion.
“In Philadelphia there are so many great designers emerging that it’s like, ‘Wow, Philadelphia has a great team of artists and designers throughout the city that makes this a great capital,’” Leah Delfiner, designer of Pretty Pretty Rebel, said. “It is very creative, that’s the difference between New York and Philadelphia. New York is way corporate, way stiff. When people come to Philadelphia, they have fun with it and love the art.”
Philadelphia has begun to prove that it is capable of pushing the limits in regards to fashion and style. Fashion’s Night Out, the continuation of the Philadelphia Collection, the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator and the independent, local designers that are pushing the envelope are showing the potential of Philadelphia becoming a major fashion capital.
“[Fashion’s Night Out and the Philadelphia Collection are a] great way to feel connected to the international fashion community and it just shows that Philadelphia really has a priority for fashion and design and they are interested in promoting it more,” Kietponglert said.
Taylor Farnsworth can be reached at email@example.com.