Inside Philly Fashion Week

Creators Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott work to make a name for the five-day event.

Zahnay Blakney, a senior media studies and production major, models for Burning Guitars. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN
Zahnay Blakney, a senior media studies and production major, models for Burning Guitars. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN

The bright lights of Geno’s Steaks illuminated the basketball court in South Philly’s Capitolo Playground, which was turned into a runway for Philadelphia Fashion Week this year. The event partnered with Geno’s—the purchase of a cheesesteak was a ticket for the show.

Through sponsorship by well-known names like Geno’s, bringing in bigger designers and following similar processes of New York Fashion Week, creators Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott raised the bar for 10th anniversary of Philadelphia Fashion Week, or PFW.

Zahnay Blakney, a senior media studies and production major and one of the models in the show, said walking on a basketball court in high fashion was an unusual experience. The Philadelphia native has been involved with both Philadelphia and New York Fashion Week since she was 16 years old.

“[NYFW] is high up. PFW is too though, but it is still working its way up in a fast-paced way,” Blakney said.

Parker and Scott’s work running PFW is a great accomplishment for the city as well, Blakney said.

“They are getting amazing designers, hairstylists, makeup artists in the city and bringing them all together in this one arena,” Blakney said.

On Wednesday night, in the L-shaped exchange room of the Center City Ritz-Carlton Hotel, attendees of the menswear night last Wednesday wore white to honor the last week before Labor Day.

Guru Talwar, a fashion blogger and stylist attending the menswear event, joked that she moved to the United States from India for the fashion. Talwar moved with her husband for his job, but she did not want to give up her fashion interests.

“I’ve been covering India’s two major fashion weeks for the last two years,” Talwar said.

Talwar has attended the two major fashion weeks in Mumbai and New Delhi, and said there are major differences between the events taking place across the globe.

“I feel [PFW] has a more international feel; In India, you get the feel that you are seeing Indian fabrics made with Indian sensibilities,” Talwar said.

Andrea Cano, a fashion designer originally from Mexico, said she feels that the urbanity of Philadelphia is reflected in its fashion, which helps create a close-knit relationship with the city, particularly compared with NYFW.

“There are roots in the clothes,” Cano said. “[In Philly,] there is more access to urban people that want to buy the clothes. In New York, most of the shows there is only press.”

PFW’s final evenings took place at Crane Arts in Northern Liberties. One of the exhibition halls has become a full-fledged runway. With the entire room decorated in white, the bright colors of Burning Guitars eye-catching jackets popped as the models strutted down the runway.

Philadelphia native Brenda Stanford, co-owner of Plain Elain hair accessories, has noticed a lot of changes at PFW over the last six years.

“[Parker and Scott] started fashion week at private, smaller venues and then the turn out got just got bigger every year,” Stanford said.

Stanford also said the diversity of the shows, from the ready-to-wear night to the final evening of couture, added to the success of PFW.

“When you come and see how nice the venue is, the variety of designers from all over the country that come through, I think it really brings attention to Philly,” Stanford said.

Stanford added that she is already thinking about how PFW will be in 2016.

“When I leave tonight, I’m already planning for next year,” Stanford said.

Emily Scott can be reached at

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