Philly cultivates fashion scene

Columnist Mark Longacre concludes Hoot Couture with a review of this year in fashion.

Hoot Couture opened this semester with tips on the latest workout gear to help you get in shape.

Half the fun of working out is showing off your ripped muscles or toned tummy by choosing the perfect workout attire. Chic workout clothing will put a little pep in your run because looking good while being athletic is fun, no?

As the weather warmed up during the course of the semester, spring fashion exploded throughout the Philly fashion scene. The last week in February, Hoot Couture featured a first-hand look at Philly Fashion Week’s spring runway shows. Philly Fashion Week has come a long way since its beginnings, celebrating its seventh season of runway shows this year. The show focused entirely on spring and summer fashion – a nice alternative to New York Fashion Week, which previews clothes two or three seasons in advance.

Spring fashion was also the center of Hoot Couture’s most recent article outlining the searing hot trends of this season, chiefly color. Philly designers adopted some neon accent pieces, but the national clothing brands have pushed color as the most important part of this spring’s clothing lines.

Spring trends spread incredibly fast. It seemed as if the second the latest spring trends dropped on Tumblr and Pinterest, everyone flocked straight to H&M and bought the brightest colors they could find. I love the bright colors because they’re a nice break from the gray and black often seen in the city, however, the trends spread like the plague.

Social media has become a crucial element of the fashion world. Various clothing designers have turned to the Internet to get word out about their upcoming clothing lines, something virtually unheard of in the past. The Internet allows boutiques to quickly and cheaply promote products to a wide audience, and even target specific audiences based on their interests and the blogs they follow.

Social media has helped promote aspiring designers, but in Philadelphia, the industry is incredibly hard to enter. Macy’s has donated a space and collaborated with multiple organizations throughout the city to form the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator. The program’s goal is to educate Philly’s elite design and art school alumni about how to market their designs to the retail and wholesale markets, both locally and nationally.

The project launched in March, and a board of directors selected five designers to participate in the inaugural class of the incubator program. In addition to having a design-related degree, the designers are also able to network with various leaders in the industry in order to construct a sustainable business model.

With three design schools in the city, it’s no wonder Philly is trying to foster its own fashion industry. The city is full of culture, and its proximity to New York  allows for a simple commute between the two. Philadelphia’s history in the textile industry combined with the wealth of fashion knowledge that people in the city have is the recipe for a booming fashion industry. Events like Philadelphia Fashion Week and Design Philadelphia have brought awareness to the fashion scene.

Philadelphia’s fashion scene isn’t comparable to NYC’s, but it has the potential to develop into its own niche scene. Through the city’s efforts, there is potential to revitalize the city’s economy and create jobs, while also cultivating a sense of culture.

I’m incredibly excited to see what the future has in store for Philly fashion. As students, we have the opportunity to support fellow design students. Instead of walking down Chestnut or Walnut streets, break away from national chains, and check out some of the boutiques in Old City. There are stores catering to every sense of style. If you’re feeling very adventurous, venture to some of the unique consignment shops around South Street.

I’m looking forward to what the future has in store for the city. Philadelphia has the potential to be a fashion destination – we just have to help it grow.

Mark Longacre can be reached at mark.longacre@temple.edu.

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