Oct 3, 2016

Everything you need to know about Bellevue Fashion Week

In the absence of a traditional fashion week in the city, Bellevue Fashion Week has certainly helped fill the void. Yes, there is that pesky business of having to drive to the Eastside, but by this time next year the W hotel will have opened in Bellevue and Seattle will quite possibly be in the shadow of all things cool. Stores like West Elm and Robbins Brothers are moving in off Old Main street, Jujubeet's new location in the heart of Old Town is bustling, and the style set is regularly shopping indie retailers like La Ree and David Lawrence, and finding it quite appealing to see what's new at both The Bravern and The Bellevue Collection.

My PR brain is telling me I should consolidate this post and streamline my content so that I'm not including so many competitors in a single blog post, but the fashion influencer in me is wanting to paint the larger picture so that you fully understand the amazing things that are happening to the beloved Eastside. There is so much growth and development going on and it's a great thing for the local economy.

For those of you that are new to the concept of Fashion Week, it's pretty simple. The Bellevue Collection produces a full week of fashion experiences including runway shows, in-store events, cocktail parties, trend presentations, and special appearances by market stylists from the official media partner, Vogue. Yes, as in the Vogue magazine. This year the production team added several new experiences including a much-needed menswear-focused event called Sips & Suits.

All the events including Fashion Forecast and the Posh Party Trend Show (produced by Terri Morgan of TCM Models) are good, but my personal favorites are the Independent Designer Runway Show (IDRS) sponsored by Seattle Met and the Front Row Fashion Show presented by Vogue.

This years IDRS show featured nine up-and-coming local designers presenting carefully curated collections on the runway. This is an important show for the community because it is one of the only platforms local designers have to professionally showcase their work in a beautifully choreographed show produced by Terri Morgan. For designers, the most valuable part of this experience isn't just the opportunity to showcase their work on the runway, it's the invaluable occasion to receive mentorship from distinguished fashion industry members. Over the span of four months leading up to the big show, each IDRS designer receives critical feedback on their collection that will ultimately help them build momentum for their line. The grand prize winner received a $5,000 cash prize provided by The Kemper Freeman Family in partnership with The Bellevue Collection. The winner receives added visibility by having their collection displayed at Bellevue Square during the month of October. Past IDRS winners who have gone on to launch global brands include Paychi Guh and Ampersand as Apostrophe.

This year's IDRS winner was Devon Yan who designs collections for men and women under the brand DEVONATION. Other noteworthy IDRS participants from this year's show included Milano Mai by Oscar Milano Mai who showcased gorgeous outerwear and Dollstreet by Lindsay Moen who focused on swimwear. Over 600+ guests were in attendance at the fifth annual show and the energy at the event was undeniable.

The second event I adore at Bellevue Fashion Week is the Front Row Fashion Show presented by Vogue. The Saturday night show is the "anchor" of Bellevue Fashion Week in my opinion and is always a great fashion presentation. Hosted by Cara Crowley, market stylist for Vogue, the show features seasonal trends with looks pulled from Bellevue Square retailers. The show was a benefit event for Seattle Children's Hospital and raised over $100,000+. This year's presentation was only 30 minutes long, but showcased just under 50 solid looks.

Bellevue Fashion Week is a do-not-miss series that we are lucky to have in the Pacific Northwest. It's the perfect blend of local fashion and traditional retail. And since the event series is over for this season, here's what you should know before you go for next time:

  • The IDRS show always sells out first. Remember that for next year when you're on the fence about buying tickets. Do it. 
  • All the Bellevue Fashion Week runway shows take place at Hyatt Regency Bellevue so consider staying overnight after the Vogue show on Saturday and making an entire weekend out of your fall fashion experience. #GirlTribeGetaway
  • Obadiah Salon has a blow dry bar downstairs called O2 Blow Dry Bar. They are masters at beautiful blowouts. If you want bombshell hair, book one before a Bellevue Fashion Week show. 
  • Parking is free at the Hyatt for Bellevue Fashion Week events. Yes, free. So even though you have to drive to the Eastside at least you don't have to deal with circling the block several times looking for parking. 


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