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Fashion Forward

Cincinnati's first-ever Fashion Week to showcase considerable local talent

By Ashley Elizabeth Thomas · March 26th, 2010 · Shops & Services

Ohio native Nathan Hurst is a self-taught designer whose first projects involved decking out his dog. Having moved on to successful runway shows here in Cincinnati and later conquering the “Hip Hop Meets Couture” fashion show in San Francisco, Hurst is back in town with a new vision: Cincinnati Fashion Week.

“I hope to bring a breath of fresh air to the area with Cincinnati Fashion Week,” he says. “By being a self-taught kid, I want to encourage people to think outside of the box. If I can do it, anyone can.”

Cincinnati will finally be holding its first official Fashion Week April 19-24 thanks largely to Hurst. The series of events will be a celebration of local designers and retailers’ clothing and accessories as art.

Partnering with PROJECTMILL, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, KISS 107 FM, CW Cincinnati, Mitchell's and PUMP salons and many others, Hurst has already brewed up something quite impressive.

The logo launch and mixer party March 6 took place at Fountain Square’s trendy Mynt Martini. The first day of fashion week will kick off by featuring participating local retailers throwing on-site promotional events. These events will be free and open to the public.

Day Two will be an exclusive meet-and-greet fashion pre-party with the participating designers. Day Three cranks up the heat with fashion party featuring short runway segments of up-and-coming designers and local retailers.

You’ll also find gift bags, raffles, giveaways and more. Who doesn’t love fabulous prizes?

Day Four is the grand celebration rounding out the week with a major fashion finale that will include designers from New York City, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and a surprise international designer. The fashion finale is planned to take place at the Hyatt Grand Ballroom. All other event locations are to be announced.

Considering that UC’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning offers one of the country’s best fashion design programs, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been more fashion-related events in Greater Cincinnati. DAAP will be well-represented at Cincinnati Fashion Week, as DAAP alumnus Rosie Kovacs, owner of Brighton’s Brush Factory, and local jewelry designer Linda Lucas will be designing their own pieces specifically for the big fashion finale event.

Laura Dawson is another DAAP alum whose work will appear during the week. Now based out of London, she’s styled the likes of Moby, Yelle and the Scissor Sisters with her one-of-a-kind pieces made out of eco-friendly sustainable resources.

Amy Longo, who attended DAAP and pays homage to her past internships with Heatherette and Betsey Johnson in her Alice in Wonderland-inspired party pieces, will be showcasing her line, Glitter Queen Clothing.

Another DAAP alum, Monica Varagas, will introduce her Verdenuevo line. Varagas has worked with an impressive lineup, including Betsey Johnson, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger and Jones Apparel Group. Verdenuevo is expected to embrace function, comfort and beauty with pieces that are both classy and sexy.

Other designers scheduled to be part of Cincinnati Fashion Week include Ashley Bowman, Amy Kirchen, Arbitrage and Grace Mae, just to name a few.

Cincinnati Fashion Week is dedicated to helping do its part for the Greater American Clean Up by donating a large portion of its profits to Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. Hurst helped the cause with a citywide clothing drive that began March 15.

Put on your best duds and get your tickets and other updates for Cincinnati Fashion Week through the event’s Web site at www.cincinnatifashionweek.com. That’s where you can find everything from individual daily event tickets to an All Week Pass, which range from $20 to $130. Fashion Week will also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

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