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Lights, Camera, Fashion: The Evolution of Sacramento Fashion Week

SACFW Designer Showcase inside Elk Tower Ballroom

Lights, camera, fashion is all the buzz to be heard around the Emerald City as it kicked off its seventh annual Sacramento Fashion Week http://sacfashionweek.com/, February 24 – March 2.

Growing in attendance each year since its launch in 2006, we have been able to watch fashion in Sacramento transition from adopted trends from nearby cities and magazines to developing designers and fashionistas with inimitable style.

SACFW Editor in Chief, Bridgett Rex explained that SACFW allows us to educate our community about fashion and style, creating a demand for people to become more interested and eager to engage in fashion.

“With events like Sacramento Fashion Week, the community becomes more educated about fashion and more knowledgeable and curious to learn the business; they begin applying everything they see during SACFW to their own style and business,” Rex said.

“I think having SACFW mixers, our Fashion Affairs, every third Wednesday of the month, helps to create a discussion about fashion and style, which in turn slowly changes our wardrobe.”

This year marked the third consecutive year the designer showcase sold-out of tickets. Even more exciting, this is the first year SACFW made strides connecting with the community with increasing demand from local media, bloggers, stylist and supporting businesses to attend.

“Our biggest improvement this year was media coverage and community support. With the development of new alliances SACFW was able to connect to our community more efficiently,” Rex said.

Aside from the basis of fashion week in any city – or country for that matter, which is to showcase designer collections, initiate trends and create business, it seems the market for fashion in Sacramento is evolving with the growth of the city.

A leader in local development in its own right – with the newly developed venues along K Street http://kstreetvenues.com/, the efforts to empliment a high-speed rail sysyem http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/trip_planner.aspx and the continued push for a new sports and entertainment arena http://www.cityofsacramento.org/arena/index.html, the capitol is separating itself from the comparisons of nearby cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco and standing on its own sentiment.

This year it was clear that fashion in Sacramento is not just an academic elective and executing a better understanding about the business of fashion was an apparent goal of SACFW Executive and Co-Producer, Duane Ram and Will Rodriguez.

“Fashion is an industry, a business and at the end of the day you want to sell a product or a service. We wanted to make sure that designers think of fashion week as business, not just a platform to invite friends and family to see their work,” Ram said.

Detail, organization and execution are key factors in being successful in any industry and SACFW fostered an environment for the local fashion market to execute business endeavors.

“We want to bring together designers and boutiques, so that we can fill the demand for fashion merchandise from our local talent,” Rodriguez said.

Understanding that fashion is a business first, was also the objective of conversation at SACFW fashion forum on Monday, Feb. 25, in the Ballroom at Sacramento State University http://www.csus.edu/.

A panel of professionals discussed the importance of developing a business plan and employing the week to build business relationships and immerse in the versatility of the jobs the fashion industry has to offers.

Panel at SACFW 2013 Fashion Forum inside the Ballroom at Sacramento State University

Whether you are a designer, stylist, photographer, writer etc… the panel made it clear that there are rules to this industry and understanding these rules is how you become successful in the business of fashion.

“When I am teaching a student, the first thing I teach them is, learn the rules before you break the rules,” said veteran Model Coach and visual artist & photographer for GOS Art, Gerry Simpson.

“There is something about young people when they come to school. They have this idea in their minds that they are going to create the most outrageous stuff in the world. You have to remember, you have to create for people who will want to buy your stuff,” Simpson said.

Although directed towards designers, the overall discussion was geared towards applying these standards to any area of fashion you work in, placing great emphasis on the importance to create for the purposes to earn income and not limiting yourself to one area of fashion.

“Many professionals in the fashion industry end up on the extreme end. They create and create and whether they are making money does not matter. The way you get freedom to create is to think about business,” said Attorney and Partner at Ebitu Law Group, PC and founder and Editor in Chief of LadyBrille Magazine, Uduak Oduok.

“Not earning money for your work is okay until you reach a certain age, then you have to ask yourself are you being responsible,” Oduok said.

Americas Next Top Model, Cycle 4 winner, Naima Mora also sat along the panel offering her experience to advise on the subject.

“There’s an importance placed on commerce and earning revenue from fashion, but its also okay not to earn money from fashion. If you want to be a designer, make-up artist, photographer, etc… and you want to really focus on fine art, Zac Posen from Project Runway said it best when he said, “Fashion is a balance between design and commerce.” If you want to go that route, finding the balance is crucial,” Naima said.

Naima Mora and the Sac State student Fashion Association at Sacramento State University.

Other panelist included: Modeling Agent at Cast Images Talent Agency and former model, Amber Collins, Founder and CEO of The Stylist Online, Amy Wister, award winning educator and acclaimed designer, Ester Amato, hosted by Tracy Suville.

Several days of building the conversation that Sacramento can being recognized on a global scale as a lucrative business market for fashion, lead to two exciting nights of showcasing and networking at the Elks Tower Ballroom http://www.elkssacramento.com/ in midtown on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2.

This is the first year SACFW has experienced this much upset regarding the demand for attendance. As a result, they adopted an efficient resolution used at grand events such as the Grammy’s and the Oscars to resound their presences to the public, while balancing demand for attendance, a media pit.

A media pit is an area designated for press to occupy for the purposes of covering any particular event. It is strategically placed in an area that aids the press in obtaining photographs, interviews, video recording, etc…

Both nights, the expectation of media was to stand & report, with the option to access rotating seats. There was a designated personnel to aid us with back stage access to producers, staff, models and designers, as well as an invitation to attend the VIP Gala following the showcase at the Citizen Hotel http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/sacramento/citizen.

Despite the crunching of my toes as I stomped around in a pair of gold, strappy, open toe Steve Maddens, my pain reprieved with the ease of the media pit.

A strategy newly implemented by producers to effectively meets the increased demand for local media to attend.

Despite the crunching of my toes as I stomped around in a pair of open toed, gold, strappy Steve Maddens, my relief came with the organization of the media pool.

As fashion week moves on to Paris and L.A., my only hope for Sacramento is to continue growing each year proving our city is indispensable to the fashion market.

In terms of fashions progressive development in Sacramento and SACFW making an impactful contribution to the local fashion market using a global approach, in this moment, Sacramento is the Mecca of fashion, capturing its true essence, evolution.


• Midtown crawling with fashionistas, bloggers, stylist and media all week long.
• Street style coverage of locals rocking global trends.
• Tents for the designer showcases rather than one venue for 18 designers.
• Official press passes that read “SACFW”
• Television and radio media coverage.


Models melted the runway during the showcases for Maisha Bahati, Jason Powers and Samuel Parkinson.

Bahati http://maishabahati.com/ is right on trend for summer in Sacramento with loose fits, flowing trains, silhouettes, cool Caribbean colors and inimitable prints.

Although reminiscent to Rhianna’s new clothing line, Rhianna For River Island, which previewed this year during New York Fashion Week, Bahati separates her collection by staying true to femininity, ditching hard edges and malleables.

Maisha Bahati S/S fashion showcase

Self described as, mainstream with a mohawk, Powers’ collection, Rampant http://www.rampantfashion.com/, stole the show with is raw masculine approach. With bare skin, leather facemask and tailored pants, Rampant was a HOT! surprise.

A collaborative collection gaining recognition for its risk taking, Rampant will be featured as an installation to House of Gaballi on March 15, 2013 during L.A. Fashion Week.

Jason Powers, Rampant S/S fashion showcase

A new approach to urban wear, Parkinson’s collection, Kings Tribe Clothing http://www.kingstribeclothing.com/, exonerated the idea that urban means baggy or oversized.

Unlike most urban wear such as, LRG, Ecko and Zoo York, Kings Tribe Clothing sets itself apart from competitors using a fitted esthetic, allowing craftsmanship and style to be the focal point.

Samuel Parkinson, Kings Tribe Clothing S/S fashion showcase

It was clear each designer had a target market and aimed to connect to their audience, fufilling one of the main objectives of SACFW, which is to appeal to consumers and translate the business of fashion to industry interest. 

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