I've been a big fan of fashion ever since the day I figured out I could dress myself. (My mom likes to tell the story of the time I had to wear tap shoes to Home Depot.) Because of my love for fashion, one of the things I love about New Orleans is the multitude of fashion weeks.
First, there's New Orleans Fashion Week, which happens biannually; the spring/summer season is going on now at the New Orleans Museum of Art. There is also Fashion Week New Orleans which happened earlier this year at The Sugar Mill. All of these events are a good way for lesser-known designers to get their name out and find a local audience.
I went to New Orleans Fashion Week last night to see the latest from Jolie and Elizabeth and Pret a Porter, two Southern fashion lines. The evening was a good reason to dress up on a Tuesday night and feel a little chicer than usual. It was fun to see the fashion shows, and also browse the jewelry of vendors stationed outside. Sure, the fashion events in New Orleans are nowhere near as big a deal as New York Fashion Week or Paris Fashion Week, but the shows promote local designers. The fashion week scene is another example of how New Orleanians like to promote small businesses instead of corporate chain stores.
We all know New Orleans isn't America's most fashionable city; you can wear anything you want here and be okay. For instance, the other day I was having coffee with a friend and all of a sudden she stopped talking and looked outside. “Oh sorry, I just saw a guy who looked like Hagrid walk by.” Hagrid is from Harry Potter and he looks like this:
That's not your normal Thursday afternoon attire. I have also seen a man running down Carrollton Avenue in a banana suit and I ran into Big Bird during Mardi Gras in Mid-City.
Everyone has their own sense of fashion here and I like that New Orleans is able to sustain a diverse collection of styles, from the eclectic to the chic. Again, New Orleans isn't known for fashion, but I like that fashion is still part of life here and that it's celebrated.
If you're a fan of fashion, I encourage you to check out New Orleans Fashion Week this week. It's great that there is a faction of people promoting New Orleans designers and showing off the the city's budding fashion scene, even if some New Orleanians like to walk down the street in banana costumes.