It is a long standing idea that in order to be successful in an artistic field, you need to move to New York City. For people in the fashion industry this goes doubly, considering it is home to one of the most publicized fashion weeks in the world. However, this idea is quickly becoming outdated as more and more cities are garnering economic power and a demand for local cultural events and influences. Thus, designers who have given up on their dreams to move to the Big Apple are seizing these opportunities to become local celebrities and designing for their home towns.
Make no mistake though, these designers aren’t settling: they are just taking advantage of new stepping stones on the way to success. Previously an industry littered with gatekeepers like money, age, or experience, these fashion weeks are invaluable to the evolution of fashion. No longer barred from opportunities that shunned away designers with different tastes or backgrounds, the new influx of creativity has enriched and diversified our community.
One such budding community can be found right here in the tourism capitol of the world: Orlando, Florida. It’s no surprise that Orlando has its own International Fashion Week, with many local designers working as costume designers or seamstresses at Disney, Universal Studios, and local theaters, it seemed natural for it to become a host to the fashion industry. With new opportunities for budding fashion designers, Orlando International Fashion Week creates an artistic environment that encourages those wishing to break into the industry and allows them to do so on their own terms. This extends beyond designers: photographers, models, bloggers, are just some of the many professions that attend this event. It’s an amazing opportunity to network, build your portfolio, or to even just have a good time!
Fierce Entertainment Management, LLC, who produces Orlando International Fashion Week, has taken the idea of diversification and made it into a competition. Emerging Designer Gauntlet Exhibition or E.D.G.E, is an interactive competition with a focus on new up-and-coming designers. It is judged by a panel of industry professionals and calls for audience participation in deciding the winner. What makes this competition so amazing is the audience, because it gives designers a sense of the real market; the audience approval is what you are after and they will dictate what will sell and what won’t.
So, to anyone out there that feels that their passion is unrealistic or inaccessible: look again. Opportunity may come knocking in your own backyard when you least expect, will you be there to answer the door?
Article by Tyler McDonald
Tyler is an emerging fashion designer in the Central Florida area with a passion for the industry. He has previously worked designing and constructing costumes for various theater organizations. He aspires to create his own fashion line soon.