Photographers’ cameras flashed as each model strutted down the runway with a signature look.
The audience gazed as each model wore fashionable pieces highlighting Wilmington’s emerging designers’ talent.
Clothes varied from complicated geometrical pieces to simple colorful swimwear. Some ensembles included statement pieces like taxidermy bird wings and deer horns.
Wilmington Fashion Weekend was a four-day event showcasing locals who had an eye for fashion. A portion of the proceeds raised were donated to DREAMS of Wilmington, a nonprofit providing free after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs to at-risk youth.
“It was exciting,” WFW model Anastassiya (Siya) Georgiev said after the April 5 Emerging Designers Show. “Everyone is so infatuated with how much energy there is. We all had so much fun getting ready. It was so great to see the community together. It was one big Wilmington family.”
The opening night was a Cirque du Soleil-inspired social at downtown Wilmington’s Bakery 105. Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes made a special appearance on behalf of Mayor Bill Saffo to cite an official proclamation designating April 3-6 as Wilmington Fashion Weekend.
WFW co-founder Khalilah Olokunola said she was excited about the mayor’s proclamation and hopes the event continues every year.
“That’s amazing. I didn’t know [Mayor Bill Saffo] would think it was a worthwhile idea,” Olokunola said. “I’m super excited and I hope it happens every year.”
On Saturday, April 5, WFW held a trunk show at the RiverRoom. The trunk show featured accessories from local vendors and designers such as Perla Segovia, who creates art glass and jewelry.
“I’m excited about this event. Wilmington is growing,” Segovia said. “When we moved down here from Missouri two years ago, it was a ghost town.”
Andrea Stacey, volunteer coordinator, said the event was sold out after expecting more than 300 people.
“We were sold out before the doors opened,” Stacey said. “[It’s] absolute excitement. … It’s a sense of pride that Wilmington is really supportive.”
Following the Emerging Designers Show, TJ Dunn, founder and director of WFW, was receiving pats on the back and compliments about the event’s success.
“I love it. The community came out,” Dunn said. “My team handled everything so well … I didn’t know we were going to sell out.”
On Sunday, April 6, the grand finale took place at 3 p.m. at the Wilmington Convention Center.
Awards were presented for Best Shop Award to Lula Balou and Emerging Designer Award to Casey Crespo.
The event’s host was Jesse Williams, owner of Edge of Urge, who said that Wilmington Fashion Weekend emerging designers all possessed great talents.
“The craftsmanship is very superior to many manufactured clothes,” Williams said.