Strike a pose

Kansas City Fashion Week offers a glimpse into new trends and brings attention to Kansas City’s fashion industry.

by MaryMichael Hough and Violet Cowdin

Schyler can barely sit still as a hair and makeup team put the finishing touches on her look. Are they almost done? When do I get to go on? As she tries to contain her excitement, a nervous young girl catches her eye from across the room. With the flash of a quick smile and encouraging thumbs up, Schyler reassures the first time model.

Kansas City Fashion Week kicked off Friday, Sept. 19, and continued through Sunday, Sept. 27. The local fashion event began with an “Elevate Your Style Runway Show” at Independence Center, followed by a “Rooftop Runway Show and Cocktail Party at Power and Light District,” and concluded with three nights of runway shows at Union Station.

photos by Violet Cowdin

According to their website, KCFW strives to restore the, once nationally recognized, Kansas City Garment District. By the late 1940s, the Garment District employed over 4,000 people and claimed that one out of every seven women in the United States purchased garments made in Kansas City, according to the KCFW website.

Model Schyler Slaven has been participating in the event for two years. According to Slaven, KCFW gives both experienced and amateur models along with anyone with an interest in design an opportunity to explore the different aspects of the fashion.

“I’m an apparel textiles student at [Kansas State University] so I’m always grateful to be able to come and be a part of [KCFW] because it helps me to meet new people and see if this is something I want to do,” Slaven said. “That’s what’s so great about this event.”

Junior Maria Tilson experienced KCFW while attending one of the runway shows at Union Station. Tilson, whose cousin Jillian Lapping’s designs were featured in the event, was excited to see what kind of styles were highlighted at the show.

“It’s cool that this is something that everyone can go to and enjoy themselves and see like what’s new, what’s hot and what’s trending,” Tilson said.

According to sponsorship intern Hilari Holt, KCFW gives Kansas City an opportunity to showcase talents and stand out in the fashion industry as in the past.

“I think it’s important because back in 1920s, 30s, 40s, Kansas City was like the hopping place,” Holt said. “We had fur traders, we had millenaries, we had an awesome garment district so it’s just good for everybody to just slowly bring that back and just prove that Kansa City is more than just a fly over state.”

Slaven agrees and believes the involvement of models, designers, volunteers and audiences unifies the city and allows for local fashion enthusiasts to be a part of something.
“Honestly, I feel like the garment district in Kansas City is growing a lot and I love that finally we have something to be proud of and something to like show ‘here we are, this is us,’” Slaven said. “Especially because I am a design student, that’s something that I look for and it’s so cool to see Kansas City making its own name.”