And the winner is…Phoenix Fashion Week. The Phoenix Fashion Week (PHXFW) ended a spectacular week of “fashion, education and humanity” with a sold out crowd at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Saturday night, October 5. Executive Director Brian Hill announced the top Emerging Designer and the top male and female new Models of the Year that evening. But the real winner was the fashion industry in Phoenix, which is finally getting its due.
While this was the ninth Phoenix Fashion Week, there were plenty of first-timers in attendance, representing the growing scope and diversity of people and businesses interested in fashions in Phoenix.
Of course, there were the 40 young people, including men for the first time, vying for the Top Model of the Year honors. In such a competitive industry, the prize of a contract with Agency Arizona is as valuable as any cash prize.
Twelve designers from all over the country hoped to follow 2012’s winner Bri Seeley, who will be launching her line on Zappos.com. They attended a four-month boot camp to learn about every aspect of the fashion business. The winner—Dolcessa—was unusual in that designer Katya Leoncio specializes in swimwear. More unusual was the night’s finale with Rocky Gathercole’s 30 avant garde creations from Manila.
There were several new sponsors for PHXFW this year. Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy was the Official Hair Sponsor in 2013. “Our Scottsdale-based beauty school made us an ideal partner for Model of the Year makeovers and 25+ fashion shows,” said Shafer Watkins, Toni&Guys’s Director of Operations. Meanwhile Charise Knelp and Scott Casey enjoyed PinnacleAviation Charter’s inaugural appearance as host of the after-party. “The Phoenix Fashion Week attendees are the perfect market for our premier airline charter services,” said Knelp.
“We’re excited to be at our first Phoenix Fashion Week,” beamed Phoenician Breannah Worthy, whose Brooklynns booth boasted the “hottest shoes, hottest accessories.”
The media are a growing and important presence at PHXFW, both as sponsors (Phoenix New Times, phxsoul.com) and documenters of the excitement. Hayley Ringle, a new entrepreneur and technology reporter at the Business Journal, who was at her first PHXFW, got her first view of the event from the front row of the runway during the evening shows.
The buzz and sophistication of Saturday night reflected, not just the emergence of the fashion industry in the Valley, but also the overall resurgence of its economy.