This past week I had the opportunity to travel to South Carolina to attend Charleston Fashion Week. Having lived in New York and attended numerous Fashion Week showings, I was more than skeptical that a small Southern town could compete with the glitz and glam of the Big Apple tents. But let me tell you—I was beyond surprised at the level of talent, style, design, and media craziness on display in this historic city!
I had a front row seat (yes, that’s right . . . gift bags and complimentary drinks were included with my coveted spot) where I sat with local Charleston media (like blogger Chassity from Look Linger Love) and across from "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Cynthia Bailey (pictured with her publicist, Marcus Jackson) and New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis.
Charleston Fashion Week takes over Marion Square in historic downtown and includes Pop-Up shops, featured designer runway shows, and more than twenty "Emerging Designers" from along the East Coast. Collections ranged from Nancy Crowell’s whimsical children’s pieces to Vartika Bikram’s romantic and full-volume designs.
Highlights of my trip included a collaborative runway show featuring designers Sarah Parrot (a former CHSFW "Emerging Designer"), Luciana Scarabello, and Nikki Poulos from NBC’s "Fashion Star" as well as attending the Chris Benz party at local boutique Hampden. But hands down, the most jaw-dropping part of CHSFW was Saturday's Spring Bridal Show. Proudly representing Atlanta was "Project Runway" Season 3 finalist Mychael Knight (pictured with Benz), whose bridal collection included delicate ruffles and sheer fabrics with neon accents. Also showing was Atlanta native and"Emerging Bridal Designer" winner Calvin James Bryant, with his blush-tone chiffon and velvet gowns and short ivory dresses.
After a whirlwind five days, all I can say is that the fashion world should take note of this town. Charleston Fashion Week undoubtedly serves as a launching pad for many designers on their way to the Lincoln Center tents in New York.
Cathy Anderson is an editorial contributor for Atlanta magazine and author of the blog Poor Little It Girl