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Talking Smack: From the Editors

FASHION X AUSTIN, A Fairytale of Sorts

Randi Turkin April 11, 2018

Austin Fashion Week ended with a bang!

It was a night of sparkles, silk, bare skin, feathered collars, dazzling jewelry, butterfly gowns, leather contraptions, frocks that could double as costumes, not garments that one would choose for a regular stroll through town. Or perhaps they would? We are, after all, nestled in a growing oasis in the middle of Texas in the city of weird, and no one looks twice when a man doused in glitter walks past. This is Austin, and the event was Fashion X, the fourth largest fashion show in the U.S.

austin fashion week

I think what I loved the most about this final night of Austin Fashion Week, which also happened to be the fashion concept’s 10th anniversary, was the fearlessness that surrounded me. All body shapes, all genders, all types graced the open floor of the white-walled warehouse called Vault Space in North Austin. Upon ascending the stairs under the arch of bulging, green balloons, one was instantly whisked away into a fairy tale of sorts. Every color of the rainbow was waiting for us in the form of ruffles and lace, food and drink, the speakers blaring songs I didn’t even realize I knew the words to, that lifted me up and somehow made walking in heels a little easier. The models, attendees, designers, event employees – everyone was in high spirits. The chatter was abundant, the laughter loud, the fashion luminous.

austin fashion week

Before the runway show began, my colleague, Cordelia, and I made our way around the pop-up galleries of Austin businesses situated in a U-shape around the over-sized room. We spoke at length with the mom/ daughter designers of AmberLeaf, a company that specializes in classic, non-generational clothing for the modern woman. We purchased a glass of perfectly crafted rosé from William Chris Vineyards, a winery located in Hye, Texas, that uses only Texas-grown grapes. Next we moseyed over to the Stitch Texas booth, a company that was co-founded by Vesta Garcia, who passed away from ALS only three weeks ago, but leaves behind her legacy in the form of this company that provides services to designers that focus a lot on education of the fashion industry and helps move designers from an idea to a finished product.

austin fashion week

Liz & Lisa, mother/ daughter designers

Soon after we made our rounds, the show opened with a few words from the at once animated and sentimental Fashion X founder, Matt Swinney. Top designers presented everything from children’s wear that transported the crowd to Neverland, to glitzy evening gowns more than worthy of the red carpet, to bold pant suits for both men and women. The models were spectacular in their chosen designs, but the one who really stood out was Tabia, a 24-year-old model from Seattle who has Down Syndrome, and whose dream from a young age has been to walk the runway. Three of the evening’s designers dressed her, and she killed it, owning the catwalk to whistles and cheers that drowned out the music.

fashion x

Tabia posing with a stylist for the event

It would be difficult to pick a favorite designer, which included Fashion Runway’s Amanda Valentine as well as well-known designers Masha Osoianu and Venus Strawn, because each fashionista’s visions were vastly different from the next.

If you missed this year’s events, have no fear. It was the 10th anniversary of Fashion X, and they aren’t going anywhere. Check out their website in the coming months for dates to next year’s event. And be sure to watch our video, so you can see exactly what I mean by fearless.

Update: Designer Katie Kime also presented in the show, but was mistakenly left out of the video credits.

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