There are a few things people may not know about Jacksonville, Florida. It is Florida’s largest city (by land mass AND population) and home to Jacksonville Fashion Week — the city’s premier fashion event for local industry professionals and emerging fashion talent. This year, Jacksonville Fashion Week is slated for March 28 to 31, now running in its sophomore year after a successful debut in March 2011.
Timo Weiland Spring/Summer 2012
Having spoken to Sonia Thomasino, Executive Director for JFW, it is clear that Fashion Week is no longer constrained to major cities which have traditionally maintained their “fashion capital” statuses; instead, many local hybrids have collectively become an emerging trend throughout the nation to offer small designers the chance to showcase their talent at a fraction of the cost, while maintaining legitimacy and a broader brand appeal. For Jacksonville, it’s about the community — its designers, professionals, and a uniquely Floridian flavor.
“Supporting this breed of up-and-coming talent while drawing attention to our coastal town’s potential and promise is the goal of Jacksonville Fashion Week,” said Tiffany Hager, founder and CEO of JFW. Local community sponsors include Downtown Vision and Visit Jacksonville to promote the city’s tourism, while industry networks like Fashion Group International of North Florida and Florida Public Relations Association lend professional guidance and insight.
The week’s featured designers form a highly curated yet widely varied pool of local and established names, such as Timo Weiland (Jacksonville native and Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week veteran), Heidi Elnora, and Lisa Kaminski, among others. These designers are from metro areas in the Southeast, and represent a diverse range of styles from edgy ready-to-wear to charming bridal gowns and chic tropical swimwear.
Timo Weiland is a Jacksonville native and an established name on the New York fashion scene. His collection is marked by artistic NYC influences and the idiosyncrasies of the post-punk era. His ready-to-wear collection can be found on his website, as well as via high-profile retailers Barneys New York and Steven Alan.
You may recognize Heidi Elnora as the Season 2 contestant on the hit reality series Project Runway. A true Southern belle, Heidi is from Birmingham, Alabama and adds a distinct “Southern sparkle” to the designs of her namesake bridal brand, heidi elnora.
This self-taught designer truly puts “local” on the forefront. Born and raised in Florida, Lisa Kaminski began designing bikinis at the age of 15. Her limited edition swimwear pieces are handmade in Florida and sold in local boutiques.
Finally, one of wonderMode’s designers, by SMITH has been invited to show at the event. ”I am so excited to showcase my Spring 2012 collection at Jacksonville Fashion Week as it is a great platform to be a part of. I grew up in Florida and I am really looking forward to be being in the show this week.”
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Looks from by SMITH Spring/Summer 12 Collection
In addition, Jacksonville Fashion Week will kickoff with an industry panel — featuring WonderMode’s very own Aaron Duncan, as well as local industry players such as former Top Model and Jacksonville native Yoanna House, fragrance designer Kim Spadaro, designer Timo Weiland, and Lisa Cera, celebrity stylist to the Kardashians, Paula Abdul, Shakira, and the like. This panel will create a direct and informative exchange among key figures in the Floridian retail circle to foster a holistic view of the fashion and retail sector for the participants, as well as an invaluable networking opportunity.
With such varied perspectives and positions within the industry — both emerging and established, Jacksonville Fashion Week will bring a refreshing collective of experiences which will fit its own personal fashion. Stay tuned for the complete coverage and exclusive updates on the week’s events!
(Images: Jacksonville Fashion Week, Style.com, Soliloquy Bridal, by SMITH)