Nashville Fashion week a slam-dunk

(r) Legacy Award winner Manuel Cuevas with L.A. resident admirer and photographer James Marshall (l).

(r) Legacy Award winner Manuel Cuevas with L.A. resident admirer and photographer James Marshall (l).

All week the energy was high, the vibes were electric and there were loads of fun being had along the way for the sixth-annual Nashville Fashion Week. NFW ran from April 5-9. The city bustled with trunk shows, fashion shows and education panels, culminating with the third annual closing gala on Saturday night at Oz Arts Nashville. The events almost exclusively featured Nashville-based designers, showcasing that this is not just the capital of country music but also a hub of entrepreneurial creativity. Co-chairs Alizah Greenberg and Gen Sohr orchestrated a star-studded evening, showcasing the arts in all forms.

Though most fashion shows seem to be heavily focused on the female market, NFW’s shows incorporate several menswear designers. A couple of these this year included the edgy rock inspired collection from Any Old Iron and a similarly rough-cut collection from Roxenstone. Beyond the clothing pieces, accessories from gemstones to hats and satchels were on display.

The fashion shows featured a variety of designers encompassing many styles. However, a key part of any fashion week is looking beyond the shows to the off-the-runway fashions of attendees and designers themselves. Many guests were sporting the hipster standby. There was a good deal of variation in wardrobes, with some people playing it safe, while others went all out in platform sneakers, neon sweaters or exaggerated eyeliner.

Local celebrity designer Amanda Valentine, a ‘Project Runway’ alum who also styles alternative rock Twenty One Pilots on the side, showed off her collection. It incorporated screen-printed designs and more western motifs. Her prices are relatively affordable. They range from $25 to $225 per piece.

Nashville Fashion Week is a perfect way to expose oneself to the real hustle and bustle of fashion—a place where the trendy elite gather to mingle, comment on the latest style and set trends for the next season. The show’s attendance and list of talent has grown every year. The tickets help keep fashion fresh in Nashville, going toward the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund to support up-and-coming locals in the fashion industry. This fund is awarded to a local fashion industry professional or organization to further professional and artistic endeavors.

Mayor Megan Barry opened the Fashion Forward Gala program with remarks about Nashville’s talented community. She has recently commissioned many designers herself for additions to her wardrobe. Barry discussed the progress the city has made in providing vital industry resources, jobs and quality manufacturing. Omega Apparel, a leading contract manufacturer of military uniforms for the U.S. Armed Forces, was announced as the 2016 Nashville Fashion Forward Fund recipient. Other honorees included: Mary Seng of Happily Grey with the Point of View Award; model Dylan Stephens with the Face of Fashion Award; Poni Silver of Black by Maria Silver with the Rising Star Award; Manuel Cuevas with the Legacy Award; and Holly Williams with the Style Icon Award.

For more information on the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, visit the website at cfmt.org