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NOLA Fashion Week aims to create a new industry in New Orleans

Rogersliu, by young designers Christopher Rogers and Julie Liu, will host a runway show at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ogden Museum as part of fashion week.

One of the most admirable things about the New Orleans entrepreneurial community is the passion that individuals demonstrate for the continued growth of their specific industry, beyond the prosperity of their own business(es).

In industries such as digital media or film, that passion has garnered a lot of attention from the community, and even favorable legislation through tax incentives. With or without government help, however, New Orleans is well on its way to becoming a hub for several business sectors, proving the intensity of the entrepreneurial drive in the city.

One industry that is striving for such success is fashion.

Two people behind the push are NOLA Fashion Week founders Nicholas Landry and Andi Eaton, who provide Southern designers with a platform to share their work with the community, media, and buyers. After the success of their first fashion week in March, Landry and Eaton say they saw the value of a week-long event as a way to help the progress of the fashion industry itself, rather than just a fun way to showcase local designers. That concept led to the creation of the NOLA Fashion Council, comprised of designers and industry professionals, as a way to connect, share resources, and discuss needs at quarterly forums. An examination of the council, coverage of its first fashion forum and a look at some of the local designers making a mark in the industry recently were the focus of an article in The Times-Picayune by fashion writer Susan Langenhennig.

“Last year we stimulated the dialogue between designers and buyers to put Southern fashion on the map,” says Eaton. “Our goal this year is to increase the viability and the vitality of the fashion industry in New Orleans through a weeklong series of events that showcase Southern talent.”

As one of the local initiatives supported by the Fashion Council, NOLA Fashion Week offers a series of scheduled events such as educational workshops, fashion shows, industry mixers, and a fashion market all aimed at further creating awareness of the industry within the community. Activities will begin Saturday, Oct. 15, and culminate on Friday, Oct. 21, when eight Southern designers introduce their spring/summer 2012 collections at the Ogden Museum.

Educational workshops, set to begin Monday, Oct. 17, will be held throughout the week and led by industry professionals. With topics ranging from editorial styling and photography to hat making, the workshops give members of the community an opportunity to learn more about various fashion fields from insiders themselves. The success of past workshops indicates that the talent and interest in fashion are already present in the region, and ready to be further cultivated.

On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 20 and 21, a fashion market at the Ogden Museum will feature pieces from 20 artists, designers, and boutiques as an effort to introduce the community to some of the talent that New Orleans has to offer. Visitors will have the opportunity to support local talent, as well as meet and engage with the creative people behind the growing industry.

A bourgeoning fashion industry affects the community in ways that go beyond the prosperity of the designers themselves and seasonal celebratory weeks. It provides jobs and seeds businesses as well, including photographers, writers, publications, retail, and even manufacturers.  As with any other sector, a thriving fashion industry helps stimulate the local economy, support job retention, and ultimately attract new businesses.

The  video that follows illustrates the importance of the fashion industry in New Orleans, and how participants can help support yet another growing sector in our region.

Story by Adriana Lopez, who writes about the entrepreneurial community for NolaVie and Silicon Bayou News. She also showcases local start-ups such as the one profiled here through her non-profit organization GenNOLA. For more information on NolaVie, visit


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