NWA Fashion Week closes with promise for repeat

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 192 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — At 10:53 p.m. Saturday night (March 10), the curtain figuratively dropped on NWA Fashion Week amidst a sense of wistful pride for those who had dedicated innumerable hours to make it happen.

Founders Jade Terminella and Danielle Davis Vaughan were clearly a mix of emotions at the end of an event that started with an idea hatched amongst friends and ended in sold out nights and thousands of dollars raised for seven area charities. The exact figures for proceeds have yet to be tallied, but the enterprising women who pulled the whole week together felt it was clearly an unqualified success.

When asked if NWA Fashion Week was now set to be an annual event, Terminella had a succinct answer.  “Yes, definitely,” she said.

“I was in the room when the ladies first talked about this whole idea eight months ago,” said videographer and photographer Jade Howard.  “It’s been a ton of work, but it’s been amazing to see it all come together.”

Howard, a recent Fayetteville transplant from Los Angeles, shot and edited unique intro videos for 19 of the week’s shows. It was a process he started just six weeks ago, but one that was vital to bringing a polished and creative look and feel to the major runway showcases.

Rock the Runway for Education by Masons to benefit the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas was the event finale, and a popular one at that, based on the noise level from the audience at the show’s kickoff. One of the original stand-alone fashion show fundraisers in the area, it could be said that “Rock” is the show by which all others are measured.

Masons is a trendsetter in its own right. The clothier founded by the late Mason Hiba was the first boutique to bring a younger, hipper level of fashion to Northwest Arkansas, and thus it was fitting they had the show-closing slot.

Just prior to Rock the Runway, young Sir and Justice Duncan gave a short speech to say what a difference the Single Parent Scholarship Fund had made to the success of their family. Their mother, LeDeana Duncan, had received a scholarship through the charity and was able to complete her post-secondary education. The result had been a good job and a swift uptick in fortunes for the family.

“This is why we are all here, folks,” said emcee and NWA Fashion Week board member Chris Goddard.

A highlight of the night was the first-ever show from new men’s boutique Brits & Turks. The store’s wares are all about refined Americana: sharp blazers, slim button-ups and upscale denim from brands like Scotch & Soda, combined with rugged boots, slick brogues and accessories like fedoras, beanies and bags by Filson.

Another headline show was High Heels High Hopes by Maude Boutique and Uptown Eyes to benefit the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter.  Maude owner Becca Brisiel showed off her store’s affordable, yet flirty looks, including crop tops, skinny jeans, short shorts and flowing slit skirts from lines like Aryn K. and Standards & Practice. Uptown Eyes lent their high-end eyewear from brands such as Oliver Peoples and Prada.

Other boutiques that showed on the event’s final night included RiffRaff, Haute Pink, Belle, Impressions, Plato’s Closet, as well as Unzipped by Maca benefitting the 7 Hills Homeless Center. The night’s big giveaway was a white gold diamond pendant from Romance Diamond Co. valued at $1,725.

As the shows came to an end, celebration mixed with reflection. For those who helped make NWA Fashion Week a reality, there was a true sense of accomplishment, as well as the knowledge that the fashion party couldn’t go on forever.

“I have to get back to my real job,” said Goddard, who also served as chief designer for the event.

The lip gloss and fingernail polish from L’Oreal and the Mykita sunglasses from Mertins Eye Care were going back in the boxes, the swag bags had all disappeared, the bars were running on fumes and a 50-foot glittered runway stood empty. All that remained were memories of a week when Northwest Arkansas defied expectations and put on a fashion extravaganza to rival metro areas 10 times its size.