A model models in Lehigh Valley Fashion Week on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Lehigh Valley Fasion week will have its second season from Thursday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30. (Courtesy Stephen Flood of Flood Images)

Lehigh Valley to host second fashion week

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Fashion Week is coming to the Lehigh Valley April 28 to 30 to showcase designers across the valley and welcome Lehigh students.

This will be the second fashion week hosted by the Lehigh Valley and the first to feature spring and summer collections. Lehigh Valley Fashion Week is an organization striving to highlight the local fashion industry. According to their website, the organization hopes to boost visibility and profits for surrounding business.

Founder and CEO Cyrie Jackson created Lehigh Valley Fashion Week to fill a void that she thought the developing area needed. She was interested in fashion, modeling and make-up from a young age, and even took interest in pageantry. Later, she started a career as a runway coach for major modeling agencies John Casa Blanca and Barbizon Modeling and Talent Agency.

“The Lehigh Valley is a very upwardly mobile area,” project manager Blake Jackson said. “It is an entrepreneurial Mecca and a lot of people are coming in and making new lives for themselves here in the valley. Years ago, the valley was a very popular place for fashion, and Cyrie decided to bring that back.”

The organization is hoping to attract the attention of the Lehigh community and is encouraging young student designers and models to participate.

“We love the young people,” Blake Jackson said.

Cyrie Jackson’s interest in fashion started when she was a young girl in high school, so she strongly encourages youth to participate and express their passions. Her organization even encourages high school students from Arts High School in Bethlehem to take part.

“Thanks to Lehigh Valley Fashion Week, we were able to work with top photographers and top models,” said Genny Perez, a designer for Art to the Skin, a fashion design company with an expertise in creating wearable art. “A company like ours never had access to these professionals before. Thanks to Fashion Week, we are at the same level as any other apparel company from New York.”

Perez said Fashion Week gave her company an opportunity to show its designs and take advantage of its social media publicity. Events like these help businesses to grow and make important connections.

The key to the organization and planning of the show is a good venue, Blake Jackson said.

“Then after that you need your designers,” he said. “That’s what it is all about. It is about the clothes.”

The fashion one can expect to see for the spring and summer seasons will have a retro feel. The designs will be bohemian-inspired with a comfortable look, Blake Jackson said. Some of the styles include A-line skirts and halter-tops. The fashion show includes ready-to-wear and couture pieces, along with out-of-the-box designs.

Fashion Week will kick off April 28 with a fashion panel and a vendor showcase. The vendor showcase helps bring traffic to each vendors’ booth and allows people in the community to network. This gives the business the opportunity to network and get exposure, which Blake Jackson said is key.

“Lehigh Valley Fashion Week was a great networking platform,” said Dartanya Butcher of Dartanya Clothing. “I can see Lehigh Valley Fashion Week growing into something extraordinary, an amazing group of talented people highlighting the best in fashion.”

Fashion shows will premiere April 29, followed by the finale April 30. Doors open at 7 p.m. and show time is at 8 p.m. The fashion shows will be held at the Holiday Inn City Center in Allentown.

According to information on the Lehigh Valley Fashion Week website, designers and models must register by April 10.

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