First annual Greensboro Fashion Week takes over downtown

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Angel Clark, Greensboro Fashion Week’s Model of the Year, was chosen to walk the runway by every designer in the show.

by Nicole Crews

It’s happening people. The Gate City’s fashion-fueled rocket is on the launch pad and ready for takeoff. This weekend Greensboro Fashion Week goes where not many have gone before — melding the worlds of local designers with international brands.

Produced by international model Giovanni Ramadini and marketing maven Witneigh Davis and platinum sponsored by Jeff Francisco, general manager of Foreign Cars Italia and Porsche of Greensboro, the event takes place on Friday and Saturday at the Elm Street Center in Greensboro. On both nights a red-carpet reception begins at 6 p.m. followed by Premium and VIP seating at 7:15 and the runway show at 8. Friday night’s show will focus on five hand-picked Greensboro designers and Saturday’s runway will showcase well-known brands GUESS, ivy & leo, Rare Denim Lounge, Altar’d State, BCBG Maxazria, David’s Bridal and Caché. Local designers culled from UNCG and beyond include Danielle Wiggins, Nhi Tran, Justin Clark, Myline Kamsch and Uvana Doran.

The event benefits Emily’s Plea, an affiliate of the Crash Prevention Network of North Carolina, and a prevention group to stop drunk drivers and texting while driving. Davis is the chairman and says a portion of all proceeds will be donated to this organization. (Please visit emilysplea.com for more information.)

“Giovanni and I were talking about how we could bring the fashionable set together somehow and I suggested that he create an event,” says Davis, “and doing it for a good cause just seemed like a natural progression.”

Plus, Ramadini and Davis believe Greensboro is primed for establishing a fashion identity. “Giovanni and I have been on the scene here for about five years. We go out. We see fashionable people. But we kept asking ourselves, ‘Who are these people and how can we bring them together,’” she says. “It’s just a different element of the creative class.”

Davis and Ramadini are also bringing to the table four-time Emmy winning cinematographer Wilky Black. Black, from Hayzen’s Productions of Greensboro, will be capturing these design stars on video. Kyle Britt, a Greensboro native and veteran of the backstage scene at the Grammys, is this year’s lead stylist. Beyond award shows, Britt styles for fashion shows around the globe.

Entertainment during intermission on Friday night will feature R&B artist Jay Harris who just signed a deal with Universal Records. On Saturday, Ashley Watkins, a recent grad of Elon University’s esteemed music school will showcase her talents.

“We essentially see this as an invitation for those interested in fashion and in the business of fashion to come together,” Davis says. “Local designers, local models, locally available brands and every aspect of the production — the lighting and set design, marketing and promotion, vendors, models, support staff and, of course, the runway collections have been created to both showcase and introduce the Greensboro fashion scene.”

A full-time runway model, Ramadini put his career on hold to create this event. And Davis, who also manages the BCBG Mazazria boutique at Tanger Outlet Mall in Mebane, has been campaigning non-stop to make this happen. “We’ve had model calls, an online social-media  campaign, knocked on doors and really pulled out all the stops,” says Davis. “This is going to be an extravaganza and the place to be this weekend.”

Davis says that the ultimate goal of Greensboro Fashion Week is to inspire and encourage the community to accept and embrace the local presence of fashion. “This town was built on textiles and now we have a chance to boost the creative side of that,” says Davis.

The energy of a major runway production is that very boost, Davis believes. “This is an exciting opportunity for local and regional designers, make-up artists, models, and boutique owners to showcase their talent. Besides highlighting this local talent, the show hopes to foster new relationships between these individuals so that they may meet, collaborate, learn, and inspire one another — ensuring the growth of this industry for years to come.”