This year’s Vehicle City Fashion Week was a great success. Even casual observers estimated 500 visitors, up from last year and an indication that the event is attracting both supporters of worthwhile causes and, of course, fashionistas.
It was held between Nov. 12 and Nov. 17, 2018, and featured workshops and events showcasing Flint’s diverse talent network of aspiring designers, artists and entrepreneurs. Kala Wilburn, the founder and moving force behind Fashion Week and Fashion Against Violence, was intent on spotlighting local designers who create their one-of-a-kind fashions by hand at the year’s week-long event.
As a young but veteran designer herself, Kala wants to share her career experience to prepare local talent and aspiring designers for advancement into the broader business of fashion. Colors and trends are two aspects of fashion, but it is a business, and Kala wants to share that aspect no less than the “bling.”
Included in the many events in downtown Flint were Fashion, Family and Friends of the Ocean at the Flint Farmers’ Market; the Fashionably Fit event at the Forever Bold Salon and Spa; Fashion Against Violence Workshop at Berston Field House; Beauty and the Beat (a networking showcase for cosmetologists and grooming professionals) at the Ferris Wheel on Saginaw Street; and the Vehicle City Fashion Week Runway Show at the Sloan Museum Courtland Center Mall in Burton.
Each year’s Fashion Week has had a theme, even if informal, but this year is clearly is to encourage designers and entrepreneurs to boldly assert their talent, cultivate a Michigan clientele, and learn all they can about the business aspects of the fashion trade. Kala is well equipped to organize programs and share her many experiences. And – so as not to lose touch with the values that attracts talented designers in the first place – she requested as many attendees as possible to wear hand-made garments.
Her own Fannie Lucille studio opened during Fashion Week. The debut event was in its location at the Ferris Wheel, 615 S. Saginaw St., and was open to the public.
The FASHIONHUB Collective has been formed from the efforts of Fashion Against Violence and successful events like Fashion Week, with the goal of elevating Flint’s fashion community. Partners include Jackie Berg, publisher of TheHUB; Ebonie Gipson, founder of I’m Building Something Consulting, which has supported the development of more than 200 small Flint-based businesses; and Kala.
Among the supporters of Fashion Week 2018 were Central Michigan University, N2SA (No Two Stripes Alike), Threads Fashion Show (CMU), TheHUB Flint, I’m Building Something Consulting, Park Place Studio, Rynelle Walker Photography, Euro Effex; and Harambee Wellness.
Fashion Week was so successful that it overflowed with extra excitement, like a surprise appearance by Mayor Karen Weaver on the runway, and the announcement that Kala Wilburn was to be featured in “Good Housekeeping Magazine.” Next year’s event will only build on all the positive threads of this year’s Vehicle City Fashion Week. Not to be missed!