Posted on April 30, 2014 by Andrea Six
Blooming springtime fashions and summer collections are hitting the streets of Savannah this week.
The fifth annual Savannah Fashion Week kicked off Monday when Heather Burge, the president of SFW, presented Mayor Edna B. Jackson with the inaugural Savannah Fashion Advocate Award for her support of the local fashion industry.
Burge’s store, BleuBelle, has been involved with SFW since its beginning in 2010, and she has been on the board of directors for the last three years. But this year she stepped up to an even bigger role.
“I was excited to take on the role of president to work alongside our accomplished board of directors and production partners to produce the most exciting fashion week yet,” said Burge.
She made a few changes to add flair to the week’s biggest event. This year the runway show will be held at Forsyth Park instead of the Lucas Theater, like the previous years. Models will strut down a runway that stretches on the sidewalk from the fountain in the middle of the park towards Gaston Street. And rain or shine, the show will go on; SFW has a rain plan that includes tenting the site.
“Forsyth Park is the perfect backdrop to represent our beautiful city and its creative energy,” said Burge.
The runway show will present the newest collections of some of the hottest designers of Savannah including Brooke Atwood, Cate Lyon, Faith Thornburg, Mamie Ruth and MLiz Designs, Mix Julep, Nicole Edge, Catherine Fain, the Savannah Arts Academy Scholarship Recipient, Troy Allen, and the featured designer, April Johnston.
Johnston, a former fashion student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, showed the world her designs by competing in two different seasons of Project Runway. She came back to Savannah from her residence in Philadelphia to be a part of this week of style.
“I love Savannah and it is home to me,” said Johnston. “I have a lot of friends who are like family to me in Savannah and it will be great to be back to show my new collection and have a reunion with the city itself.
Johnston will show the spring line from her Mangled Courtesan collection—a collection inspired by the nightmares, the poems of Edgar Allen Poe and Gothic romanticism. Her previous lines include Purgatoire, Noir and Coeur de Goudron, among others.
And what’s fashion week without a shopping trip?
For this one week, boutiques all across the city will have trunk shoes to show off their newest collections. The nine independent retailers hosting the shows throughout the week include BleuBelle, Custard, J. Paige, James Gunn, Red Clover, Sara Jane Children’s Boutique, Satchel., Trunk 13 and Zia.
“It’s important to remind people to support their local retailers and designers to help our industry grow,” said Burge. “Trunk shows and in-store events are a fabulous way to see a heightened collection within the boutiques and designers’ studios.”
Another special event in this week’s line up is the featured film on Wednesday night. The Jepson Center for the Arts will have a private screening of “Mademoiselle C” with champagne and desserts at the reception.
But SFW isn’t just about the special events and nice clothes—it’s about community support and inspiration.
“The best part of Savannah Fashion Week is seeing the entire community come together to support the local fashion industry as well as our charitable partners,” said Burge.
Savannah Arts Academy is SFW’s 2014 charitable partner and the first to receive the contributions from their newly launched Savannah Style Fund. The money donated will be donated to provide students with scholarships and there will also be a direct donation to their new fashion program.
“We also plan to use the Savannah Style Funds to launch a summer camp for students looking to pursue a career in the creative arts,” said Burge. “We want to give back to those who will help build our future.”