On any given day, walking down a Williamsburg street, may feel like walking on a fashion runway. In addition to professional outdoor shoots, the neighborhood is full of fashionistas wearing designer clothes and reworked thrift store garments, somehow mixing and matching to make the perfect ensemble. This upcoming Friday and Saturday, some of the neighborhood’s best fashion will formally be on display, at Williamsburg Fashion Weekend (WFW).
Twenty local, eco-friendly designers will be showcased at the event, currently in its ninth season. Arthur Arbit, founder of WFW and a designer himself, started the weekend festival to support and build a community of like-minded designers. He wants them to know that “they’re not these lone cowboys out there in the big bad fashion world. They see that people like them and have the same sensibilities and similar aesthetics. It helps them to keep going and not succumb to having their stuff made in China by slave labor or to destroy the landscapes and the environment.”
The shows are atypical and feature bands as well as dance performances. Arbit gives the designers a chance to bring their own personal touch to the production. “I don’t like typical Broadway shows with vacant models walking up and down the runway. I like designers to incorporate a little bit of some kind of another art form besides fashion and make the show memorable. The audience will see the designer outside the aesthetic.”
Arbit finds his designers either through social circles or by asking for recommendations at clothing boutiques. A designer showing for her second time, Nathalie Kraynina, currently has her clothes up for sale at Eidolon in Park Slope. In this weekend’s festivities, she’ll display her spring and summer 2012 evening wear, which include dressy pants and skirts. “I’m excited that I’m going to have the opportunity to show my clothes to people that haven’t seen them yet,” she said.
Another designer on her second go-around is Hayden Dunham, who will be displaying her new line of necklaces called New Dust. “Using human hair, metal, plastic, wool and leather, I am interested in investigating the relationship between the natural world within an imagined future and the natural world of an imagined past,” she said. All of the pieces are handmade, and distributed by Colette, a shop in Paris.
Last season, Williamsburg Fashion Weekend at Glasslands Gallery on Kent Avenue sold out in one hour. This time, it’s happening at Windmill Studios, another Kent Avenue venue that holds about 300 people. They’re doing pre-sale tickets for $10 per show to meet the demand. Music from Magick Report, Zebra Baby, Beacon, Bright Future, and Twin-Gemz will also be heard at the event.
A lack of originality is a common criticism of the fashion world, due to the fact that clothes are often produced in giant batches. With Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, Arbit said he only wants to promote designers that are devoted to putting out limited, original, and handmade clothes that guarantee the buyer is wearing something special. “It’s about making things that are unique so you don’t see someone walking down the street, wearing the same thing.”
For Kraynina, the weekend will give her the chance to get her clothes out on the streets, and hopefully gain recognition. “I’m just excited to be able to share and do what I want to do. I work full time to pay the bills. This is what I want to one day become and support myself on my clothes. That’s basically my goal.”
Williamsburg Fashion Weekend at Windmill Studios
287 Kent Avenue
September 16th -17th