Underground Lauderdale Fashion Weekend Ready To Mix Runway Shows, Parties, Pop-Ups With Ocean Views At The W Fort Lauderdale
Update: Underground Lauderdale Fashion Weekend has been divided into two parts, with the bulk of the events postponed until the spring. Create & Cultivate's Style Summit will still take place Jan. 28 at the Colonnade Outlets. Read about the updated schedule here.
It’s currently 24 degrees in New York City—and it’s only mid-December.
If that weren’t reason enough for Northeast fashionistas to flock south for the winter, Fort Lauderdale is giving them one more: Underground Lauderdale Fashion Weekend.
The inaugural beachside affair will kick off Jan. 26 to 29 with fashion, cocktails, parties, panels and pop-up shops aimed at locals and visitors alike.
Anchored at the W Fort Lauderdale, the weekend’s main event will be a Friday night runway show hosted by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. Models wearing designer Nicole Miller’s boho chic-inspired 2017 spring collection will walk an outdoor stage that connects two different parts of the building.
Create & Cultivate, a one-day conference of panels and presentations, will follow Saturday at the Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills, and the weekend will cap off with a FATVillage warehouse party hosted by renown event producer Susanne Bartsch, otherwise known as the “Queen of the Night.”
“We wanted to bring in some heavy-hitters from the fashion industry,” Ian Gerard, the show's lead producer, explained. “Not only do you have the great weather, you get to come down here and get involved in so many great things.”
The weekend will also feature shows and presentations from established and emerging designers. (The final list of participants is still being finalized.)
Noting that big style events like New York Fashion Week events tend to be hot, overcrowded and a little too serious, Gerard explained Friday’s one-hour runway show will be “much more fun and much more interesting.” Take, for example, the fact that the event will be hosted under the stars during what he calls Florida’s most perfect time of year.
Organizers expect to have seating for 750 people, as well as standing-room for more.
“If there were places in New York where you could seat 700 people outside, they would be doing that here, too,” he said.
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In addition to promoting local and national designers, organizers hope to change the common misconception that Miami is Florida’s sole fashion destination. It’s time to “let the rest of the country know that Fort Lauderdale is a fashionable, stylish place,” he said.
Still, the goal was to accomplish that in a way that stayed true to what fashion means in Broward County.
“We did not want to create yet another ‘standard’ fashion show, but rather create a unique approach with a twist,” said Noelle Stevenson, with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Office of Film, Music, Entertainment and Creative Industries.
“Underground Lauderdale fashion encompasses a style of bohemia,” she added. “It's progressive in terms of our fashion culture, yet mysterious and daring. It is left to creativity, abstractness, it is innovative, it is recycled, it is new, it [is] you ... where fashion is an art form we get to wear each day, reflecting much of our destination and creative culture.”
With the program in its first year, the primary backers of the fashion movement have been area businesses.
“There’s a lot of goodwill from the community, which is definitely a big driver for this,” he said, noting that the local push is what will set it up for success in the coming years.
So, what’s Gerard personally most excited for?
“Getting out of New York,” he said.
With Fort Lauderdale boasting a year-round average temperature of 77 degrees, we don't blame him.
For a list of the scheduled events, visit Underground Lauderdale Fashion Weekend's site here.
Tickets: Cost for Fashion Passes, which give attendees access to the fashion shows and social events, is $200. VIP Packages, which grant access to all events, plus Create & Cultivate and a VIP brunch, cost $450. Organizers are still finalizing details for the weekend and say more ticketing options may be available.
(Images of Nicole Miller 2017 Spring collection courtesy of Underground Lauderdale Fashion Weekend)