Why You Should Follow DC Fashion Week - Even If You Don’t Care About Fashion

Arriving at DC Fashion Week, you are immediately hit with sensory overload. The smell of expensive perfume, loud music that you can feel in your chest, and the insane beauty of everyone in attendance is enough to intimidate anyone. But when the show starts, you become so encapsulated by the collections that none of that matters. 

I’ve always liked fashion, but I never went out of my way to follow it. My first DCFW was last September because my boyfriend, who had just moved to the District, convinced me it would make a good article. He was right. 

The models, the designers, the audience, and more were so fascinating that it convinced me to come back for the 2018 Fall/Winter collection that was on display last weekend. This season was unlike any other for a lot of reasons. One example was when children walked the runway in young girl’s collection, House of Churchill, for the first time ever. 

This year there was also a huge emphasis on the intersection between art and fashion. The talent of the designers has always been art, but they are finally starting to own that. One brand, Linestrax, said that fashion is dead and it’s all about art now. Another designer, Stephane Koerwyn, constructed his garments from hand painted aluminum to create pieces that look like they belong in a museum. 

But some things never change. Since the very beginning, DCFW has prided itself on diversity and inclusion. The models and designers are all of size, ages, and backgrounds with an emphasis on celebrating what makes each of them unique. Founder and Executive Director Ean Williams emphasized that his vision has always been to highlight diversity, which makes DCFW stand out against other traditionally young, white, and skinny fashion weeks. 

I think that’s one of the reasons why DCFW is starting to boom. Just comparing this season to last season, it was bigger, better, and more prestigious. Sponsors like Sprite and T-Mobile gave them the resources to grow, but so did the international attention. Designers from all of the world come to showcase in DCFW, and that brings a global audience. 

It’s not just about crowd size to DCFW. They have always made an effort to showcase up-and-coming designers and indie artists in the DMV. Their first official event is always dedicated to college aged students’ collections, and they give out scholarships to students pursing fashion. Most, if not all, of the music played and the artists performing at DCFW are DMV-based indie artists. DCFW gives a spot light to those on the come up instead of just focusing on designers and musicians that have already made it. 

DCFW is about variety, culture, inclusion, and support. The clothes are beautiful and deserve your attention, but if that’s not your thing maybe their other values speak to you. These are the same values that I’ve found in the people of DC, and they are the ideas we should be spreading as the nation’s capitol. 

DCFW is the next big thing in the district. It is entering a period of intense growth, and you should be paying attention. Whether it’s because you’re a trendsetter or a proud Washingtonian, DCFW has a place for you to engage. 

All photos belong to Andrew Evans.