Making of the Runway SPAAFW Recap

Even the rain couldn’t get the crowd down at the Making of the Runway event this past Wednesday. Making of the Runway was the third event during the St. Petersburg Art and Fashion Week and featured artists who were painting the runway that was intended to be used at the runway show Saturday night.

One artist was Brandy Gaskins, a senior and Fine Arts major at USF Tampa, who explained that this was the first year they had decided to use art for the actual runway. In total, there would be six different pieces of art, split between two artists.

“I’m interested in both fashion and art. So, putting the two together was a deal for me,” said Gaskins on why she had decided to participate in this project. She explained that last year was her first experience with St. Petersburg Art and Fashion week, where she spent time helping out backstage at the runway show.

It was a relaxed atmosphere with people socializing and mingling in the plaza by The Ale and the Witch in downtown St. Petersburg. Another aspect of the Making of the Runway event was to showcase a boutique in the plaza called Radish and Company. Everyone was excited to see what was going to unfold that night. From the courtyard area, the audience could see the models getting ready for the show.

There were many viewers at this fashion event, but there was one group of elderly ladies who seemed particularly intriguing. We asked them what their favorite thing about the fashion show was.

“It’s great that we have art in our community,” one of the women, Mary Jean, said.

“It was really nice and lovely,” Eleanor commented on the event.  “The models were beautiful!”

As we interviewed them, we found out that this group of four ladies had all been friends since they were children.  They had all gone to the same elementary school, and then they all graduated from St. Pete High School.  After that, they all attended USF Tampa, but they still came back to St. Petersburg for the art and culture. 

This was Kristen Reed and Radish and Companies first time being a part of fashion week. Reed was most excited to host this event with her boutique where she marks two years at this October.

“The Boutique concept is to provide unique, fashionable clothing, handbags and accessories that are affordable.  I spend time with each customer to give them a personalized shopping experience, which I feel everyone deserves” she says.

Reed explains that the locals of the area are loyal customers, but she also has tourist come in and shop as well.

“Locals know they can come in, shop and walk out with something they love and feel great in” she says.

There is a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding St. Petersburg and it’s artistic endeavors. Many people made it a point to mention how there is something uniquely special about our sunshine city that you just can’t get in other areas of Tampa Bay. The 2016 St. Petersburg Art and Fashion Week will definitely be one for the books!


Alana Long, Anna Welch, and Alyssa Harmon