Seattle a Serious Fashion Town? Here's Proof!

Models work the runway at the Seamless in Seattle fashion show

Sick of Seattle's rep of being a backwards fashion town (move on from grunge, America! we did!)?

Don't stand for it anymore. For five years, Seattle mag's fashion and lifestyle editor Kate Calamusa has been shining a beacon-like spotlight on emerging local fashion designers, and the talent pool has been getting bigger and better every year. The incredibly fresh, fun and innovative designs on the runway at last night's second-annual Seamless in Seattle fashion show left little doubt: Seattle is a serious fashion town. Accept that, and get used to it: Some of the designers whose brilliant, wearable designs won awards last night have only been designing for one or two years. If these women are beginners, hang onto your Uggs.

Works from five new designers were featured last night on the runway beneath SAM's hanging, neon-flashing cars (actually an art installation), and the fashions were glorious. These women were selected by Kate and her team in the annual Seamless In Seattle contest held earlier (and appearing here, and in the new issue of Seattle magazine), then invited to showcase their best. The designs were received with enthusiasm--even longing, by a few women seated near me. They would have written a check right that minute for one of Christine Chaney's beautiful silk-scarf dresses, and hang the cost.

This was high-level art, elevated to the best kind of fashion: the wearable kind.

Under the skilled and sparkling guidance of Kate and co-emcee, James Todd, creative director for Gene Juarez Team Artistic, the designers then competed for the chance to show their work at next week's Neiman Marcus Fashion's Night Out event; Erin Roby took the honors after sending out perfectly tailored jackets, simple and polished (and delightfully retro) shift dresses and wide-leg wool trousers.

And then, the show's finale: Five designs--one from each designer--based on the label of event sponsor Peroni. Each designer was urged to create something that reflected the label's colors (blue, red and gold) and/or theme (blue ribbons, leafy border, etc.). The resulting creations were amazing, inspired, and--again--immediately wearable. I could have walked out of there with at least three; I don't know how the panel of judges finally decided on one, but it was certainly deserving: Suzy Fairchild's lovely and ladylike red-and-white polka-dot slipdress topped with a crisp white faux-military jacket (with red polka-dotted lining), adorned with a swirl of blue ribbons.

The event was brilliantly produced by Seattle mag's events team, headed by our own Chris Deco; with video vignettes (produced by Aaron Horton) showing on a jumbo screen before each entry, you felt like you knew the designer, gained insight into her fashions. You can read about the designers here, and watch the video montages here:

Alicia Czerwiec

Suzy Fairchild

Sonia McBride

Erin Roby

Christine Chaney

The runway show, directed by Terri Morgan of TCM Models, felt just right for Seattle: Fun-loving serious fashion.

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