Syracuse Fashion Week models in body paint, posed with artists. Credit:Photographer Dennis Fernando| @dfphotovideo

Whips and magic tricks, twirls in gowns, dapper men in suits, skateboarders on the runway, body paint, eco-friendly wear and clown couture: It was all on display at this year’s highly-anticipated Syracuse Fashion Week. 

The three-day event showcased more than 20 innovators and creators at the epicenter of fashion in Central New York. From Thursday to Saturday, spectators applauded and cheered models, performers and designers as they ripped the runway. Designers at all stages – some newly emerged and others veterans to the industry – premiered their latest designs at several locations.

“I think Lisa and the team has always been inspired to showcase up-and-coming artists  and talent in the community and has never shied away from showing the rich culture of our community,” said Jamie Ann Owens, co-owner of Bank Alley Social Club, and host of SFW’’s  “underground show.” 

SFW’s multi-themed events presented spectators with variety in both clothing and experience, whether guests preferred to attend the typical fashion show, something a bit more elegant, or the entirely unconventional – this fashion show featured a little of everything for all interest levels. 

“It is showcasing some of Syracuse’s talents when it comes to fashion, but also art and talents as far as performing arts and visual arts,” Owens said. “I’ve watched it grow for the past almost 10 years, just seeing how much talent is out there, how much diverse talent is out there.”

SFW premiered its Spring 2023 season by welcoming families to support “Local Love” at the Marriott Downtown. The show was dedicated to highlighting regionally-based boutiques, including Cella V Boutique, Projex214, Queen Ri’s Boutique, Manny’s  Lemon Theory, and Flower Skate Shop.

The underground show, an 18 and over event, was anything but a typical evening of fashion. Its risque-theme focused on theatrics, circus and outlandish statement pieces, including lingerie, intimate wear and clown couture. 

In addition to models strutting the designers’ latest collections, a host of talented acts took center stage, including a ukulele player, a belly dancer, a Shakespearean actor and a martial artist. Burlesque performers also displayed magic tricks – causing some people in the crowd to shift uncomfortably in their seats.

On the final night of Syracuse Fashion Week, a Gala in the Mohegan Manor ballroom again turned the event into a family affair. Each model brought their classy formal-wear designs to life as they walked, stopping to pose for onlookers who watch with rapt attention.

As in the past, this year’s event wasn’t just about fashion. SFW again partnered with the Food Bank of Central New York in a continued effort to help alleviate food insecurity in the area. In the previous year, SFW was able to raise $20,000 for the food bank. 

“A lot of people don’t know how bad it is here in Syracuse,” said Shalinda Young, a volunteer at the food bank. The food bank is able to provide three meals for every dollar donated. 

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