The Independent Designer Runway Show kicked off Bellevue Fashion Week Wednesday with the work of 10 local designers striving to launch their careers to the next step. At the end of the show the Bellevue Collection announced Deborah Roberts, who produces the lovely and innovative line Silvae, as the show’s winner.
But every year the judges make a huge effort to reassure the crowd that all the participating designers are winners. Sure, there’s a $5,000 cash prize for the actual “winner” but really, they’re all talented artists who deserve a pat on the back.
The need to call everyone a winner is my favorite part of the show. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.
For me, it’s a great example of how much this city cares about its local artists. I looked around and every single person in the crowd was rooting for these designers. So much so they couldn’t bear to see one go home discouraged. In other cities like New York or LA, there always seems to be a winner and everyone is fighting recklessly for their time in the spotlight. Here, we think about things differently. We want everyone to feel the love.
For Fashion Week, the Bellevue Collection brings in multiple people from Vogue magazine to host their “biggest show,” Front Row Fashion. But this year, the Independent show sold out before Vogue. It seems like Bellevue natives are just as excited about the art their neighbors and friends are producing as they are about Vogue’s list of fall trends.
There’s something in the air in Bellevue. I don’t know if it’s because we just launched our business magazine (425Business) or if I was just impressed with the lively crowd at the Indie Show. But regardless, the 425 community is growing. Not only in the number of people who call it home but in the cultural and artistic imprint it’s leaving.
Perhaps the Independent show sold out before Vogue’s because we’re discovering who we are. And we’re not New York. And we’re not just following in Vogue’s footsteps. We’re from here and we have a lot to offer.
Photos courtesy Bellevue Collection