Guest Post: Fashion Week Cleveland Recap

The only downside of heading out of town for friends’ wedding festivities is that I’ve had to miss out on a lot of Cleveland’s recent events – like Fashion Week Cleveland.

Fortunately, I was able to turn to the most fashionable lady I know and ask her if she wanted to blog about FWC for me. Thanks, Elizabeth Grepp, for your guest post:

Many thanks to guest blogger Elizabeth, her sister and Sarah for sharing the sights of Fashion Week Cleveland on Clue Into CLE!

This past weekend was the conclusion of the 9th annual Fashion Week Cleveland (FWC) and I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Amanda asked me to cover their GlamJam and Gala events for her.

After all, Women’s Wear Daily called FWC “…a regional phenomenon that’s become the nation’s third largest fashion week.” Put that in the win column, Cleveland!

FWC ran two weekends starting May 5. My lovely galpal, Sarah, agreed to tag along with me for their first weekend of festivities and work the camera at GlamJam.

Elizabeth and Sarah make the rounds at FWC’s GlamJam

We started our evening with a pre-show dinner at Chinato and then made our way over to the Halle Building for an evening of fashion and music from the region. Outside the building, folks were lined up to dine at local food trucks Fired Up Tacos, Hodge Podge and Nosh Box.

Once inside, the evening featured dancers, installation art, wearable art, and performance art culminating in a casual fashion show.

And, of course, there was music. My favorite band of the evening was Columbus-based Matt Reed & TGP, who played a set that would please anyone who digs hip hop or Micheal Bublé.

Columbus-based Matt Reed & TGP performing at GlamJam

Unfortunately, I was too consumed with what was going on upstairs to snatch a stellar seat for the GlamJam Runway show. The last row was my ultimate destination and since the runway wasn’t raised, it was difficult to see.

However, it was worth it after I ended up next to a lovely gentleman named Frank. As it turned out, Frank’s girlfriend is Amanda Sader who was second in charge for the Gala the following weekend.

Model Mia steals the show at GlamJam

Talk about a stroke of good luck! Throughout the show I got the inside scoop from her about the designers. Hands down, my favorite moment of the evening was pint-sized Mia who stole my heart with her lovely wearable art.

There was an after party at the Wyndham and we popped in to check out the scene but were too pooped from fashion to stay out and party with the models and designers. Maybe next year…

The Sisters Grepp pose for a photo while they wait for the doors to open at FWC’s gala

I consider myself a fashionista but my sister puts me to shame. Since she attended Fashion Institute of Technology and minored in photography, I asked her to be my date for the Black Tie Gala on the 12th.

After much obsessing over what to wear, we found ourselves in similar outfits: color in a sea of black!

Because we were so excited for the evening, we made sure to arrive promptly at 7:30 to take advantage of our VIP tickets.

However, despite my best efforts to sneak in multiple times, we waited outside for about 45 minutes before the doors opened.

I tried to snoop once we were in, even asking Sader what had happened. No one seemed to know. Perhaps it was their way of building suspense for the event? While I didn’t mind waiting, I was surrounded by many displeased people.

Even Fashion Week Cleveland’s cupcakes had fashionable accessories

The food was provided by L’Albatross, Stone Mad and Flour. Sadly, being of the vegetarian persuasion, I couldn’t indulge in any of the food. Instead, I lived vicariously through my sister. She gave the food two thumbs up.

In the VIP area, there was more food and free drinks as well as vendors set-up with items for sale and raffles.  I spent a lot of my time meandering through the silent auction, looking over items ranging from unique pieces of couture to free shoes from Crocs.

Because I was drinking cans of Yuengling and couldn’t eat most of the food, I didn’t even realize that the wine or food had run out early until people told me after the event.  So much for being aware of my surroundings!

While we wandered, we were entertained by the musical stylings of the band, Night. Jenna, their lead singer, also had art in a gallery that evening.

After they were done performing we went downstairs to watch the evening’s runway show.  Again, I got stuck too far back to be able to see anything below torso level. An intermittent video feed from the event made viewing somewhat easier.

The fashions on the runway overshadowed many of the hiccups from the pre-party

Just like the previous weekend, I ended up next to another fashion insider for this show! Shannon went to Kent State University and studied Fashion Merchandising. She was there to support designer Trista L Grieder of Profig Designs.

FWC’s founder Donald C. Shingler said a few words before the runway show and then we were shown a video montage of hot spots in Cleveland. After that, things kicked off with Barbara Rubright’s collection, with clear influences from Chanel.

The rest went by in a blur but my favorite collection of the evening was by Jamie Powell. Her Americana throwback style was adorable and the models were wearing sailor hats. It was love at first sight!

Jamie Powell’s line featuring an Americana throwback style and sailor hats was love at first sight for Elizabeth

Each attendee was given a schwag bag with goodies from the sponsors that included everything from dots lip gloss to mini aveda shampoos.

Despite some kinks in the event planning, the fashion at FWC was trés chic and I look forward to seeing how they improve for the 10th annual FWC next year!

About the Guest Contributor:

Elizabeth Grepp is a Cleveland boomeranger, yoga teacher, kindness advocate, wannabe foodie and a vintage enthusiast. Weekends she can be found exploring CLE+ or traveling to visit friends in exotic cities, like Columbus. You can follow her on twitter with the handle @cleyogi!

Elizabeth takes a moment from the fun of GlamJam to jot down notes on the evening

Disclosure: Amanda, here – I was invited to attend Fashion Week Cleveland in exchange for hosting a giveaway and previewing it.  Because I was unable to attend, Elizabeth Grepp attended on my behalf to blog about it.

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