Business model: Fashion show to promote, highlight Armory Square stores

James Bass Photography | Courtesy Photo

Michael Heagerty models during the 2012 Syracuse Style Fashion Event. The fashion show was created to promote and spotlight Syracuse clothing brands and stores.

Sipping a beer with a friend at The Blue Tusk bar in Armory Square one day, Lisa Butler had an idea to have a runway stretching down Walton Street.

Butler’s vision is now reality, with the city’s fourth annual Syracuse Style Fashion Event happening this Thursday. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the 100 block of Walton Street will become a runway, with models showing off clothing and accessories from 17 downtown Syracuse retailers.

Lisa Romeo, director of communications of event partner Downtown Committee of Syracuse, said the fashion show will showcase and benefit the city by featuring the merchandise of local businesses and attracting crowds to Armory Square.

“Downtown Syracuse is really known for the unique merchandise you can get here and the unique experience you can have here,” Romeo said, noting the characteristic boutique shops around Armory Square.

Three hundred chairs will be lined up along the tented runway for viewers of the free fashion show, said Butler, designer and owner of Inspired Designs. She added that she thinks there will be a lot more people attending and expects attendance to top last year’s 600 visitors.

Up to 75 VIP ticket-holders can view the show from the elevated portion of Empire Brewing Company restaurant, with access to both a pre-party and an after-party.

New to the lineup this year will be Oil City Customs, whose models will sport “biker wear” and Lululemon, a yoga and athletic clothing chain that came to Syracuse in August, Butler said. She added that musician Tommy Brunett will be showing models in clothes from Iron Smoke Whiskey, the apparel line associated with his company.

Several stores will extend their hours the night of the fashion show.

Kellie Gingold, owner of Showoffs Boutique at 264 W. Jefferson St., said she’ll keep her store open two hours later than her usual 6 p.m. as well.

Showoffs’ models in the fashion show are all loyal customers, Gingold said. On the runway, they’ll join what Butler, the organizer, described as a mix of semiprofessional models and some of Butler’s friends.

“We like to use different shapes, sizes and ages for lineup because we want viewers to be able to envision how they will actually look,” Gingold said.

Those who like to be “a little bit more adventurous” with their style will find something interesting in Modern Pop Culture, located on 306 W. Jefferson St., with its original and reconstructed designs, said owner Nathan Schafer.

Schafer is one of three local designers, including Butler, who will show original pieces, Butler said.

Butler said Syracuse Style’s main goal is to bring a fashion week to the city, including multiple events throughout the week.

It came one step closer to this goal this year, she said, with a live mannequin window project at the Landmark Theater. Local retailers bought window displays at the theater, which included live models on Sept. 12.

Said Butler: “I love Syracuse and I want to see more things going on in the city.”


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