WSFW – a week of fashion, style, and Art.
The 8th annual Winston-Salem Fashion Week returns for a celebration of styling, upcycling, and celebrating undiscovered designers.
“We are in an era of sustainable clothing. Not only for its environmental benefits but to recreate the meaning of style. This year’s theme is celebrating all things fashion, all elements inspired by fashion such as art, color, style, and sustainability,” said Nikita Wallace, WSFW founder and creative director. “After a successful season last year, which happened to be our first time back in person since everything went virtual, we knew we wanted to expand our designers and models across North Carolina this year.
Winston-Salem Fashion Week kicked off its celebrations with an Opening Night Reception and Art to Fashion Exhibition at the Forsyth County Central Library on September 12, followed by live music, food, and recognition of sponsors, partners, and community leaders. “We had over 80 submissions from designers introducing their fashion concepts, but we had to limit our showcasing to three winners,” Wallace said. The Art of Fashion Exhibition Winners included Sasha Woods, designer/owner of The Ultimate Junki, in first place with a hand-beaded and embellished piece emphasizing the shoulders. In second place was Ashley McHenry with a Pandemic Accessory Collection. The final contest position ended in a tie between a Fashion Photo album from No Punching Bags’ Angel Fant and a jewelry collection by K with Iconografi.
WSFW held its annual Elite Swap Exchange and Styling Presentation this past weekend. The event, hosted at the Hampton Inn and Suites, focuses on sustainability in the Triad and offers attendees a chance to re-vamp their wardrobes.
“The swap is one of many traditions we intend to maintain yearly during fashion week. This year we decided on making the swap more exclusive and game-like, narrowing down our guest list to 50 participants who will bring three items each to exchange with others in the same category. We were honored to have local vendors available for those who wanted to shop while they swap,” Wallace explained. “We ended the first weekend with a panel discussion on sustainable fashion and how to style with thrifted items and clothes found in the closet. The discussion was hosted by two special guests and fashion influencers, Talia Leslie and Ty Harper.”
There will also be a Food to Fashion show, in conjunction with the Southside Food Forest, on Thursday, September 22 on Arcadia Street. This show will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
This upcoming weekend and finale for WSFW 2022 will feature three days of looks on the runway from local designers, boutiques, and retail stores. The Opening Night Runway show featuring Champion Night and Red Carpet Event will run this Friday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. and is located at the RJR Bailey Park Coal Pit in downtown Winston-Salem. This show is free and open to the public.
“In conjunction with SECCA, Champion Night will open with LEAD Girls of North Carolina Fashion Camp, then focus on local artist, Paul Bright, and his collection at SECCA that centers around textiles named Mode 2. The night will end with the annual Champion Collection and WSFW Project Run Slay,” Wallace shared.
WSFW’s Project Run Slay is a contest that allows participants to upcycle and reuses pieces and slay the runway with their new looks and fashion.
“We held a collegiate contest this year for Project Run Slay, which started back in May 2022. While last year’s focus was more focused on up-cycle pieces, this year we wanted to elaborate on style. So we recruited about 20 college students, gave them apparel from Champion, and encouraged them to bring their own influence to the pieces.” The fun of fashion doesn’t end there; a red-carpet event will highlight the models and guests with photo opportunities and designer recognition.
On Saturday, September 24, WSFW Designers Runway Show will present at SECCA (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art) from 1 to 4 p.m. Ten designers will be featured, a majority of them new to WSFW. The ten designers include Tamara McKinney with Skinflints Closet, Tiffany Flowers with Bella Te Couture, Mike Foley and Natalie Lucas with Tutoboso, Que Varn with L.Samone Clothing, Praveer Gangwani with Gangwani Collection, Sharon Rocker with A Taste of Class, Akilah Shaw with Tahirah Apparel, Josina McNeil with Regal Jo, Amelia Bailey with Eye Q, and Marisa Jeter with AISA MMXII. In partnership with Goodwill of Northwest, NC, five designers will be featured in Goodwill’s “Diva, Dapper on a Dime.” Designers received a stipend to shop at Goodwill and incorporate those items to restyle into their newly recreated collection, while the remaining designers in the show will create their collection from scratch and recycled material.
WSFW will end the season with its Retail Brand and Youth Runway Show. The final night will be held Sunday, September 25 at 5 p.m., located at Innovation Quarter’s Biotech Atrium. The runway show will open with a special collection from long-time Winston-Salem staple Body and Soul Boutique. The show will also highlight DXL Menswear’s big and tall curvy men collection, and JCPenney’s plus size collection. The evening will end with the youth walk, featuring JCPenney’s kid collection and Blaire’s Closet youth collection, a local clothing shop in the triad.
“We have 20 renowned youth models who always bring me delight from seeing them walk down the runway with such confidence and poise. It reminds me of the beauty fashion can bring to anyone of any color and age,” Wallace said.
This year, Winston Salem Fashion Week has partnered with SECCA, Forsyth County Central Library, Goodwill Northwest NC, The Arts Council, and The Muse Winston Salem. Other sponsors include Champion, Hanesbrand, Inc, Innovation Quarter, Deweys Bakery, The Hampton Inn & Suites, The City of Winston Salem Mayors Office, Winston-Salem Chamber, Lamar Advertising Company, JCPenney, Pulse Vodka, Royalty Marketing, YES! Weekly, and Triad Voice Magazine.