OC Fashion Week Continues to Prove Its Potential for Global Recognition

Orange County designers and models graced the final catwalk of OC Fashion Week Wednesday night at the Art Institute of California in Santa Ana. While the event felt like the most laid back out of the four shows held this week in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, it was still an impressive fashion ceremony, with scarce seating and many professional photographers lighting up the runway. From streetwear to couture, several designs showcased were up to par with anything you’d find on the pages of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar.

The latest in the world of makeup, hair and photography were also presented this week, with individual showcases by Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy, BeautyCounter and work from local photographers at the World Of Fashion Photography show. 

Maserati of Newport beach was a sponsor and had their newest models parked by each catwalk, reminding folks that they indeed were at a high fashion event. Yet every night had a different vibe according to the style of clothes being presented. While some shows were more sophisticated than others, none felt unwelcoming or pretentious. Each venue even differed in catering, from Nespresso and hors d’oeuvres on the first night to a taco stand on the last evening— now that’s keeping it classy and real

A personal favorite was Berenice Gonzales, who had an edgy yet sophisticated collection among the traditional designers showcased throughout the week.  Gonzales’ designs included chiffon and silk dresses with metallic detail that exuded edgy feminity.  “I think about warriors and the things that they wear to fight, That’s special for me to show my strength through fashion.” says Gonzales, a novice yet promising designer from Mexico City. 

While this season’s fashion week was a local success, OCFW still has a lot of work to do to reach global prestige. But members of The OC Fashion Council—the committee that puts on OC Fashion Week—believe achieving international recognition is possible. 

“Tell Vogue to definitely stop ranking based on SEO popular word searches and start doing it by consumer expenditures and they’re going to find whose market is truly working for them and who their buyers market really is.” says Kathy Marino, producer and emcee of OC Fashion Week, who believes it’s time for Orange County to be seen as a fashion capital by Vogue and other fashion authorities for the billions of dollars OC spends annually on retail. 

Ambitious and determined, OC Fashion Week gets better and better every year. What started as a grassroots, single-day event that once relied on the Orange County Ballet for models is now a full-fledged week-long ceremony with a database of approximately 700 homegrown models.  Until next season!

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