Sep 092008
Authors: kelly bleck

Original, never-before-seen clothing recently emerged on stage for one week only, exposing shoppers to new styles, ideas and expenditures.

Presented by ArtWear manager Gary Hixon and the Lincoln Center, the biennial ArtWear Fashion week is exhibiting work from 50 U.S. designers who were asked to submit three to seven originally designed garments for the fundraiser.

All garments are for sale in the Lincoln Centerís Intimate Gallery.

Forty percent of proceeds will go toward the visual arts department of the Lincoln Center, and the other 60 percent to the artists themselves.

“We use the money [from the sales] for any outreach we’re able to do,” said Ellen Martin, visual arts administrator for the Lincoln Center. “It goes toward awards for artists, gallery equipment and upkeep.”

As a non-profit fundraiser, ArtWear began about 16 years ago. They now put on a Fashion Week every other year.

“We believe strongly in the arts,” Hixon said. “Arts are the soul of any community; they’re what hopes and dreams are made on. Wearable art is something people in Fort Collins can see someone in, see more color and the person smiling more and it makes you feel good.”

Models in the show were local community members as well as CSU students.

“There were models of all different ages and since I was the youngest I got acquainted with the entire situation,” said Emily Woods, a sophomore apparel design and production major who met Hixon through the CSU senior design show. “It was an honor to get invited. It was gorgeous clothing and I didn’t wear anything under $700. It was hand dyed, hand woven and high quality silks. It really is a beautiful piece of art adapted into fashion.”

Among designers who attended, some had participated in previous years and some were newcomers who were alerted to the event through advertisements in Fiber Arts Magazine, Ornament Magazine or on the Lincoln Center Web site.

In previous years, designers from around the world have participated, but this year, only U.S. residents entered.

Designers were required to mail in their garments and were given the option to attend Friday night’s show, which about a dozen designers did.

Martin, who organized the logistics of Fashion Week, also inventoried the designersí pieces and served as the contact for designers.

“We had a large group of volunteers from the community that helped me inventory,” she said. “We received the garments a couple of weeks before the show because it takes that long to inventory.”

This year, around 145 garments were shown Friday in a 45-minute runway show at the Lincoln Center.

Local community members also participated as models, some as rookies and some as returning models.

“I’ve been doing the ArtWear show for about 12 years,” said model Tracey Ryk, a Broker Associate Partner at The Group Inc. Real Estate. “I was invited by Gary Hixon because my mother used to model in the show and recommended me. It [the show] was amazing; the clothes were absolutely amazing this year, a little more wearable than previous years. Theyíve probably done well selling the items.”

The doors to the sales gallery opened immediately afterward for attendees to peruse and buy garments.

“Each garment sent by designers is one of a kind and had to be for sale,” Hixon said. “It’s my policy, even though some designers price their items too high to sell. They put so much time and effort into that particular piece that they donít want to let it go.”

Scarves were a big item this year, priced around $90-$500 each, while coats are generally priced around $350-$400 and dresses from $150-$1000, she said.

“Since Friday we’ve made around $23,000-$24,000,” Hixon said. “We should make around another $5,000 this week.”

There was also a trunk show Saturday, where the designers had the opportunity to display pieces besides those modeled on the runway Friday.

Fashion Week will close Friday at 4 p.m., clothes will be shipped back to their designers and buyers will await the next Fashion Week in 2010.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at

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