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Fashion fit for NYC

Park Avenue Fashion Week in Winter Park takes place from Oct. 18-23. It will be the third year that the runway will grace the Ave.

Park Avenue Fashion Week in Winter Park takes place from Oct. 18-23. It will be the third year that the runway will grace the Ave.

Brittni Larson

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Organizers of Park Avenue Fashion Week, which starts Monday, hope to take the event to the next level.

A big white tent, red carpets, VIP lounges, champagne and lots of clothes hit Park Avenue from Oct. 18-23. But don’t think small-town event, they said, think famous Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. It’s big-city fashion, with a Winter Park twist.

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Park Avenue Fashion Week boasts big city fashion feel.

“We want them to have that experience that they are in New York, but still have that hometown sensation that you’re in your own backyard,” said Jason Edwards, co-chair of this year’s event.

Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week is in its fourth year and has events all week long, including trunk shows, designer appearances and special sales. The fashionable week will culminate with a fashion show finale at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 held in a 16,000-square-foot tent.

Going NYC

The organizers are using the same tent company that New York’s Fashion Week uses, and hope to polish this year’s event with a more sophisticated look, lighting and audio structure.

Co-chair Paige Blackwelder, owner of Tuni, a participating boutique, has been involved since Fashion Week’s inception, and she never has any problem transporting herself into a New York state of mind while watching her clothes march down the runway.

“We feel like we are in New York then, with the tent and the music,” she said.

She hopes that the attendees will get in the mood, too.

“I hope that they come away with a great fashion feeling.”

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The Park Avenue Fashion Week will be held Oct. 18-23 at downtown Winter Park’s West Meadow with the grand finale fashion show on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.

Features new and old

One way to get that fashion feeling is the Fashion Week’s brand new People’s Choice Designer Award. You can vote online for your favorite designer. Four are up for the award, three jewelry designers with styles ranging from fun glass-tile necklaces to ones with exotic stones and gold wire swirled into shapes. The clothing designer up for the award specializes in swimsuits with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. The winner will get a gift card and recognition.

Also this year, along with the Winter Park boutiques, one new designer will get to show off their duds on the runway. The Emerging Designer Competition has already taken place, and the winner’s collection will be shown at the finale show.

Katie Morgan, owner of newly opened boutique Violet Clover, will be able to relate to the Emerging Designer’s first-time jitters. This will be Violet Clover’s first fashion show. She can’t wait to see all of her “impossible finds” in the spotlight on the catwalk.

Blackwelder can’t wait to see all of them either.

“The goal of Fashion Week is to enhance fashion in the Central Florida area and to spotlight Winter Park and Park Avenue as a leader in fashion,” she said.

Attracting business

Not only will the event bring recognition to Winter Park’s little fashion hub that is Park Avenue, but the self-funded week will also bring in the bucks, Edwards said.

The finale show will bring 700 guests alone, with at least 100 more people streaming in each day of the week for the special events. Edwards estimates Fashion Week will bring in about 2,000 to 3,000 people to Winter Park. That’s especially good news for the clothing boutiques.

“Our sales double during that week,” Blackwelder said.

And while you help yourself to the clothes, the parties and the shows, you’ll also be helping others.

An amount of the proceeds from the week’s events and the final show will be donated to the Go Red for Women project. The charity’s goal is to raise awareness about preventing heart disease in women. Its symbol goes perfectly with the theme of the week — a little red dress.

Learn more

The Park Avenue Fashion Week will be held Oct. 18-23 at downtown Winter Park’s West Meadow with the grand finale fashion show on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. For information and tickets, visit www.parkavenuefashionweek.com.