story and photos by Rhonda Crone, special to The City Wire
Northwest Arkansas Fashion week completed its second year of sold-out success Saturday night (Mar. 16) with its week of events at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville.
Wednesday evening officially kicked it all off at UNION Kitchen+Drinks at the Chancellor, but a miscommunication between the hotel and restaurant resulted in band Groovement having to leave the stage. But, the boys were good sports and got to enjoy the Fashion Week Signature cocktails and chat with the crowd instead.
Thursday night shows started with Designer Runway, hosted by Bo Counts and Payton Bridewell. Local designers Material Concepts, ARTAMISS, Bad Jaxx and others showcased their Spring lines. ESQUE+Solestruck opened the show with Pennel’s impressive paper collection and shoes, and SOUL Yoga Lounge wowed the crowd with their amazing moves.
Friday’s Boutique Runway hosted by Donny Hubbard, Payton Bridewell, Brad Reed and Judson Lee got a bit livelier with DJ Shortfuse, Eric Jensen and DJ Derrick. Strutt for a Mutt by Lola, Mae’s and Luxe Beauty stole the show with the models walking with pups up for adoption. Savoir-Faire showed bright neons and Mertin’s Eye Care’s swimwear plus high-end eyewear was a fun highlight of the night.
Saturday morning was Kid’s day with runway shows by Tutu Couture and Terra Tots, hosted by Deek Kastner of the John and Deek radio show. Lots of tutus and an organic line from Terra Tots, with tiny models to ‘tweens, was an entertaining show for parents, grandparents and other onlookers.
After the show, puppies from Let Love In Animal Shelter, owned by Laura Templeton, were outside the Chancellor Hotel, and some lucky ones found new homes.
The event culminated Saturday night with a second boutique runway, hosted by Deek Kastner. Local shops Elysian, Mason’s, Skye on the Town and more featured colorful Spring lines. Turktrunks by Brits and Turks garnered the most attention with scantily-clad male models.
When not enjoying the runway shows, event-goers socialized in the lobby outside or downstairs in UNION Kitchen+Drinks. Fayetteville native Monica Meadows, who now lives in Fort Smith, attended with her mom, Marilyn Shoffit.
“I like to come to Fashion Week because Fayetteville is my hometown, and has always been such a fashionable town, always ahead of the times, and NWAFW epitomizes the Fayetteville vibe. It really rivals any other legitimate fashion week,” Meadows said.
Each night ended with the official after-party at FIXX Ultra Lounge and popular local DJs. Also nightly, benefitting charities took the stage to speak about their cause.
Representatives from Restore Humanity, Ozark Guidance, Spay Arkansas, NWA Children’s Shelter, Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation, Junior League of Northwest Arkansas, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA and 7 Hills Homeless Shelter all shared their mission with the crowd.