Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska Fashion Week brings designers and models from all over the world to Juneau.
Cordova Pleasants is the founder of Alaska Fashion Week. She's also the owner of Resolute Boutique in Downtown Juneau.
Other women involved in organizing Alaska Fashion Week include Dana Herndon, co-founder, and Maggie McMillan, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Pleasants talked about 2023's Fashion Week at the Chamber of Commerce weekly luncheon Thursday.
This summer's show is set for July 20th through July 22nd.
There will also be a May spring preview.
Pleasants explained how Alaska Fashion Week is different from anywhere else.
"Fashion weeks occur all over the world, Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Sydney, all over. Alaska is really one place that didn't have anything like that. So when developing Alaska Fashion Week, we thought we would really be different. First off, in our style, we have Alaska style. We also have a sustainability component that's really, really strong. And because Alaska is so far away from the rest of the states, we already are community centered. So to develop these standards, and develop these processes, and uplift these designers from within the state, really pushes us into a leading position within comparison to other fashion weeks."
Designers and models come from all over Alaska, the lower 48, and internationally for Alaska Fashion Week.
"Alaska Fashion Week has really developed into a very strong platform for designers, for models, for retailers, business owners, and just fans in general. It's a multi-day event. It brings in people from all over the state and all over the country. In the case of last year, a decent amount from Canada as well. And so it created this platform for designers, out of Nome and Kotzebue, Anchorage and Yakutat, to have one place to meet and to network. They're strongly also connecting retailers to designers to push wholesalers so they can get their designs into stores across the state in a really successful and powerful way."
There are at least 20 designers across the state involved, and Pleasants says last year about half of the participants were from in-state and half from out-of-state.
Pleasants says national brands like Volcom, a snowboard brand, get involved as well.
Also attending the Thursday luncheon was Carley Thayer, who owns Bering Sea Designs in Juneau. Her jewelry has been incorporated into Alaska Fashion Week in previous years.
Thayer was asked what inspires her to create jewelry. She said she grew up around a lot of furs in her house and she wanted to incorporate and experiment with them in a new way. Thayer often uses sea otter fur in her earrings.
"Our main goal here, and theme, really, for every show is sustainability," Pleasants commented. "Repurposing those furs is really important to us. And Carley does a great job with that."
Above: Thayer wears her earrings. (Photo courtesy of Thayer) Below: This dress was worn in the Governor's mansion in 1912 by Walter Eli Clark's wife, and the cloak paired with it is Pleasant's grandmother's. (Photo credit to Jasz Garrett/KINY)
Last year Shattuck Way was closed down for Alaska Fashion Week's runway. The street that will close this summer is still undisclosed.
Pleasants said how to help.
"You can volunteer with us at the events. If you have or know anybody with a classic car or motorcycle out there, we would love to have that on our runway this year. That was a really fun component of our outdoor show. So if you know of anybody who has any of that, please hit us up. We're also looking for sponsors. Travel Juneau has been a huge supporter of Alaska Fashion Week, and it has really been amazing for us. We're trying to raise enough money to be able to compensate our models this year and maybe have a designer prize as well. Just being able to produce the events, it's multiple days and costs money."
Besides the runway walk, Pleasants said they are also planning a launch party, city museum exhibit, Taku Lodge and Wings Airways tour, a designer marketplace, and an after-party. She added that another great component of Alaska Fashion Week is it brings back people year after year, who in turn bring more families and friends to support Juneau's economy.
It's not just women's fashion either.
"We love men's fashion. We have one designer who is actually a high school teacher here in Juneau, Kaplan Anderson, and he does knits. He does awesome knit pants," Pleasants said.
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Pleasants said that there are two different ways to buy tickets, a weekend pass that covers all events, or separate tickets for specific events.
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