By Michèle De Meglio
Runway shows are so last season.
Over in Williamsburg, the team behind the Brooklyn Fashion Festival, running from September 18-19, is combining the coolest new spring looks with performance art.
“It will be on a theater-style stage and it will not be a traditional runway show,” explained Tom McAlister, who is co-producing the show with Xing Xu. “Expect to see something different. A lot of the artists are models or dancers so the shows are choreographed. The performance art elements are going to enhance the presentation of the clothing.”
Past shows have featured live music, trapeze artists and stilt walkers.
The festival comes on the heels of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Bryant Park but unlike those Manhattan runway shows, the Brooklyn event will feature indie designers and be open to the public.
“We want to distinguish ourselves from Bryant Park,” McAlister said. “In combination with the fact that it’s accessible to the public for a ticket fee, it’s going to add a different perspective on the way fashion shows are presented.”
The Brooklyn Fashion Festival will be the second event held in the brand-new Knitting Factory Brooklyn, 361 Metropolitan Avenue.Knitting Factory, a popular music venue formerly housed in Tribeca, is putting the finishing touches on its new space, which is sure to become one of the hottest joints in the borough.
“The new renovation looks like it’s going to be beautiful,” McAlister said of the building that previously housed the Luna Lounge.
For the Brooklyn Fashion Festival, the entire Knitting Factory space will be used for the event.
“There’s a main room and another room for the lounge. We rented the whole area,” McAlister said.Emerging fashion designers are eagerly anticipating their chance to shine during the Brooklyn Fashion Festival.
The shows will feature Brooklyn locals Tar and Feather and design team +AA-, which is launching a daywear collection after previously designing lingerie for Donna Karan and sleepwear for Vera Wang.
Also in the lineup is Maira Santos Houck, who designs women’s sportswear in vibrant colors and patterns inspired by her native Brazil.
“I’m showing a collection that is inspired by a Brazilian festival. It’s very colorful, very bright, very Brazilian and very fun,” Houck said.
“I am very excited about being in the show and I’m very excited about showing in the Knitting Factory,” she added. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”
Tickets to the Brooklyn Fashion Festival are $12.50 in advance or $17 at the door. Tickets include admission to the on-site after-party featuring live music and performances.
For the September 18th show doors open at 7:30 p.m., on September 19th doors open at 7 p.m.