Runway Down Fashion Show
Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Back in May, I was given the opportunity to cover the Runway Down Fashion Show in Philadelphia which was produced by James DeWalt. With 15 designers and 30 models showcasing their talent, the Runway Down Fashion Show did not disappoint! Special thanks to my new photog friends, Nightshade Images, CCQS Captivating Images and Dawn Brooks for allowing me to use their photos for this piece. Definitely check them out for all your photography needs!
So like I said, this show was AHHHMAZING! I will forever be a fan of melanin in ANY setting, but melanin on the runway???? I LIVE!!! The whole entire show from the music, to the models to the designers, to the choreography was meticulously curated by James DeWalt of Philadelphia. James has been in the fashion game for about 9 years now. He started off coordinating and training amateur female and male models.
I asked him where he got his inspiration for the show from and he said,"I wanted to create a platform for models of all sizes and backgrounds. Runway Down is a production that welcomes anyone who is serious and determined to get into the fashion industry."
"I wanted to create a decent mix of experienced and first time models blended together."
James definitely accomplished his goal. There were a variety of models on the runway; beginners and seasoned, plus sized and smaller, male and female, however they all had the same confidence and fire which I believe is a direct reflection of James' passion for his craft.
One of my favorite models of the night was Anaya Monet who just graduated with a bachelors in fashion merchandising from Centenary College. Each time her feet touched the runway she commanded everyone's attention with her fierce walk and stunning poses.
Anaya has been modeling since she was 13 years old and ironically enough she was trained by the director of the show, James aka Cancer Teddy. In addition to being fierce on the runway, Anaya also served as the assistant model coordinator for this show."Putting the show together was a roller coaster, especially when there were only 3 people on staff." Anaya said.
"My favorite part of the show was running it from backstage and making sure that everything was set in place as well as networking with people who came and participated in the show".
One thing I really appreciated about this show was the diversity not just within model sizes, but with the designers.
There were sportswear designers, elegant/formalwear designers as well as fantasy, international and ethnic designers.
One of my favorite designers of the night was Kween Designs. I fell in love with the bright and bold african prints and the stunning edge that she gave all her designs.
I caught up with the designer and asked about her inspiration behind the designs and she said, "Kween Designs is taking inspiration from the detailed styles across the African diaspora. This includes India, the Caribbean, and of course west Africa. It’s about merging the cultures together and showing how we can bring these styles into our future. It’s Afrofuturism in fashion form"
"I think growing up with a restrictive dress code turned me to fashion but it was always on my mind. I used to sit in school sketching new ideas in the back of my notebook or reading fashion magazines. After school I would watch runway shows on my little television or admire the costumes from my favorite tv shows. I searched for fashion in everything I did."
She says that Runway Down was the fifth fashion show she has been part of, "There are pros and cons to fashion shows just like any kind of theatre. It’s so stressful and everyone is running around so hectic. But when you see it all come together it’s definitely worth the effort. James really did his thing with this show"
Another standout model of the night was Mahogany, who is originally from Marietta Georgia. She has been modeling for the past 5 years, but this was her first show in Philadelphia.
"The energy in the room was amazing, I could literally feel the love in the air." Mahogany said, "Thank you James for including me!".
After the show I asked James about the most rewarding moment of this experience and he said, "The most rewarding moment for me was to sell out the venue. It blew my mind that we literally ran out of seats to offer for guests who were still coming in."
"Another rewarding moment was the feedback from designers about opening their creative minds and clothing lines to be more size friendly and create more prices for people of all sizes which was the goal."
"Clothes are for all size people not just “high fashion” sizes" James said.
So what's next for this young visionary? James says that Runway Down Philly Part 2 is already in the works and he is also looking to expand into other cities.