Twelve designers chosen to participate in Project Artscape Fashion Weekend

Twelve Baltimore designers have been selected to participate in Project Artscape Fashion Weekend, the fashion-oriented component of Artscape 2024.

Inspired by the Project Runway TV shows, Project Artscape is a three-day event that will take place Aug. 2-Aug. 4 at The Garage, 6 E. Lafayette Ave. It coincides with the annual Artscape Festival, produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) and scheduled to be held the same weekend in the downtown and North Station Arts District.

The Fashion Weekend component of Artscape will run on August 2 from 5pm to 9pm with an opening runway show and industry panel discussion featuring designer Earl Bannister, founder of E. Bannister Couture and a 2024 participant. Following the opening show, six designers will present their work on Saturday Six will present their works on Sunday.

In addition to Bannister, participating designers are: Nicole Moan of Moan Inc.; Van McHenry of Van Man; Afrocentric’s Dr. Marilyn Walker styled by Mary Frances; Abisola Oladeinde of the following; Iconic license holder Erin Boggs; Brandy Lewis of Syeko Design House; Sihar Pirzada of Urban Madala; Natalie Carrel of Ragdolls Couture; Ken Hall of OMRY International; Yvette Monique from Yvette Monique Couture; And Eliana Quander of Amparo3.

The designers were unveiled Thursday during a reception at Sky Gallery on the world’s highest observation deck, which is hosting a solo exhibition by Tae Hwang titled “Buildings, Objects and Systems.”

Also in attendance were members of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance, which commissioned a live band to work with the eight top-scoring designers on the soundtrack to their Project Artscape fashion shows. Besides providing a platform for local designers, Project Artscape works to provide paid opportunities for photographers, hair and makeup artists, and models.

This year will be the fortiethy Edition of Artscape, a free outdoor arts weekend that typically drew crowds of 300,000 or more before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second year that the festival has returned after a three-year hiatus, and the first festival since then Rachel Graham becomes CEO of BOPA.

Under Graham’s leadership, BOPA created a fashion department to expand its support of Baltimore’s fashion community beyond Project Artscape. The department’s goal is to elevate the local fashion scene and provide more paid opportunities for Baltimore-based designers.

The department is staffed by Devin Shacklet, senior program coordinator at the Baltimore City Arts Council and architect of the Artscape project, and Caprice Ann Jackson, sustainable fashion curator, brand ambassador, fashion journalist, producer, and host of the 2023 and 2024 project. Artscape Offers.

Shacklet and Jackson recently traveled to New York for Fashion Week Brooklyn (FWBK) to support two of Project Artscape’s 2024 designers, Lewis and Hall, who were selected by FWBK founder Rick Davey to showcase their designs in Brooklyn.

In addition to Project Artscape, Shacklet and Jackson are planning three pop-up fashion markets in collaboration with the Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) – one each in July, August and September. At the pop-up market in September, BMI will also host a sustainable fashion show.

Organizers say the aim of these markets is to create a fashion hub for local artists, independent fashion designers and boutiques to display and sell their work. To promote sustainability and reduce fashion waste, they have partnered with Sustainable US Fashion Week for a “Swap Across America” program and an upcycling workshop for market leaders to trade and customize their pieces.

Following Project Artscape Fashion Weekend, BOPA will support Baltimore Fashion Week August 12-17 by providing promotional and programming support. During Baltimore Fashion Week, BOPA Fashion will announce the top three designers from Project Artscape Fashion Weekend. These three designers will showcase their designs at the Project Artscape Finale exhibition on December 14, 2024 at the Walters Art Museum.

Project Artscape Fashion Weekend judges are Davey, founder of Fashion Week Brooklyn; Jeff Butler, founder and director of Jazzy Studios and director of photography for the Baltimore Met Gala; Sally DeMarco, fashion designer, educator, and author who founded the Fashion Department at Baltimore City Community College; Victoria Bass is a fashion historian and associate professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. BOPA also thanks Sharon Nixon, creator and director of Baltimore Fashion Week; Bridget Artist, Creator and Director of Sustainable Fashion Week USA and her team; and the staff at the Walters Art Museum for their support and cooperation.

More information about BOPA’s Fashion Division and its initiatives is available at Promotionandarts.org/fashion-resources/.

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