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SoWa Fashion Show Reveals Boston Treasures

By Allison J. Scharmann, Contributing Writer

Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” blasted from a pair of speakers as models strutted down the catwalk in colorful, eye-catching attire for Boston’s SoWa Art and Design District’s 2nd Annual Fashion Show. Spectators flanked the makeshift runway, a roped-off red-brick ramp along the boutiques and art galleries of Thayer Street. Lit only by the afternoon sun, the kickoff to Boston Fashion Week featured fall-themed ensembles from the District’s own designers and vintage market in a lively show to the public.

The eco-friendly, women-owned boutique Ash & Rose dominated the show, featuring pieces in vibrant hues and patterns. The shop sources their clothing and accessories from fair labor producers with resource-conscious manufacturing processes. Their collection is made from organic and recycled materials, and shipped using minimal packaging. Beyond the sustainability, the artisan-made dresses were the true highlight of the Ash & Rose lineup, with bright colors and patterns that drew attention to the wearer without being too overstated. One model sported a particularly stunning navy and white patterned dress, complimented by a brown leather vest sourced from Ethiopia. The manufacturer of this vest employs at-risk women in Ethiopia, a common theme among the producers from whom Ash & Rose imports their stock.

Not to be outdone were the ensembles from SoWa’s Vintage Market and Bobby from Boston. The market is a curated indoor collection of vintage fashion, jewelry, furnishings, and other goods from a variety of rotating vendors. One market look turned an oversized black blazer, accented with golden flowers, into a one piece, pairing it with a barely-visible black minidress and noir stiletto booties. SoWa’s most impressive contribution was their collection of vintage dresses, seemingly plucked straight from films of the early 20th century. One model danced down the runway in a mid-calf, drop-waist flapper dress, hemmed with white feathers, while another spun in a ’70s-esque red leather number, complete with a deep V-neck and pendant necklace. The SoWa market’s pieces took the greatest risks, and were duly rewarded with gasps of awe and applause.

Bobby from Boston, a vintage outfitter known for costuming movies and television shows, decked out the show’s male models in handsome suits, ties, and even one eccentric, golf-inspired look (think lots of plaid). In a professional meets casual look, the South End design warehouse coupled one of their signature t-shirts with an emerald, mid-length pencil skirt and matching blazer.

The fashion show offered a dazzling glimpse into the variety of styles available throughout SoWa’s Thayer Street shops and boutiques, a haven for thrift-shoppers and designer junkies alike. Best of all, the catwalk was just an introduction to SoWa’s Open Market, which also showcased outdoor artisan farmer’s markets, complementing the art and design district’s existing shopping and gallery spaces.

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