The Trend Alaska Fashion Show started in 2019 with modest ambitions – to showcase Alaskan designers and bring fashion fans together for a little fun. Now in its third year, the show not only features the work of 16 designers, but also plans to raise more than $150,000 for an Alaskan nonprofit.
“I thought it would be really fun to do a fashion show because we didn’t have one in 2018, 2019, we really didn’t have one in Anchorage,” said show founder Carol Fraser. “There are a bunch of wearable art fashion shows in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan but there was really nothing in Anchorage.”
This year’s show will take place Saturday from 6-10 p.m. at Everts Air Cargo, located at 6100 Boeing Ave. All proceeds from the show will be donated to Let Every Woman Know – Alaska, a non-profit organization that provides women with resources to help prevent gynecological cancers.
Fundraising is a major part of the show – last year’s edition raised $125,000 for VOA Alaska. But it’s also an opportunity for some of the best designers in the state to be seen.
The designs will cover everything from hand-knitted pieces and loungewear to wearable art and traditional Alaska Native clothing.
“That’s New York City quality,” Fraser said. “Simply amazing designs. There is so much talent in the state.
Fraser, who works in the travel industry, and a few friends came up with the idea and worked to launch the initial event in 2019, which benefited the nonprofit Alaska Travel Industry Association. He raised $30,000.
COVID-19 derailed shows in 2020 and 2021, but returned last year, with the Trend Alaska committee focusing on a nonprofit that would benefit young people and their families. With an all-female board, Fraser said working with LEWK this year was a natural fit and they hope to raise as much as $160,000 to $180,000 this year.
“I called them and fell in love (with the organization) immediately, they are amazing people,” she said. “It’s so much more than a fashion show. We are able to help people and change people’s lives.
Tiffany Briggs, who is a board member of LEWK, said the partnership is a boon for fashion fans and women’s health advocates.
“It’s a legit fashion show here in Alaska,” she said. “Just the opportunity to raise awareness for us (it’s great). We’re a statewide women’s nonprofit and getting our name out in communities that might not hear of us in general is huge for us.
Briggs was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015, began volunteering in 2016, and joined the board in 2020. After initial surgery, she underwent extensive treatment which ultimately led to another surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy.
But on April 20, 2016, she had her last chemo session and has had no evidence of cancer since. Gynecological cancers can be difficult to identify, which is why Briggs said it is essential to remain vigilant.
“We really have to be our own advocates, we have to listen to our bodies,” she said. “They will give us these subtle clues and we have to stick to our guns. If we know something is wrong, it’s not normal for us, keep pressing.
Last year’s theme was Post-Apocalyptic Trends and this year’s is ‘Uplifting Alaskans’, with the venue, Everts Air Cargo, in mind. Fraser said she asked attendees to wear white in honor of the aviation theme and, as an accent, one of the five colors that represent gynecological cancer.
Fairbanks designer Sarah Dexter is one of 16 whose work will be on display on Saturday. She creates small collections tailored to clients. She mainly works with women’s clothing and specializes in knitwear.
The collection she will be showing at the show will feature lots of shimmer and shine, as well as a lace knit with a sheer base. She will also do some whimsical twists on traditional clothing.
“I have hooded and hooded jumpsuits with exaggerated sleeves and a ‘snow pea’, a fusion between a peacoat and a snowsuit,” she said.
Not only are designers diverse in their craft, but they are also diverse geographically. There are representatives from Sitka, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Kenai, Soldotna, Palmer, Fairbanks and Kotzebue, as well as Anchorage.
“When we started it was very busy in the Southeast because there was a lot of design talent there,” Fraser said. “We started looking geographically to make sure the entire state was represented.”
Linda Leary operates FisheWear out of Anchorage. Her legging designs were an instant hit with Alaskans and she continued to branch out into other activewear and gear like dry bags, waders and tackle bags.
“We’re trying to create products that are fun for women to wear that are functional and have certain technical abilities, while making them feel competent so they want to get out on the water and have fun,” she said. declared.
She took part in the first Trend Alaska show and discovered new designers, including one who shared space at her Midtown complex.
“Alaska is very entrepreneurial,” she said. “They’re all trying to make the most of it.”
Fraser said the show will end with an interpretive dance featuring real cancer survivors representing the five types of cancer. She said hearing the stories of survivors gave the show a new sense of significance.
“We are all so emotionally involved in making this success for women who have already passed away or women who are struggling,” she said. “It’s because a mission now instead of just an event.”
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