As the Fashion Week Columbus season approaches, we sat down with the ultimate guru of all things fundraising, brand cheerleading and it’s mind in motion leader, Thomas McClure, Executive Director and Founder. We chatted with him about the energy of the season, why Columbus and what we can all expect to see rolled out during the exciting week coming up October 3-10.
1. What do you think of the fashion market in Columbus? industry verses brands.
We have some really amazing fashion talent here in Columbus! At each Fashion Week we have produced over the last six years, I’ve been really impressed with the designers showcased on our runways. Columbus is ranked #3 in the nation for fashion designers, and adding apparel manufacturing as the last key piece in creating a sustainable fashion industry here is something I hope to see happen in the next few years.
2. What are your biggest surprises about Columbus compared to other fashion cities?
Columbus is a diverse, eclectic, locally-driven city with a fantastic art and music scene. I think people from larger fashion cities are surprised about how friendly people here are. Also, Martinis are only $8-12 here compared to $18-20 in NY or LA!
3. What’s your proudest moment thus far as ED?
So many! As Executive Director and Founder of Fashion Week Columbus, my proudest moments are seeing the success of the designers we’ve showcased on our runways. When they get picked up by a major department store or boutique – or when they win national fashion design competitions. Also, seeing models that have walked our runways making it big. Just recently one of our former male models landed a print campaign with Aeropostale. His face is all over Time Square! Knowing we had a small part in helping him get to where he is was a proud moment for me.
4. For newbies to Columbus, what is your one recommendation to get to know the city better? Events to attend? People must meet?
Fashion Week, of course! But also, check out the events in the local Alive publication, go to Highball, Gallery Hop, Pride, Village Lights, and a Crew game. Walk from The Hilton to 5th Street (or further) in the Short North. Meet the bartenders, gallery owners, and boutique owners. There’s so much going on in our Arts District. It’s where you will feel the heartbeat of the city. Then venture out from there to other amazing spots like Gay Street and Columbus districts like German Village and Grandview.
5. What do you want New York and LA fashion gurus and bloggers to know about cbus and its designers? Broad statement or specifics is fine!
Columbus ranks #3 in our nation for fashion designers, and we have some amazing fashion designers here putting out some amazing collections.
6. Favorite brands to shop and favorite brands locally?
I love all of our local boutiques! GLAM356, Tiger Tree, Artisan De Luxe, Rowe, Ladybird, Happy Go Lucky Her, Royal Factory, Thread, and Samson A Men’s Emporium…I can’t just choose one. My favorite items: JBrand Denims from Artisan De Luxe and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes from SAKS at Polaris.
Along with a week long of shows, social events and meet and greets, Fashion Week Columbus has partnered up with the fashion brand development boutique PR firm, IL Moda PR to welcome some of the hottest boutiques, and department store buyers, industry professionals and more for a one on one private peek event to be held on Friday October 9 at the Mind Market at CCAD. This is where buyers and media can take a closer look at the brands’ items and potentially purchase at wholesale for their stores or host some media interviews for the mainstream media in the room. Show producers such as NYFW’s Steve Leff, will join the day for industry advice and feedback on brand development.