Fashionistas, rejoice! Winter Park Fashion Week is back, featuring more than a dozen local designers and boutiques.
It’s all part of a tradition that ended years ago due to budget cuts.
“We are a family team on Park Avenue, but we also love giving back to the community, so this is one way for us to support local businesses and charity,” said Sarah Grafton, who works at Grafton Wealth Management along Park Avenue in Winter Park.
She said it’s been a rough time for small businesses in the area, prompting Grafton Family Foundation to partner with Advent Health for Women to host Winter Park Fashion Week.
“I think a lot of people were struggling to keep their doors open at times and this is important because it brings people to the avenue and shows off what they have in store and brings a sense of community, something we haven’t been feeling for awhile,” Grafton said.
Winter Park Fashion Week, formerly Park Avenue Fashion Week, was an annual event for more than a decade before taking a hiatus due to budget cuts.
“This is something we always looked forward to every year and the fact that we’ve taken five years off only has grown our anticipation for the event,” said Alan Chambers, director of operations for John Craig Clothiers.
The Grafton Family Foundation brought it back, showing off the hidden gem: a fashion district right in Orlando’s backyard.
“Whether you’re a baby -- we’ve got amazing boutiques for little kids -- all the way up to 100, tt’s a wonderful thing for people to come out here and realize no matter your age or style, there’s something here for you,” Chambers said.
Chambers said fashion week brings exposure to local boutiques and designers. John Craig Clothiers, an upscale men’s clothing store in Winter Park, offers something most bigger chain stores don’t, he added.
“Personalized customer service. We’ve been around for over 25 years and people come to us for the experience and the relationship and that’s what we offer,” said Chambers.
More than a dozen stores and designers are taking part in Fashion Week, which ends Saturday with a fashion show that will feature models walking the runway and showcasing clothes and accessories you can find in stores along Park Avenue.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a runway show. We’ll be showing all of our best pre-spring looks,” said Paige Blackwelder, co-owner of Tuni. “We will have new spring-look dresses, jewelry, new denim and all kinds of things.”
All proceeds from the fashion show will support Advent Health Baby Place, providing maternity and neonatal intensive care. Organizers hope to bring back the tradition, hosting Winter Park Fashion Week for years to come.
“We’re hoping that this is just the beginning,” Grafton said.
Tickets for the Winter Park Fashion Show are sold out, but you can still check out some of the outfits that will be featured on the runway by visiting the boutiques along Park Avenue.