Syracuse Style brings residents downtown for a night of fashion, unity

On Thursday evening, Syracuse Fashion Week hosted an outdoor runway show on Walton Street.

Where fashion and community meets, that’s the goal of Syracuse Style.

Thursday night, Syracuse Fashion Week and the Downtown Committee of Syracuse collaborated for the city’s sixth annual Syracuse Style runway show. The free event shut down Walton St. and entertained a packed crowd with fashions from exclusively downtown shops and boutiques.

As one of the biggest events of Syracuse Fashion Week, the runway show featured 16 different stores, such as Midnight Sun, Modern Pop Culture, Indie Kids, and Project 214.

Photo: Brianna Moné

“Our mission is to bring people downtown because everyone goes to T.J. Maxx and to the [Destiny USA] mall to shop,” said Lisa Marie Butler, organizer of Syracuse Style. “We want people to come downtown to shop. The stores that are down here are very personable. All the clothes that were on the runway tonight, people can actually buy.”

Anyone, from kids to lovers of retro chic to the GQ-type of man were represented in the diverse pickings of the shops featured. A lot of the downtown businesses have been involved in this runway show since it began six years ago, said Butler.

She believes that the show will continue to be held on Walnut St. for years to come and will continue to unify the community. The money raised from VIP ticket sales for the show will be donated to the Food Bank of Central New York. Since starting Syracuse Fashion Week in 2014, the Syracuse Style runway show has raised $4,500 for the food bank.

Not only does local sponsorship and support aide in unifying the community, but the use of Syracuse residents as models is another way Syracuse Style gets the community involved.

Local musician, music journalist and Syracuse Woman Magazine September issue cover girl, Jess Novak, made an appearance in the show by strutting for Ish Guitars. Ish Guitars blends instruments and fashion through its original guitar accessories line, adored by musicians and music lovers alike.

“They go together [music and fashion] and celebrating community,” said Novak. “Tonight was really fun because I got to see all the magazines out. It was really exciting, and it was great to support the community, and be a part of it in so many ways.”

For another Syracuse local, Michael John Heagerty, one can deduce that modeling is, in a way, his side hustle. A model for four different lines, and arguably one of the most memorable models Thursday night, he’s been doing this particular show for the past five years. Heagerty is called upon to entertain the crowd and is happy to do so, he said.

“I tend to have a one-upmanship when it comes to improvisation and walk offs, so I go out there and have my fun,” said Heagerty. “Hopefully, everyone else can have their fun too.”

Butler said she hopes to continue to produce a wonderful show and grand experience to the Syracuse community for years to come.

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