On Our Radar: Buffalo Fashion Show 2016

Culture & Arts, Things to Do


Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on October 5, 2016

As downtown Buffalo comes back to life, its cosmopolitan events are also growing in stature.
Case in point: The Buffalo Fashion Show 2016 is preparing to draw a bigger crowd than last year’s event and is slated to include more prominent designers from outside the city, while still showcasing local designers who are coming into this year’s event with more-refined collections.
Being held in The Grand Ballroom at the Adam’s Mark Hotel, the headliner for the event is Samantha Black who was one of the contestants on season 11 of Project Runway. She has also spent time learning the fashion industry at Jill Stuart, Michael Kors, and Alexander McQueen.

Event organizer Steven Bales recently told me that he sees the highly-successful World’s Largest Disco as his model for the fashion show.
“Every year, it gradually grew, and it grew, and it grew. So every year I look to see what they did,” Bales said. “My goal is to pack out the Adam’s Mark or move in to the convention center. I want it to be at 1,000 people or above and I want to bring in bigger names to inspire the young ladies that are pursuing modeling and inspire a lot of the young designers.”
While the headliner for this year’s event is from New York City, the bread and butter is still local designers and artists. Ashley Kay is this year’s local headliner and she returns to the fashion show with a more ambitious and aggressive vision.
“Before, when I thought something was over-the-top, it isn’t really over-the-top,” she told me over coffee at in Elmwood Avenue café. “Over-the-top is what you need. I’m not scared to make things big and crazy. Last year, I didn’t know what to really expect, but now I realize that’s what gets the crowd, that’s what people are interested in – the big crazy shit.”
Kay’s work normally incorporates elements of nature, featuring many long flowing irregular lines. She said her collection this year will include the themes of growth and evolution. In keeping with that theme, Kay is using people who have personally inspired her to show off her clothes, rather than conventional models.
“I’m trying to make it more of a performance than just clothes on the runway,” she added. “I’m trying to make it more of an art statement of sorts.”

The show will also feature an upscale lingerie line from Rochester designer Erin Nesmith, as well as a workout and fitness collection from Orangetheory Fitness. The latter will also be featured in an aquatic show scheduled to kick off the fashion event in the Adam’s Mark pool.
In addition to being an event to showcase local design talents, the Buffalo Fashion Show is also a chance for local models to do their thing.
Justice Banks, a model scheduled to appear, told me her job is to project attitude while acting as a blank canvas for the designer.
“You’re supposed to project that outfit,” she said. “It’s really not about the model. It’s really more about the clothes and who’s actually showing off.”
She added that she has a critical eye when she sees other models coming down the runway: “I watch their posture. I watch their arm placement. I watch how they walk and how fast they walk. And I watch how they pose to see if they’re actually presenting the outfit.”
Clearly, there’s a lot to look at if you’re paying attention. With a DJ and live music, the fashion show is also a big party if you’re just looking to have fun. Oh, and it’s also a great chance to support local talent.

Buffalo Fashion Show 2016

Friday October 7th
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Adam’s Mark Hotel – 120 Church Street, Buffalo, NY 14202
$185 (premier)/ $107 (VIP)/ $40 (regular)/ $30 (student)

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.
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