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AFW 10 years strong 

Atlantic Fashion Week celebrates 10 years with a wide range of designers.

click to enlarge Dee Silkie’s skirt of wonder. - MAG HOOD
  • Dee Silkie’s skirt of wonder.
  • Mag Hood

Atlantic Fashion Week showcases 3 and 4
Friday, November 25, 8pm
Saturday, November 26, 8pm
174 Hector Gate, Dartmouth Crossing, $25

Showcases continue until December 10, for a full event lineup see: atlanticfashionweek.com

Atlantic Fashion Week's creator and director Angela Campagnoni isn't interested in reminiscing about the past 10 years—how the event has grown from a simple catwalk at a car dealership to a multi-night, double-digit designer bonanza. Instead, she's planning the next steps: How to take the shows on the road throughout the Atlantic provinces and adding spring events to the AFW calendar.

"It's getting people to realize what we have to offer here," she says. "I'm making it be more work than it has to be, maybe. But that's because I want to see it grow into all it can be."

Campagnoni says a wide variety of runway offerings is important, and names Dee Silkie as an example of the not-so-typical side of Fashion Week. The Fredericton-based maker processes, dyes and treats fabrics (mostly silk) by hand, crafting one-of-a-kind, billowing columns of cloud-like colour. Bringing her bolts of fabric to Fashion Week's December 10 showcase, Silkie's line shows how the event has grown to include more niche aspects of the fashion industry.

And while Silkie is one of two surface designers at this year's Fashion Week, most of shows still focus on clothing as a whole—something especially needed now that Toronto's fashion week has rolled up its runways. Campagnoni stresses that AFW is a building block for new talent that "wouldn't have the resources or name recognition" to have a solo show yet.

An example of one such designer? Kelsey MacDonald. The Dalhousie costume design major worked at a powerhouse branding company before making the leap this summer to self-employment, and she's putting previous experience (like branding collaboration on fashion icon Jean-Paul Gaultier's Diffusion label) to use.

The resulting runway debut of her brand—Kelsey Erin—features sharply-tailored, lightly oversized classics that she envisions becoming the workhorses of a polished woman's wardrobe: "They're pieces for women who like fashion, not just necessarily those who want to be trendy."

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