As 2015 comes to an end, Omaha Fashion Week is reminiscing on all of the exciting things our fashion community has accomplished this year. Celebrating eight years in 2015, we have so much to be grateful for and a lot to look forward to.
This year, Omaha Fashion Week showcased 55 designers within two seasons. Annually, we have established over 9,000 attendees. Besides our spectacular designers and the supportive audience, many other community members have a serious role in making Omaha Fashion Week a success. Over 325 models and 1,000 local creatives took part in the execution of the event. We've established numerous sponsorships with community organizations. These sponsorships, including Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts, Develop Model Management, KETV 7, Kiewit, Peroni, SAC Federal Credit Union, and Westroads Mall, have helped OFW climb the ladder of success. With the help from sponsors and partners we have been able to award over $20,000 dollars in prizes this year.
In March, along with three designer showcases, we held three special runway shows, Student Night, Methodist Survivor Show and Develop Model Management Beauty Show. These shows provided opportunities for students from OPS, 4-H and the Joslyn Art Museum's Kent Bellows Mentoring Program to learn and experience fashion at a professional level; for 100 cancer survivors to take strides of confidence while walking down our runway; and for salons in the area to showcase their exceptional talents.
In August, we held six runway shows featuring bridal & children's wear, avant garde & swimwear, ready-to-wear (I & II), and evening wear. On the final night, we held a finale where 12 designers competed for the Fashion Cup and a $15,000 prize package provided by OFW, Develop Model Management, SAC Federal Credit Union and Design Parliament.
Besides our main event, Omaha Fashion Week holds many other events and programs throughout each year. This year, some of those events included preview parties, Red Carpet Ready, Fashion Camp, model calls, and a program assisting designers in the development of their brand and business. March and August’s Preview Parties brought community members together to view a select number of designs that would be presented at Omaha Fashion Week. Red Carpet Ready, an event open to the public, provided an evening of cocktails and hors’ devours, which allowed guests to learn about the appropriate attire for Omaha Fashion Week.
Youth programming has taken an ever more important role in our world. Over the summer OFW worked with faculty at Omaha Public Schools on advocacy related to a proposal that would eliminate fashion education from the curriculum. This proposal would have negatively impacted 1,000 OPS students who were enrolled in the program. A letter writing campaign was started and the OPS school board was flooded with messages of support from the fashion community. Needless to say, we got their attention and this important program will remain a part of the OPS curriculum!
Fashion Camp was introduced by OFW and Develop Model Management in 2014. Develop Model Management and our team began this camp as a way to enable our community’s youth to learn about all aspects of the fashion industry, from sketching, photography and modeling, to creating their very own garment or accessory. At the end of the week, 70 campers held a runway show to present their finished products. Some campers had the opportunity to bring their designs to OFW’s main event on platforms. There will be a few campers from 2015 on the runway this March, so stay tuned for updates on these exceptional students.
As always, we held two model calls at Westroads Mall, which brought fabulous talent to the runway this year. And finally, we have teamed up with SAC Federal Credit Union to begin a program that will mentor designers to commercialize their work while creating sustainable businesses. This program is bringing a great sense of excitement and anticipation for the design community in Omaha. We are excited to continue the growth and success of OFW's creatives with this program.
As we reflect, we can’t help but to feel extremely thankful. To each and every individual who has brought their talent, support, volunteerism, companionship, and generosity; thank you. Thank you for your guidance, your hard work, and your unfailing support. As the year comes to a close, we are commemorating on the relationships that have been nurtured, the lives that have been impacted, the lives that have made an impact on us, and the design community that has been strengthened thanks to all who have been involved. Wishing you a year full of fun and happiness in 2016, happy holidays from the Omaha Fashion Week family to yours!