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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Runway Tulsa Returns Sept. 27-30


FEATURED PRESENTER: National designer Esé Azénabor will be a featured presenter at the Runway Tulsa Sept. 30 finale.


Courtesy photo


Runway Tulsa is bringing national and local talent for a week of fashion events with a purpose Sept. 27-30. The week will kickoff with a VIP event at Lexus of Tulsa and end with a runway finale featuring top designers from all over the country.

The week of events will include a fashion show at Utica Square with prize giveaways, a Friday Fashion boutique show benefitting Martha’s Foundation and a runway finale. Runway Tulsa will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds from Fashion Friday to Martha’s Foundation, which provides a safe, family centered-home for teenage girls who are pregnant or parenting their first child.

The organization’s signature event, Runway Tulsa Finale, will feature the latest creations of Project Runway Season 11 Winner Michelle Lesniak, Project Runway Season 9 and 10 designer Raul Flores, Nigerian-born New York Fashion Week designer Esé Azénabor, New York Fashion Week designer Lisu Vega, Colorado custom fashion designer Gino Velardi and local 15-plus year veteran designer Nikki Warren.

Runway Tulsa’s week of events will be emceed by KJRH Channel Two’s anchor Chera Kimiko along with Mrs. America 2015 Michelle Evans and Emmy award-winning Journalist Cindy Morrison.

“I am excited to kick off Runway Tulsa for another year with famed designers and local talent,” says Jon Terry, executive producer of Runway Tulsa and executive director of Oklahoma Fashion Initiative. “We are looking forward to making Tulsa a fashion hub and promoting the need for sustainable opportunities for Tulsa’s aspiring designers through our newly formed 501©(3), the Oklahoma Fashion Initiative.”

Runway Tulsa is the public face of Oklahoma Fashion Initiative (OFI), a nonprofit organization established to create, foster and promote Oklahoma’s fashion industry. With a focus on education and manufacturing, the Oklahoma Fashion Initiative will utilize education programs, mentorships and a small batch manufacturing facility to create and develop a fashion district in Tulsa and cultivate fashion talent across the state of Oklahoma.

“Raul Flores is the prototype Oklahoma Fashion Initiative story,” says Wade Bray, associate director of the Oklahoma Fashion Initiative. “He is a prime example of a talented fashion designer who will benefit from OFI’s educational and mentorship support.”

Flores is a Mexican-American fashion designer who first studied fashion design in Mexico in 2008 and then continued his training at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in 2016. Flores has 10 years of fashion experience and was featured on Project Runway seasons 9 and 10.

Through OFI’s scholarship program, the organization hopes to contribute to Flores’ continued development at FIT. OFI believes Flores has the talent to be the first recipient of their Launch Grant, an annual grant designed to provide financial, marketing, manufacturing and distribution assistance to a designer launching their brand.

In addition to the grant, OFI’s educational program utilizes scholarships, mentorships and internships to develop designers, merchandisers and other fashion-related professionals. The scholarship program includes an in-state scholarship program and an advanced scholarship to send students to elite programs like FIT and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. 

Phase three of OFI’s efforts are centered around the creation of a small batch manufacturing facility in Tulsa. Small batch manufacturing caters to designers that require lower quantities of their apparel than can be feasibly produced at standard manufacturing facilities. This facility will be constructed to provide apparel in quantities from six to 2,000 pieces per unit at prices affordable to developing designers. OFI is currently working with charitable foundations and state and local entities to fund their programs. To find out more information about OFI, visit oklahomafashioninitiative.org.
Tickets for the Friday and Saturday (Sept. 29, 30) runway shows can be acquired thru runwaytulsa.com.

Updated 09-18-2017

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