Philadelphia Fashion Week ended weeks ago, but last week’s Instagram photos of Paris Fashion Week had me thinking about my own #PFW. For the past few months, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to fashion in Paris, mostly because I’ll be living there for most of the summer. I often find myself daydreaming about what it means to be “Parisian” and why I feel so drawn to lavender fields, baroque architecture and French artists, but I rarely stop and reflect on what it means to be Philadelphian.
Once I realized that Philadelphia Fashion Week probably wasn’t being held at a family bowling alley, my Uber driver and I finally pulled up to 2300 Arena for the first event: PFW Collective’s Streetwear Show presented by The Philadelphia 76ers.
The Wednesday night streetwear show on February 17 was unlike Philly fashion shows I’d attended in the past – the obvious differences being the industrial pro-wrestling arena venue, the sports-inspired lines and pre-show performances by the 76ers dance team and Phlight Squad. Even though I knew just from the fact that my ticket said “presented by The Philadelphia 76ers” that the show would mix sports and streetwear, I still wasn’t expecting the unmistakable character of my city to manifest itself in every aspect of the show.
Although Philly may not be the first place that comes to mind for high fashion and fine arts, the scene is growing and changing at a remarkable rate. Thanks to amazing support systems put in place for local designers, like the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator and Philadelphia Fashion Alliance, aspiring designers and brands find the tools necessary to build their empires right here at home.Philadelphia is gritty. We’re known for our rowdy sports fan and attitude. If you don’t know how to order your cheesesteak, stay out of the line. But since I’ve been a part of the Philly fashion scene, I’ve gotten to know a different side of the city – the sense of community.
We support each other in Philadelphia. Philadelphia artists thrive at the intersections of dance and fashion, music and visual art, even fashion and sports. Philly brand Milano Di Rouge sent a ballerina down the runway to Kanye’s “Black Skinhead” before showing off streetwear-meets-couture styles. As a perfect finale, Mitchell & Ness closed the show with sportswear-inspired looks representing almost every Philly team. Models passed basketballs back and forth and showed off names like “Iverson” on the back of their jerseys.
It feels incredible to live in a city with such a rich art scene that mixes seamlessly with the more well-known sports culture. It feels incredible to be a part of such a strong community for artists, writers, fashion designers, dancers and even basketball players. It feels incredible to start my career as a journalist in a place where exciting things are happening everywhere, especially places I may have never looked, like 2300 Arena.