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Opinion Piece // Cincinnati Fashion Is Not New York

The other day I was speaking with a local photographer I’ve run into a few times about how I can get more exposure as a fashion stylist here in Cincinnati. One of the key things he said was to go to events in person and build a relationship with brands and designers. I agreed completely. The photographer mostly works with urban street wear brands and often photographs the club scene here. He invited me and my boyfriend to a fashion show he was putting on called “Labels and Tags.” I was thankful for the free tickets, and how willing he was to help me get my name out there.

The show was in a venue I had never been in before, but it was neat. It was in Mount Healthy which is where my boyfriend spent most of his childhood, so he was more familiar than I was. We were given the choice to sit in one of the first two rows, and within minutes of us sitting down the show began.

The MC was funny. He wasn’t shy about commenting on how the models walked, or tripped, or how the designs looked. He often said what many of us were probably thinking, but wouldn’t say  aloud.

Click to see slideshow

If I had to describe the fashion in one word, I would say: revealing. There seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the show–  “Let’s see how little clothing we can put on the models without them going out completely naked.” I saw a lot of booty sunday night. Haha. A lot. It didn’t help that the stage was higher than the seating, so the audience definitely got a view. To some this wasn’t a complaint. An older gentleman, seated in front of us, seemed to enjoy the view very much. Tim and I stifled laughs when we heard him saying things like “Damnnn” “Mmmm m mmmm” all while snapping pics.

With that being said, there were a few gems. Keep in mind, I came to the show with my fashion blogger, fashion design major, and fashion stylist hats on. Mostly, I was looking for some brands to possibly collaborate with for styling a photoshoot. Out of the 12 designers that showed, 4 stood out to me as people I may like to work with.

  1. Devine Designs Unique
    There were a few pieces I liked such as a white chiffon dress, a jumpsuit, an African wax print skirt, and a printed two piece set. A lot of it was pretty risqué. If I were to style these items I’d do so in a way that is subtly sexy.
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  2. Petty on Fleek
    The spring line was pretty casual, white button downs with bow ties and jeans, or t-shirt dresses with the logo on it. But there was a twist to it which I liked. Something extra that took it to the next level.
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  3. Lonesome Brand
    At the beginning of their set, a bunch of people came on stage, the family members of the one of the designers. They shared that in November they lost their son who was a contributor to the label. They decided to keep the dream alive and continue the clothing line going despite the tragedy. The brand has some really unique streetwear. This is the kind of clothing I would wear. I was taking pictures of almost everything. I especially liked their take on the hoodie. They had hoodie that was worn as a dress (but it was a decent length) sleeveless hoodies, and one with short sleeves. Some of the hemlines were curved which was aesthetically pleasing.
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  4. AushaniQ
    This brand was colorful and well done. I was telling Tim earlier in the show that I lot of these collections were missing continuity. There was no theme within them. A good collection should tell a story, each piece should relate to one another in some way. AushaniQ’s spring line looked like a story. It made sense together. I loved the ripped denim shorts for men with the patches of color on the top. There was also a neat purple trench coat that would be fun to style with.
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While I did see these 4 brands as having the most potential, nothing was 100% all of the way there for me. I liked bits and pieces of these collections, but not all of it in its entirety. I think Cincinnati fashion has a ways to go in terms of its taste level. “Urban” design doesn’t have to be synonymous with “scantily clad.” Another critique is that many of the designs weren’t practical or wearable. One of the designers made outfits using yarn. Tim thought it was really creative, and unlike something he’s never seen before. And it’s true. It wasn’t something we typically see, and there’s a reason for that. In the summertime, knitted tops and skirts aren’t exactly conducive for the heat. Her knitting was really clean and the concept was nice, but the execution of the idea is where it really counts. I’m assuming as a designer she wants to make money off of her talent, this may be a challenge to sell a thick knit-like yarn in the warmer months. Now, in the fall/winter season, this would be a different story.

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Cincinnati is certainly not New York. The fashion show’s After Party was a “PJ Party” which was code for come dressed in your lingerie. The best “pajamas” would win you $500. At some points during the show I wasn’t sure if we were at a strip club or a fashion event. There was some twerking, booty shaking, kisses blown, etc. It was a lot. One thing I will say was Tim and I had a good time. It was entertaining to say the least. Fashion is about the clothes. It’s about wearing cloth on your body. Well, there wasn’t much cloth. And not a lot to be left to the imagination. But it’s Cincinnati. While most of what I saw last night was not my taste, it’s somebody’s. And you can’t help but to appreciate the creativity and time that goes into designing a collection.

I am looking forward to maximizing my time here in Cincinnati, and making a name for myself locally before ending up in a more fashion-focused city. Last night was only a sliver of what Cincinnati fashion looks like. As I continue to reach out to little shops in Hyde Park, Over the Rhine, etc. I hope to discover more talent and collaborate with people who have similar passions as I do.

All photographs by YH Images


  1. Pingback: Why I am Parting Ways With Inexpensive Chic After Nearly 7 Years + A Highlight Reel |

  2. LMPA says

    Just dnt give up on Cincinnati Fashion just yet.. These guys are oldies but goodies, now get ready for a newbie to hit the fashion scene of Cincinnati
    June 18th 2016. @ the Lincoln center in downtown Cincinnati.
    Come see a new funky,stylish, we’ll put together line and show. For more information please contact LMPA @MrCincinnati vs Lasway on Facebook. Hope to see u there.

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