Cedar Valley Fashion Week brings design, community together this weekend
WATERLOO — Darvel Givens and other members of the Black Student Union at the University of Northern Iowa started Cedar Valley Fashion Week in 2013 as part of a series of events celebrating Black History Month in February.
But the event was such a huge success it outgrew two on-campus venues.
“It’s really become its own monster,” Givens said.
Now in its fourth year, Cedar Valley Fashion Week Style, Music and Beauty Expo will be held for the first time at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo. The Saturday showcase, beginning at 8 p.m., is expected to draw 1,000 people interested in fashion, design, music and other arts.
“There’s more to Iowa than agriculture — there’s a lot of culture, a lot of diversity,” Givens said. “You see all these amazing artists and performers, all these different scenes you didn’t know were available.”
Fashion Week will showcase 15 local designers, whose models will walk a runway while musicians and others perform on stage.
One of those designers is Shante’ Wallican-Nesbit, a 2006 textiles and apparel graduate of UNI who has designed for celebrity clients like Keshia Knight Pulliam in Atlanta and for department stores such as Target in Minneapolis. Now back living in the Cedar Valley, she’ll present pieces from her online boutique, Luxe Life, including her line of luxury kimonos.
“It’s fun to be able to showcase what I’ve learned as well — it’s kind of full circle for me,” Wallican-Nesbit said. “It’s a homecoming feeling.”
Annette Lynch, who taught Wallican-Nesbit as the professor of textiles and apparel at UNI, said it proves you don’t have to leave the area to find talent.
“People don’t know Iowa is a place where people create collections — and we do, and they’re really good,” Lynch said.