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Fashion Week Rochester to highlight area landmarks as part of ‘Product Runway’

This year’s Fashion Week Rochester will not only feature political leaders and business executives modeling fashions from up-and-coming local designers, but it will also highlight Rochester-area buildings and landmarks, from the Eastman Theatre to the Roc City Skatepark.

One mainstay of the annual event is the support it receives from the local business community.  

Elaine Spaull

“Businesses have always embraced and supported this event, and this year is no different,” said Elaine Spaull, executive director of The Center for Youth and a Fashion Week organizer.

Fashion Week of Rochester launched in 2010 to engage the community in an event that would spotlight local designers, boutiques, businesses and artists while shining a light on youth homelessness.

In its thirteenth year, Fashion Week 2022 will include three nights of runway shows and continue to bring awareness and financial support to The Center for Youth’s homeless programs. 

The event kicks off on the evening of Oct. 13 at the Dome Arena in Henrietta. This is the second consecutive year the venue has hosted the event.

With an overall theme of Restore the Love, each night focuses on a different aspect of both fashion and the work that our community does to help vulnerable youth. 

A description of each night is below:  

  • Restore the Energy, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, will be the most edgy, with urban and gritty designs.
  • Restore our Community, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, will highlight the community, culture and diversity of Rochester. Several recognizable individuals will walk the runway this night, including Rochester Mayor Mailk Evans, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Michael Mendoza, MD, Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health, and
  • Restore the Grace, starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, which closes the show and features wedding and lingerie designs.

One of the highlights on Friday will be a Product Runway show from AIA (American Institute of Architects) Rochester and the local chapter of IIDA (The International Interior Design Association).

The two organizations held a similar show in 2019.

Product Runway consists of teams from local interior design firms, architectural firms and design schools in a fashion design competition where each team creates handmade garments out of standard architectural finish materials.

Each fashion design will be based on an iconic Rochester building using materials offered by manufacturers/representatives assigned to them. 

Rendering of "Aqueduct Bridge" fashion design using iconic images that blend the historic with the new, as evidenced in the use of graffiti that now adorns the interior of the old aqueduct. (Rendering provided)
The “Aqueduct Bridge” concept fashion design incorporates iconic architectural images that blend the historic with the new, as evidenced by a nod to graffiti that now adorns the interior of the old aqueduct. (Rendering provided)

Danielle Lewis, interior designer at LaBella Associates D.P.C. and one of the organizers of the Product Runway show, said the event is a way to pay tribute to the city’s various landmarks, as well as support a worthy cause.

“It gives us a chance to be philanthropic and creative at the same time,” said Lewis, whose team is designing a piece inspired by the city’s historic aqueduct.

The designs will be on display after the event at The Metropolitan downtown and Lewis is hoping Product Runway can be held at future Fashion Weeks.

The annual fundraiser for The Center for Youth funds awareness for youth homelessness, youth shelters and emergency programs, organizers said. 

The Center for Youth’s services include support for families and children, including two crisis nursery locations, Chrysalis House for parenting and pregnant teens and their children, an LGBTQ and trafficked homeless residence, multiple youth shelters and more. 

The fundraising event brought in some $1 million in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic began and brought its own challenges.

Organizers anticipate this year’s event will raise at least $750,000 to support the agency and its programs.

It got an early boost this year with help from Career Start. Employees at the staffing and workforce management firm in Rochester raised funds through a walk and donations were matched by Career Start founder and CEO Lindsay McCutchen and her family. 

McCutchen is a long-time supporter of The Center for Youth, which she said provides an invaluable service to the community and should, in turn, be embraced and supported.

“I believe in our community and our social and personal responsibility to support it,” she said.

McCutchen – who is not only attending the shows with her family but will also walk the runway with her two daughters at Friday night’s show – said the relationship between businesses and nonprofits is imperative.  

“When we have that relationship, we can make a big impact,” she said. “There’s no better payback than giving back to the place where you live.”  

Go to for more information on the event.

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