CLEVELAND — Fashion designers from across the world gathered in Cleveland on Sunday to showcase unique designs focused on diversity and inclusion.
The Runway organizers described it as Cleveland’s first-ever high fashion runway show aimed at expanding the fashion scene in northeast Ohio. It was held at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday, June 19.
The second-annual fashion show was put together by Fashion Talks. The group produces events focused on creating opportunities in the fashion industry for small businesses and those who want to learn more about fashion.
“When I moved to Cleveland, I wanted to see if there was a fashion industry and see if I could find what was in Toronto and New York and I didn’t see the same qualities,” said Aimon Ali, founder of Fashion Talks.
Ali said Sunday night’s event was purposely held on Juneteenth to celebrate diversity. Ali said it gave designers with a wide variety of experience a chance to showcase their designs, with models of all shapes and sizes hitting the runway.
“We have all types of body shapes on the runway. We should have inclusivity and diversity, especially within the fashion industry. There’s no excuse for it,” Ali said.
The Runway also gave area fashion designers, like Angelique Wong, a chance to network.
“A big part of my brand is making sure it’s size-inclusive,” said Wong. “I want to create an experience where every woman and every man feels celebrated and appreciated. All of my garments currently run from a small to a 5XL.”
Wong, a graduate of Kent State University, said she caught the fashion bug in high school, thanks to her sister.
“I actually wasn’t into fashion until my junior year of high school,” Wong said. “I was a music student my entire life. I played the viola, violin, clarinet.”
Wong said she went on to sew all of her homecoming and prom dresses and said the rest is history.
“The concept of this show is one of the most inclusive I’ve ever felt,” Wong said about the opportunity to take part in The Runway show.
In addition to the fashion show, Sunday night’s event also gave attendees an opportunity to shop the runway and purchase one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories from area designers.