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17/09/2015

An Inside Look At StyleWeek Northeast

Rhode Island was once known as the Jewelry Capital of the World. At one point, Providence produced 80% of the costume jewelry made in the U.S. And as the home of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Rosanna Ortiz knew there was a fashion scene that was waiting to be reinvented. That’s why she founded StyleWeek Northeast in 2009. “I started it to give designers a platform and the resources they need to start a collection,” says Ortiz, a native Californian with a background in marketing and public relations. “It provides an industry so RISD people don’t have to leave.” Going on now through September 18th, 15 runway shows will be held at the ballroom at the Providence G (don’t miss Rooftop at the G for a killer view of the city and delish cocktails and Mediterranean fare), plus an accessory showcase and, of course, fashion after parties.

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Images: SheinDressAU

“Rhode Island is known as a fashion destination, but we’re open to designers from anywhere,” says Ortiz. Though people come from all over country, 45% of the designers that show are from Rhode Island. Applicants are interviewed over Skype, and they must have a collection that is brand new and has never photographed before—they exclusively show debut collections. They’re also the only regional fashion week that follows the trade schedule. These five rising fashion brands are a few of the standouts in the local Providence style scene.

Kent Stetson Growing up on a horse farm in New Hampshire, Kent Stetson’s mother did all of her own tack work, which is how he learned to do leatherwork. Specializing in print and leatherwork, he started making bags 14 years ago and now they’re sold in 250 stores around the world. Stetson initially came to Providence as a pre-med student at Brown and, as an artist himself, fell in love with the creative scene. “The fashion scene in Providence is like an art scene,” he says. “Bags were initially a way to package my art, but now it’s my medium.” Now he makes 150 bags a week, all handcrafted in his studio, many from luxe materials like wild caught snakeskin. Instead of making patterns, he rolls each hide out individually to create the purse. “It’s a sculptural process,” he says. Every bag is one of a kind and Stetson personally signs the interior of each one. Once you get your hands on one of his signature printed bags, you’ll want to collect them all.

House of Cach If Alexander McQueen had a futuristic accessory collection, it would be House of Cach. The brainchild of Alexa Cach and Molly Northern, the jaw-droppingly unique line offers ready to wear and custom designs for men and women. Inspired by large-scale art projects, with materials sourced from all over the world, it’s truly wearable art, all handcrafted from unexpected elements. Take the #projectbug collection, which uses real preserved insects, including a brass chest piece made from gilded cicadas with semi-precious stones, coconut wood, freshwater pearls and vintage pieces. The same preservation technique was used for the Modern Madonna collection, but this time with roses, lilies, and orchids captured in full bloom. The newest RTW line, “Armor,” takes its cues from a post-apocalyptic world where resources are scarce. Whether you opt for a more classic or experimental piece, any accessory from House of Cach is a head turner.

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