By Monique Berduo / Staff Writer
By Monique Berduo / Staff Writer
As the sun begins to set and the lights flicker on, music fills the city with the background sounds to pay tribute to the art many admire and literally live in. The wind kicks up and the models step on the runway as the audience is welcomed by the beginning of a night where fashion, art and creativity are honored.
According to the official Fashion’s Night Out Facebook fan page, FNO is a global initiative that first began in 2009 to honor fashion.
The event served as “An attempt to restore consumer confidence and boost the industry’s economy during the recession.”
Originally the FNO kicked off in New York City and since then each year has brought about hundreds of new cities eager to take part in this new found event.
“This is the second year we’ve done it [Fashion’s Night Out],” said Jannice Penner, the Executive Director at Riverside Downtown partnership. “I went to my board and said, ‘I think it’s a great idea.’ It will help promote our shops, and bring people to downtown [Riverside].”
Phyllis Clark Fashion design instructor at the Art Institute of Southern California first pitched the idea to host FNO in 2011 since Los Angeles had hosted the event as well in 2009. Last year crowd attendance rounded out to about 1,500 and this year the hard work and efforts of the community attracted triple the amount of attendance at about 4,000.
FNO festivities began with the “Red Dress Flash Mob” presented by the American Heart Association, a ’50s “pin-up” themed hairstyling competition, “Destination” themed fashion show along with the presenting of the Riverside Downtown Partnership Fashion Star Award and several after parties throughout downtown.
Phyllis Clark, the fashion show producer, was inspired to create a “Destination” theme for this year’s runway show.
“I’m from LA but, this [Riverside] is home,” said Clark. “So I wanted to bring Los Angeles and New York to Riverside. I said this is going to be ‘destination’ style on FNO night.”
The Riverside Downtown Partnership Star Awards winner was AI Fashion student, Susana Tostado. Her vintage styled outfit designs came to life on the catwalk and won her a cash price, a trophy and a title with bragging rights.
The event kicked off worldwide Thursday evening on Sept. 6, along with the grand opening of the Aurea Vista boutique and the monthly Riverside Art Walk. Both events celebrating the Aurea Vista and Art Walk agreed to take part in Fashion’s Night Out. Aurea Vista agreed to have their official grand opening that night and the Art Walk artists featured wearable art and fashion themed exhibits and films.
Phyllis Clark’s overall message through FNO to the fashion consumers is that downtown Riverside offers a very unique shopping experience. The owners of the boutiques that line the streets purchase their merchandise in New York, Europe, and Los Angeles, so they aren’t like corporate mall stores.
“[They’re] one of a kind, they are owners that have really taken into heart and thought about their customers when they go and buy merchandise to sell in their stores,” said Clark. “So come on out, it’s beautiful!”
To say Fashions Night Out was a successful event last year would be an understatement. The affair not only had a great turnout for their first time but, according to Jannice Penner, many of the participating shops sold out of their merchandise. This success served as an incentive to start planning for the event in advance and pair up with the new Aurea Vista shopping concept.
“We were very pleased with the success of the event as far as tripling our attendance and participation,” Penner said. “We look forward to making it bigger and better next year.”