Atlanta International Fashion Week founder Paula Whittle celebrates 10 years

Courtesy of Paula Whittle

Courtesy of Paula Whittle

According to its "about" profile, Atlanta International Fashion Week is engineering the global fashion experience and attracting industry influencers with a passport to arts, culture, fashion and entertainment. The destination is fashion with a journey through art and an encounter with style. The proclaimed Atlanta International Fashion Week is bridging the gap and connecting continents through fashion. Introducing Tour de Atlanta, a five-day adventure through Atlanta's premier locations showcasing the retail, art, and cultural communities. Fashion is more than just the clothes on one's back. It's a movement, a feeling and an expression. AIFW fosters and encourages established and up-and-coming designers through numerous industry and networking events. Atlanta has one of the top 10 retail markets in the country and AIFW has goals to grow the vitality of the Atlanta fashion arts community, maintain global relations along with the promotion of the arts through fashion and entertainment.

The Atlanta International Fashion Week introduced The Fashion Apprentice, a nonprofit organization "that fosters the fashion careers of young girls through mentorship, development and empowerment." Over the years, AIFW has showcased notable designers: Roberto Cavalli, Trina Turk, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Juicy Couture, Rock & Republic, White House Black Market, Sean John, Ed Hardy, Dereon, BCBG, True Religion, Akademiks, Apple Bottoms, Ecko, Baby Phat, Rocawear, Phat Farm, and international designers from Brazil, Africa, Canada, Europe, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. Past national and international partners include World Fashion TV, Columbia Pictures, Nordstrom, Warner Bros., SkinnyPop, Comcast, Mercedes Benz, Paul Mitchell, W Hotel, Dolce Group, and Revlon. AIFW is growing and will gain international recognition as a must-attend fashion show and trade event of the year.

AIFW has held special events with Adidas for a celebrity in-store event with Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic) and special appearances by Kim Kardashian, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, producer Dallas Austin, "RHOA" Cynthia Bailey and others, gospel superstar Kierra Sheard, Marlo Hampton, boxer Floyd Mayweather, R&B artist Monica, and a host of corporate buyers and industry professionals.

This year's fall/winter showcase is scheduled for July 26-31.

Here, founder Paula Whittle shares what keeps her inspired and the impact of AIFW.

Why did you create Atlanta International Fashion Week?
There was a void here in Atlanta for fashion and a centralized platform for designers and industry professionals. Fashion is the heartbeat of style and the driving force of our society. Aspiring designers, models and enthusiasts needed a platform and outlet for networking, promotion and presentations. Then entered the concept of the Atlanta International Fashion Week, a vision of bridging the gap and connecting continents through fashion.

How old is Atlanta International Fashion Week? What is the anniversary date?
Ten years on July 26, 2016.

What keeps you inspired to continue to produce the show(s)?
The ability to change lives and propel careers. Its about building business and building Atlanta. Atlanta is already an emerging epicenter of culture, arts, technology and entertainment, now its time for the fashion. For Atlanta to become a player in the global fashion arena.

When did you know you wanted to be in fashion and be a part of this world? Did you want to be in fashion, or did it just happen organically?
When I received a vision to build it and they will come. Its more than just about producing shows or events but more about changing lives and building the city.

What's the next hottest trend in fashion?
Fashion is an ever changing world with the latest trends of Victorian influence, bold accents, strong colors and '80s glamour dominating the runways. There is also the emergence of 3D fashion and technology being presented, which will be the next big thing.

How has social media changed the way you do business?
Social media has expanded and broaden the way that we communicate with our peers, businesses and professionals. It has given our brand a platform to display more of the designers, shows and more to the globe.

For more information, visit www.atlantaintlfashionweek.com.


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