Outside the See Sound Lounge located at 115 Blanchard in the trendy Belltown area of downtown Seattle, a crowd dressed in skirts, sequins, and tailored shirts gathers, walking in and out of the open club doors, and conversing through large, open bay windows. Although it is Wednesday, June 8th, the energy on the streets and music pouring out open night club windows suggests a Saturday night. Inside the lounge, tables and couches have been pushed aside and line the perimeter of a temporary runway. A few feet away people gather at the bar and sip drinks, anticipating the beginning of the show. A DJ spins fast paced techno music, and the scene is set for the first Spring Fashion Soiree in Seattle. Organized by Masha Osoianu, a local clothing designer, Michael Roth and Caleb Russell, local owners of Fly hair salon, the purpose of the event is to showcase Seattle based clothing and accessory designers in a runway show setting.
In the back dressing room, models from Hefner modeling agency are busily trying on clothing and having makeup intricately painted on their faces. The models, the DJ, the designers, as well as the venue itself all donated time, space and energy in the interest of promoting the Seattle fashion scene. Everyone involved volunteered their resources to bring the show to life. “We only paid to get flyers printed,” comments Caleb Russell. The organizers first came up with the idea a few months ago in the hopes of bringing publicity to new and innovative Seattle designers, as well as cultivating a sense of strong fashion and trendsetting in the Seattle area. Once they began brainstorming ways to make it happen, they found many locals had a similar interest and passion, and were willing to contribute resources to support the event.
The crowd quiets as Michael Roth takes the microphone and announces the beginning of the show. He introduces the designers one by one. Among those whose designs are showcased this evening are Russell Songco, who designs women’s shirts with elegant detailing and unique lines, Suzy Fairchild, who creates an array of women’s handbags, Liz Paisley who makes glamorous jewelry, as well as Masha Osoianu, who also creates a unique clothing line. The models had their hair done by Fly hair salon owners Roth and Russell, and make up was done by Leanne Barton, a local makeup artist.
After Roth makes the opening announcements, the first model swaggers onto the runway wearing a beautiful and lengthy tunic top and catwalks to the techno beat. The subsequent models, both men and women, fall into line after her, methodically showing off the trendsetting designs.
The lounge has suddenly turned into a true fashion show, with multiple camera flashes glinting off the models’ faces and lighting up the darkened club. The crowd has continued to grow, and cheers of approval erupt periodically for particular fashion pieces. After about 45 minutes, all of the designers’ pieces have been shown and Roth thanks everyone for attending.
The designers themselves walk down the runway and take a bow, signaling the event’s end. The DJ’s continue to play music while chairs and tables are returned to normal. The See Sound Lounge quickly returns to normal nightclub status as the designers mingle with the crowd and models change out of the designer clothes and return to their normal attire.
The event has appeared to be a huge success, with a great turnout and positive reaction from the audience. While mingling with models and designers in the dressing room, I caught up with Caleb Russell who said, “We got a great crowd, the clothes were awesome, what’s not to like?,” in response to my query on the success of the show. He went on to say “We’d like to do this quarterly or twice a year.”
Considering the outcome of this event – exposure for designers, models, DJ’s, and the club itself, making such an event a frequent tradition will likely be a move in the right direction for the Seattle fashion world. Given the proper exposure, local designers might just put Seattle on the map as a trendy, fashionably innovative city. The 2005 Spring Fashion Soiree is a definite first step in bringing the Seattle fashion scene to life.
For more information regarding the next fashion show date and time, and the designers involved, go to www.seesoundlounge.com.