Fashion enthusiasts and retail boutique buyers and owners from around the state and the Pacific Northwest descended on Juneau to preview fall collections from local and national designers during the first-ever Alaska Fashion Week. Here, Qaulluq of Kotzebue, Inuraaq of Nome, Carley Thayer, and Suzanne Nierra, both of Juneau, watch Saturday's runway show from inside the Harris Building. The windows were removed so spectators could watch models as they came down Shattuck Way, which served as the runway for the event. (Dana Zigmund/  Juneau Empire)

Juneau serves as Alaska’s Fashion Capital

First-ever Alaska Fashion Week in the books

Downtown Juneau was transformed into Alaska’s fashion capital Saturday as local models strutted down Shattuck Way. A DJ spun tunes as a socially distanced crowd sipped champagne at cafe-style tables inside the Harris Building.

Fashion enthusiasts and retail boutique buyers and owners from around the state and the Pacific Northwest descended on Juneau to preview fall collections from local and national designers during the first-ever Alaska Fashion Week.

The event is the brainchild of Cordova Pleasants, who owns Resolute Boutique and serves as president of Alaska Fashion Week, and Maggie McMillan and Dana Herndon, who serve as vice president and secretary, respectively, of Alaska Fashion Week.

“This is a place for designers and retailers and people in the industry to gather and enjoy,” Pleasants said in a phone interview last week. “Our main goal is slow fashion,” she said, adding that the event emphasized designers committed to sustainability.

Pleasants said that due to pandemic restrictions, organizers had to cap attendance at 100 people this year but plan to grow the event in the future. “It’s the first time people in the industry had an opportunity to preview collections and gather in-state. It offers an important bridge to retailers.”

Models displayed clothes and accessories for men, women and children.

“We had over 20 designers including Indigenous designers, Alaskan designers, and contemporary brands,” McMillan said in an email Monday morning. She noted that the runway event was sold out two weeks before Saturday’s show.

“Our models were mostly locals and they did a fantastic job representing Juneau.,” McMillan said.

Although spring is just getting started, the fall collections debuted to an eager audience.

“Collections look really good,” Pleasants said.

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A weekend of events

Organizers planned a weekend of activities that included a film screening about the environmental impact of denim, a city walking tour that fused Juneau’s history with the fashions of the time, and a unique fashion exhibit at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

Additional events included a whiskey tasting at The Narrows Bar, a special dinner at SALT, an after-party at the Imperial Saloon, and a casual Sunday morning breakfast to wrap up the event.

“It was a really good event,” said Ericka Lee, who served as a co-host for the runway show. “I’m so proud of the founders. They put a nice event together that included lots of other businesses and showcased designers who don’t have another outlet.”

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Plans are already in motion for next year.

“We loved sharing Juneau and our vision with our visitors and are already looking ahead to Alaska Fashion Week 2022,” McMillan said.

Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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