The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Dallas: a growing fashion mecca

How cowboy country has become the newest American fashion capital

If everything is bigger in Texas, the fashion market has just begun to follow tradition. Dallas has always been touted as a place with fashionable women, but only recently has it started to become a high-fashion epicenter and apparel market, second to New York.

“Dallas has now edged out Los Angeles in terms of fashion. Dallas women love to dress up to go anywhere, whereas in L.A., women always dress down in jeans and flats,” said Janie Condon, public relations for Dallas International Fashion Week.

Major fashion-centered events including the Dallas Market Center’s International Fashion Week and NorthPark Center’s newly-created Fashion at the Park events that wrapped up earlier this month, have drawn the style-conscious from around the country to Dallas. This year has been especially outstanding because of the celebrations associated with Neiman Marcus’ centennial anniversary as well as the Dallas Galleria’s 25th anniversary. This growing metropolis has surely been bitten by the fashion bug.

Dallas’ geography and spending power play into the equation that has made it such a cosmopolitan city. The wealthy clientele of high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and Stanley Korshak demand the highest and newest trends in fashion.

Also, Dallas’ central location between Los Angeles and New York meant it was only a matter of time before the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) became a regular stop on the itinerary of many big names in fashion.

“The other day I met Giorgio Armani when he came in town for Neiman Marcus’ centennial…and tonight, I’m working the in the tent for the Oscar de la Renta runway show at Fashion at the Park. I was planning on moving to New York to work in fashion after I graduate, but now I don’t need to. The industry is coming to me,” laughs senior Sarah-Allen Preston, an intern at Paper City magazine, a society and fashion-centered publication native to Dallas and Houston.

If Preston’s attitude is any reflection of the excitement surrounding Dallas’ new place in the fashion world, the new rising generation of young, hip Dallasites like herself, has a bright future to build on, considering the city’s strong and stylish past.

Neiman Marcus began in Dallas in the early 20th century. However, it was one of the only high-end department stores until recent years. Barneys New York opened up a flagship store in the newly-renovated NorthPark Center last year. There had been a Barneys New York store in Dallas in the ’90s but it went out of business because of bankruptcy and poor sales.

“[Barneys] didn’t get Dallas, at first. Barneys came in too cocky: the salespeople were too snooty, and all the clothes were black. Texas is a friendly, sunshine state that likes color and embellishment. It’s not New York City,” says Condon.

The fact that Barneys New York, a high-end designer department store, thinks that Dallas is now ready for them is a telling indicator for the future of fashion in this city. Condon said that, this time, Barneys has brought in new salespeople from other places like Neiman Marcus and they are selling clothing geared toward a Dallas woman, not necessarily a New Yorker.

“I love New York style, but it’s a different lifestyle down here. I like to think of Dallas as a kind of Midwestern New York City. Style-conscious, trendy and fast-paced…but also friendly and laid-back,” says Preston.

The year of fashion parties began at Neiman Marcus’ iconic downtown store in mid-October. Those in party attire at the department store’s 100th anniversary bash on Oct. 12 included the likes of Carolina Herrera and Manolo Blahnik, to name a fashionable few.

The Dallas International Fashion Week featured at the downtown Dallas Market Center took fashion to a level of entertainment the city had yet to experience. LIVEstyle Entertainment, a marketing and public relations company based in New York, sponsored the first official Fashion Week in Dallas running from Oct. 20 through 24. The event included New York-style designer fashion shows featuring Nicole Miller and Jaime Pressly’s collection J’aime, followed by celebrity-studded after-parties.

“The entertainment production company that has created tents at New York Fashion Week, as well as produced events at the Toronto Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival, created fashion show spectacles that were one-of-a-kind,” says LIVEstyle partner David Manning.

The newly-created Fashion at the Park events that ran this year at NorthPark Center from Nov. 1 through 4, is in its second year of production. Fashion at the Park is a four-day event where world-renowned designers including Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Billy Reid can showcase their designs on the runway for style-conscious Dallasites.

An otherwise unnoticed yet significant contributor to the boost of Dallas as cosmopolitan and glamorous style-conscious city is the addition of trendy, hip hotels and restaurants. The posh, downtown hotspot, the W Hotel in Victory Park, finished in 2006, and the more recently finished Ritz-Carlton in Uptown, prove that Dallas is not your typical cowboy-boot wearing Texas city.

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