Dressed to the Nines
By Noel Daniel
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head
Fashion Week is coming to Modesto Sept. 14 through 18, and bringing an air of pride with it. Reggie Rucker, Co-Founder and Fashion Week Committee Chair, wants Modesto to realize that there are a plethora of possibilities here—we just need to create them. “The issue with this community is that there are a lot of people here who are talented, driven, have big dreams, but don’t find fulfillment here, both career-wise and personally,” said Rucker. “They end up moving to try to find it somewhere else. Too many of those who remain tend to approach the community with apathy and this apathy is reflected in the way they dress and otherwise present themselves to the community.”
But, as Rucker points out, it’s hard to feel down when you’re “dressed to the nines.” And this was entirely the impetus behind Dressed 209, a small collection of individuals who came together in 2015 to celebrate a passion for fashion, and saw it as a vehicle to change perceptions about ourselves as individuals. They had one task: on the 20th of every month, they would gather, wearing their best.
“No occasion necessary,” said Rucker. “It was simply a reminder that we owe it to ourselves and each other to be our best selves every day, regardless of where we live or any of our other circumstances. While the monthly gatherings began to take a back seat to life in the fall and winter of 2015, the calendar turned to 2016 with a re-invigorating concept: let’s have a Fashion Week.”
And so, co-founders Reggie Rucker and Michael Palana set out to gather a band of fashion misfits to help see the idea come to life. Palana also serves as the Design Chair, Lauren Schmidt and Mikaela Adams serve as the Fashion Show and Beauty & Fashion Forum Co-Chairs, Kristin Vartan serves as the Public Relations and Editorial Chair, and Jen Dittman is the Fashion Week Fundraising Chair.
This committee of power players promises to bring a big city style to Modesto—especially since it’s not Rucker’s first time beautifying the community. Rucker is most proud of his work on Modesto on Ice, The Gallo Center for the Arts, and X Fest.
“The purpose of this event came from a desire to not only raise the fashion and beauty consciousness of the 209, but to begin to eradicate what we believe is the crippling root issue—the ‘I have these big dreams but I’m stuck in the Central Valley so they won’t happen for me here,’ mentality,” said Design Chair, Michael Palana. “It is an opportunity to connect those who are looking for a purpose in this community, to inspire and support, and uplift one another. And of course, why not look good doing it?”
The week begins on Sept. 14, with Fashion on Film. The State Theatre will screen Funny Face a 1957 classic film that features Fred Astaire as a fashion photographer who finds a model in bookish Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). The movie begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8.
Sept. 15, The Art of Fashion will be on display as art galleries and boutique shops showcase the interdependent relationship of art and fashion during this special edition of the 3rd Thursday Art Walk in Downtown Modesto. Featured locations will be The Chartreuse Muse and the Mistlin Gallery. The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is free to the public.
Sept. 16 is the Color Your Canvas fashion show from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Century in Downtown Modesto featuring local/regional fashion and jewelry designers that reflect the spirit of Modesto. Tickets start at $50.
Sept. 17 is the Modesto Style beauty and fashion forum. Attendees will get an inside look at the fashion industry from the curators and creators of today’s styles. A panel luncheon will start the day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Breakout sessions will continue thereafter until 6 p.m. featuring professional models, photographers, stylist, designers, hair and makeup artists, and more at Greens on Tenth. Tickets start at $25.
Sept. 18 will be the finale of Modesto Fashion Week as we invite the community to Ralston’s Goat in Downtown Modesto for a Mixer Over Mimosas. Attendees will have the opportunity to reconnect and network around the ideas and conversations started during the week, as well as make plans to continue the mission of Modesto Fashion Week into 2017. The mixer will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is open to the public.
For more information about Modesto Fashion Week, visit www.modestofashionweek.com.