Last month I attended my second season of Nolcha Fashion Week: New York to support fellow serial entrepreneur and NFW:NY CEO Kerry Bannigan, at the urging of my wife, for that runway experience. OK, maybe there was a broader hint in there than that.
The show, which was held at Pier 59, is one of New York’s leading platforms for independent fashion designers, and this year’s event featured 13 of them. Ten guys – all successful young New York professionals, many of whom are actively involved in the city’s entrepreneurial community, were selected by Nolcha Fashion Week: New York to support the debut of the Michael Fenici suit collection. These “models” included Arthur Mandel (President of Nolcha), Brett David (Maitre D’ of THE GENERAL), Charles Ferri (CEO of Star Vodka), Henry Stimler (Owner of Jezebel SoHo), Jonathan Stein (VNV Media), Joshua Kaston (VP of Financial Alliance), Matthew Tollin (Founder of wireLawyer.com), Sergio Fernandez de Cordova (Global Entrepreneurs Council at United Nations), Trey Morgan (Z100 On-Air Host), and Tyson Hempel (Corporate Account Manager at CommVault).
Backstage was exactly as I imagined it would be, with the models getting their hair and makeup done and lots of wardrobe changes happening at a rapid clip, from swimwear to raincoats. What I was not expecting was that amid all the chaos, there would also be these ten ordinary guys hanging out, waiting for their hair stylists and designers to complete their suit fittings, too.
What impressed the audience about Michael Fenici’s line was that it was made for ‘real’ guys who dress to impress for their business activities on a daily basis, which is certainly not something that is de regueur in the tech industry.
“Dressing well in a business setting increases ones level of self-confidence, which, in-turn, positively impacts an individuals performance,” said Josh Kaston. “I always put my best foot forward. Not only do I take pride in my work, but I also take pride in my appearance.”
Nolcha Fashion Week: New York is a lot more than just a runway show featuring entrepreneurs. “It was created as a professional platform for independent fashion designers to showcase their latest collections,” noted Bannigan. “In turn, we work with innovative creative brands and products who complement our vision of supporting independent creativity and pushing the boundaries of entrepreneurship.”
It seems to be working. The event was well received not only by the fashion community, but also by the innovators and entrepreneurs looking at fashion as a space ripe for disruption. With new fashion websites springing up all the time, new Bluetooth watches and even Google glass, entrepreneurs and investors were right there alongside the media, retailers and stylists noting the creativity, discussing the possibilities, and working on new partnerships and ideas. It was a convergence of two very different worlds, and judging from the nodding approvals from the audience, it’s all looking very good.