In black jeans and an untucked red button-down shirt, Jay Calderin looked like he was ready for a casual Thursday night of reading and working at the Boston Public Library. However, Jay Calderin is the founder of Boston Fashion Week, and was kicking off Boston Fashion Week at a press conference full of high school and college journalists
Boston Fashion Week features a collection of events throughout the week of October first, all of which surround the fashion industry. Some are fundraisers such as Models for Cancer, while others are classic runway shows with a twist, such as The 17.
“We have found that over the years, the Boston audience responds well to diverse content,” said Calderin, speaking to the press conference. “We don’t treat it like a business, we treat it like a civic initiative.”
Accompanying Calderin were Cecile Thieulin, Anthony Gregorio, Afshan Iragorri, Terri Mahn, Charles Neumann, and Ruby McAloon, all in The 17, which features designers who each bring their own style to the open runway.
“To be honest with you, when we first launched the program, I was little worried about [finding] seventeen,” said Calderin about the show. Now, the show has expanded past the original seventeen designers to include several more.
Charles Neumann loves the open format of The 17 because it allows him to expand upon fashion to include his exploration into costume design. Although he wants attend school for fashion design, Neumann has spent most of his career working for various opera companies and private clients designing costumes.
“I find a lot of adversity if you have been trained in fashion but you want to work in costume,” said Neumann. Labeled in both the fashion as a costume designer and a fashion designer in the costume world, at Boston Fashion Week, he is both.
Cecile Thieulin, a former architect from France, said she “was lucky to be one of The 17 [on the open runway].” Thieulin finds that her architecture skills are easily transferable to her line that focuses on stripes and enhancing the body’s shape. “Coco Chanel said ‘Fashion is architecture, it is all about proportion,” said Thieulin.
At just fifteen, Ruby McAloon is the youngest designer by far on the panel. After appearing on The 17 for the first time last year with her line In Denim, McAloon returns to Boston again this year.
When Calderin saw McAloon’s Instagram feed, he saw that she was the perfect fit. “What she was posting [on Instagram] was drafting patterns…[she was] thinking like a designer,” said Calderin.
All of the designers love that The 17 allows for the designers to go beyond the show and connect with the customers because all of the outfits are available for purchase after the show. Although the format is different from most fashion shows, Calderin enjoys treating Boston Fashion Week as “our own little laboratory.”
Calderin believes that Boston provides the perfect environment for experimentation. “Boston Fashion is more innovative than anywhere around the world because of MIT. Notice what is happening in science; you are seeing the world in a very modern way and you will find the connection,” said Calderin.
If you are interested in visiting Boston Fashion Week, the full list of events can be found here.