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Lex What Wear: Collaborative has a ‘passion for fashion,’ and Lexington is the better for it

By Alex McLean
KyForward columnist

The Lexington Fashion Collaborative’s Future of Fashion V show has come and gone, but there’s no doubt the impact will be long-lasting. The talent in the Lexington area is amazing! And the work of the Fashion Collaborative is truly exciting.

No, I didn’t get to see the show firsthand – I couldn’t get away from NYC this time. But we did have three people covering the event so we could share with you some of the exciting people and designs that took the runway by storm. Special thanks to Bailey Johnson, Taylor Clements and Madison Elder. I will feature some of their observations today and in subsequent columns. And also thanks to the collaborative’s director – Soreyda Benedit-Begley – for her help.

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Design by Claire Williams

Design by Claire Williams

With 35 designers in this year’s show, it’s difficult to know where to start. So let’s go for the youth angle and talk about an exciting 13-year-old designer. Yes, a 13-year-old, as in eighth-grader. Her name is Claire Williams, and she designs clothing for children. For this show, Claire’s inspiration was the globe, with designs representing the fashions of different countries but in fun and artful ways.

The dress at right, representing Russia, was made of fur and, interestingly enough, Wendy’s Frosty spoons, perhaps alluding to the glamorous clothing in Russian history but also to that country’s cold and “frosty” climes. She is experimental in her “textile” choices, and it was fun to think about the connections of those choices.

Another one of Claire’s designs is a graduated full-skirt gown made of paper maps. It’s the middle one in the photo below. Other highlights included hand-painted red and white maple leaf pants.

1 mapFOFV_Madison

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1 sheep

2 sheep

Lanette Freitag has created a line of wearable wool products from the sheep she and her husband raise on their Sharpsburg farm, including Merino, Lincoln, Cotswold, and Karakul. She is a true artisan and is well known in the area for her felted wool stoles. She showcased a wool fur coat and a wool head wrap, as well the capes shown above and at left. All her pieces were styled with a chic, urban aesthetic. Very cool!

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A little background about the Lexington Fashion Collaborative: Soreyda Benedit-Begley, the director, and Sarah Jane Estes, the group’s chairperson, founded LFC in 2009 after the first Future of Fashion show. Soreyda said she saw “a need for Lexington designers to be able to have a platform for their work.”

“It’s hard for individual designers to put on full-fledged runway shows, so the LFC offers the designers an avenue to promote their work annually,” she said.

LFC is a volunteer-based organization and is open to anyone. Find out more on their website, LexingtonFashion.org.

(All photos from the Lexington Fashion Collaborative Facebook page.)

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I know this is only a taste of all the wonderful designers and designs that were showcased at the Future of Fashion. Keep checking back each week as I plan to keep shining the spotlight on the best of Lexington’s fashion scene.


Alex McLean writes daily for LexWhatWear.com, a Lexington style-spotting blog she created for people who love to read about what’s hot … and sometimes what’s not … in fashion. She also shares lifestyle tips, creative ideas and stories about local fashionistas and others who inspire – live from New York City, where she now lives.

For more of Alex’s Lex What Wear columns, click here.

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