Alaska Fashion Week kicks off Thursday night in Juneau and event organizers hope it’s just the first in an annual tradition.
The event, which runs Thursday through Sunday, is made up of a string of activities. It starts with a film screening, then a city tour, a whiskey tasting and — of course —a runway show and after-party. But it’s not all about dressing up and checking out the latest trends.
Cordova Pleasants owns Resolute Boutique in Juneau and is heading up Alaska Fashion Week. She says her mission is to educate people about fast fashion and sustainability.
“Fast fashion is actually an incredibly polluting industry. So it’s really important to shop with consideration in mind,” Pleasants said. “You know, where are your clothes made? What are they made of? We want to focus on natural materials and stay away from the polyesters and synthetic materials because they don’t biodegrade as well as something like cotton, or hemp, or even linen.”
The past year also put a strain on the fashion industry, in part because so many people waited out the pandemic at home in their sweatpants.
“Everybody was sitting at home and not buying fashion, which put a lot of retailers throughout the U.S. out of business,” she said. “A lot of my colleagues and my friends closed their boutiques all over the country. I feel really lucky to have Juneau’s support to have been able to keep mine.”
Shattuck Way behind Juneau’s city hall will be shut down for the runway show on Saturday, which features about 20 designers. Half of them are national brands and the other half are Alaskan and indigenous designers.
“These collections have been created specifically for Alaska Fashion Week. So we’re just over the moon to see them come down the runway,” Pleasants said.
And after more than a year of fashion hibernation, Pleasants says it’s a great opportunity to just dress up.
“Dress to the nines even if you’re just going to the grocery store. It doesn’t matter. This is about celebrating fashion in Alaska and maybe pulling out maybe your grandmother’s pieces or anything you have that’s passed down, pulling out those special pieces and this is your excuse to wear them,” she said.