Electric City Couture to give area designers an expanded showcase

The Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs will be filled with fashion enthusiasts for the
Cecilia and Richard Lockwood at their textile studio in Saratoga Springs. They will again show fashions at this year's Electric City Couture show.
Cecilia and Richard Lockwood at their textile studio in Saratoga Springs. They will again show fashions at this year's Electric City Couture show.

The Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs will be filled with fashion enthusiasts for the annual Electric City Couture Fashion Show for a full weekend, Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 17.

This is the first time the show, now in its eighth year, has spanned three days. The move from a one-day event to a weekend featuring two complete runway shows was a leap of faith, according to Corey Aldrich, producer and creative director of Electric City Couture.

Electric City Couture

WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, April 15 (VIP ticket holders only); 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 17

WHERE: Universal Preservation Hall, 25 Washington St., Saratoga Springs

HOW MUCH: $25, Saturday; $15 Sunday. VIP tickets, $100-$75. For Saturday’s after-party, $5 with show ticket or $15 without

MORE INFO: electriccitycouture.com

“Usually in the past if we just had one night we would already be sold out now,” he said. “But this year we took a big jump, from selling out at 350 tickets to selling out at 700 tickets.”

Aldrich is hopeful that this year’s show will sell out too.

“It’s a little frightening for me as a producer, but every year people come back to us and say ‘I didn’t hear about it and get a ticket,’ ” he said. “We have to get the word out broader and earlier but we’re such a small team and everyone is wearing so many hats.”

That small team has grown each year as more designers become interested in participating in the event. Aldrich said he and his team select carefully, aiming to highlight the best designers in the area.

“The important part to me specifically is really about getting the message out about showcasing the creative economy and the talent in our region and raising the bar,” he said. “But it is just as important getting people to pay attention and supporting makers in our region and putting dollars in their pocket.”

The dollars will hopefully flow through purchases in the pop-up shops where each designer can peddle wares. The shops will be open Friday evening for a VIP preview and then after the runway shows on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

“When dollars go into their pocket it stays in our region. Every dollar that people spend at TJ Maxx — and hey, we all do it — those dollars go elsewhere,” Aldrich said. “It’s about creating an economy so that talented people can stay in our area and not move to the city.

“What we’re trying to do at Electric City Couture is to be the go-to organization to do fashion awareness events and to build on the idea that Capital Region can be a fashion destination with a more competitive price to the New York City area,” said Aldrich.

“ECC strives to be the representative of what regional fashion can be for this entire area so we like to try and make sure the designers in the show are producing very high quality.”

Cecilia Frittelli and Richard Lockwood, co-owners of Frittelli & Lockwood, a textile studio in Saratoga Springs, have benefited from Aldrich’s work. The husband-and-wife team participated in the couture fashion show last year for the first time and were blown away by what had been created right in their own backyard.

“We went to the first one at Preservation Hall and I said, ‘That’s fantastic,’ and he was impressed that we make our own fabric,” said Frittelli of her introduction to the show and Aldrich’s amazement that the studio weaves its own fabrics.

Focus on women’s wear

Frittelli and Lockwood will be bringing 10 looks to the show, as they did last year. This time around the pair will focus more on women’s wear — “more women are interested in fashion than men are,” Lockwood said of the switch, which they hope will inspire more sales.

The looks will include women’s shawls, ponchos, cloaks and scarves, and men’s trousers, vests and hats. Their clothing will be paired with shoes featuring bits of their fabric, up-cycled by The Last Gentleman Company of Schenectady. The opportunity to collaborate was just another perk Frittelli reaped from their participation in the show.

“He has a really good sense of it and promotes collaboration a whole lot,” she said of Aldrich pairing the two companies together.

Frittelli & Lockwood will be participating in Sunday’s show, which features the theme “repose,” a more organic experience, according to Aldrich.

He came up with the themes “shattered” for Saturday’s show and “repose” for Sunday. The juxtaposition makes for a good introduction to the two-day format, he said.

“Well, last year we had come up with a theme called ‘the makers movement in America,’ ” explained Aldrich. “This year we amplified that to another level.”

The themes allow Aldrich to put together designers whose work plays off each other.

“The ‘shattered’ theme is really representing the idea of taking a critical look into how we’re consuming products — the shattering is breaking this misconception that we can’t look back into the old ways of doing production and bringing those into the future,” he said of the first day’s theme.

“The ‘repose’ is the organic; think of it like a vase, when you shatter this way of looking at doing commerce, instead of doing global commerce, you can look locally.”

Cutting-edge designs

Kim Vanyo of Khymanyo Studio, also in Saratoga Springs, will be featured in the more cutting-edge show Saturday night.

“I have a small ready-to-wear collection that I’ve marketed to boutiques and I’m slowly trying to build that part of the business up, but what I do do is add things and accessorize that line and make it runway worthy,” she said of the 10 looks she plans to showcase on the runway.

“I want to show what I’m doing,” she added. “Any artist that’s worth their weight can make beautiful things, but we want to make things that people want to wear.”

Frittelli said they appreciate Aldrich and his team taking the reins for the show. As co-owners of a business, she and Lockwood often have to juggle countless tasks at a time; this show offers them a chance to focus on the designs, she said.

They’ll be focusing on the work for the show in the coming weeks as they move into hyper-drive.

“We have a couple weeks,” said Frittelli. “It’s going to be crazy here.”

And that craziness will all be worth it, according to Frittelli, when the theatrical show begins.

“The lights go down and these men and women come out and it takes your breath away,” she said.

Additional events

Friday’s festivities include a VIP preview at the pop up shop starting at 6 p.m. This allows those with the VIP tickets an advance look at the designs before the runway shows, and a chance to meet the designers. Saturday VIP tickets are sold out; Sunday VIP tickets are still available. VIP tickets include a first or second row seat to that day’s show and admission to the sneak preview.

Categories: Life and Arts

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