‘Fashion Passion’ organizers hope to make Turners Falls a fashion hub

Local and international fashion designers will be featured in “Fashion Passion,” Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the FastLights building at the corner of 6th and J streets.

Organizers and sponsors of the show call it the first event in Turners Falls dedicated to the culture of high fashion, and are hoping that it will bloom into an annual fall fashion week.

“We feel very strongly that Turners Falls can become another hub for fashion, another destination,” said Richie Richardson, whose Turners Falls boutique FAB is the primary organizer of this weekend’s show. “Turners Falls is becoming a destination in many respects. I wanted to add something else to that destination.”

Doors open at 4 p.m. so guests can view the designers’ collections, with the runway show starting at 6 and a cocktail mixer ending the evening. Admission is $20, and there will be a 10 percent discount on collections following the show.

“Fashion Passion” will feature fashion designers from the Pioneer Valley as well as New York and the Caribbean, Richardson said. He expects at least 10 or 12 designers to be represented in the show. There will be about 20 models.

“We want to provide a platform for people who work quietly at home,” Richardson said. “Many of these people do not see themselves as fashion designers, which they are. They look at the glitzy, glamorous field they see on television and compare themselves to that.”

When Richardson first came to the Pioneer Valley last fall to find a place to start his shop, he found that there was a lack of fashion boutiques.

“We didn’t find many designer boutiques, period,” he said. “What we found were big stores like in malls, the ones you know. … We consciously came here to bring different fashion sensibilities and expose different designers to the region.”

Now he hopes that “Fashion Passion” will plant seeds for a larger celebration of fashion next year. The impresario of the show, Richard Young, has helped start fashion weeks in Brooklyn, N.Y., Toronto and Montreal in Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Antigua.

“We hope the public will come away with something,” Richardson said. “First of all, that it is possible here.”

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