By Stephanie May

Many cities in the U.S. recreate their own version of New York Fashion Week early each fall. It can be a fun scavenger hunt making the trip to different cities this time of year to check out the latest fashions in that part of the country and comparing different regions.

I have had the pleasure of attending several runway shows in different regions and Mobile Fashion Week is one of the most well organized, community supported and fashion-forward shows I have attended so far.

MFW fashion shows will take place this year on Friday, Sept. 30 and a finale on Saturday, Oct. 1. The events will be held at the newly renovated Steeple on St. Francis downtown.

If you haven’t been yet, MFW is the perfect chance to see the amazing transformation of a piece of history. The Steeple originally opened its doors in 1842 but was demolished in 1895 after a fire. Remains of the original structure can be seen in the foundation and bearings throughout the building.

Tickets for the runway shows are available online until Sept. 29 but can also be purchased at the door the night of each show. Ticket prices are $30 for general admission and $75 for VIP status, which allows full access, designer meet-and-greets along with swag bags to take home including items from many of the boutiques, designers and sponsors.

(Photo | Facebook) Styles from designers including  Destani Hoffman  will be among the many on the runway at Mobile Fashion Week.

(Photo | Facebook) Styles from designers including
Destani Hoffman will be among the many on the runway at Mobile Fashion Week.

Several of the designers who will be stars of the runway shows have been very busy already this season. Destani Hoffman has turned her passion of fashion and illustration into a career as a clothing designer and recently showed her line at New York Fashion Week. William Bradley is another unique designer to be featured this year and was just at Los Angeles Fashion Week with his current line.

Mermania is a local swimwear line that has been spreading like wildfire throughout the region this summer. This designer actually introduced her line for the first time at Mobile Fashion Week in 2015. There will be many other designers and local boutiques in the fashion shows, including the Junior Design Scholarship Award winner from last year.

The after party will be held at Firehouse Wine Bar, and the event is also a fundraiser for a few great causes. Proceeds from Mobile Fashion Week benefits Camp Rap-a-Hope, Eye Heart World, and Children with Hair Loss. The Mobile Fashion Council is not only interested in spotlighting up-and-coming designers in the area but they are very much committed to raising community awareness and funds for these amazing charities.

Camp Rap a Hope is a one-week summer camp for children and teens who are battling cancer or who have ever been diagnosed with cancer and who are 7 to 17 years of age. It is 100 percent free of charge. The Medical Society and The Alliance to the Medical Society of Mobile County in the State of Alabama and various corporate and individual donors sponsor Camp Rap A Hope. The campers usually reside along the Gulf Coast in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana.

Eye Heart World is a nonprofit charity established to raise money to support social causes. This is done by the designing and selling of unique handbags and other products. Children with Hair Loss was created as a resource for all children who have medically-related hair loss. It is their mission to empower these children to become whole again by making hair replacement available to those who may be financially challenged. The charity’s goal is to assist as many children as possible in changing their lives by improving their outlook and empowering them with a degree of self-confidence that will allow them to face the world with renewed self-esteem.

MFW is part of an even bigger development along our Gulf Coast — a movement of fashion-forward thinking and creative outreach. Mobile Fashion Week was born from the idea of “Fashion with a Cause.”

Downtown will be buzzing with TenSixtyFive and runway shows for MFW during the same weekend. Be sure to get out and support your local businesses and charities!