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The Voice of Southwest Louisiana March 2018 Issue

The Voice of Southwest Louisiana News Magazine March 2018

SWLA feature story A

SWLA feature story A LASTING PASSION FOR FASHION: Fashion Week Lake Charles is Here to Stay Katelyn Williams – The Face of FWLC18 By Regina James Maybe you thought fashion was defined as a here today gone tomorrow flashy piece of jewelry. You may even have thought of fashion as a temporary trending wardrobe color, an exquisite garment with a purple label or simply a pair of shoes with red bottoms. The truth is…Fashion is a serious art form force within Southwest Louisiana. Fashion Week Lake Charles, FWLC, is the gateway to a completely new world. From within, a community of rich arts and cultural tradition sprouts great possibilities. Now comes the infusion of a fashion innovator who is ready to take the fashion scene and the city to the next level for the future. Fashion is finding its stride in Southwest Louisiana. Now approaching its third presentation year, FWLC, founded by Julie Branden is forging an exciting path with greatness and victory. Her efforts have enriched the arts culture in very impressive and innovative ways. Branden, a 30-year fashion industry veteran, is the state of Louisiana’s only certified image consultant. She explains, “Image consulting provides the unique opportunity of opening up eyes and bringing new ideas to the community.” That is just what Branden plans to do. She is laser focused on bringing Lake Charles to the next level of fashion and making sure that ‘passion for fashion’ lasts for years to come. Caribbean Breeze BLUE DRESS Regina: Has Lake Charles embraced fashion? Branden: “I think that the community has not yet fully embraced fashion.” Regina: What will it take to bring about the needed change? Branden: “Participation is what it’s going to take. The community must get involved and embrace fashion as part of the arts scene of Southwest Louisiana in order to drive it forward.” 16 March 2018 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 5 • Number 8

Whose responsibility is it to change this phenomenon? Branden wastes no time on pointing fingers. Her positive outlook leads right back to her very own doorstep. As an industry trailblazer she says, “I take full responsibility first in seeing that fashion is not only recognized but appreciated as a viable art form here.” Regina: As with any diffusion on innovation, at first a new idea enjoys the burst of excitement and interest in its “honeymoon stage.” That initial excitement, however, then tends to wear away with time. Do you see that to be an obstacle happening with the fashion arts in Lake Charles? Branden: “We’ve proven what we can do; now it’s time to bring Lake Charles’ fashion scene to the next level.” There is no end in sight for this trailblazer. Forget a leisurely stroll down the style aisle, this is a fashion locomotive. “Fashion provides an exciting ride for everyone to enjoy. There is something here for everyone. We can make history together,” says Branden. FWLC allows you to sport a pair of mythical Gucci Mary Janes, as Branden does. This event gives everyone the opportunity to own that one-of-a-kind fashionable item bought right off the runway of Fashion Avenue. Regina: Why is this a significant opportunity during Fashion Week? Branden: “Because when you put on that special garment or accessory, and it transforms how you feel about yourself, it can transform your outlook and thus impact all the areas of your life.” From the runway to a proud picture on social media, anyone can take their fashion game to the next level by participating in FWLC. In this new global society of expressive millennials and octa-millenials, FWLC becomes a gateway for feeling like and becoming a trendsetter who is not afraid to design a life they can feel proud of. FWLC brings with it a host of events to suit even the most cultured tastes in the arts. Fashion After Dark, a series of mini fashion shows held at stylish local venues and introduces city dwellers to the fashion scene that’s right outside their doors. Bodega Wine Dive at, 3505 Country Club Road, to host on March 29th, offers a trendy fashion forward atmosphere where world class fashion and ambiance are coupled with artistic pizzas, wines, meats and authentic cheeses from the world abroad. These and other Fashion Week events aim to provide an experience that rivals the nightlife of any upscale city. Branden, also an international fashion professional, says, “These different venues and concepts are going on all over the world and events such as Fashion after Dark is bringing the worldwide fashion scene right home to the people of Lake Charles.” Stop...look around the city of Lake Charles and see the rich artistic traditions that already exists. Arts in the form of novelty artisanship, painting, fine arts, performing arts, music and certainly culinary arts are all prominent in this city’s arts lifestyle and culture. Katelyn Williams – The Face of FWLC18 Birds of a Feather RED DRESS Volume 5 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2018 17

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