Fashion is more than a sense of STYLE; it’s a way of life! From April 3rd -6th 2014 Wilmington Fashion Weekend will be born off the coast of Cape Fear. During the 4-day event, attendees will see highlighted emerging designers, homegrown talent, accessory ateliers and local boutiques. The extended fashion weekend also includes a series of special access events such as an opening night Cirque du Soleil Social, a Block Party and a host of Fashion’s Night Out soirées sponsored in part by locally owned boutiques. In addition to the fashion highlights WFW will bring hundreds of traveling parties to the market, bolstering its economic growth in areas such as Downtown Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach.
We chatted with Executive Director and Founder of Wilmington Fashion Weekend, TJ Dunn, about the amazing team behind WFW, fulfilling dreams, and much more!
Carolina STYLE Magazine: Tell us a little bit about the team behind WFW (TJ Dunn, Khalilah Olokunola, Alicia MacDonald, Chelsea Sule)
TJ: Khalilah is the one who inspired me to pursue my dream. I mentioned it as a “one day I would like to…” type of dream and she pushed me to go for it and promised that she would be with me every step of the way. She has definitely lived up to that promise. She is brilliant when it comes to event planning and encourages me when I start to have doubts. Once I decided to pursue this, my mission was to find a team of all-stars with specific skills sets and a love for fashion. Alicia is a very talented high school student that put on a fashion show for her senior project. Mentoring the younger generation is a personal passion of mine as well as a focus of WFW. Chelsea has participated in Charleston Fashion Week and has the backstage experience when it comes show time. But the team doesn’t end there; it takes a village! We have 10 other determined individuals (including my wife – Libby Dunn – who works full time as a nuclear engineer at GE) and the support of the community. When I think about those that have been willing to unite to make this happen, I get emotional.
CSM: How did this idea come into fruition?
TJ: The idea came to heart a couple of months after I started my business, TJ Dunn Style Consulting, last April. At the time, I thought it would be something that I would do years down the road. That was until mid-summer when Khalilah (WFW’s co-founder), strongly encouraged me to go for it! I told her that I would do it only if she joined me in the adventure.
CSM: March is The Dream Issue here at STYLE. How would you say that WFW is helping to fulfill dreams?
TJ: My business was formed based on two things that I love; helping people and fashion. Having an occupation that encompasses the desires of your heart is something that I think we all dream of. I look at WFW as a seed that will grow and bear fruit that creates more opportunity in the fashion industry for all of Wilmington – thus helping others achieve their dreams as well. And I must add that “Dreams of Wilmington” is our charitable partner, which is very fitting. Dreams students will have the opportunity to sell their jewelry next to Wilmington’s best jewelry artists and perform on stage. Dreams students will also receive free show tickets and a VIP ride to the Grand Finale Runway Show and Award Ceremony.
Calendar of Events:
Thursday, April 3rd
Friday, April 4th
7pm Stop by the Wilmington Convention Center to see The Emerging Designers Show, featuring DJ Brian Hood and emerging designers:
- Caroline Castles of Castles Couture
- Lesley Tamaev of Just Like Honey
- Casey Crespo of Casey Crespo Designs
- Amanda Vaughn Redmon of Formation Design Studio
- Barton Strawn of Lumina Clothing Company
- Laura Venters of Ouisi
Saturday, April 5th
2pm Tickled Pink’s Block Party at Lumina Station
2pm WFW Trunk Show sponsored by Bijuju at The River Room
3pm The Swimsuit Issue Live on Stage (Swim/Resort) at Wilmington Convention Center, featuring DJ Mike Lane of Coast 97.3
7pm Night Life Couture Show at Wilmington Convention Center, featuring DJ Mike Lane of Coast 97.3
Sunday, April 6th
3pm The Grand Finale S/S 2014 Live Look Book & Awards Ceremony at Wilmington Convention Center, featuring Bigg B of Coast 97.3
Tickets start at just $15 and can be purchased here.