Second annual Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week starts Sept. 17

Lianna Loughman modeling local designs in last year's show. — File photo by Susan Safford

Although Martha’s Vineyard may not be a metropolitan hub, it has its fair share of unique designers and fashionistas – enough, in fact, to fill an entire week of fashion.

Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week (MVFW) was born in 2010 out of founder Trena Morrison’s longing to be a part of the glitz and glamour of the New York City and Boston Fashion Week events. The first program, which took place last September, brought out fashion-lovers from around the Island and was largely successful.

“Since Martha’s Vineyard is associated with wealth and celebrities, it was the perfect place to start something like this,” said Ms. Morrison, who gained her knowledge of the trade by working for various designers in New York City. “But I wanted to showcase artists and designers and stay true to the Vineyard and the way it really is, rather than the blown up version that you read about in the papers.”

The show uses all local designs and boutiques, and many local models. Due to the ecstatic response MVFW received after its premier last September, model agencies such as Cape Models, Model Mayhem, and Dynasty Models, who provide models for Boston’s Fashion Week, will also contribute people to the growing event.

MVFW 2012 aims to be a step up from its debut last year with the addition of more fashion shows and trunk shows, films, new participating boutiques such as Saffron/Hannah B, and Basics/Eastaway, and new products for the VIP and product sponsor goody bags, with brands such as O.P.I, Goody Hair Products, Alex and Ani, and Chilmark Chocolates.

Of the upcoming show, Ms. Morrison said, “Our shows and events will remain true to the Island feel: relaxed, yet a touch upscale.”

This year’s Fashion Week will see the summer out in style, running from Monday, Sept. 17, to the autumnal equinox on Saturday, Sept. 22. Opening night will take place at the Dreamland Ballroom in Oak Bluffs, with boutiques PIKNIK Art & Apparel, Hannah B, and Red Mannequin, among others, and designers such as Chrysal Parrot.

On Tuesday, in-store events will take place throughout the day, and an evening of fashion will be held at Dockside Inn in Oak Bluffs.

Wednesday’s event at the Sand Bar and Grill in Oak Bluffs will showcase Basics/Eastaway, On Kennebeck, Vineyard Vines, B*Tru, and Citrine, and designers Karen Russillo and Ashley Chase of Ulu Swimwear.

Thursday will bring a trunk show featuring Buddha Kanuddha Designs to the courtyard of Edgartown’s Vineyard Square Hotel and Suites.

More in-store events will take place on Friday, and a fashion show/red carpet gala at the Dreamland will put a close to the week on Saturday evening, with looks from the Green Room and designers such as the mother-daughter duo Marlene Distefano and Randi Sylvia, in addition to Karen Russillo and Noava Knight.

Since its founding in 2010, MVFW has welcomed new members to the team, including Island filmmaker Richard Skidmore, artist Basia Silva, and Marlene Di Stefano and Randi Sylvia. In September, it will become a 501c3 independent nonprofit organization.

A portion of all proceeds made will benefit Angel Flight NE, a nonprofit that offers free flights to off-Island facilities to terminally ill and cancer patients.

When asked about her reasons for bringing Fashion Week to the Vineyard, Ms. Morrison said, “I wanted to create a platform for designers to get their presence and creations known, and to bring an event that included fun and fashion to the Vineyard so that there was a week where you could sport those great frocks in your closet without being asked, ‘Where are you going all dressed up?’ and ‘Why are you wearing heels in the daytime?’ Because it’s Fashion Week on the Vineyard, of course!”

To volunteer or donate, email Ms. Morrison at