Syracuse Fashion Week hosts show at James Street mansion

Syracuse Fashion Week hosts mansion show

The Barnes-Hiscock mansion event features eclectic trends and encourages charity support.
Published: October 4, 2021
Syracuse Fashion Week at the Mansion
Keyanna Coleman (from left), Eliza Jeffers, Karla Reilly and Ashley Baynes pose for the camera while wearing local designs during the Fashions at the Mansions show, hosted by Syracuse Fashion Week, Saturday at the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion on James Street.

A historic mansion and rousing, punchy, pop music set the scene for guests sipping their wine in their best outfits. Models wandered the old rooms weaning an eclectic and glamorous array of local designs.

This Friday, Syracuse Fashion Week hosted their “Fashions at the Mansions” show at the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion on James St. The show featured local designers, artists, and boutiques, with seven designers, about 40 models, and about 40 guests in attendance.

Lisa Butler, executive director of Syracuse Fashion Week, started fashion week in 2014. She is a fashion designer herself but has now been focused on fashion show production.

Butler said she is very proud that Syracuse Fashion Week supports and celebrates the community. Not only are all the designers local, but a portion of the proceeds also goes to the Food Bank of Central New York. She said since 2014, they have raised money for 40,000 meals for underserved residents in the community.

The show featured a variety of designs and styles.

Shenice Mobley, designer of Akua, wears her own two piece and crown down the runway.
Grace Darko, owner and designer of Akua Designs by Sankofa Akua, models her own 2-piece and crown during Friday's show.

“We wanted it to be slightly elegant, but there’s a good eclectic mix of designs,” Butler said.

The show highlighted elegant gowns from Bliss Bridal Boutique, goth-glam from Lucky Mae’s Closet by Lucky Mae Savage Savage, sterling silver jewelry by Sunshadow Design, painted jean jackets from Fashion Fix by Susan Fix and an African-inspired clothing line from Colgate University senior Grace Darko’s Akua Designs by Sankofa Akua.

Butler said she was really excited about Kalthom Aljiboury, a design student and 2020 Syracuse University graduate. Aljiboury’s collection was inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights and featured elegant sparkly gowns and geometric patterns.

Michelle DaRin was also a designer to watch, said Butler. She said DaRin is a local jewelry designer but also makes fun and funky clothes that are sold around the world.

DaRin said she was a child of the 1970s and is inspired by different eras and cultures.

Kal and her models pose for a portrait during the second event of Syracuse Fashion Week.

Kal and her models pose for a portrait during the second event of Syracuse Fashion Week.

Nia-Patrice Lewis wears her Akua two piece on the runway.

Saran Duncan wears an Akua Designs skirt set on the runway.

“I love anything that is ancient and ornamental symbolism,” said DaRin, adding that she mixes elements from indigenous jewelry, Egyptian designs, Gucci, and 70s rainbows.

The show’s location was just as much of a statement as the collections themselves. The Barnes-Hiscock Mansion on James Street is part of The George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation, a non-profit organization. Syracuse Fashion Week utilized the mansion’s stairs, sitting rooms, and bar as the runway, with models wandering and posing throughout each room. The models themselves were casual and nonchalant, chatting with guests and posing for pictures.

Syracuse Fashion Week has held two shows at the mansion previously. Butler said they once organized a “Nightmare Before Christmas” dinner party, with the designers making costumes and the models and characters eating with the guests.

Audience member Aaron Bracy, from Oswego, marveled at the spectacle. He said he never knew the mansion existed and was excited to experience both the house and the fashion collections.

“Just sitting here… I’m in my glory,” he said. “I love it.”