OKLAHOMA CITY — When people think of fashion, places such as Milan, Paris and New York come to mind. However, if Henry Ortiz has his way, Oklahoma will one day be thought of in the same light.
Ortiz is one of the co-founders for the first-ever Oklahoma Fashion Week (OFW), which kicked off Sunday at Mercedes-Benz of Oklahoma City.
He said he hopes it’s the first step into making the state an important cog in the nation’s fashion industry.
“When you look at the potential we have here, living in the state, there is just nobody helping them out,” Ortiz said.
“You never know. New York may start looking at us instead of us looking at them.”
Sunday’s meet and greet featured guests such as Gov. Mary Fallin, the Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins and wife, Vanity, and Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon.
The organizers of fashion week want it to be a platform for local models, established designers such as Joanne Hong, Danh Ta and Mary Ruppert and up-and-coming talent like Tina Cambell, Maria Chaverri and Melyssa Reed.
Ortiz wants to show that they do not have to leave Oklahoma to do what they love.
“Fashion week is all about designers,” Ortiz said. “It gives the designers a chance to show the buyers to the stores, and some of their designers will be bought by the stores. When we know that the designer is selling their designs, that will make it a success.”
But it’s also about improving business in Oklahoma.
“In addition to designs, Oklahoma Fashion Week also helps us with jobs,” Gov. Fallin said.
“It helps us talk about marketing, fashion, sales. The business itself helps create opportunities for our emerging designers and those in the manufacturing industry.”
Oklahoma Fashion Week began as an idea for a one-day event to showcase some local retailers, but it grew into the first event of its kind to be hosted in the state.