West 18th Street Fashion Show’s Invitational Summer

The West 18th Street Fashion Show celebrates 15 years in style.

Showcasing unique fashion artistry and craftsmanship in Kansas City for the past 15 years, the West 18th Street Fashion Show gives a range of talented designers a platform to showcase their latest and greatest collections to a local live audience.

For this year’s concept, Invitational Summer, producers invited runway alums and select national designers to develop their own concepts. The lineup includes Chanté Gosset, Heidi Herman, Rachel Rector for Birdies, Tara Light, Trajet and more sending nearly 100 looks down the catwalk.

“It’s going to be a really huge show,” says Jennifer Lapka, West 18th Fashion Show’s co-executive director, adding that garments range “from edgy, conceptual wear that our patrons aren’t used to seeing to street wear and evening wear.”

What else can attendees expect? Carefully considered music. Although models usually strut down the catwalk to tunes courtesy of co-executive and musical director Mark Southerland, this year will be a little different.

“Each designer has a unique voice and our musicians have worked hard to create a one of a kind composition to accompany each individual designer’s aesthetic,” Lapka explains.

One designer we’re excited to watch for is first-timer Tabbetha Evans, whose collection includes handcrafted knits in innovative textures and yarns combined with her own jewelry and accessories from hand-felted components.

“The fashion culture is so varied in Kansas City and you can find a little bit of everything,” Evans says of West 18th Street. “All of it is accepted on the same platform and everyone will see that in the show.”

This year’s outdoor runway show begins at 8 p.m. in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District on West 18th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte.  The event is free, but spectator seats are available for purchase here. Learn more about Kansas City’s fashion history at a discussion panel 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 12 at Central Library with a diverse range of 20th century Kansas City Garment District employees. –Brianna Peters