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Posted: 11:41 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2013

Austin Fashion Week kicks off with downtown trunk shows



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Austin Fashion Week kicks off with downtown trunk shows photo
Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
Cole Haan men’s shoes at Escalator come in a variety of bright colors.
Austin Fashion Week kicks off with downtown trunk shows photo
Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
More Austin men are adding pops of color to their wardrobes with brightly colored denim.
Austin Fashion Week kicks off with downtown trunk shows photo
Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
League of Rebels co-founder Musa Ato at Austin Fashion Week.
Austin Fashion Week kicks off with downtown trunk shows photo
Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
Allison Taylor-Moseley’s jewelry sells for $54-$275.

By Nancy Flores

American-Statesman Staff

Fashionistas began toasting to style on Friday night as Austin Fashion Week (AFW) kicked off with trunk shows throughout downtown Austin. The week-long festivities, which also include runway shows and designer awards, began earlier this year with AFW’s move from August to May.

While most of AFW events focus on women’s fashion, we checked in with menswear store Escalator to see what trends are hot among Austin’s best dressed guys. The contemporary men’s store, formerly Edge Boutique, on Brazos Street paired up with men’s fashion line League of Rebels to introduce some of the brand’s new suits and sport coats.

Escalator is currently the only retailer in America to sell League of Rebels’ impeccably tailored suits. The international brand launched when a group of young men studying in Ukraine wanted to build something that was their own. Today, the seven original co-founders are spread across the globe in places like London, Ukraine, Dallas and Lagos. And their company, which launched in 2009, has been gradually growing. League of Rebels will launch their U.S. website on Monday.

For Dallas-based co-founder Musa Ato, suits and sport coats “were in my blood.” Ato, 28, and his friends grew up attending boarding schools where they wore neckties seven days a week, he says. So the guys knew exactly what they wanted in a suit.

“Our suits are different from the every day suits because they are the closest you can get to custom suits off the rack,” Ato says. The metropolitan, Italian-inspired pieces made their AFW debut in 2011. AFW founder Matt Swinney introduced the brand to Escalator owner John Goeth, and Austin became the brand’s first U.S. retailer.

Since Escalator’s rebranding about six months ago, store manager Rob Enriquez says the store has moved away from bolder looks that are heavy on embellishments and have emerged with a sleeker, classic style. Customers check out the mannequins and are not intimidated to walk in anymore, he says.

Enriquez has noticed more Austin men favoring classic styles, and making a statement in other ways such as incorporating pops of color into their outfits with bright colored denims, belts or shoes.

“Girls aren’t the only ones who can add some pops of color to their wardrobe,” Enriquez says.

Austin Fashion Week Kick-off Party at Estilo

Before Allison Taylor-Moseley began designing jewelry, she was selling software. She had always been interested in fashion, and studied both art and business in college. So when she grew tired of corporate life, she quit her job and set off to discover her new calling.

Taylor-Moseley featured her delicate gemstone-based jewelry line at a trunk show during an AFW Kick-off Party at Second Street district boutique Estilo. Her simple, easy-to-wear style can be found at other retailers such as Mana Culture on South First Street and Sanctuary on Bee Caves Road.

Taylor-Moseley’s super lightweight designs are mostly 14K gold fill, which she says is a good alternative to solid gold pieces because they are a fraction of the price. Her jewelry, which also includes some sterling silver, sells for $54-$275.

Also featured at Estilo was Rare Trends, which brings Argentine fashion to Austin. Party goers got a sneak peek at some of Rare Trend’s spring/summer 2013 collection, which will be featured during AFW’s Wednesday runway show. The pieces range from Paris-inspired black and white tones to more playful designs with details such as hand woven rope.

Rare Trends co-founder Paola Moore has her eye on all the latest trends. This spring, she’s noticed more women embracing something typically not seen during warmer months — leather. It’s all about the soft mint-colored or pastel leather, she says.

AFW events continue through May 11. For information, visit fashionweekaustin.com.

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